• Mia Kyrikos

Six Weeks of Summer School Holidays are Coming!



Around the corner lies the day we have all been dreading. The day we have, for the last few weeks, pretended does not exist. Yes, 12-months have come and gone, and the last day of school for the year is finally here. Once more, the dreaded school holidays have chased us down and are knocking at our the doors. Six long weeks – here they come!


The last school bell for 2020 will ring on Friday afternoon, December 18. And so, the age-old question rears its head – what on earth can you possibly do to keep the kids entertained these school holidays? If you are anything like us, we are constantly on the lookout for new ideas to get the kids out and about, and we have collated the perfect list for you! We’ve found the best activities you need to survive these long Summer school holidays.


CIVIC CINEMA

Discover the magic of theatre when you bring your family and friends to the newest (and oldest) inner-city cinema! With the installation of a new 7.5m digital projection widescreen, seeing your favourite movies in the iconic Civic Theatre is once again possible. Settle in for screenings that will appeal to all ages and tastes, with a variety of screenings across December and January. Find out more at www.civictheatrenewcastle.com.au/whats-on


NEWCASTLE REGION LIBRARIES

It’s no secret; long holidays are well… long. Luckily, that’s where Newcastle Region Libraries can lend you a helping hand. With plenty on offer, you are sure to find holiday activities that will keep the kids off the screens and inspired all day long.

Muggles and wizards alike are invited to master the dark arts, learning to make crystals disappear and casting spells over colour-changing potions at the Harry Potter Science Workshop. If you are on the hunt for a more hands-on activity, get your kids to Go Animating Mad! Kids will get to construct their own cool clay characters.


If you haven’t yet, be sure to visit the newest Digital Library space at 12 Stewart Avenue! Whether it’s dancing with Pepper, our Humanoid Robot, watching 3D printing or exploring space on the interactive screen, there is something for everyone.

There is so much on offer at our local library branches, and bookings for all activities are essential. To find out what’s on near you, check out www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au



NEWCASTLE MUSEUM

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. Kids are invited to delve deeper and see the world in a new light with the help of a new exhibition! Developed by Questacon, kids can engage with more than 20 scientific experiences, ranging from coloured bubbles to iridescent insects to colour illusions. For kids who are fascinated by all the wonders of the world, head to the Super Sneaky Science pop-up! No bookings required, just come and find the scientists roaming around in the Museum. Discover all that is on offer for your mini-Einstein. To find out more and book your place, head to www.newcastlemuseum.com.au


NEWCASTLE ART GALLERY

Keep those creative minds buzzing when you head to Newcastle Art Gallery. Wander the gallery and discover incredible exhibitions or book into one of the awesome workshops. From decorating their own musical instruments, or creating beautiful porcelain plate patterns, kids can unleash their inner artist. Teens can join local artist Rosie Turner and learn how to create their own iconic rock music symbols. With Art Cart and plenty of guided tours throughout the holidays, there is plenty to stay busy. Newcastle Art Gallery is also open with sessions daily. To avoid disappointment, be sure to book your spot. For more details visit www.nag.org.au


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 six days per week (closed on Tuesdays) with guided tours and a gun firing at 1 pm daily 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


LAKE MACQUARIE LIBRARIES

From creative workshops to learn more about the lost art of collaging, or fantastic opportunities to learn more about snakes with the help of reptile rescuer Teresa Purnell, kids are sure to enjoy all that’s on offer these school holidays. Delighting in a range of activities across the various Lake Macquarie Council Libraries, kids will even have the opportunity to join illustrator Jenni Goodman to learn to create their own koala picture to take home. Discover more information at library.lakemac.com.au/home


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 paint at the Watery Wonderland workshop, or try your hand at making figurative sculptures in the Body Language workshop! Head across to www.mac.lakemac.com.au to discover what is on these school holidays.


MAITLAND REGIONAL ART GALLERY

Drop into Maitland Reginal Art Gallery (MRAG) and check out all the latest exhibitions, including Ken Done’s ‘Paintings You Probably Haven’t Seen Yet’. You can also enjoy Free Art Sunday at MRAG, where families of all ages can let their creativity run wild in the inclusive and accessible venue with materials supplied free of charge. For more information, visit www.mrag.org.au


MAITLAND LIBRARIES

Stories are waiting to be discovered at Maitland Libraries with enthralling tales of bravery, adventure and love residing on the shelves and online. School holiday workshops will once again be available and not only that, but you can hear stories told by world-renowned speakers as part of the Look Who’s Talking as well as watch movies, listen to music, make your own crafts, or just chill out. For more, head to www.maitlandlibrary.com.au


MAITLAND AQUATICS

Beat the heat and head to your local pool this Summer. The popular splash pad at Maitland Aquatics Centre will be operating daily throughout the school holidays, and the inflatables will also be returning to East Maitland every day except for Christmas. Visit www.maitland.nsw.gov.au to find out more.



MAITLAND GAOL

Explore the mystery behind the thick walls of Maitland Gaol with Workhouse Woes: Detainee Drills. It's one of the many great activities on offer and includes a one hour guided tour and learning a prison exercise routine in the drill yard. Guided night tours have also returned including the 150 Years Under Lock and Key tour which delves into all parts of the site and the changes that have occurred in prisoner treatment throughout the life of this oldest continuously operating correctional facility in Australia. Learn more at www.maitlandgaol.com.au


PORT STEPHENS

Visit both Raymond Terrace Library and Tomaree Library for the following events; Sketch Mania – Caveman Art (Jan 12); Meet Edison Bot (Jan 14); Illustrating Workshop with Sami Bayly (Jan 20); and The Art and Science of Cyanotype (Jan 22). Bookings are essential – phone Raymond Terrace Library on 4988 0111. Online programs Storytime and Read and Rhyme can be viewed via the Port Stephens Library Facebook page. For more information visit

www.portstephens.nsw.gov.au/live/library


There is lots more to see and do in Port Stephens including dolphin cruises, exploring the sand dunes, animal encounters at Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary and Oakvale WIldlife Park, horse and camel riding, climbing Mount Tomaree, a hands on experience at Fighterworld, plus loads more! Visit www.portstephens.org.au to find more.


OUT AND ABOUT

We consider ourselves pretty lucky in Newcastle to have remarkable parklands and natural areas surrounding our city suburbs. These Summer school holidays are the perfect time to roam free and discover your local playground!

At Lake Mac, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Enrol your little fish into the intensive swim programs at West Wallsend, Speers Point, Charlestown and Swansea Swim Centres. Explore the great outdoors paddleboarding at Wallsend, kayaking with the family at Cockle Creek or try disc golf at the Rathmines golf course. You can even spend time outdoors learning traditional Aboriginal weaving at Speers Point Park! For more info visit www.lakemac.com.au


It’s an extensive list – but it’s a long holiday! Once you’ve exhausted this itinerary – check out our Top 10 Holiday at Home ideas here.


Happy Holidays!

For more family friendly activities, click here!

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