Top 20 school holiday activities

What to do this school holidays

Here are my top 20 educational, interactive and fun ideas for all kids, teens and families to delve into this September – October school holidays. It’s into the second week already so you’re probably running out of ideas on how to entertain the kids.

1. Go to the theatre to see a family show

 A Lion in the Meadows and other stories.

Also: hi5 house hits, how sela got her groove back and many more.

The Pumphouse Theatre – Takapuna.

Saturday 24 September to Saturday 8 Oct. 10:30am and 2pm shows.

Head to for all information and links for tickets.

Margaret Mahy’s best-loved stories are woven together in one enjoyable and imaginative show. Magical Mahy comes to life on stage. Her stories, lion in the meadow, leaf magic and a witch in the cherry tree. Plus some of her most known poems.

Tickets: $22-25

2. Visit Auckland Museum at night time

Auckland Museum (Entry view Atrium, the back entrance).

Saturday 1, Wednesday 5 and Friday 7 October 2016: 6:00pm to 8:30pm. for tickets (bookings recommended).

Bring a torch and your wildest imagination to explore Auckland Museum at night. Doctor When, your friendly host, will lead you on a fun adventure. Tumble through time to discover what life was like in the past and what it might look like in the future. Meet Basil the Dinosaur. Design the Auckland of the future. Make real music with cardboard instruments.

Tickets: Advance tickets $15; Door Sales $20.

3. Become a detective

Hidden Treasures: Mystery at the Maritime.

NZ Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland.

Monday 26 September to Friday 7 October 2016: 10:00am to 3:00pm. for more information.

Solve the clues to one of the biggest mysteries at the Maritime Museum on the detective trail (FREE).

Go on the treasure hunt with the museum’s detective ($5).

Make a treasure box to keep your previous objects in at home ($5).

Sail on the Ted Ashby ($12).

4. Learn about Auckland marine life

Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre school holiday programme.

Monday 26 September or Monday 3 October.

Rock Pool Art for 6 to 9-year-olds.

Mussel Dissection for 10 to 15-year-olds.

Wednesday 28 September or Wednesday 5 October.

Building a fish for 6 to 9-year-olds

Behind the scenes, for 10 to 15-year-olds.

Book at or phone 09 923 3261.

Cost: $19 per child; $5 per accompanying adult (maximum of one adult per child).

5. Auckland Art Gallery Family Drop-in Session

Saturday 25 September 2016 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Saturday 2 October 2016 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Saturday 9 October 2016: 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Create art together in sessions inspired by art in the collection. There is no need to book. Suitable for kids aged 4 and up. All kids under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

FREE for families.

6. Discover how Auckland Port works

Ports of Auckland Public Boat Tour.

Boarding takes place at Pier 4, Ferry Building, Quay Street, Auckland.

Tuesday 27 September and Tuesday 4 October 2016: 11:00am.

The tours weave in and out of the busy commercial wharves to give you a close-up look at the big ships, cranes and other machinery at work in Auckland Port.

Bookings are essential. Phone 09 307 8005.

Cost: Children under 16 are FREE; Adults are $5.

Ports of Auckland Steam Tugboat Sailing.

Hobson Wharf, Corner Hobson and Quay Streets, Auckland CBD.

Saturday 1, Sunday 2 October and Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October: 10:00am, 12:30pm or 2:00pm.

The family-friendly tour will cruise through the port’s wharves at work and under the Auckland Harbour Bridge where the Daldy once famously saved a piece from floating away during construction. Explore the boat at your leisure – watch the engine room in action, visit the captain in the wheelhouse and help the crew shovel coal down below.

Suitability for 3 years plus. Bookings recommended.

Cost: Child (15 and Under): $3.00; Adult (16 and Over): $10.00.

7. Help to save the animals of the world

Join the team at Tip Top Town these holidays at Auckland Zoo.

Auckland Zoo, 99 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland.

Saturday 24 September to Sunday 9 October 2016: 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Head to Tip Top Town these school holidays at the Zoo and work as a team to help save the animals of the world. See who can solve puzzles the fastest and get the highest score for fame and glory.

Cost: Normal Zoo admission prices apply.

8. Learn about colour

Colour Holiday Experience at MOTAT.

MOTAT, 805 Great North Road & Meola Road, Western Springs, Auckland.

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 October 2016: 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Learn about the wonders of colour and explore how it enhances our daily life. Be enthralled by a glowing UV wonderland or discover the sometimes surprising effects colour can have on our minds and moods. Try out the Glow Zone, Mood room and more.

