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Family Friendly Attractions in Canberra

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Canberra’s reputation as a serious seat of government means that it’s sometimes overlooked as a family destination. But the Australian capital in fact boasts a wealth of attractions to keep visitors of all ages enthralled for days on end, including offbeat delights like a reptile zoo and a miniature display village.


Mesmerising museums


All of Canberra’s museums and galleries extend a warm welcome to visitors of all ages. However this pair of much-loved attractions should be top of the list if you’re travelling with youngsters in tow.


National Dinosaur Museum


Located just 15 minutes by car from Canberra city centre, the National Dinosaur Museum is home to Australia’s biggest collection of dinosaur skeletons and prehistoric fossils. Its forecourt is packed with awesome life-size dinosaur models, and the highly interactive exhibits are laid out chronologically, making evolutionary history easy to understand, even for the smallest visitors.


Barton Highway, Nicholls ACT 2913. Tel: +61 2 6230 2655


National Dinosaur Museum website


Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre


The whole family will be engrossed in the themed galleries and hundreds of hands-on exhibits at Questacon. In the Awesome Earth zone you can feel the force of an earthquake, while in Wonderworks you can create music with light beams. There are even special exhibits created for toddlers and pre-schoolers, so nobody feels left out.


King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600 . Tel: +61 2 6270 2800


Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre website


Animal magic


Few children aren't wowed by exotic animals, and one of the best places to see the critters in action is the National Zoo & Aquarium. However, if you really want to walk on the wild side, how about some quality time with cold-blooded creatures?
Canberra Reptile Zoo


This expertly-run attraction allows visitors of all ages to get up close and personal with over 50 species of native Australian reptiles and frogs. The residents range from impossibly adorable geckos to some of the world’s most venomous snakes. You’re welcome to pet the friendlier animals, though you may want to keep a distance from the crocs and death adders.


29 O'Hanlon Place, Nicholls ACT 2913. Tel: +61 2 6253 8533


Canberra Reptile Zoo website


Parks and gardens


Canberra may be best known for its strikingly contemporary architecture and urban pursuits, but it's also got green spaces ideal for your family to relax and play in. Some have beguiling attractions of their very own.


Cockington Green Gardens


Nestled within gorgeously landscaped gardens, Cockington features intricate miniature buildings and structures depicting landmarks like Stonehenge and Delhi’s Red Fort, as well as an incredible doll's house. Kids will love feeling like giants, and can even take a ride on a miniature steam train to and enjoy a spectacular elevated view of the park.


11 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls ACT 2913. Tel: +61 2 6230 2273


Cockington Green Gardens website


Family dining


Fussy palates will be pleased by the family-friendly food on offer in Canberra. Leave the formality at the door and get stuck into the hearty grub at these popular joints.




Canberra’s first outdoor café has delighted generations of diners since it first opened in 1967. It deserves full marks for its kids’ menu, which goes way beyond the usual fish fingers and chicken dippers to offer exciting treats like mini burgers and vegetarian nachos, as well as healthier options like chicken breast with avocado.


Shop 8 Garema Arcade, Canberra ACT 2601 . Tel: +61 2 6248 8118


Gus’ website


Jamie’s Italian


Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s authentic Italian eatery is a firm favourite with Canberrans of all ages. It offers a novel and exciting dining experience for children, with the menu presented in picture form on retro View-Masters alongside colouring books and crayons. The food includes classic kid’s favourites with a gourmet twist, such as chargrilled chicken lollipops with yoghurt dressing, and herby sausages with tomato relish in a soft sweet roll.


125 Bunda Street, Canberra ACT 2600. Tel: +61 2 6268 0400


Jamie’s Italian website