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INSIDE: Everything you need to know about the top things to do in Canberra with kids and family. 

Canberra is a big surprise.

There are SO many Canberra activities for kids, it blew my mind on our last visit.

I repeat.

SO many things to do in Canberra for kids.

We were there for 5 action packed days, and could have stayed 3 weeks!

Planning to visit Canberra soon?

Take a look below and start making your list of Canberra attractions for families today. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

Dinosaur Museum Canberra dinosaur hunt pic

Best Things to do in Canberra with Kids

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in AUD dollars, unless otherwise stated

When we travel to new cities, I always schedule each day to be full of activities, but this is one place I underestimated.

Every single one of the Canberra attractions we visited was full of modern, interactive, hands-on activities for kids.

For the first time ever, my  itinerary went straight out the window.

Where I’d planned to spend two hours, we ended up staying four.

When I’d planned for half a day, we stayed till closing!

Hot tip: A weekend is NOT enough, but it’s a start. 

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Hotel Accommodation in Canberra

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in AUD dollars, unless otherwise stated

Looking for family accommodation in Canberra?

If you are searching for where to stay in Canberra with kids, check out these five hotels and apartments.

Novotel Canberra

The best thing about the Novotel in Canberra is the indoor pool.

Plus there’s free wifi, and it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the train station.

Find it at 65 Northbourne Ave in the city centre.

Check latest prices on

Pacific Suites Canberra

Another family apartment hotel, just up the road from the Novotel.

This one has an outdoor pool, and free wifi too. 

Find it at 100 Northbourne Ave, Braddon. 

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Rydges Capital Hill 

You can’t go wrong staying at a Rydges Hotel. 

This stylish hotel in Canberra has an indoor pool, plus it’s smack bang in the centre of the CBD so you can walk everywhere.

Find it at corner of Canberra Ave and National Circuit, Forrest.

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QT Canberra

We LOVE QT hotels, so this would be our first choice for fabulous style and quirky design.

But it’s the fact you can hire bikes to get around, and enjoy a spectacular buffet breakfast that gets us every time. 

Find it at London Circuit, in Canberra. 

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Ibis Styles Canberra Eaglehawk 

We’ve never ever had a problem with an Ibis Styles hotel (and we’ve stayed in them in Bali, and Europe) 

There’s an outdoor pool, AND a playground! 

This colourful, vibrant hotel in Canberra is near the Australian War Memorial, and is a bit out of the way, so you need a car, but a fab family hotel at a budget price. 

Find it at 1222 Federal Highway Service Road, Sutton. 

Check latest prices on

Book Now: Take a HOT AIR BALLOON flight over Canberra with kids

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No.1: Questacon Science Museum in Canberra

There’s 200+ educational FUN hands-on activities over SEVEN levels at Questacon Canberra. 

It’s so good, we gave it a rating of 10 TOADSTOOLS! 

Questacon is top of the tourist spots in Canberra, without a doubt. 

questacon canberra freefall slide pic

Don’t miss the Questacon FreeFall Slide.

At least one person in the family needs to brave it, and wear the attractive orange overalls/prison suit. 

Whoosh! is another exhibit that keeps kids busy for HOURS as they race to send lightweight scarves up a maze of tubes before they are spat out the funnel, and float back down!  

If you are looking for fun things to do in Canberra, or only have 1 day in Canberra, make your way there. 

READ MORE: Questacon in Canberra is the ULTIMATE Science Museum in Australian for Kids

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No.2: POD Playground Canberra Arboretum 

Families looking for fun things to do in Canberra must visit the Pod playground.

The adorable pod playground at the National Arboretum in Canberra is an award-winning playground, popular with locals and visitors alike.

Roam the Gnome rates this whimsical playground in Canberra as one of the best playgrounds for Gnomes in the world!

If you are planning a family holiday to Canberra, put it on your list. 

READ MORE: 7 Best Playgrounds in Canberra

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No.3: Australian War Memorial 

Surprisingly, the Australian War Memorial is one of the best activities for kids in Canberra.
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Discovery Zone Canberra

There’s a dedicated gallery for kids called the Discovery Zone.

Kids can:

  • dress up
  • tap out morse code messages
  • play a virtual reality game
  • crawl through trench tunnels
  • explore communication systems, and
  • ‘fly’ an army helicopter too.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Family Guide to the Australian War Memorial & Discovery Zone Canberra

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No.4: Museum of Australian Democracy

The PLAY UP exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Canberra has both hands-on AND screen based activities for kids, to help them explore the idea of democracy. 

Pick up a Family Activity Pack from the front desk, and be led around the museum on one of three different ‘journeys’ to find important pieces of information from Australia history. 

The MOAD is located at Old Parliament House. 

Read More: PLAY UP Old Parliament House at the Museum of Australian Democracy

National Museum of Dinosaurs Canberra giant eggs pic

No.5: Australian Dinosaur Museum Canberra

The National Dinosaur Museum Canberra is Australia’s largest permanent display of prehistoric specimens, located in Gold Creek Village near Canberra.

