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tweens feature

Holiday activities for teens and tweens

Naomi Avery

It’s a real struggle to pull the kids away from technology everyday, and the school holidays are no exception.

But though Canberra might seem like a dull place to be in during the summertime, there’s a huge array of events and activities that will get the kids out and into the real world. From educational exhibitions to free entertainment outdoors, there’s plenty on offer keep tweens and teens occupied before they go back to school.


Australian of the Year Awards and Concert

An annual event on the Canberra events calendar, this year’s Australia Day Concert on the lawns of Parliament House will feature household Aussie names including Jimmy Barnes, Samantha Jade, Nathaniel and 2015 X-Factor winner Cyrus. The concert is family friendly, free public transport to and from the venue is available, and you can bring a set of chairs and picnic along too.

When: 5-10.30pm, Monday 25 January
Where: Parliament House
Cost: Free
More information: Here

Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema

Prepare to sit back and relax while you eat and drink to live Australian music before you watch your movie later in the evening. Be sure to go on a Sunday though to make the most of free ice cream! Tickets can be bought at the door but it’s wise to buy online from their website in case the movie sells out.

When: Open from 6.30pm almost everyday until 21 February
Where: Patrick White Lawns, next to the National Library of Australia
Cost: Starting from $17 for concession and $21 for adult
Website: Here

Dendy Cinema

As the premier cinema of Canberra, students can enjoy a sweet deal of $7 tickets every Wednesday for any movie of their choice with the added option of a medium box of popcorn plus a drink for only another $7. Families can also go together for only $9 per person and will receive a free large popcorn to share.

When: Showing times throughout the day, everyday
Where: Level 2, North Quarter, Canberra Centre, 148 Bunda Street, Canberra City
Cost: Starts from $7
Website: Here

Limelight Cinema

Southsiders can make the most of $8 movie tickets everyday to see some of the best current family films. Available all summer long, this price is only available to members however it is free to join at any time.

When: Everyday until the end of summer holidays
Where: Level 1, Tuggeranong Hyperdome, Anketell Street, Greenway
Cost: $8


AMF Ten Pin Bowling

People of any age will enjoy this fun activity in groups and can even play with the amusement machines and pool table. Word has it bowling is better at night when the lanes are glowing in the dark! Book in advance to ensure you have a lane on arrival.

When: Open 10am until late
Where: 1 Emu Bank, Belconnen
Cost: Concessions start at $12.90 for one game plus $2 for shoe hire
Website: Here

Brilliant Football January Holiday Program 

Brilliant Football is Canberra’s only private junior academy which follows the Football Federation Australia (FFA) curriculum in all their programs.

The academy provides an inclusive environment where all boys and girls (7 to 12) are welcome and developed to become better footballers. The January Holiday Program is the best way to experience the Brilliant Football difference. It runs for 3 days (3 hours per-day) which are filled with fun activities, incorporated within a carefully designed program focusing on player technical development.

The program will be managed by a qualified C-License Technical Director and will include activities on learning:

– First Touch

– Running with The Ball

– 1v1

– Striking The Ball

– Positioning

– Communication

Holiday program dates are: Narrabundah – 18, 19 & 20 January and Wanniassa – 20, 21 & 22 January. 

For more details and registration visit their website

Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing

Push yourself to the limit and see how high you can climb these school holidays at one of the two rock climbing centres in Canberra. With no time limit, you can take all the time you need to conquer your fear of heights with walls ranging from 6 to 8.5 metres. You can also take advantage of special prices and book in groups of 10 or more if you feel like hosting an adventurous party!

When: Open 3-10pm Monday, 12-10pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am-8pm Saturday to Sunday
Where: 38-40 Essington Street, Mitchell and 26 Raws Crescent, Hume
Cost: $15 for students
Website: Here

Canberra Indoor Swimming and Aquatic Centre (CISAC)

It’s no doubt that swimming is one of the best ways to have fun and keep fit but to ensure you don’t get burnt while doing so, make a splash this summer at CISAC to enjoy a 50 metre and 25 metre pool plus slide and blow up obstacle in air conditioning and controlled temperature water. Older kids can also enjoy use of the spa and steam room for a little rest and relaxation.

