Avoid the cries of ‘I’m bored!’ these school holidays. There are so many wonderful events and activities around Perth. We’ve done all the hard working searching for ideas – so all you have to do is pack the sunscreen and hat for your kids and decide what you want to tick off the list first.
Christmas, New Year and Australia Day means many opportunities to celebrate over the summer school holiday period. Check out these family-friendly options:
- Christmas decorations – During The Perth City Festival of Christmas there will be Christmas lights and decorations throughout the city, including a new 13 metre tall Christmas tree, a nativity scene and The Bell Tower’s lighting display. A number of city streets and parks will be illuminated with lights and decorations as well, including James Street, Lake Street and William Street in Northbridge.
- If you love Christmas lights, remember there are many individuals that go to great effort to deck out their homes with Christmas lights for neighbours and friends to enjoy. Check out the Buggybuddy’s guide to Christmas light displays to find participating homes in your local area, which supports the PMH Foundation’s Christmas Lights campaign, buggybuddys.com.au/christmas_lights_perth
- Forrest Place Christmas Carnival – Held on the 6th and 7th of December at Forrest Place, the kids’ carnival features free rides, face painting, mini golf, a petting zoo and a visit from Santa.
- Festive Flicks – There will be free festive feature film screenings at Northbridge Plaza movie screenings the 6th and 7th, 10th – 13th, 17th – 21st and the 24th of December, with Christmas family favourites including The Polar Express, Elf, The Santa Clause, Love Actually, Frozen and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
- Piazzarama Northbridge: Festival of Christmas – A free family day with roving characters, activities for the kids and family-friendly films. Held on the 7th of December in Northbridge Piazza from 12noon to 4pm, it will feature Christmas craft activities, carol singers and screenings of The Polar Express at midday and Elf at 4pm.
- Dreaming of a White Christmas? Head to London Court from the 13th of December until the 24th of December for the London Court Snow Show. Each day, snow will fall at the entrances to London Court during two fifteen minute shows at 11.45am and 1.15pm.
- Christmas Nativity – Take the kids to Forrest Place from the 16th of December until the 19th of December to see the story of the birth of Jesus featuring hundreds of performers and live animals, at Forrest Place at 7.30pm.
- IGA Carols by Candlelight – Enjoy a picnic at this great event, held at the Supreme Court Gardens on the 21st of December at 7.30pm.
- The Channel Seven and The West Australian Christmas Pageant supported by Lotterywest and City of Perth – Everyone loves the iconic Christmas pageant with amazing floats, dancers, television personalities and Santa. The pageant is held on Saturday the 6th of December, St Georges Terrace at 7.30pm.
- Tech-savvy kids? Have some festive fun by downloading the ‘Perth City Visual Friends’ iOS and Android app to take photos with Christmas characters around the city. There are six characters to unlock between the CBD and Northbridge.
- Streets Happy Zoo Year – If you thought there were no family-friendly events on New Year’s Eve – think again! Have you ever thought of going to the zoo on New Year’s Eve? See the animals, children’s entertainers, listen to good music and bring a picnic to enjoy with the family. As a family-friendly event, the New Year will be counted in at the earlier time of 9pm. Tickets through Ticketmaster. Go to www.perthzoo.wa.gov.au for details.
- Northbridge New Year’s Eve – To celebrate the New Year, there will be free entertainment, including roving dancers, singers and acrobats around Northbridge Piazza, Perth Cultural Centre and surrounding streets from 6pm.
- City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks – Various family-friendly events will be held on Monday the 26th of January to celebrate Australia Day – including an Entertainment Zone at Langley Park.
You don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy the tourism hotspots of Perth during the school holidays. If you haven’t been recently, these great places make for a fun family day out:
The Swan Valley
There are many things to do with the family in the Swan Valley.
- Enjoy a game of ‘supa golf’ at the Oasis Supa Golf and Adventure Putt.
- Indulge in some chocolate at The Margaret River Chocolate Company or Whistler’s Chocolate Company (Whistler’s has a fantastic outdoor play area – with a large grassed space and large chalkboard for the kids to burn off some chocolate-fuelled energy).