There are SO many hands-on activities for kids here, including a dinosaur walk-through, places to play, dinosaur puzzles, colouring in activities, and a special Junior Hunt kit with a prize at the end once it’s completed.

There’s a cool Dinosaur shop selling all kinds of souvenirs & gifts from “Prehistoric” times.

Check out their displays of amethyst caves at Canberra Dinosaur Museum too. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to the Australian Dinosaur Museum in Canberra

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No.7: Yarralumla Play Station in Canberra

Ride the miniature railway at Yarralumla Play Station.

It’s a nine minute loop on a specially commissioned Bluebell train, that stops at the Animal Farm for a quick cuddle with the farm animals too. 

There’s a cool cafe, with a kids play area too.

Plus a playground not far away.

It’s one of Canberra’s most popular weekend destinations for families. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Yarralumla Play Station

yarralumla mini golf course

No.8: Weston Park Canberra Mini Golf

This is a mini golf course with a difference.

At Weston Park Mini Golf course, the course is made up of iconic Canberra sights. Play a round visiting miniature versions of Parliamentary Triangle, Lake Burley Griffin, and Parliament House.

It’s located at Yarralumla Play Station.

READ MORE: The Guide to Weston Park Mini Golf 

Weston Park Yarralumla Canberra swimming enclosure pic

No.9: Swim at Weston Park

On a hot summers day in Canberra, swimming is the only way to beat the heat.

Try this spot.

The swimming enclosure at Weston Park Yarralumla.  

There’s an enclosed area for toddlers and small kids too. 

READ MORE: The Guide to the Weston Park Swimming Enclosure

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No.10: Black Mountain Peninsula Playground

This is the quintessential “Aussie” bushland playground in the centre of Canberra. 

We love it because it’s a chance to play surrounded by the iconic Australian bush – there’s eucalyptus trees, red dirt, blue skies, and stone walls surrounding the BBQ areas.

You could be in the Northern Territory, but you are about 5 minutes from the CBD. 

It’s a hidden-in-plain-sight treasure. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to the Black Mountain Peninsula Playground


No.11: Boundless Playground Canberra

Do not visit this playground on a scorching hot day.

It’s dreadful.

But on a pleasant cool day with breezes, this is one of Canberra’s best playgrounds. 

It’s a very popular all abilities playground with three separate zones, with all kinds of fun activities for kids of all ages in Canberra. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Boundless Playground in Canberra

pic - gordon playground canberra Gordon Playground tower and bridge

No.12: Gordon Park Canberra Playground

Gordon Playground has a fabulous ‘Leaning Tower’ and suspended rope bridge walkway.

You can see it from the carpark, this giant pseudo-Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

That’s just one part of this fabulous Canberra playground. 

It’s massive! 

There’s playground equipment for all ages.

BYO bbq or picnic food and stay for hours. 

Don’t miss it. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Gordon Playground in Canberra for kids

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No.13: Kambah Adventure Playground

The kid-friendly rock climbing wall is the hot attraction at this Canberra playground.

The dual-slides are fun too.

Keep an eye out for KANGAROO bouncers!  It’s the first time we’ve seen one of these things. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Kambah Playground in Canberra

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No.14: Fadden Pines Playground in Canberra

This is a fabulous playground for toddlers in Canberra, with LOTS of wide open space to run, a fort, swings and more.

It’s also a top playground in Canberra for older kids. 

The rainbow castle has climbing nets, platforms, and bridges.

There’s also another separate playground area across the way, so it’s two playgrounds in one. 

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Fadden Pines Playground Canberra

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No.15: National Arboretum Himalayan Cedar Grove Nature Play Canberra

There’s another open nature play area at the National Arboretum in Canberra too.

Friends took us there, and the boys spent a happy few hours exploring and playing around and under the Cedar trees. 

It’s a top spot for a nature play picnic too. 

READ MORE:  Nature Play at the National Canberra Arboretum

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No.16: Weston Park Adventure Playground

Weston Park adventure playground in Canberra has a water play area.

Kids can splash, play with the water pump, and walk through the rocky creek channel too.

There’s playground equipment including swings, a pyramid climbing frame, a sandpit with diggers and more.

Bring a picnic lunch. This is one of the popular parks for families in Canberra, and much loved for Sunday catch ups.  

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Weston Park Adventure Playground

Canberra is AWESOME for kids.

Yarralumla Park Canberra pathways picYarralumla Park Canberra pathways pic

No.17: Nature Play at Yarralumla Park

When you’ve finished at the playground, head to the nature play area at Yarralumla. 

There’s a whispering willows forest surrounding a lake, and kids can run, skip, hop, and climb the rocky mountain walls here.