When: Open Mondays to Fridays 5.30am-9.30pm, Saturdays 6.30am-7pm and Sunday 7am-7pm.
Where: 100 Eastern Valley Way, Bruce
Cost: $5 for a concession swim and up
Website: Here

Fitness First

Fitness First are offering a unique program for 14-18 year olds to improve their health, lifestyle and fitness whilst educating on use of weights, machines and other gym equipment. Teens can also participate in group exercise classes, just always remember to wear suitable shoes and bring a bottle of water and towel!

When: 9-11am and 2-4pm weekdays until 31 January
Where: Shop FG14, Canberra Centre, Bunda Street, Canberra City
Cost: Free
Website: Here

Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre

Beat the heat this summer by taking a dip in one of three outdoor pools with a water slide and barbecues available. If you’re really missing winter though, skate at the coolest place this summer with ice skating sessions running throughout the day for one and a half to two hours each with shoe hire available for only $3 per person. The Olympic sized rink holds up to 250 skaters at a time and is an ideal activity to get all your friends or family together.

When: Pool open 6am-8pm daily, ice rink open 10am-10pm weekdays and until 11pm on Fridays
Where: Irving Street, Phillip
Cost: $6 for swimmers, $16 for skaters
Website: Here

Power Kart Raceway

Learn to drive in safe environment and race against your mates at the Power Kart Raceway centre in a 10-lap race session with up to 10 karts per session. The centre also includes a glow in the dark mini-golf course with 18 holes in a special jungle themed room with UV lighting.

When: Open 10am-10pm Monday to Friday, 9am-10pm Saturdays and 9am-8pm Sundays.
Where: 125 Canberra Avenue, Griffith
Cost: Mini-golf, $8 for 0-14 year olds and $12 for 15 years and up
Website: Here

Sky Zone

With hundreds of trampolines joint together to form one massive trampoline, you can jump off the walls and fly into pits of foam whilst getting a kick-ass workout done too. Sessions run for one hour each with the latest and greatest music playing to get you really moving and jumping for joy.

When: Open 10am-9pm Monday to Thursday, 10am-11pm Friday to Saturday and 10am-8pm Sundays.
Where: Level 3 near the bus interchange, Westfield Belconnen, Lathlain Street, Belconnen
Cost: $16 for BYO Sky Zone socks and $18 with Sky Zone socks
Website: Here

Performing Arts

NIDA Acting Boot Camp 

Does your tween have a taste for the dramatic? Taking place over one weekend (two days, 13 hours) from 23-24 January at The Street Theatre Canberra, NIDA courses are taught by leading acting coaches and are available for children from ages K-6. Billed as “a fast-paced intensive course for acting recruits to build skills in fundamental acting technique including improvisation, character development and scenework.” these workshops will be sure to thrill and skill your children with a performance for family and friends on the Sunday.

When: 23-24 January
Where: The Street Theatre, Acton
Cost: $320 per child
Website: Here

Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art

10-14 year olds interested in pursuing a career in performing arts can participate in a special three-day workshop where they can learn all there is to know about singing, dancing and acting. Students will be led by some of the best musical theatre teachers in Canberra as they put together a musical to be performed to their family and friends at the end of the program.

When: 27-29 January
Where: CADA Studios, 1/9 Lithgow Street, Fyshwick
Cost: $180
Website: Here

Jam It

This popular one-week program will allow young musicians interested in pop, indie, folk and rock to congregate and work on original songs with professional tutors there to guide them.

On the last day, students will perform a special concert for family friends in a fully equipped performance venue and will then again perform their very own live gig at the Multicultural Festival in February. How cool is that for your first public gig?!

