The Spring School Holiday Hit List! The best local activities to keep the kids roaming free
It's no secret, 2020 is not the year we asked for. Whilst we might feel a little like we are stuck on a never-ending rollercoaster, there is no reason we can't make the most of these upcoming school holidays. Much like chickens, free-range kids are happier, healthier and are usually all tuckered-out at the end of the day – just in time to pour yourself that glass of wine. But, how do we promote the free-range lifestyle in this crazy pandemic era? Below we have rounded up the best local school holiday hits that will keep busy while maintaining that 1.5-metre distance.
Words: Mia Kyrikos
Take the kids and enter a whole new world! From 25 September, Colour is coming to the Newcastle Museum. Direct from Questacon; this special exhibition explores the science of colour and perception. Better yet, there are plenty of COVID Safe interactives for the whole family to enjoy. Book tickets today from $5 for children to $25 for a family of 4. The Museum is open from Monday to Sunday each week during NSW public and school holidays. Online bookings are essential – visit www.newcastlemuseum.com.au
Museum of Art and Culture Lake Macquarie
Over at MAC at Lake Macquarie, there is plenty in store to keep creative minds active. With a range of incredible workshops and exhibitions, your little one is sure to be a Van Gogh in the making. Learn how to draw bees, use soft pastels or even sketch the human head! Head across to www.mac.lakemac.com.au to discover what is on these school holidays.
Need to get out of the house, but hoping not to stray too far from home? Head to the library and celebrate the launch of The Biscuit Maker with local illustrator, Liz Anelli. Written by Sue Lawson, this charming story demonstrates how simple acts of friendship can bring a community together. If your little one is more interested in the weird and wonderful, be sure to visit and view original works, sculptures and illustrations by Paul Jennings. For those looking to stay at home, did you know that Newcastle Libraries have recently opened a new Digital Library? Featuring a 'grab and go' collection of popular adult and kids titles, interactive digital story wall, magical story box, and so much more! The library is always open and available via your fingertips on the Newcastle Libraries app. Visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au Library to find out more.
Newcastle Art Gallery
Unleash the inner Monet these school holidays, by signing up to get crafty from home with local exhibiting artist Bree Rooney. With workshops delivered over Zoom on Monday28, Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 September, the kids can learn how to create their own texta prints. In Week 2, kids will have the opportunity to virtually meet local artist Michael Bell (and his pet dog Larry!) to create their own pet portrait. Get your furry friends involved for one of the sessions on Tuesday6, Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 October. Be sure to register for these workshops prior. Newcastle Art Gallery is also open with two daily sessions Tuesdays to Sundays. To avoid disappointment, book your free Gallery session via the Art Gallery website.
Experience Fort Scratchley
Boasting one of the best panoramic views of Newcastle and with space to roam, Fort Scratchley is top of the school holiday bucket list. Open Saturdays and Sundays only during the school holidays, with a gun firing at 1pm daily (weather permitting), eagle-eyed youngsters might even be lucky enough to spot a whale heading down to the Antarctic Ocean. For more visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/fortscratchley/home.
The Civic Theatre
The iconic 'picture palace' returns with Civic Cinema, with the good old days of seeing a movie at the Civic Theatre once again possible with the installation of a new digital projection widescreen. Settle into seats for these special school holiday screenings. Visit www.civictheatrenewcastle.com.au for more information and ticket details.
For those youngsters that live life on the wild side, 'Snitch's Gaol Exploration' is a great way to let imaginations soar. Enjoy this kid-friendly self-guided tour of Maitland Gaol. Open seven days a week with enhanced COVID-19 safety measures; the Gaol is the perfect family-friendly outing to keep the kids entertained. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.maitlandgaol.com.au
Maitland City Library
Have a little author in your midst? Maitland City Library branches have a range of exciting activities available. These school holidays pizza boxes become solar ovens and airport runways, old bottles turn into Pokemon planters, and mugs get a new lease of life as tiny gardens. There are also free workshops with Sami Bayly, author of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals. Visit www.maitlandlibrary.com.au for more information or drop into any branch throughout the holidays to collect an activity pack.
Maitland Regional Art Gallery
Keep your sanity when you see, make & do at Maitland Regional Art Gallery! Explore five new exhibitions, crack a code breaker art trail, and more. Free, self-directed art activities are available with no bookings required. For more information, visit www.mrag.org.au.
Out and About
We consider ourselves pretty lucky in Newcastle to have remarkable parklands and natural areas surrounding our city suburbs. These school holidays are the perfect time to roam free and discover your local playground! Brickworks Park in Wallsend is now open and includes a new all-abilities carousel, boulder climb, nest swing and more. The Carrington Street Reserve playground has been upgraded with a new plank walk, suspension bridge, double slide, tube net and other activities. At Port Stephens, there is 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 our beaches, going on a bushwalks, or by heading to the BMX/skate parks. Don't forget your helmet! For families who are looking for Vacation Care, the local OOSH facilities also have a wide range of activities planned. Visit www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au
The Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary has also recently opened. Click here to find out more!