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30 places to play (indoors) this Canberra summer

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Too damn hot, smoky or wet to send the kids outside to play? We have 30 places where kids of all ages (toddlers to teens) can play indoors this summer.

Sometimes outdoor play just isn’t an option, so it’s critical to have some indoor activities up your sleeve to keep the kids busy. But that doesn’t mean they won’t work up a sweat with some of these fun things to do.

A little friendly competition

Game Masters

Game Masters: The Exhibition (pictured above) has turned the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) into Australia’s biggest video game arcade with the world’s greatest designers, characters and 80 playable games.

Game Masters is divided into three sections: Arcade Heroes, Game Changers and Indies. It features unique experiences such as a spectacular multiplayer dance stage for Dance Central 3(2012), hands-on experiential music booths and a selection of original classic arcade machines from the 1970s and ‘80s acquired especially for the exhibition, all playable in their original form.

Where: National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton

When: Open daily 10 am–4 pm until Monday 9 March 2020.

How much: Pricing on website.

Web: nfsa.gov.au

iPlay

iPlay has a little bit of everything, from old-school arcade games to dodgem cars and is the perfect place to keep kids entertained for hours and hours. Located in the Westfield Belconnen and Woden, iPlay is in a super convenient area because of the nearby food court. It’s also the perfect incentive for them to do a bit of shopping with you before they run wild. 

Where: Westfield Belconnen and South.Point Tuggeranong

When: Opening hours on website.

How much: $25 -$100

Website: iplayaustralia.com.au

Zone3 – Laser Tag

Tag you’re it! A game classically played by tagging another player in order to win – but this time it’s with fake laser guns. By “shooting” another player’s target you earn points as a team and have victory over your friends. This is an awesome group activity to get lots of kids together but make sure you book because it’s super popular during the school holidays.

Where: 28 Weedon Close, Belconnen

When: Check website for opening hours.

How much: $11 – $25 (depending on time, day and number of games). Bookings essential.

Website: zone3act.com.au

Zone Bowling

If the incredibly fashionable shoes don’t entice you, Zone Bowling is a great way to spend the day with a big group competing for the title of bowling champion and there are centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen.

Zone Bowling in Tuggeranong has expanded its activities to include arcade games, making it an all-in-one activity centre for all ages.

At the end of December, Belconnen is set to reopen following a refurbishment as a dual Timezone & Zone Bowling entertainment centre, including a fully-fledged Timezone featuring the latest games and attractions from around the globe including a brand new, state-of-the-art Prize Shop with thousands of options to choose from. There will also be ‘Spin Zone’ Bumper Cars—spin around on the modern version of a traditional bumper car for loads of fun!

Where: 76 Cowlishaw St, Greenway or 1 Emu Bank, Belconnen.

When: Greenway 10am to 10pm seven days. Check Belconnen’s opening hours here.

How much: $13.90 – $16.90 (depending on centre, time, day and number of games). See website for special holiday passes.

Website: zonebowling.com |  www.timezonegames.com

Indoor Play + Amusements

Kingpin

Kingpin just opened in Canberra Centre—offers music, escape rooms, karaoke, Kingpong, state of the art bowling lanes, huge projection screens, Top Spin Table Tennis, Karaoke, pool tables, and more than 100 arcade games.

Where: Canberra Centre, Bunda Street, Canberra City

When: Opening hours on website.

How much: See website for details.

Web: kingpinplay.com

Funland Mitchell 

Funland Canberra is an indoor play centre offering a modern collection of safe, imaginative and engaging play equipment to suit children of all age groups.

They have created an environment to keep the busiest of children happy and entertained while parents and friends can gather and enjoy food and beverages from our cafe.

Where: 1/181 Flemington Road, Mitchell

When: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, seven days

How much: See website for pricing

Web: funlandcanberra.com.au

Little Sandpiper 

Encompassing 1900 square metres, Little Sandpiper offers an extensive indoor play space for kids aged 1-12, seven days a week, with a distinctly local twist—the giant silver supports of Parliament House’s iconic flagpole have been turned into epic slides, accessed by a network of suspended mesh tunnels, and a sparkling Lake Burley Griffin takes the form of a giant ball pit.

Where: Westfield Belconnen, 18 Benjamin Way, Belconnen

When: Opening hours on website

How much: From $20 unlimited time per child

Web: littlesandpiper.com.au

Kidzplore

Kidzplore is one of Canberra’s newest indoor kids play centre, located in the trendy Dairy Road precinct of Fyshwick. A great place for kids play, birthday parties and more.

Where: Building 3, 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick

When: Opening hours on website

How much: Pricing on website

Web: kidzplore.com.au

Lollipops Playland

Lollipops Playland guarantees kids of all ages will have hours of fun each time they visit the Majura Park centre.

A dedicated toddler area makes sure the young kids play safely without the threat of being bowled over, and there’s plenty of activities for older kids.