Cost: Kids under 5 are FREE; Children 5 to 16 years $8; Student $8; Adults $16; Family $40.

9. Experience life in a Victorian house

Highwic House, 40 Gillies Avenue, Epsom.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016.

Sessions at 10:30am, 11:30am and 2:00pm.

Children experience working life in a Victorian house. Using authentic laundry equipment they do the washing for the family and then it is time to fetch fuel for the coal range. There is butter to be made and scones to be baked in the Victorian Coal range.  Visit ‘upstairs’; then it’s time to eat the scones and butter you made.

Limited places so booking is essential. Pay when you arrive.Suitable for kids aged 7+.

Cost: Kids $8; Adults $10.

10. See the Green Fairy at Westfield

Westfield St Lukes AND Westfield Albany.

Monday 4 to Friday 7 October 2016: 10.30am – 2.30pm.

Experience New Zealand’s first virtual reality film The Green Fairy.  You and the kids can fully immerse in the 3-minute movie then decorate their own interactive traffic light. Plus, take a photo of your kids at the Green Fairy photo wall.

Cost: FREE

11. Go on an Auckland park crawl

Auckland Playgrounds.

Take the kids out for a day of visiting park that they have never been to before.

Cost: FREE (well apart from your petrol to get there).

12. Rainbow’s End Night Frights

Saturday nights:  24 Sep,  1 Oct, 8 Oct, and 15  Oct.

Saturday nights will be frightfully fun at Rainbow’s End these school holidays. Rainbow’s End Night Frights will have all the rides and entertainment as well as some spooky surprises.

Superpass tickets: Child $30 to $37; Adult $35 to $42.

13. Build and fly your own kite

Out and About – Kite Days.

Monday 3 October 2016: Allenby Park, Papatoetoe at 1:00pm.

Wednesday 5 October 2016: Keri Downs Park, Papakura at 1:00pm.

Build a kit-set kite to take home with you.

Cost: FREE

14. Go on a glow worm walk in Totara Park

Out & About – Glow Worm Walks.

Totara Park, 90 Wairere Road, Manurewa, Auckland.

Wednesday 5 October 2016: 9:30pm to 10:30pm.

Spot the glow worms, feed the eels and see if you can spy a cheeky rabbit in Totara Park.

Bookings essential:  [email protected]

Cost: FREE

15. Go on a family day out to Devonport

Take the kids on the ferry to spend the day in Devonport.

For ideas of what to do when you are there, have at look at the THINGS TO DO ON A FAMILY DAY OUT IN DEVONPORT.

You may want to take the kids scooters too.

16. Steam & Steel holiday activities at Auckland Libraries

Saturday 24 September to Sunday 9 October 2016.

Go to a Steam and Steel activity in the holidays, and try your hand at making gadgets, gears and gizmos.

Cost: FREE

17. Learn about Space Station life at Stardome

670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill Domain, Auckland, New Zealand.

Monday 26 September to Friday 8 October.

Learn why it’s important that astronauts wear space suits, how food was prepared for the trip to Space and how the toilet works on the International Space Station. Launch water-powered rockets (if the weather is fine) and see a planetarium show.

Bookings required: Phone 624 1246 or email [email protected]

Cost: Children $12; Adults $10

18. Ride the giant water slide at the Kowhai Festival

Kowhai Festival – Huge Day Out.

Warkworth Township, Queen Street, Warkworth.

Saturday 8 October 2016:

Giant water slide at Lucy Moore Park, The slide opens at Noon and for $5 kids can have unlimited slides.

Stalls, art & craft exhibition, dog show, canoe showdown, food stalls and more.

Cost: FREE entry to the festival.

19. Go on a family bike or scooter ride on the pink Light path

Entry points are on Union Street or Canada Street (off Upper Queen Street) Auckland.

The Light path is not too long for young kids, and fine for scooters, bikes or to walk. You will find the pink path makes it all the more fun.

Cost: FREE

20. Rafting at the Vector Wero Whitewater Park

Vector Wero Whitewater Park, 770 Great South Road, Manukau.

Open Wednesday to Fridays: 9:00am to 5:00pm/weekends: 10:00am to 4:00pm.

For kids aged 8 years plus you can go rafting on the Grade 1-2 Tamariki River white water course. Your rafting guide will help you go through the gentle the dips and eddies of this 200m water course. It’s perfect for beginners, kids and families.

Cost: Rafting: $45 per child, $55 per adult; Wet-suit hire $10.

Park entry: FREE

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