Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Capital Fun - Our Top Ten Things To Do In Canberra With Kids

There are so many things to do in our nation's capital! On our recent trip we had an amazing time seeing as much as possible and we have come up with a list of our Top Ten Things To Do in Canberra as a family with young children.

So, here they are, in no particular order...

1. Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre

We loved it here so much we went twice! Heaps of hands-on fun. We liked making shadows...
...playing with the air tubes, solving puzzles and the free-fall drop. Hamish must have gone on this slide at least thirty times!

2. Pod Playground at The National Arboretum

We found our way here somehow straight from the airport and it was the best place to have found! The kids got to run, jump, climb and swing their way through this incredible playground before we had lunch at the cafe which has a beautiful view toward the city and Lake Burley Griffin. The bonsai display was beautiful too. And I had a lot of fun in the gift shop! 
3. Parliament House

The ultimate stop for homeschoolers! We joined the free tour and got to explore this beautiful building...
...and learn a little about how our government works.
We all enjoyed going up onto the roof to get a closer view at that enormous flag that you can see from nearly everywhere around the city...
...but had the most fun rolling down the grass on the roof! Honestly, the softest, lushest grass I've ever felt! Had to set my piggies free in that glorious green too.

4. The National War Memorial

I wondered how the kids would cope with a visit here. I worried it'd be a bit overwhelming or even boring for them. It does house a really, really large collection of memorabilia and information about all of the conflicts Australia has been involved in - and you'd probably need two full days to see it all fully.

The sections we chose to visit were meaningful enough to respectfully engage the children and incredibly well presented. The tomb of the unknown soldier and the poppy walls were incredibly moving.
They even have a dedicated area for kids, called The Discovery Zone, where they can experience what life would have been like on a submarine, in a muddy trench and flying a helicopter...
Don't miss the visual media exhibits in Anzac Hall. Brilliantly done.

5. Cockington Green Gardens

Miniature English villages, incredibly detailed replicas of famous buildings from around the world and stunning gardens. We had a fun morning exploring.

6. The National Dinosaur Museum

Just down the road from Cockington Green is the National Dinosaur Museum - at must for any family with as many dino fans as ours.

The garden full of sculptures had us excited on arrival. Especially Spinosaurus...
The inside boasts the largest collection of dinosaur exhibits in the country - including some roaring, moving models that were a huge hit. They even had a quiz trail that you could complete as you explored the exhibits. We learnt a lot.
Be sure to throw the phrase "post-mortem contraction of the posterior neck ligaments" into the conversation so you sound like an expert ; )

7. The Australian Institute of Sport

The boys headed out here for a tour one morning while this exhausted, pregnant lady had a much needed rest.

They were super impressed by the facilities - especially the incredible pool, though the boys would have loved to have spent more time playing with the interactive exhibits.

8. Patissez

I'd heard about the freak shakes at Patissez (pronounced Pat-i-say) before we left home, so a visit here was definitely on our must do list. We had to wait half an hour for a table at the Manuka store at lunch time but it was worth it!

While the collection of cakes - including gluten-free choices - looked incredible we could not go past the shakes and ordered a Cookies and Cream, Golden Gaytime and Nutella version. OMG!

The burger (on a gf bun), the chilli dog and the pancakes were also incredible. 

The kids and I ended up paying a second to visit to the city store before we left too. 

9.The Carillion/Kings Park/Commonwealth Park

We were in Canberra for Australia Day and popped down to Kings Park to watch the fireworks.
We came back to hear The Carillion bells during the day and spent some time exploring and playing in these beautiful gardens that surround this side of the lake.

10. Sky Zone

You may already have a trampoline park in your home town but this was our first ever visit to one and we loved it!
And being school time we practically had the place to ourselves...
Awesome fun!

There are so many other things that could've made the list but these were our favourites. Have you been to Canberra? What's your must-see?