Where: Majura Park Shopping Centre, Spitfire Ave, Majura Park

When: Opening hours on website

How much: Pricing on website

Web: canberra.lollipopsplayland.com.au

For the active kids

Inflatable World Kambah

Inflatable World Kambah

Inflatable World Kambah

Yes, you heard right, this indoor playground is completely inflatable and the perfect way to stay shaded while letting kids run wild. Be warned, though, it can get really, really hot in here.

Although you’re going there to entertain the kids, try holding yourself back from getting on – trust us, it’s very tempting.

Where: 6 Jenke Circuit, Kambah, Canberra

When: Every day 9 am – 4 pm. See website for details.

How much: Entry is $15 for children five years and over, $8 for four and under, adults $15.

Website: inflatableworldoz.com.au

Phillip Swimming + Ice Skating Centre

Could there be a cooler way to spend a hot summer’s day? And if you feel like cooling off in a more traditional way, the pool is right outside!

Where: 1 Irving Street, Phillip

When: See website for times.

How much: Morning and Afternoon $17, After School $14, Evenings $17.00. All Sessions Skate Hire $3

Web: swimskate.com.au

BlocHaus

Fyshwick bouldering hang BlocHaus has become a favourite among families, gym junkies and daredevils alike.

Family Haus offers a dedicated space for kids to explore the joy of bouldering. Climbs are designed specifically for little people, while following a coloured grading system. Kids five years and over tend to get the most out of bouldering at Family Haus—all children require adult supervision.

Where: Unit 2, Building 2, 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick

When: Open daily. See website for opening hours.

How much: See website for pricing

Web: blochaus.com.au

Flip Out

Need to burn off some energy? Head to indoor trampolining centre Flip Out in Mitchell. You’ll find large foam pits and a special kids arena for the smaller ones.

Where: 4/45 Dacre St, Mitchell.

When: Mitchell – Sunday to Thursday 9 am to 7 pm, Friday and Saturday 9 am to 8 pm, Public Holidays 10 am to 6 pm. See website for holiday trading hours.

How much: General entry (all ages): $16 for one hour, $28 for two hours

Website: flipout.net.au

Mini Golf King

This American-style themed indoor mini golf centre has been packing them and is a great choice for hot or wet days. Experience the Lost Jungle, Pharaoh’s Tomb, and the Dragon’s Lair all in the one 18-hole indoor course.

Where: Mini Golf King, Canberra Outlet Centre, 337 Canberra Ave, Fyshwick.

When: Open seven days from 10 am with last round 4:45 pm.

How much: Children 15 and Under $10 | Concession (Student and Seniors cards) $12 | Adults $15 | Family Pass (2 Adults & 2 Children or 1 Adult & 3 Children) $40

Website: minigolfking.com.au

Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing  

Both Hume (south) and Mitchell (north) offer incredible facilities to assist in teaching kids of all ages how to rock climb. The walls range from an easy level to a moderate-hard level allowing kids of all ages to have a great time while getting some exercise. It’s the verti-cool thing to be doing these school holidays while indoors!

Where: 26 Raws Crescent, Hume OR 38-40 Essington Street, Mitchell

When: See website for opening hours and holiday trading

How much: Prices range from $12 – $19 (depending on day and time)

Website: canberrarockclimbing.com.au

Vertikal

Did you know you can ski and snowboard indoors in Canberra? Talk about cool! A fun, safe and controlled environment, at Vertikal the speed and slope are adjusted to match your ability, so you’ll always be in control.

Children can begin skiing at four years old, or a strong three, and snowboarding at seven years old.

Where: 1 Dairy Road, Fyshwick

When: Open Tuesday to Saturday 8 am–8 pm, and Sunday 8 am–6 pm.

How much: See website for pricing

Website: vertikalsnowsports.com.au

Educational play

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World™ © 2019. © 2019 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.

National Museum of Australia

From the makers of ShrekMadagascar, Kung Fu PandaHow to Train Your Dragon and Trolls, comes and extraordinary exhibition celebrating over 25 years of DreamWorks Animation.

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition – Journey from Sketch to Screen brings together rare concept drawings, models and original artworks, interviews and interactive displays from DreamWorks’ much-loved animated classics.

Take a thrilling journey, from original sketches of grumpy ogres and friendly dragons, to amazing stories and fantasy worlds brought to you by DreamWorks’ award-winning artists.

Where: National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton

When: Until 2 February 2020

How much: $20 adult, $16 conc, $12 child (ages 5-16), $50 family (2 adults and 2 children), $14 Museum Friend, MKids free

Web: nma.gov.au

MOAD AT OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE

From hands-on activities and imaginative play spaces that flip the traditional idea of museums completely on its head to giant lawn games and dress-ups in iconic outfits of historical and contemporary figures, there’s a whole lot to keep young minds engaged at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.

Behind the Lines: The Year’s Best Political Cartoons 2019 allows visitors to hit rewind on the most significant political moments of the year through political cartoons. You are offered an all-access pass to be thunderstruck by Australia’s leading political cartoonists as they amp up the satire on 2019’s greatest political hits.

