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Keep Your Iso-Sanity Close to Home These School Holidays!

For most, the Winter School Holidays this year will look a little different. While we are staying close to home, it might seem impossible to keep the little mischief-makers from going stir-crazy. But, we can promise plenty is going on right here in our backyard. Check out our sanity-saving list of all the hottest holiday hits happening around town these school holidays.

Newcastle Art Gallery Calling all little Picasso’s - Newcastle Art Gallery is open! You can easily pre-book your free Gallery session and view the visual feast with your little artist. For those on the lookout for something more hands-on, join a Newcastle Art Gallery Educator for a free 30-minute online class using materials from around the home! The classes are free; however, bookings are essential. To book your visit or for information about the dedicated school holidays weekly events, visit

Newcastle Library It can be challenging to monitor the kids’ screen-time. Luckily, downloading the free Newcastle Libraries Australia App is a sure way to make sure you don’t have to. Delight little minds with books, movies, and activities that will help grow their imagination and curiosity. You can download the app on your mobile phone or tablet, log in with your existing library member number, or quickly join online (see page 5).

Your teens will love delving into the subculture of zines, including instructions on how to make their very own, as well as getting crafty with a Magical Mandala Online Maker Tutorial. Visit the “What’s On” page on the Library website for all the necessary information. Visit for opening times and more information.

Newcastle Museum Every day is a new opportunity to learn, and school holidays are no exception! Kids are invited to explore the FIRE! Exhibition, wander through A Newcastle Story, watch the BHP Steelmaking Simulation and learn about the history of steel and coal. Kids can also earn about our incredible local Aboriginal history as they explore Cultural Resurgence and Kuueeyung exhibitions. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 am-1.30 pm, online bookings are essential. Alternatively, join in from home as Newcastle Museum streams live from Facebook on Thursday 9th and Thursday 16 July at 3pm. Your kids will be mind-blown by the awesomeness of science! Download your activities and watch the videos to discover more Museum fun:

Blackbutt Reserve Winter school holidays are the perfect time to explore Blackbutt Reserve. Grab some emu food from the kiosk, take a stroll along the boardwalk, grab a picnic basket or just go wild in the playground. For the more adventurous, why not take a hike on one of the many walking trails. For more information visit

Cessnock Library The holidays are a little different this year at Cessnock City Library. But there is still plenty for the family to enjoy. For kids who love building, you can take part in the annual Cessnock City Library Lego competition! Design your dream home, build your masterpiece, take a photo, and email it to us at the library. To enter, download an entry form from the library’s website and pop it into one of our branches.

The library has also created awesome take-home library craft packs. You can spend the afternoon making your pom-pom, develop a piece of rainbow scratch art, make a funky necklace, and discover the wonders of Quivervision – 3D colouring in! Keep an eye on the library’s Facebook page for demonstrations.

Of course, your holiday wouldn’t be complete without a spot of Yoga. Take some time out with Fyona Coulton from YogaBrave and learn some simple relaxation techniques. Fyona will be presenting live on Cessnock City Library’s Facebook page on Wednesday, 8 July, at 3pm.

Maitland Gaol

For more holiday fun, why not take a self-guided audio tour of Maitland Gaol? The ghostly character ‘Snitch the Rat’ leads children on an adventure through the gaol cells. The tour offers a fun and fascinating experience full of facts and stories that will entertain and educate. More details can be found online at Maitland Regional Art Gallery Keep your sanity when you See, Make & Do at Maitland Regional Art Gallery! Explore six new exhibitions, crack a code breaker art trail, be a design detective, weave a Karritjar (water python), and more. There are free, self-directed art activities available, no bookings required, with visitors asked to register on arrival. More information available at

Maitland City Library Branches Have a little author in your midst? Maitland City Library branches have a range of exciting activities available in-branch these school holidays. Explore new worlds with activities on space, get experimental with some great science projects, snap a selfie with a cute and cuddly alpaca, and add a pet to a Wall of Fame. More details on these activities and more are available online at

Out and About We consider ourselves pretty lucky in Newcastle to have amazing parklands and natural areas surrounding our city suburbs. Local illustrator Liz Anelli is working with the City of Newcastle to map our unique green spaces and celebrate the many benefits they bring our community. To help Liz with this enormous task, we’re asking young Novocastrians to create a mud map of their local green space and point out the places that are important to them. All of the details on how to get involved are on our website. Find out more info here:

At Port Stephens, there’s plenty of fun to be had outdoors. While the Port Stephens Council won’t be hosting any official school holiday activities this year, you can keep the family fun alive by visiting stunning beaches, going on a bush walks, or by heading to the BMX/skate parks. Don’t forget your helmet! For more information about recreational centres and their opening status, head here:


School Holidays at Lake Mac

Go Wild at Lake Mac Libraries

You may have noticed the appearance of some brightly coloured animals at Lake Mac Libraries recently. Each branch is home to a different species; from red monkeys at Charlestown to a blue kangaroo hopping merrily along outside Morisset Library. Now that all the animals are settled in and feeling quite at home, it’s time to bring them to life, with writing, illustrating and zine workshops this July school holidays for kids aged 10–16:

Writing and illustrating workshops – A series of two writing or illustration workshops with author Jess Black or illustrator Kirrili Lonergan. Kids will produce a work that will be included in a published book to be distributed around Lake Macquarie. The workshop series is $40 and includes tuition by published author, Jess Black or published illustrator Kirrili Lonergan at two small group workshops (maximum 10 participants per session); Inclusion in the published Go Wild book; all materials and afternoon tea both days.

Zine workshop – Zines are independently published booklets, often created by cutting and glueing text and imagery together. In this workshop, zine legend Bastian Fox Phelan explores zines, how to make them and how to create your very own zine inspired by the wild animals at the libraries. This workshop is for anyone aged 13+ with an interest in writing, drawing, collaging, poetry, fan art and comic books. When: 1–4pm, Thursday 16 July, Charlestown Library. Cost: $25.

For more information on the Go Wild for Libraries program, visit

Art is Back at MAC

Get crafty and creative at one of the Museum of Art and Culture’s small group hands-on classes:

Simple Printmaking – Be inspired by some of the etchings from MAC’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, and create your own artwork using simple printmaking techniques. Suitable for ages 7+, morning and afternoon sessions available all days. When: Tuesday 7, Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 July. Cost: $10.

Connect and Reflect – Explore the exhibition Reconnected: a recovery story and enjoy artmaking with a range of materials based on the concept of hope. Suitable for ages 10+. When: 10.30am–12pm, Tuesday 14, Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 July. Cost: $10.

For more information on MAC’s school holiday program visit

T-Rex Returns to SEEN@Swansea

Everyone’s favourite prehistoric villain is back with a brand new exhibition at SEEN@Swansea – Tyrannosaurs: Ultimate Predators. The exhibition is open 10am–2pm seven days a week, with entry by gold coin donation. Depending on guest numbers, you may need to wait in line before entering. We will also be hosting two dino-inspired zine workshops with local illustrator Tallulah Cunningham. When: 10am–11.30am, Wednesday 8 and Wednesday 15 July. Cost: $8.

Visit for more information.

Bookings are essential for all activities mentioned above, and places are strictly limited. The health and safety of participants is our top priority, and all events are in line with NSW Government restrictions and physical distancing rules.

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