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NATIONAL CANBERRA MUSEUM WITH KIDS – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

INSIDE: The National Museum of Australia is the Canberra museum to visit for Australian history. 

The National Museum in Canberra city doesn’t look very kid-friendly from the outside.

Once we’d finally found a place to park the car, (the place was packed) and rounded up grumpy children from the back seat, I was beginning to wonder if a playground would have been a better option.

KSpace saved the day on our visit to the National Museum of Canberra with a hands-on digital game with ROBOTS!

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Photo- The National Museum Canberra Kspace NMOA

Kspace at the National Museum Canberra

It’s true there’s not much to DO at the National Museum Canberra with kids, although there’s plenty to look at.

But kids 5 -12 years old have a gallery on the lower ground floor dedicated to them.

Photo- The National Museum Canberra Kspace robots

Kspace is the National Museum of Australia’s interactive adventure game for kids.

Designed for children aged 5 to 12, the Kspace game is a bit of kooky fun for children and adults alike.

You definitely need to be computer savvy.

Even then, I had a hard time keeping up! 

The game was way over the head of my 5 year old, but he had a good go, and was happy to push buttons and see a robot on screen.

Keep an eye on the young ones

Jack did leap ahead at one point, obviously having had enough and ready to move on.

I watched him disappear through a fold of thick black curtains, as I desperately tried to keep a hand in MY game.

(I did, for a moment, wonder if I’d ever see him again!)

But all was well.

Thankfully, the black curtains were a tactic to keep us separated from the group in front, and were not a portal into some other dimension.

We were in and out of Kspace in less than 30 minutes.

Photo- The National Museum Canberra Kspace game

Three stages of Kspace at the Australian Museum in Canberra

Kspace is a three-stage experience and up to 12 visitors can take part in each stage.

Stage 1:

Visitors start their adventure in the Design Station where they use touchscreens to create a time-travelling robot.

Stage 2:

Visitors enter a Time Pod where they are blasted back to a mystery location, such as the Victorian goldfields of 1854 or Sydney in the 1930s when the Harbour Bridge was being built.

Stage 3:

Visitors then use their robots to explore the location and collect points before teaming up with others as one big robot to complete a mission unique to that time and place.

At the end of the adventure, visitors move to the Cool-down area to reflect on the experience, learn more about the location visited, and send home a postcard.

Photo- The National Museum Canberra Kspace stairs to entry

How to play Kspace at the Canberra Museum

You play Kspace in a team of four, and there are three teams playing together at the same time.

(12 people each with their own game consoles).

But you can play with less people if you have to.

Other people can also jump on your team and join in.

Photo- The Canberra Museum kspace entry area pic

The Kspace App

The National Museum of Australia has created an App to help keep the kids engaged as you work your way around the rest of the exhibits.

The Kspace Augmented Reality (AR) Trail encourages kids to explore the museum looking out for characters they’ve met in the Kspace game.

The AR markers which launch the characters are located near to the exhibits that are related to the historical periods explored in Kspace.

Enquire at the help desk for download details. 

the canberra museum sights pic

Image credit: Mike via Flickr CC by SA 2.0

National Museum Canberra Exhibitions

The National Museum of Australia explores the land, nation and people of Australia.

Their focus is on:

  • Indigenous histories and cultures
  • European settlement, and
  • Human interaction with the environment.

Canberra Museum exhibitions include:

The Old New Land Gallery

The Old New Land gallery examines Australia’s diverse and unique species and environments by exploring how people have responded and adapted to the land over time.

Landmarks Gallery

The Landmarks gallery is located on two levels and features over 1500 objects.

It explores Australian history since European settlement, through stories of Australian places from across the continent

The First Australians Gallery

The First Australians gallery is located on two levels and traces the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their spirituality, diversity, identity and survival.

The Paddle Steamer Enterprise

The Paddle Steamer Enterprise is one of the world’s oldest working paddle steamers.

Today, following careful restoration and conservation, it is the largest working exhibit at the Museum.

With kids in tow, it’s difficult to spend too much time looking throughly at the exhibitions, but there’s a few vehicles and large scale models to catch their attention for a while.

the canberra museum cafe pic

Image credit: Eileen Mak via Flickr CC by 2.0

National Museum of Canberra cafe

The Museum Cafe is open from 9am to 4.45pm for breakfast, lunch or coffee with friends and family.

The cafe has spectacular views over Lake Burley Griffin. 

Sit indoors, on the deck or take the weight off your feet in one of the comfortable lounge chairs.

Click here for Weekday Menu

Click here for Weekend Menu

the canberra museum shop pic

Image credit: Lydia Fizz via Flickr CC by 2.0

National Museum of Canberra shop

The Museum Shop is open weekdays from 10am to 5pm and weekends from 9am to 5pm.

The Museum Shop features:

  • beautiful homewares
  • glassware
  • handmade jewellery
  • Indigenous products
  • Australian made toys
  • books
  • bath and body products
  • candles
  • giftware,
  • and much more.

