When it comes to family trips, balance is key. Finding activities that’ll engage adults and entertain the kids can be tricky, but there is actually plenty on offer for the whole family to enjoy. From playing with gravity to seeing how money is made, here are five activities in Canberra you and the kids can get excited about.
Discovery Centre at the National Museum of Australia
The Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre is exactly what child-friendly museums are all about – a seamless fusion of playtime and learning. Housed in the National Museum of Australia, it’s aimed at kids aged six and under, with a number of immersive zones to tell stories and encourage play. They can snuggle up in Wambuwuny (the kangaroo’s pouch) for story time, climb aboard a ship’s deck like Matthew Flinders’s Trim the Cat, who set sail with Matthew Flinders and Bungaree, or get hands-on with art and science in the mini makers’ corner.
Weightlessness at Questacon
Questacon shows how much fun science can be. It is Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, and focuses on education through interaction. Kids are encouraged to build floating towers on a wind table, test theories and experiments in the Q Lab or freeze their shadows using a phosphorescent wall. A favourite gallery is the unmissable Excite@Q, which explores movement of the body and mind through a series of heart-racing, adrenaline-filled exhibits. It includes Free Fall, where the bravest visitors can drop from a 6.7 metre bar and experience a brief simulation of weightlessness.
PlayUp at the Museum of Australian Democracy
The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House turns the traditional idea of museums and exhibitions upside down with its PlayUp exhibition – a celebration of the rights of children to express themselves, to play and to learn about the world. Based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the hands-on exhibition is designed to educate, excite and challenge young minds using imagination, discovery and roleplay. Expect daily craft and story time, alongside a kindness cafe and listening pods.
Money-making at the Royal Australian Mint
The only mint most kids are interested in is frozen, creamy and full of chocolate chips. But there’s more than just money-making at the Royal Australian Mint – Australia’s sole producer of circulating coins. Kids can see through large glass windows overlooking the factory floor and watch coins being made (up to two million every day). There’s also a free tour on offer, which brings the history of coins to life. If the experience leaves the kids feeling inspired, you can also head to the public gallery coin press for them to mint their own coin.
Exhibitions at the National Film and Sound Archive
The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) has been preserving Australia’s audio and visual content since 1935. Its comprehensive collected works are regularly on display, including costumes, props and footage of classic films. The Australians & Hollywood exhibition shows off glitzy costumes and props from films like Elvis, Moulin Rouge!, The Sapphires and Mad Max: Fury Road among others. The NFSA also presents a year-round program of iconic films, digital restorations, new releases and panel discussions in its on-site art deco cinema.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Canberra’s Cultural Icons.