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Great Big Adventure Festival

Celebrate Play School’s 50th birthday and enjoy craft, Museum adventures, puppets, dress-ups, tea parties, toys and a special story time with Play School presenters Teo and Emma at the National Museum of Australia’s Great Big Adventure Festival.

Free (though some activities may involve a small charge). You can download a program now (PDF 441kb). There will also be printed programs available on the day.

What’s happening?

Lots of craft, music, animals, stories and adventures all over the Museum. The program is ideal for kids aged 3–8 years. Visitors to the festival will receive a free ticket to theHappy Birthday Play School exhibition.

There will be printed programs available on the day or you can download a program now (PDF 441kb).


An exciting performance program repeats from 10am to noon and noon to 2pm.

Acknowledgement of Country with Lorna Schmider – Woodcock

10.00–10.05am, free, Main Hall stage

Play School story time

10.15–10.30am and 11.15–11.30am
12.15–12.30pm and 1.15–1.30pm
Free, Main Hall stage

Join Play School presenters Emma and Teo who will tell the There was a Mermaid Long Ago story.

Jemima Mermaid lives in a green sea cave but then one day along came a wibbly wobbly forgetful jellyfish with a magical spell. Will Sailor Little Ted be able to help fix the spell and save the day!


Puppet show by PuppetOOdle

10.45–11.05am and 12.45–1.05pm
Free, Main Hall stage

Join Marianne and Jonathan Mettes from PuppetOOdle along with puppets Linda and Cocky who will show you all the fun things you can do and make using just your imagination and things around the house.


Nay Nay Let’s Play

11.45am – 12.00pm and 1.45pm – 2.00pm
free, Main Hall stage

Nay Nay Let’s Play is a one-woman, energetic show that will get the whole audience singing, dancing and laughing. Nay Nay (Naomi Young) is currently a presenter at ABC Kids. She is the puppeteer for the adorable Hootabelle on Giggle and Hoot and has worked on Nickelodeon (host) and with The Wiggles as assistant choreographer and dancer.

All performances and timings are subject to change.


Green screen dress-ups

10am – 2.00pm, free, near the Museum Cafe

Bring your favourite toy, put on a funny hat or coat and pose with one of the Play School toys on our green screen. Note that kids will be photographed and photos will be published online.

Museum adventure trail

11.00–11.20am and 1.00–1.20pm, free, bookings essential at the Information Hub, limited numbers

Grab an explorer hat and some binoculars and head off from the Information Hub on a great big adventure through the Museum, exploring some intriguing objects and ending with a story.

Farm yard

10.00am – 2.00pm, $3 per child, Museum Forecourt
See, touch, learn and develop a love for some amazing heritage farm breeds from the Old Kentucky Farm. Note: farm yard may close occasionally to give the animals a break.

Horse riding

10am – 2pm, $5 per ride, Bogong Moths, near carpark

Ride and learn about horses with the National Equestrian Centre.

Play space

10am – 2pm, free, Peninsula Room

Chill out away from the hubbub of the Main Hall. Roll on the carpet, play hide and seek, or read a book in our Peninsula Room play space.


10am – 2pm, free, Visions Theatre

The first Play School episode will be playing on a loop along with the memorable All Together Show from 1983 featuring many much-loved presenters.


Me in the Museum

10am – 2pm, gold coin donation, Bay Window 1

Make a self-portrait paper puppet then colour and build your own mini-museum.

Celebratory Bunting

10am – 2pm, gold coin donation, Bay Window 2

Decorate some birthday bunting to take home.

Tick tock tick

10.00–11.30am and 12.30–2.00pm, free, Amphitheatre deck

Make your own colourful paper-plate clock.

Backyard box

11am – 1pm, gold coin donation, numbers limited, Garden of Australian Dreams

Explore the Museum’s backyard, then make a little garden diorama to take home.

What’s behind the Windows?

10am – 2pm, free, Peninsula room

Draw your favourite Play School presenter, toy or the best thing you saw today behind your favourite Play Schoolwindow.

Giant cake

10am – 2pm, free, Bay Window 2

Add your decorative mark to the huge collaborative Happy Birthday Play School cake.

Chalky messages

10am – 2pm, free, Amphitheatre

Write or draw a message to Play School on our chalk art mural.


Broadbean Catering will be selling refreshments throughout the day at the stunning Museum Cafe.

You can also buy coffee and cupcakes just inside the Main Hall as well as hot and cold food options near the Amphitheatre exit.

Bring your favourite toy, a picnic blanket and have a tea party while enjoying the lakeside views from our grassy Amphitheatre.


There are some amazing Play School toys and merchandise available at the Museum Shop.

You might also like to pick up a copy of the new edition of The Useful Book and special edition Play Schoolcommemorative coins at our pop-up shop in the Main Hall.

Plan your visit

The Great Big Adventure Festival will be a busy day. The following information may help:


The Museum car park is free on weekends but space is limited. Alternative parking is available at ANU, Acton Park, New Acton and on London Circuit at the end of Edinburgh Avenue.


ACTION Buses route 934 will be operating. ACTION will also be providing a continuous free shuttle bus to the Museum from the city at Platform 11 from 9.55am to 2.00pm. Check out the ACTION website for more information.

We’ve teamed up with UBER to give new ‘riders’ attending the festival a free ride up to $20 (you will need to bring your own child seats if required). Remember to enter the promo code ‘PLAYSCHOOL’ when prompted. Note that this applies to new riders only.

More information can be found on the UBER website.


An ATM is located in the Main Hall near the Percival Gull plane.


There will be some allocated spaces for pram parking in the Main Hall during the day. Please help by keeping prams away from the main performance area to ensure thoroughfares and emergency exits are kept clear.


  • Paper bags will be available on the day, but you might bring a small carry bag to take home any craft you make. Please note bags larger than 30cm need to be cloaked if you visit the Museum galleries.
  • Some activities incur a small charge, so some gold coins or small notes will come in handy.
  • Your favourite toy. You might want to pose with your toy at our green-screen activity or have a tea party outside with it. Remember our cloaking rule above for toys bigger than 30cm.


The Happy Birthday Play School: Celebrating 50 years exhibition has been very popular. Free tickets will be handed out on the Great Big Adventure Festival day, but due to limited space not everyone will be able to get in. However, the free tickets can be used until the exhibition closes on 24 July.


There may be queues for entry into the Happy Birthday Play School exhibition and other popular activities during the day. We request your patience when queuing. Our program attempts to have many different activities spread throughout the Museum and most activities and performances are repeated if you do miss something.


Social media

Keep an eye on our social media channels in the lead-up to and during the day for the latest information about the festival.


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