When: 9am-4pm, Monday 18 – Friday 22 January
Where: CIT Woden campus, 160 Ainsworth Street, Phillip
Cost: $350
Website: Here

Kulture Break

If your 7-13 year old child loves to break out in dance at any given time then this school holiday program is the perfect fit for them. Take classes in hip-hop, break dance and contemporary, and enjoy games, prizes and trips to the movies all in one week. Students will also perform an end of week concert for family and friends so they can see all the fun that’s been had.

When: 8.30am-4.30pm, 18 – 22 January
Where: Kulture Break Erindale Studios
Cost: $300 per child
Website: Here

Victoria’s Models

Having just celebrated its 20th year, Victoria’s Models has long been known as one of the best agencies for modelling, drama and business etiquette in town. The one-week grooming, deportment and etiquette course for boys and girls aged 12 years and up will teach make-up, skin care, manicure, hair styling, job interview skills plus more. Following that, students will be eligible to enrol into the one week advanced modelling course where they can learn topics ranging from television presenting to catwalk modelling techniques. For more info, head to Victoria’s Models website.

When: 9am-3pm, Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 January for grooming, deportment and etiquette; 9am-3.30pm, Thursday 21 – Friday 22 January for advanced modelling.
Where: Orpheus Room, Hellenic Club, Matilda Street, Phillip
Cost: $250
Website: Here

Sirens Cheerleading

If your son or daughter has ever been interested in trying cheerleading, now is definitely the time to sign up. This summer Sirens is offering a special holiday program to get children to try cheerleading with a number of classes available until school goes back. Classes will help with the development of confidence, teamwork, discipline and athleticism.

When: 5-27 January. Check timetable here
Where: Unit 1E, 5 Pelle Street, Mitchell
Cost: $10 per class
Website: Here

Warehouse Circus

Labelled an all-time favourite by parents, the Warehouse Circus school holiday program will get your kids excited as they learn how to tumble, juggle, unicycle and much more. The program is perfect for youngsters who have never done circus before and will not only teach development in strength, coordination and fitness but will also create friendships to last a lifetime.

When: 9am-3pm, Monday 4 – Friday 29 January
Where: Warehouse Circus Training Space, Chifley Health and Wellbeing Hub, 4/70 MacLaurin Crescent, Chifley, and UC High School Kaleen Gym, 104 Baldwin Drive, Kaleen
Cost: $175 per week and up depending on workshops
Website: Here

Young Music Society

Young Music Society’s annual summer program brings together leading musicians from across the globe with students from kindergarten to year 12 in which students will learn about the possibilities of percussion and their voice. The professional musicians will perform in a number of performances throughout the program and the students will also have the chance to perform in numerous concerts as well.

When: 9am-3.30pm, Monday 11 – Friday 22 January
Where: Canberra Grammar School
Cost: $530
Website: Here


Big Splash

Perfect for all ages, you can make a big splash this summer at one of Canberra’s best outdoor water parks with the most thrilling slides of all. With a 50 metre pool, inflatables and up to nine different water slides to choose from, you can make a day of it with all your friends at this old-time Canberra favourite.

When: Open 7am-6pm Monday – Friday and 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday
Where: 1 Catchpole Street, Macquarie
Cost: $25 for waterslides, $8 for swim only
Website: Here

Lake Burley Griffin

Canberra’s most popular lake offers so much for people of any age including bike riding in groups, paddle boating on the lake, barbecue facilities, fishing, kayaking, boat cruises and much more. Take a stroll along the picturesque water and see some of Canberra’s finest attractions or sit back and relax under the shade of the trees.

When: Open everyday, all day
Where: Lake Burley Griffin
Cost: Varying costs for bike riding, boat cruises and paddle boating. Everything else is free!

The Cotter Dam

The Cotter Dam is a fun place to be had known by most Canberra locals because of its great swimming spots, barbecue areas, playgrounds, camping grounds, and walking tracks. Just a short drive from the city centre, this secluded area will make you feel like you’re on holiday in the great outdoors when really you haven’t even left Canberra!

