Winter holiday activity guide

With the end of term nearing closer for most schools, it's time to start brainstorming holiday activities for the break. We explore what's happening in your state or territory.

Australian Capital Territory

afterDARK Winter Lantern Tours: The afterDARK tours offer a unique way to explore the Australian National Botanic Gardens, with visitors participating in a lantern-making workshop before embarking on a night tour of the gardens with their own personal ranger guide. The evening concludes with supper and toasting marshmallows over an open fire.

Where: Australian National Botanic Gardens, Acton
When: 2, 9 and 16 July 2016
Price: $21 for concession and $26 for adults

AIS Holiday Program: The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) hosts a number of holiday programs for students aged five to 13, including a soccer camp and a sports vacation program, with the latter seeing students participate in a range of sports (such as football, volleyball, basketball, netball, hockey, athletics and cricket), visit the interactive sports exhibit Sportex and watch big-screen movies.

Where: Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce
When: 4 to 15 July 2016
Price: $62 a day or $275 for the week

New South Wales

Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program: Kids are invited to a week-long art-making extravaganza at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Inspired by the New Romance: Art and the Posthuman exhibition, kids can explore virtual worlds, robots and science fiction installations before creating their own masterpieces in the National Centre for Creative Learning.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney
When: 5 to 9 July 2016
Price: $5 donation per family

Kids School Holiday Baking Classes: The Classic Cupcake Co.'s baking classes teach kids how to prepare cake pops or cupcakes and decorate them using Belgian chocolate, sprinkles, fondant shapes and other embellishments. Classes run for two hours and are suitable for kids aged eight to 15.

Where: Classic Cupcake Co., Mosman
When: 12 to 14 July 2016
Price: $60

Snow Time in the Garden: The Hunter Valley Gardens will be transformed into a winter wonderland during the school holidays for Snow Time in the Garden, with activities such as ice skating, ice tobogganing, a man-made snow play area, a snow ball challenge, live ice sculpting and a silent disco on ice.

Where: Hunter Valley Gardens, Pokolbin
When: 25 June to 17 July 2016
Price: $24 for children, $30 for adults and $99 for families

Northern Territory

Darwin Waterfront: Kids will be able to participate in free daily activities at the Darwin Waterfront these holidays, including bowling, arts and craft workshops, archery, circus workshops and bubble sports. The Waterfront will also host a free outdoor screening of Inside Out on Saturday 2 July.

Where: Darwin Waterfront, Darwin City
When: 27 June to 22 July
Price: Free

Royal Darwin Show: For its 65th year, the Royal Darwin Show will be based on the theme ˜A Taste of the Territory' highlighting what makes the Territory unique and showcasing the best the region has to offer. There will be competition displays ranging from livestock, horses, cakes and quilts to giant pumpkins, ˜beaut utes' and homemade fishing lures. You can expect plenty of food options, show bags and Sideshow Alley, with rides and entertainment for all ages.

The Royal Katherine Show will also be held in July, featuring Equestrian events, a vintage car display, a rodeo, fireworks, chainsaw woodcarving, campdrafting, dog jumping and an animal farm.

Where: Darwin Showgrounds and Exhibition Centre, Winnellie
When: 21 to 23 July 2016
Price: Tickets start from $12 for children, $20 for adults and $50 for families


A Night at the Museum: Queensland Museum will come alive with performances, workshops, face painting, wildlife shows and science demonstrations for a number of special dinosaur-themed nights. Inspired by the museum's Dinosaur Discovery: Lost Creatures of the Cretaceous exhibition, kids will have the opportunity to explore the museum, meet palaeontologists, and learn about dinosaurs and their wildlife descendants.

Where: Queensland Museum, South Brisbane
When: 24 June, 26 August and 30 September 2016
Price: $17 for children, $20 for adults

Brisbane French Festival: Celebrate Bastille Day and all things Francophile at the Brisbane French Festival this July. Held over three days, the festival features market stalls (with books, magazines, gifts, fashion and more), food and drink offerings (including macarons, croque monsieurs, cheeses, croissants, baguettes, crepes and pastries), and live entertainment. The kids' area ˜Le Mini Festival' will host craft activities, games, face painting and cooking workshops.

