ALL ABOARD the School Holiday Express!
It isn’t easy to believe that Summer has drawn to a close. We now find the nights are becoming cooler, the leaves are changing colour, and a new chapter of the year begins, starting with the Autumn School Holidays.
Our minds jump back to last year’s Easter period, where we brought you the COVID-safe holiday guide to staying indoors. Thankfully, times are changing, and the chance to enjoy a fun-filled Easter break is finally here. Below we have rounded up the best local school holiday hits to keep busy and enjoy family time with the kids.
Newcastle Region Libraries
It’s no secret; holidays are difficult. Luckily, that’s where Newcastle Region Libraries can lend you a helping hand. Newcastle and Wallsend Library branches will be a hive of activity with ‘how to’ workshops on just about everything. From exploring the world of VR, learning to create shadow puppets or discovering the inner artist at the cyanotype printing workshop, there are loads of opportunities to unleash your imagination.
Over on the digital library, there is plenty to keep little minds busy. Whether it’s dancing with Pepper the Robot, watching 3D printing or exploring space on the huge interactive screen, there is something for everyone. It’s also the best place to pick up new release books for both kids and adults!
The library is always open and available via your fingertips on the Newcastle Libraries app. Be sure to visit
www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library/whats-on/events and book your spot!
Newcastle Art Gallery
Unleash the inner Van Gogh these school holidays and keep those creative minds buzzing when you head to Newcastle Art Gallery. Budding artists will love what’s on offer at Newcastle Art Gallery. Indulge your passion for art and food in the Illustrating Food Workshops, or get hands-on with the help of local Aboriginal artist Michelle Napanangka Earl who will guide bracelet weaving and dilly bag making workshops. Open throughout the school holidays, both kids and parents alike are sure to delight. Wander the gallery and discover incredible exhibitions, or book into one of the awesome workshops. For more details, visit www.nag.org.au.
Experience Fort Scratchley
With spectacular vistas across Newcastle’s coastline, Fort Scratchley is not only home to one of the best views in Newcastle but a great place to discover more about the history of our city. Make the most of the grassy hills for a family picnic, or book in for a tunnel tour where you will learn about the history of this amazing site. Stick around for the daily gun firing at 1 pm, weather permitting! Eagle-eyed youngsters might even be lucky enough to spot dolphins from the headland. For more details, visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/fort-scratchley/home.
Young People’s Theatre
They're creepy, and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky; they're all together ooky, The Addams Family. And, they are coming to Young People's Theatre this April School Holidays! Got an aspiring actor on your hands? This is the perfect opportunity to get your dramatic little ones inspired. This comedic musical tells the story of Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley and even Uncle Fester and is the perfect school holiday entertainment for the whole family. Playing at YPT Theatre Hamilton from 7 April - 24 April 2021, get in quick to book your tickets! For more information, at www.ypt.org.au/bookings
The mild autumn weather makes for an ideal time to explore Blackbutt Reserve as the leaves turn from green to red and the landscape changes. Make the most of your Autumn School Holidays by dropping in and getting to know the local residents. Get up close and personal feeding the emus with cones available from the kiosk, or grab an activity pack and follow the trail around the boardwalk to explore the animal exhibits. There are wombats, koalas, reptiles, and so much more. There’s also 10km of walking trails and plentiful picnic and playground facilities to enjoy. You can even let the kids blow off some steam at the adventure playground at Richley Reserve. For more details, visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve.
Every day is a new opportunity to learn, and school holidays are no exception! Head to the Museum and keep the little minds firing with a range of exciting exhibitions, shows, and workshops. At Newcastle Museum, kids can get inventive at our Science Busking workshops or let their imagination run wild in our beginner's Poetry Workshops, where attendees will use the Museum’s 1X4 exhibition as inspiration for writing. There is plenty more on offer for your mini scholar.
To find out more and book your place, head to www.newcastlemuseum.com.au.
Port Stephens & Lake Macquarie Libraries
Kids are sure to delight in a range of activities across the various Port Stephens & Lake Macquarie Council libraries! Budding writers, artists and musicians alike will love the pop-up workshops, like the ‘Paint Me a Story’ workshop at Belmont Library. This workshop is a wonderful guided experience featuring Chinese brush-stroke artist Stephen Cassettari. As Cassettari paints different animals, kids will enjoy a story with a visual difference. Across at Tomaree Library, kids can get hands-on by learning the art of wood-working. Here, kids can learn how to create a toolbox, craft or gardening caddy with the help of Port Stephens Woodworkers.
There will be plenty more activities on offer! Be sure to visit www.library.lakemac.com.au or www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/play/events/event-calendar for more information, prices and to book your place.
Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary
In partnership with Port Stephens Koalas, Port Stephens Council has created a Koala Sanctuary which ensures first-class care to sick, injured and orphaned koalas. Now open daily, you can take the kids to visit the Koala Sanctuary to see koalas in their natural habitat. A visit to the Sanctuary also supports their long-term rehabilitation, preservation and conservation in the wild. A win for you and a win for the kids! For more information, visit www.portstephenskoalasanctuary.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 an artist in the making. The youngsters will be sure to enjoy the ceramic workshop where they will learn to sculpture using air-dry clay. For the older teens (12-16 yrs), they can get hands-on at the tie-dye workshop, where they will create their own tie-dyed t-shirts. Head across to www.mac.lakemac.com.au to discover what is on these school holidays.
Out and About
Are the kids feeling a bit cooped up? Get them out of the house and burn off that energy! There is plenty more to see and do across Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie.
Over at Swansea Swim Centre, school holiday celebrations will be kicking off with the Great Easter Egg Hunt. For animal lovers, be sure to head over to SEEN@Swansea and enjoy the workshop all about snakes, with stories and craft to follow.
Or, would you like to spend some more time in the great outdoors? These school holidays are the perfect time to roam free and discover your local playground! Or, get out and about with the family these holidays and try paddleboarding at Wallsend or kayaking with the family at Cockle Creek. There are plenty of ways to stay active and enjoy the break these school holidays. For more information, visit your local council website.