- Visit the Cuddly Animal Farm.
- Enjoy lunch at one of the many wineries or restaurants. Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery have a beautiful grassed area along with an enclosed play area, which is perfect for the kids.
- For something a bit different, why not go on a driving adventure with the kids? ‘The Amazing Valley Chase’ is a fun scavenger hunt, beginning at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre in Guildford. You download an instruction or clue sheet from the Swan Valley website (or pick one up from the visitor centre) and you are guided through the Swan Valley to collect clues to a riddle, with stops along the way at interesting locations. The chase takes about three hours and is a great activity to discover gems of the Swan Valley with the family. www.swanvalley.com.au
Hillarys Boat Harbour
Enjoy the water, scenery and food that makes Hillarys such a hit with tourists and locals alike.
- Find some Christmas presents at the local art and craft market, which is held on the second last Saturday of every month. The December market will be held on the 20th of December.
- Enjoy a meal at one of the many food establishments. The Sorrento Beach Shack is a family-friendly venue worth mentioning, with fun decor and a play area for the kids.
- Go to AQWA – the Aquarium of Western Australia. Learn about WA’s coastline and see fish, sharks and other marine animals.
- Have fun at The Great Escape – a fantastic adventure playground with rock climbing, waterslides and rides.
- Catch a ferry over to Rottnest Island for a day trip. Hire a bike to explore the island, look out for quokkas and enjoy the pristine waters.
Art, shopping and great food – catch the train into Fremantle for a great family day out.
- Experience the colour, food and shopping at the Fremantle Markets.
- Take a tour of Fremantle Prison – or for something different, go on a tour of the prison by torchlight on a Wednesday or Friday night.
- Enjoy lunch at Little Creatures Brewery – there is even a sandpit for the kids to play in. Visit the Maritime Museum. Go to www.visitfremantle.com.au for details.
Think like a school teacher and take your kids to places that are fun, interesting, and educational, such as:
The Western Australian Museum (Perth)
Simply explore the museum or check out a current exhibition. The exhibition, Afghanistan Hidden Treasures from the National Museum Kabul, is currently on display until the 18th of January. www.museum.wa.gov.au
The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Just go to enjoy the exhibitions or check out the school holiday activities. The kids can take part by drawing their own masterpiece at the Art Gallery’s drawing space or make their own mask inspired by a piece from the New Passports, New Photography exhibition (from the 12th of January to the 23rd of January). Go to the Art Gallery’s website for updates on school holiday activities, www.artgallery.wa.gov.au
It’s a fun and interesting place to go for a school excursion or family day out – but there are also some great activities for the kids over the school holidays. Some great activities at Scitech to check out these holidays include
- Workshops in the CSIRO Lab
– Suitable for children aged 4 to 16, they offer workshops on various topics including engineering design, electronics, chemistry and physics (bookings essential).
- Backyard Adventures exhibition
– This new exhibition enables the kids discover the science in their own backyard
– they’ll get the chance to do things such as use special lenses to look at the garden through the eyes of a dog, check out the DIY Science garden and use a giant skipping rope
- Starlight planetarium show – A new show, narrated by Sigrid Thornton, which explores what a star is. The show is at Scitech from the 18th of December. For more information visit www.scitech.org.au
It is summer after all, so cool the kids down by taking them somewhere to enjoy some fun in the water. Some popular places for water play around Perth include:
- The Great Escape at Hillarys Boat Harbour.
- Bayswater Waves (an aquatic centre that features a wave pool and water slides).
- Whiteman Park
- Rainbow Waters Playground Ellenbrook (a free community water playground).
- Beatty Park Leisure Centre l Adventure World
Get the kids to decorate an empty tissue box. Write various activities on pieces of paper. This could include everything from playing a board game, reading a book, Skyping or calling a friend or watching a movie, to a chore like cleaning their room or washing the car. This tissue box then becomes the ‘I’m bored box’. If the kids say they don’t have anything to do, get them to choose a piece of paper from the box with a suggestion that they have to complete.
Events may be subject to change. Go to relevant websites or contact event organisers/businesses to check times, booking details and costs involved.