When: Open everyday, all day
Where: Cotter Dam
Cost: Free

Westside Acton Park

With spacious free basketball courts (bring your own ball), a lakeside location and plenty of coffee, food and even ice cream vendors Westside is a great place for the whole family, or as a stop off on a walk around the lake or a bike ride.

When: Various opening times, see website for details
Where: Barrine Drive, NewActon
Cost: Free basketball
Website: Here

National Zoo and Aquarium

Meet a cheetah or play with the monkey at Canberra’s only combined zoo and aquarium for a fun and memorable experience. Tours are available and you can even host your own picnic or barbecue with facilities available.

When: 9.30am-5.30m daily
Where: Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla
Cost: $23 for children aged up to 15 years old, $33 for 16 year olds and up
Website: Here

Pine Island

Make the most of summer and take a dip in the Murrumbidgee River at Pine Island or take a long walk to Point Hut Reserve and enjoy a barbecue. You can even take your dog along and let them off the lead.

When: Open all day, everyday
Where: Pine Island, near Greenway and Bonython
Cost: Free

Skate Parks

Canberra’s multiple skateparks are available every day until the lights switch off at 10pm. Located in Belconnen, the City, Eddison Park (Woden), Weston and Tuggeranong, the skateparks are free of use for all skateboarders, cyclists, scooters, rollerbladers and roller skaters. Skateparks can be extremely busy during school holidays and so users are encouraged to be mindful of others and wear appropriate safety gear.

When: Open all day, everyday
Where: Belconnen, City, Gungahlin, Woden, Weston and Tuggeranong
Cost: Free


Canberra Space Centre

Learn about the Earth’s role in the universe and see what astronauts when they’re out in space at the Canberra Space Centre’s Visitor Centre, located just a short drive from the city in Tidbinbilla. You can also watch a short movie on the history of space or take a hands-on trip around the solar system.

When: Open daily 9am-5pm
Where: 421 Discovery Drive, Tidbinbilla
Cost: Free
Website: Here


For the ultimate fun and interesting educational experience there really is only one place to go. You can slip down the free-fall slide, spin around with a friend in a ball thrower and experience what it would feel like to be in an earthquake. This summer there’s a special spider exhibition to walk through if you dare, and as always you can be part of an impressive science show to see some weird and wacky things.

When: Open daily 9am-5pm
Where: King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Cost: $17.50 for concession, $23 for adult, $70 for two adults and three children
Website: Here

Snakes Alive!

Get up close with over 20 different species of reptiles and learn about rare and endangered species at this special new event. For those who are keen, you can even feed and hold a snake!

When: 10am-4pm weekdays, 10am-6pm weekends
Where: Australian National Botanic Gardens
Cost: $3 for children, $6 for adults
Website: Here

Arts and Crafts


Explore the amazing world of glass this summer and create your own masterpiece at the Canberra Glassworks centre. Watch leading glasswork artists in action, design your own images and learn how to cut glass with help from professionals. You can even make a family trip out of it too.

When: 12 – 24 January, varying times depending on workshops
Where: 11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore
Cost: $30-$245 per person depending on workshops
Website: Here

Kids Pantry

Join the cooks and chefs at Kids Pantry for a whole lot of fun and mess these school holidays while you learn to make some delicious recipes to make for the whole family. Sessions are grouped by age, including 5-8 year olds, 9-12 year olds and 13 years and up.

When: 11 – 29 January with sessions running between 9am and 4pm
Where: 59 Wisdom Street, Garran
Cost: $140 for all day, or $45-$65 for one session
Website: Here

Feature image of ‘cute group of teenagers…‘ via Shutterstock


Naomi Avery

Naomi Avery is a final-year student completing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies/Bachelor of Communication in Journalism at the University of Canberra. Naomi is passionate about all things journalism and would love to work on television or as a foreign correspondent in the near future. If she’s not jet-setting off to another city or somewhere overseas, you’ll find her playing a game of tennis or recording in the uni radio station. More about the Author

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