Where: South Bank
When: 8 to 10 July 2016
Price: Free

Winter Festival: Families can enjoy a variety of winter activities at Brisbane's Winter Festival, including open-air ice skating, tobogganing and a powder snow pit. The festival also offers live entertainment and a European food market, where visitors can indulge in hot chocolate, German sausages, fudge and more.

Where: King George Square, Brisbane City
When: 17 June to 10 July 2016
Price: Free (tickets need to be purchased for activities)

South Australia

AIE School Holiday Courses: The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) runs short courses for students interested in games, animation and visual effects. In July, the Adelaide campus will host a five-day Game Camp for students aged 10 to 15, which teaches participants the basics of games design. Students use specialised software to create their own game and conclude the week with a showcase of the games made throughout the program.

Where: AIE Adelaide, Adelaide City
When: 11 to 15 July 2016
Price: $500

Winter Wonderland: For the month of July, Glenelg's beachfront will feature a 450 square metre ice rink open daily for one-hour skating sessions. The rink will also host figure skating demonstrations and ice shows on weekends, as well as a Snow Play area where kids can play with soft ice using shovels and buckets.

Where: Moseley Square, Glenelg
When: 2 to 31 July 2016
Price: $7.50 for children, $12.50 for adults and $30 for families


CSIRO Student Science Bootcamp: Students in Years 8 to 12 are invited to spend two days at CSIRO Hobart, seeing science in action and learning from those in the field. With molecular and cellular biology as the theme, students participate in laboratory tours, learn laboratory skills and techniques, listen to research presentations, and meet with scientists and researchers, before having the opportunity to apply what they've learnt to real-life investigations and problems.

Where: CSIRO, Sandy Bay
When: 14 to 15 July 2016
Price: $250

TMAG School Holiday Program: The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) will hold a number of free school holiday workshops to coincide with its Tempest exhibition, including art-making workshops, science experiments and storytelling sessions. TMAG will also celebrate NAIDOC week from 5 to 9 July with live music performances.

Where: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart
When: 5 to 17 July 2016
Price: Free


Jurassic World: The Exhibition: Based on the cinema blockbuster of the same name, Jurassic World: The Exhibition recreates famous scenes and locations from Isla Nublar, with life-size animatronic dinosaurs including a Brachiosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Stegosaurus and of course, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Where: Melbourne Museum, Carlton
When: Until 9 October 2016
Price: Tickets range from $16 to $90

National Sports Museum Holiday Program: In the lead up to the Rio Olympics, the National Sports Museum will be hosting a variety of Olympic-themed activities these school holidays. Kids will have the chance to meet an Australian Olympian, participate in cartoon drawing workshops and explore otherwise off-limits areas through a special Olympic-themed tour of the MCG. Other activities include a soccer skills and drills workshop and opportunities for kids to try their hand at various sports in the interactive Game On! Gallery.

Where: National Sports Museum, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jolimont
When: 27 June to 3 July 2016
Price: Admission starts from $12 for children, $23 for adults and $55 for families

River Rink in Fed Square: Throughout the school holidays, Fed Square will host an outdoor ice skating rink, allowing visitors of all ages to have a go at ice skating. The rink will be open from 10 am to 10 pm daily, with themes and music on selected nights.

For other winter-themed activities, check out the ice slide at Eureka Skydeck from June 25 to July 17.

Where: Federation Square, Melbourne
When: 18 June to 17 July 2016
Price: Tickets start from $16 for children, $22 for adults and $67 for families

Western Australia

Revelation Perth International Film Festival: As part of the Revelation Film Festival's Jim Henson retrospective program, the State Library will host free kid's screenings of Jim Henson's Tales from Muppetland and Muppet Music Moments, as well as hands-on animation workshops.

Where: State Library of Western Australia, Perth
When: 11 to 15 July 2016
Price: Free (tickets are required)

Wild Life Show: To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Wild Life Show, Perth Town Hall will offer kids the opportunity to learn about native flora and fauna through a special exhibition over the school holidays. Visitors will be able to see tawny frogmouths, possums, frogs, blue tongue lizards, turtles, spiders, joeys and more through daily presentations and petting and photography sessions.

Where: Perth Town Hall, Perth
When: 28 June to 20 July 2016
Price: Free

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