READ MORE: How to find the Nature Play area at Yarralumla Park

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No.18: Lake Burley Griffin Cruises

This is one of the surprise finds for kids in Canberra.

It’s not so good for toddlers or young kids, as you are couped up on a small boat with lots of people, but for kids over 5, it’s a bit of an adventure.

You’ll hear quirky stories of the people, the places, the buildings and the history of Canberra. 

Get ready for a laugh! 

READ MORE:  The Ultimate Guide to Lake Burley Griffin Cruises on the MV Gull
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No.19: Government House Lookout

Visit the Government House lookout to see the elegant building that is home to Australia’s Governor General. 

READ MORE:  Spot Government House Canberra from the lookout

Photo- The National Museum Canberra Kspace game

No.20: KSpace at the National Museum Canberra

Once you’ve visited all the other attractions in Canberra for kids, head to the National Museum of Canberra.

KSpace is the dedicated kids gallery on the lower floor.

There’s a three-stage computer animated experience where kids get to design a robot, then take this robot on an adventure somewhere in Australia. 

It’s cool, but best for kids over 7. 

Read more: KSpace for Kids at the National Museum of Canberra

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No.21: The Fabulous Patissez Freakshake

Visit the Patissez Cafe in Griffith to try their signature Freakshake milkshake. 

These Canberra milkshakes are NOT healthy, but they are FUN.

Try the Pretzella nutty nutella shake with pretzels. 

READ MORE: The Insiders Guide to the Patissez Cafe in Canberra

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No.22: Weston Railway Station Cafe at Yarralumla 

This is the number one child friendly cafe in Canberra, with it’s own indoor play area for kids.

But it’s the cute railway booths that you can eat in that caught our eye. 

The menu has healthy but delicious favourites including chipotle chicken wings, and a kids menu too.

READ MORE: The Guide to Weston Railway Station Cafe

lake burley griffin water fountain by pjluk

Image credit: Pjluk via Flickr CC BY-2.0 

No.23: What to do in Canberra for FREE

There are so many free things to visit in Canberra, you can fill a week just with these Canberra tourist attractions. 

  • Walk around Lake Burley Griffin, hear the National Carillon bells toll every hour and see the Canberra Cook Memorial Jet fountain shoot water up to 150 metres into the air! 
  • Stroll the ANZAC Parade Walk – it’s an epic recognisable sight of Australia
  • Head up to the Mount Ainslie Lookout for a view of Canberra from up top
  • Visit the National Gallery of Australia
  • Visit the National Portrait Gallery
  • Visit the Royal Australian Mint 
  • Head to the National Museum of Australia
  • Wander the Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Stop by the National Library of Australia
  • Take a look at any of the Canberra farmers markets (you won’t be able to resist a snack though!)
  • View the Captain Cook memorial globe
  • Window shop at the Canberra Antiques centre, or the Belconnen Arts Centre Inc. 
  • Stroll around Chinatown in Canberra
  • Swim at Pine Island reserve
  • See the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and learn about it’s place in Australian history
  • Visit any one of the Canberra playgrounds we’ve reviewed, or try John Knight Memorial Park in Belconnen
  • Visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve & the NASA Deep Space Communication Centre Visitor Centre
  • The National Arboretum is FREE too

Visit the Canberra and Region Visitors centre location, and ask their staff for more tips on the best free things to do in Canberra as well as tours and more.

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Canberra Events during Canberra School Holidays 

Eventbrite is the best website for finding out about the best Canberra school holiday events, and other events in Canberra for kids and families, all year round. 

The National Zoo and Cockington Green Gardens are two popular attractions with regular school holiday activities in Canberra for children. 

There’s so many free things to do in Canberra school holidays. You’ll be surprised! 

Check it out here

READ MORE: Travelling with teens? Book a 4.5 Hour Guided Tour of Parliament House including High Tea !

old parliament house prime ministers wall by andy tyler

Image credit: Andy Tyler via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0 

Whats on in Canberra this weekend?

Check out the Events Guide to Canberra here 

Find out about all the current events in Canberra this weekend, and next so you can plan your Canberra itinerary. 

Don’t Miss Floriade

You’ll find fun things to do in Canberra all year round.

Our top picks include the fabulous Floriade, Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring, held in September/October each year.

Put it on your bucket list. 

Old Depot Bus Markets

Our other fave is the Old Depot Bus Markets.

Click here for opening hours. 

The Old Bus markets are one of the best craft markets in Australia. 

floriade canberra flowers by christopher john SSF

Image credit: Christopher John SSF via Flickr CC BY- 2.0 

MORE Canberra for Kids activities

Check out our Canberra Travel Blog for more fun things to do in Canberra with kids.

There’s plenty of family travel tips too.  

Looking for More Places to Visit in Australia with Kids? 

Click here for our AWESOME guide to AUSTRALIA with kids! 

Or, see below for Epic Roam the Gnome™ Guides of fun things to do with kids in Australian cities and surrounds.