EFTPOS and all credit cards accepted.


RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to the BEST AUSTRALIAN SOUVENIRS for everyone

Photo- The National Museum Canberra exterior gallery area pic

National Museum of Australia Grounds – The Garden of Australian Dreams

The outside area at this Canberra museum was a godsend for boys who need to run every now and then.

We were the only ones there.

Photo- The National Canberra museum family lounge

Other Things for Kids to Do at the National Museum Canberra

Rocker Chairs

We found a relax zone for families with these rocker chairs.

Photo- The National Museum Canberra chess game

Life size Chess Game

There was a giant game of chess in the foyer entry.

Photo- The National Museum Canberra discovery space

National Museum of Australia Events – Discovery Space during School Holidays

There’s always free or low-cost events held during school holidays.

Depending on the theme or collection they are inspired by, kids may:

  • make craft
  • play with art materials
  • create games
  • explore galleries, or
  • join in storytelling events.

Click here for details of What’s On National Museum Canberra 

Photo- The National Museum Canberra discovery space lounges

THE INSIDE SCOOP – The National Museum of Australia 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

National Museum of Canberra Address: The National Museum of Australia is on Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. 
Telephone: Freecall 1800 026 132 or phone +61 2 6208 5000
Email: [email protected]
Website: Click here

National Museum of Australia Opening Hours

  • 9am to 5pm daily (closed Christmas Day)

National Museum of Australia Entry Free:

  • The Canberra Museum entry free is complimentary.
  • Free general admission for everyone. 

Museum Map:  Click here to download.

National Canberra Museum of Australia exterior pic

Image credit: Diotime1 via Flickr CC by SA 2.0

How to get to the National Museum of Australia

Where is National Museum Canberra? The National Australia Museum is a short drive south-west of the city, on Acton Peninsula, by Lake Burley Griffin.

By Car: 3.5km (6 minutes drive) from the CBD via Parkes Way

By Bus: 

  • Action runs route 7 to the Museum weekdays and route 934 on weekends and public holidays. The bus stop is on Lennox Crossing, about 200 metres from our entrance. 
  • The free city loop bus, route 101, stops about 15 minutes’ walk away from the Museum at New Acton.

On Foot or Cycle:

  • Via shared paths from the city and by Lake Burley Griffin.
  • There are bike racks near the main entrance.

By Taxi/Uber: 

Pickup is at the taxi zone sign under the loop, near the main entrance. 

  • Canberra Elite – phone 13 22 27
  •  Cabxpress – phone 1300 222 977 
  •  Uber Canberra

Photo- The National Canberra museum of Australia view of the entrance

Parking at the National Museum of Australia

There’s a few different options for parking at the Australian National Museum. 

National Museum of Australia parking cost

$2.50 per hour or $12 per day applies 8.30am to 5pm weekdays.

Ticketing machines in the short-stay area take Visa and MasterCard and coins.

Banknotes are not accepted.

Change is available at the Information Desk in our Gandel Atrium.

National Australian museum Overflow parking 

If the Museum car park is full, you may wish to park on Lawson Crescent adjacent to the Museum, in Civic or New Acton and either walk or catch a bus to the Museum building.

Free parking at Canberra National Museum

Motorbike parking, and accessibility parking spaces are always free (Weekends and public holidays included)

National Museum of Australia Map

Facilities at the National Australia Museum 

See the Information Desk inside the Museum entrance for:

  • tickets and tours
  • what’s on and special offers
  • free wheelchair, scooter and stroller hire
  • maps in English, Mandarin, German and more
  • storing bags, umbrellas, baby backpacks, or any item where one side is larger than 30 cms

Wifi:

  • Wi-fi is free across the Museum.
  • They also have free recharge stations.

Nearest takeaway coffee: National Museum of Canberra cafe. There is an ATM in the Gandel Atrium.
Toilets: Yes, with baby change table.
Support for Parents:

  • Breastfeeding is welcome in all areas of the Museum.
  • There is a microwave in the toilet room to heat bottles.
  • Strollers for babies and young children up to 17kg are available for free hire from the Information Desk.

Disability access at the National Museum Canberra: Yes. Click here for details.
Closest ATM: There is an ATM in the Gandel Atrium.
Closest playground to the National Museum Canberra: Black Mountain Peninsula Park is 7 minutes drive away.
Food options at the National Museum Canberra: Cafe on site
Water Bubblers/fountains: Yes
Scooters and Bikes: Yes
Dogs: No

PIN national canberra museum 800

Toadstool Rating – National Museum of Australia ACT

In our humble opinion, it’s not the best of Canberra for kids unless they are older than 7.

We’d recommend the National Library or the museums listed below as a better alternative. 
national canberra museum REVIEW

Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN places to visit in Canberra with kids?

Click the links in blue below for more of the best Canberra attractions. 


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