Let the kids run wilder than their imaginations in Canberra these spring school holidays with a flurry of family-friendly activities including animal encounters, treasure hunts and amazing flower festivals.
Celebrate the turn of the season at Floriade, the largest flower show in the Southern Hemisphere, and a much loved fixture on Canberra’s events calendar. This long established and free event showcases the best in horticulture, creative landscaping, innovation and design from 17 September – 16 October and you can keep the kids entertained with an exciting line up of entertainment. Don’t miss the five-night after dark extravaganza, Floriade NightFest, from 28 September – 2 October with spectacular lighting designs and installations, pop-up roving entertainment, live comedy and music acts (this event is ticketed).
See a different side of ‘the people’s house’ on a tour of the stunning private gardens atParliament House. The Spring Glory Courtyard Tour from 10 September to 16 October is a rare opportunity to see the glorious gardens that are lovingly tended by the Parliament House landscape staff. Beautifully calm and simple, these private gardens are sure to delight young and old alike!
Hunt for treasure
What will you find in the Australian National Botanic Gardens at night? Gather your family for a night-time botanical scavenger hunt on 24 September and 1 and 8 October, with treasures and treats to be found. Bring your torch, follow the clues and discover the fascinating plant, insect and animal life in the Gardens at night. Be the first to complete the scavenger hunt challenge and take home the coveted ‘super-sleuth’ prize.
Want to go on a treasure hunt, play spot the difference and wave at giant robots? Collect the special My Visit to the Mint activity booklet at the Royal Australian Mintthese school holidays and go on an adventure to learn how all of Australia’s circulating coins are made. Be sure to make your own coin to remember your journey!
Make, create and innovate!
There are so many ways to get crafty with the kids in Canberra these school holidays. Explore art at the National Gallery of Australia and choose from an artists’ easel full of free activities including Create Space workshops in the Sculpture Garden. Or sign your juniors up to creative meditation for children in the presence of evocative works of art or let them solve a hot new mystery that’s straight from the secret ASI: Art Scene Investigation files.
Did you know some of the world’s greatest architects started their career building with LEGO™? Check out The Great PLAY UP LEGO-athon at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House for a fun, drop-in program from 26-30 September and 3-7 October where you can build your own masterpiece in the beautiful Senate Courtyard.
The Federation Gallery at the National Archives of Australia will be open for both long weekends of the school holidays. Pop in to see the Constitution or visit the special Family Corner full of richly-illustrated books and games inspired by the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize exhibition. Do a puzzle, try the Discovery trail or play Bug Bingo. Year 9—12 students can also join ANU School of Art graduates in a film production workshop on 7 October where participants will respond to the themes and artworks of the Waterhouse exhibition for inspiration.
Walk on the wild side
Be brave and take part in an animal encounter at the National Zoo & Aquarium to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing creatures like cheetahs, sharks, sun bears, white lions and red pandas. During the school holidays the Zoocation program offers a unique experience for primary aged children; they will get to meet many of the zoo’s animals, play games and make toys for the animals.
Weave your way through the fascinating displays of Spiders at Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, until 9 October. Spiders will help you to unlock the secretive world of these captivating creatures. Wander through the fascinating exhibits and interactive displays to discover how these web-weavers, hunters and burrowers outlived the dinosaurs to become one of the most successful creatures on earth. Challenge a peacock spider to a dance-off or, if you dare, ‘hold’ a virtual wolf spider in the palm of your hand!
Give your little one a traditional Aussie bush experience at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Throughout the spring school holidays there are self-guided activities, boomerang throwing lessons, and billy tea and damper sessions around an open fire. Join a tour and search for koalas in the canopy, go platypus spotting or feed the pelicans with a ranger. If that’s not enough, simply roam the bush trails of the Reserve and spot koalas, emus, kangaroos, platypuses, reptiles, possums and echidnas.
Educate, experience and respect
Explore the history of humanity – how we have shaped the world, and how the world has shaped us ‒ when major international exhibition A History Of The World In 100 Objects From The British Museum opens at the National Museum of Australia on 9 September.
Interactively learn all about Australia’s involvement in wartime and some of the jobs done by today’s peacekeepers at the Australian War Memorial. The Memorial offers a wide selection of school holiday activities and workshops including Hands-on History, where they can try on uniforms, handle real items, and hear incredible stories of Australians in wartime; Story Time and Stories for Families; free Drop in Craft sessions where kids can make paper slouch hats, gumleaf bookmarks, etchings, and poppies to take home; and Casting, Carving, Creating which explores various cast and carved sculptures and works of art at the Memorial and children use various materials such as plaster and clay to experiment with sculpting techniques.
Play and learn
Drop in to the National Library of Australia with your literary learner to read, write, illustrate and imagine at WordPlay. A range of activities help your little ones to explore the shape, meaning and use of language. Enjoy hearing new tales and rediscovering old favourites at Spring Storytime and don’t miss a screening of Bee Movie on 6 October.
Explore portraits through drawing and creative activity in the different galleries of theNational Portrait Gallery. Portrait play is designed for children between the ages of 4-8 with family and friends and runs daily in school holidays. Children can also listen to the story Whoever you are by Mem Fox and create their own visual response at Story time.
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