Denman Masthead

Canberra with kids under $10

Renee Bogatko

Our This Week in the Can and Weekend Edits are usually packed to the brim with things to do with the whole family.

However, sometimes family activities can really add up with the cost of tickets, food on the go, entry fees and parking meaning some places are out of reach for families.

Sometimes budget considerations really impact on your choice of family fun, so we decided to round up some wallet friendly options for play time that will have your little ones (and you) jumping with cost-effective joy.



My 3 year old daughter, like most toddlers, is nothing short of an expert play reviewer. Only brutal honesty, particularly when it comes to activities we do and places we visit. The Boundless Playground at Kings Park got the thumbs up, to the point where I naively thought 45 minutes of play time would suffice. How wrong I was! Claire was having so much fun, we could’ve stayed for a couple of hours.

Boundless is Canberra’s first all abilities playground, featuring a state of the art play space kids of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Children and even the adults can explore, play and socialise. There’s a wide range of play options including slides, climbing equipment, a big sandpit, water play area, swings and carousel.

Claire particularly loved the wobbly bridges connecting the forts, and the reclined swing. There’s also toilets, bubblers, barbeques, and shaded areas, making the location ideal for a get together or party.

It’s also a lot safer than other parks, with its timber equipment (making it less hot in the heat and less slippery in the wet) and the soft-fall ground surface. And not only that, it doesn’t cost a cent! There are shade structures providing some relief from the sun but be sure to take a hat and suncream too. Especially if your child is anything like mine, you’ll be there a while!

I’d highly recommend the Boundless Playground at Kings Park. It’s fun, free, and a step up from the local park down the road!

the essentials 

What: Boundless All abilities playground
When: Open every day 8am-8pm
Where: On the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, near the Russell Offices and Kings Avenue Bridge
Cost: Free
Amenities: Toilets, bubblers, shaded areas, BBQs
More information: Visit the website

Canberra Walk-In Aviary


If you’re looking to share a fun experience with the littlies that’s cheap and different, then this one’s for you. The Canberra Walk-In Aviary at Gold Creek is one of our favourite destinations that never gets old.

It’s a 1000 square metre privately owned aviary where the friendly birds can be observed, photographed, and fed. Upon entry, visitors get a small plate of food to feed to the 400+ birds representing 50 species, including parrots and doves. My daughter loves interacting with the birds, with many coming right up close to say hello and score some snacks. It really is a sight to see, with their magnificent colours ranging from royal blues to bright yellows and rich reds.

The staff sell annual passes which work out to be great value for money, we’ve certainly got our money’s worth with ours! There’s a range of passes to choose from, I paid just $32.40 for mine, and Claire is free because she’s under four. So that works out to be about 60 cents a week, or $2.70 a month, bargain!

The aviary’s situated in Gold Creek Village, which is also home to a number of cafes, where you can enjoy a healthy lunch or naughty treat after your time with the birds! And good news is, the aviary’s open every day, except Christmas Day. So if your kid(s) would enjoy interacting with some friendly feathered friends, be sure to check out the Canberra Walk-In Aviary.

the essentials 

What: Canberra Walk in Aviary
Where: 26 O’Hanlon Place, Federation Square, Gold Creek
When: 10am-5pm in Summer, 10am-4pm in Winter, every day except Christmas Day
Cost: Click here for admission prices
More information: Visit their website

Play Up at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House


Who would’ve thought the place where our politicians used to roam the halls is now home to one of the most fun and interactive play spaces in Canberra!

PLAY UP at Old Parliament House is a fabulous play space featuring a life size cubby, puppet stand, doll houses, craft, videos, books, touch screens, dress ups, and more! Open daily from 9am till 5pm, PLAY UP pokes fun at the idea that museums are hands off.

It’s suitable for a wide age range, from the littlies, to older children. There’s so much for the kids to explore and it only costs just $2! I had a really lovely time there with my daughter this week. Claire was so excited to run around and check out the range of activities. We also enjoyed some quiet time in the giant teepee surrounded by colourful cushions, reading books, of which there are stacks to choose from!

So not only is it cheap and fun, it’s also pretty quiet, and not too crowded. Often I like to steer clear of those places that are swarming with kids tripping over each other. So if you want to add something different to the mix that loose change pays for, take the kids to PLAY UP at Old Parliament House.

the essentials

What: Play Up!
Where: At the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Parkes
When: Open daily 9am-5pm except Christmas Day
Cost: $2 for adults, $1 for children
Find more information: On their website

Craft at Tommy & Me

Image via

Image via

Like a lot of mums, there’s certainly that time of week when I could really use a coffee in peace. And to find somewhere to do that, while my three year old daughter can be entertained, isn’t easy! Now Claire and I both get to enjoy this time on a regular basis at Tommy & Me Cafe in Macgregor.

They run craft sessions on Monday’s and Wednesday’s between 10am and 12pm, for free! The only cost required is a hot drink purchase, and let me tell you, this is easy, because their hot chocolates are divine. Each session, Tommy & Me’s craft master Hayley helps the kids create something new and fun, and the kids really take to her.

Meanwhile, I’m able to enjoy a nice hot drink, catch up on my emails with their free WiFi, and chow down on a slice of my favourite mango and coconut bread. On Thursday’s they also run a cupcake decorating session between 10am and 12pm, for just $5! My daughter loves this, so much so, we go every week with her cousin and  my sister-in-law. It’s also nice to not have to worry about disturbing other customers, because most people there are in the same boat, and the cafe’s been designed with busy families in mind.

So if you want to be able to enjoy a coffee in a relaxed, welcoming and kid-friendly environment while your kid has a ball, and not have to fork out too much, be sure to check out the craft and cupcake sessions at Tommy & Me.

the essentials

What: Craft at Tommy & Me
Where: 3/12 Chalmers Place, Macgregor
When: 8am-4.30pm Monday-Friday, 8am-3pm Saturday, 8am-1pm Sunday
Craft sessions: Monday’s and Wednesday’s between 10am and 12pm
Cost: A hot drink purchase (around $4)
More information: Visit their website

Image of ‘beautiful little girl‘ via Shutterstock


Renee Bogatko

Renee is a Canberra girl born and raised and mum to a beautiful three year old girl, Claire. She studied Journalism at the University of Canberra, and has been working in print, TV and radio for the past eight years. She loves being a stay-at-home mum to her little girl but when she's not out and about with Claire, she's either reading the news at Canberra FM, cruising the streets in Black Thunder, taking a dance class, going to the gym, hanging out with friends or family or keeping on top of house duties. She also loves cooking, trying new restaurants, playing netball, and adult colouring in! More about the Author

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