Rediscover the lost art of letter-writing in Yours Faithfully or discover PlayUP – The Right to Have an Opinion and Be Heard, where kids can explore the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child in a playful way. Adults can even join in the fun too!

From listening pods and a roleplay Kindness Café to a fuzzy felt wall and craft activities, PlayUP has a range of exciting and immersive experiences that flip the traditional idea of museums completely on its head.

Where: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes

When: See website for dates

How much: See website for pricing

Web: moadoph.gov.au

National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia is hosting Summer Word Play these school holidays—suitable for kids aged four and over. Drop in to read stories from the collection, unleash your creativity with drawing, and challenge your brain with games and puzzles.

Or experience the wonder of Story Time, an exhibition of Australian children’s literature from the colonial period through to the present day, will appeal to anyone who has experienced the magic of these stories. It will take you on a nostalgic tour through childhood, looking at the works of great Australian authors and illustrators including Bronwyn Bancroft, Mem Fox, May Gibbs, Bob Graham, Emily Rodda, Ivan Southall, Shaun Tan and Ethel Turner.

Families can also have fun in the kids’ section Playtime where they can have a go at writing a short story of their own, watch stories from Story Box Library and more.

Where: National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes

When: Until 9 February 2020

How much: Free

Web: nla.gov.au

National Dinosaur Museum

The National Dinosaur Museum offers free public tours (with the general admission entry price) every weekend and school holiday period (NSW/ACT). Join one of their expert staff to experience a journey through time.

Take a camera, some friends, those burning dinosaur questions and join the knowledgeable staff for a fun and educational tour suitable for all ages.

Where: National Dinosaur Museum, 6 Gold Creek Road, Nicholls

When: 10 am to 5 pm every day

How much: See website for pricing

Web: nationaldinosaurmuseum.com.au

National Gallery of Australia

The NGA is an awesome place to bring the kids and get creative. There’s plenty on offer with regular programs and interactive opportunities to engage with the national collection and exhibitions on display.

They offer free self-led activities whenever you visit and dedicated gallery spaces for families and students such as the Tim Fairfax Learning Gallery and forthcoming Studio, right through to large destination events that are a must for your family calendar.

See the NGA’s range of special events for kids here.

Where: National Gallery of Australia, Parkes Place, Parkes

When: 10 am to 5 pm every day, except Christmas Day

How much: Free entry

Web: nga.gov.au

National Portrait Gallery

From interactive Instagram filters to free portrait-inspired activities, story time to art workshops, the National Portrait Gallery has a range of cool things to do this summer.

Where: National Portrait Gallery, Parkes Place, Parkes

When: 10 am to 5 pm every day, except Christmas Day

How much: Free entry

Web: portrait.gov.au

K Space

K Space is the National Museum of Australia’s interactive adventure centre for kids. Build your own time-travelling robot then blast off to explore a mystery location in Australia’s past. Open daily to school groups and general visitors at specified times.

Where: National Museum of Australia. Lawson Crescent, Acton Peninsula, Canberra

When: Weekend/School Holidays 9.15 am and 4 pm | Monday to Friday Sessions 12 pm and 1.30 pm

How much: Free

Website: nma.gov.au/kspace/visit

Friday Story Time at the Australian War Memorial

Hear stories of brave animals, extraordinary people, and faraway places, brought to life through puppets, uniforms, and educational toys.

Story time at the Australian War Memorial is a program suitable for pre-school-aged children, but older brothers and sisters are also welcome.

Where: Australian War Memorial

When: Until Friday 7 February from 10:30 to 11 am

How much: Free entry

Web: awm.gov.au

For the movie lover

movie

We all know how useful the cinemas are throughout the holidays. They can provide hours of entertainment and are a great way to get out of the house and have some fun.

Arc Cinema

These summer school holidays the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) is also showcasing the heroic power of kids on the big screen. From princesses to penguins, aliens to adventurers, there is a hero is all of us.

From ’80s kids hero E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial to The Neverending Story, a selection of Pixar hits + Harry Potter, Happy Feet, Matilda and Where the Wild Things Are.

Where: Arc cinema, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. McCoy Cct, Acton

When: 6 – 16 January 2020

How much: $10

Website: nfsa.gov.au

Limelight Cinemas

Where: Tuggeranong Hyperdome
Phone: 02 6293 6100
Website: limelightcinemas.com.au/tuggeranong

Hoyts Woden and Belconnen

Where: Westfield Woden and Westfield Belconnen
Website: hoyts.com.au

Dendy

Where: Canberra Centre, 2/148 Bunda St, Canberra
Website: dendy.com.au

Palace Electric

Where: 2 Phillip Law St, NewActon
Website: palacecinemas.com.au

Event Cinemas Manuka

Where: 6 Franklin Street, Manuka
Website: eventcinemas.com.au.

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