Whether your children are adventure seekers, budding scientists or creative types there’s something that will appeal to every kid in Canberra during these spring school holidays.
Australia’s biggest celebration of spring hits the capital in mid September. For the whole month of Floriade, visitors to Commonwealth Park can admire the spring blooms, pick up gardening tips from experts in the field, listen to inspiring musical performances, enjoy culinary demonstrations by world-renowned chefs and keep the kids entertained with an exciting line up of entertainment. And don’t miss the five-night after dark extravaganza, Floriade NightFest.
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 up close and personal with many of the zoo’s animals, play games and make toys for the animals.
Help the Australian National Botanic Gardens celebrate its 45th birthday on 2 October by enjoying their birthday stories and activities in an event suitable for pre-schoolers. Then join Aboriginal storyteller Larry Brandy as he shows how Wiradjuri people hunted and found food in traditional times, plus paint a boomerang to take home. During the school holidays you can also sit back and relax on a 45-minute electric bus highlights tour of the Gardens.
The very popular KSpace family space at the National Museum of Australia has undergone a transformation and children can build a robot of the future using touch screens and then journey back in time to learn about that era in Australia’s history. They explore the location using their robot and collect points before teaming up with others as one big robot to complete a mission unique to that time and place.
Let kids stand up, muck up, dress up, make up, think up and step up in a surprising space at the Museum Of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. See the Great Kaleidoscope Cubby and explore The Right to Shelter in Play Up. The new exhibition will ask young visitors to imagine how different life would be without their bedroom, favourite food or a warm jacket. By engaging with the activities in Play Up, children will think about their own rights and those of other children around the world, all while having fun!
Explore the collection at the National Portrait Gallery before participating in activities like Story Time and a screening of Happy Feet that the whole family can enjoy together. Celebrate the Big Draw 2015 at the Gallery on each Sunday in October. AtBig Drawn in on 4 October your kids can put pencil to paper while listening to folk songs played by Zhi Zhao on accordion and soprano Miriam Rose. You can also take part in a giant puzzle making activity on 11 October and add your story to a collaborative sculpture on 18 October.
What do servicemen and servicewomen wear? What do they eat? What jobs do they do? The Australian War Memorial’s exciting hands-on history programs answer these questions and many more. Try on uniforms, handle real items, and hear incredible stories of Australians in wartime at 11am on weekdays during the school holidays. Make your own colour patch, bookmark, or poppy to take home at free Drop-In Craft sessions. Take part in a school holiday workshop, like Flowers of Remembrance on 6 October where children visiting the Memorial can explore how flower and plants are used as symbols of commemoration, before decorating their own flower pot to take home.
Many of your favourite National Gallery of Australia holiday programs are taking a break this spring as nearly every work of art is on the move within the gallery. You can still visit and enjoy great art in temporary places and the Sculpture Garden. Free family tours will run daily at 10.30am between 28 September and 9 October.
Try something new
The National Library of Australia is the perfect place to read, watch play and imagine these school holidays. Share your love of reading and stories with some funny and charming yarns form the Library’s collection during Spring Story Time on 29 September and stay for lunch and a screening of Despicable Me. Drop in toWordPlay: A Pop-Up Kids’ Space on 5 Saturday and read, write, illustrate and imagine.Imagine the possibilities of libraries through stories, games and play on 11 October. Explore 3D printing and pens, fantastic Makey Makey interactive demonstrations and much more.
Questacon’s Q Lab has evolved to become a dynamic and experimental environment that encourages enquiry and aims to keep up-to-date with the scientific world. Look at the world differently: either up close with video microscopes or in slow motion with high-definition high-speed footage. Upcoming activities in Q Lab include Botanical Bonanza during Floriade from 21-28 September,Hearty Science for World Heart Day on 29 September, Rocket Launching outside for World Space Week from 2-5 October and Squiddy Shenanigans for Cephalopod Awareness Days from 8-10 October.
For more great school holiday ideas and places to stay in the capital, visitwww.visitcanberra.com.au.