Fill a compact city with a staggering amount of attractions, museums and quirky eateries and you’ve got a perfect destination for kids.
Fancy spending a day in a fur- and scale-centric madhouse? Iconic Adelaide Zoo, home to more than 2500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, has long been one of the city’s most-loved attractions and it’s worth booking in a free walking tour to get insider info on the zoo’s most famous residents. The tours depart hourly between 10am until 3pm from opposite the zoo’s main entrance. For those with a little more energy to burn, don’t miss a frolic at Nature’s Playground, the new nature-play space designed to stimulate the senses. Family passes to the zoo are priced from $98.50.
Even if you haven’t been to Adelaide before, you’ll still be familiar with HAIGH’S, the oldest family-owned chocolate maker in the country (psst: it’s the one the kids are always desperate to go into). Happily, the brand’s Visitor Centre and Factory is located on the edge of Adelaide’s Parklands, just a short drive south of the city centre, where a team of confectioners create and hand-finish their mouthwatering range of chocolates and o er special tastings. Although there is a temporary pause on guided tours, families can still come in for a self-guided viewing tour – and yep, there will still be plenty of Haigh’s famous frogs, truffles, fudges and chocolate seconds to go around.
They act like monkeys every other day of the week so why not give the kids an opportunity to unleash their full climbing potential? Treeclimb, the country’s first inner-city aerial adventure park, features zip lines and more than 70 obstacles in eight elevated treetop courses, including three designed specifically for little ones. Set within Kurangga/Blue Gum Park where BMX tracks, a playground, sports fields and courts also await, you’ll want to arrive 15 minutes before your booking for a safety briefing and harnessing. Kids must be 100 centimetres to enjoy the kids’ courses ($29 for an 80-minute session), or 135 centimetres for the Grand Course, a series of five challenging courses (Cost: Adult: $39: Child: $35).
Designed to suit wee ones between the ages of two and five, the free dietitian-designed Market Minis program at Adelaide Central Market invites kids to make great food choices for themselves, and cook a little something to eat along the way. Recipes – focusing on using seasonal, healthy fruit and veg – change weekly, and the 20-minute lessons are held for market customers every Tuesday during school term. The best part? It’s a ‘drop-in’ format so you can enjoy a well-deserved break and coffee while the lesson is underway.
Mark 18 February to 20 March 2022 on your calendar and get set to travel to a world where circus, music, cabaret, theatre and comedy rule supreme and anything is possible. The Adelaide Fringe festival transforms Adelaide and greater South Australia every year, the event featuring more than 6000 artists in 300-plus venues collectively putting on more than 1200 shows. While many are for the 18+ crowd, you’ll be able to find plenty of award-winning children’s shows, events and workshops in the program, which will be updated regularly closer to the date. Prices vary from free or pocket change to more.
A city so great even the local bottlenose dolphin residents can’t stay away? It would be rude not to pop by and say hello, and you can do this at Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. Located a mere 20 minutes from the centre of Adelaide, the marine park is home to about 30 local dolphins, plus another 400 or so mates who like to occasionally drop in for a house party. Pack a lunch (a picnic area and barbecue is available on site) and come along to either kayak or paddleboard alongside or, if you prefer, simply watch the dolphins, as well as seals and sea lions, as they go about their business. Entry to the park is free of charge.
Admittedly, the exhibitions at MOD., a futuristic museum of discovery at the University of South Australia, are designed for those 15 and over. That said, with a little hand-holding and guidance, there’s plenty to entertain younger ones as they enter the bold new world of science and technology. A free experience, MOD. serves up seven gallery areas over two floors, each one filled with interactive displays and touchscreens to get stuck into. Located in the UniSA Cancer Research Institute in Adelaide CBD, MOD. is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. A café for sweet and savoury treats is located on site.
Welcome to five floors of educational opportunities, where kids can walk away with new insights into our Indigenous history, Pacific culture, fossils, minerals around the globe and the biodiversity of South Australia’s land and marine wildlife. Open daily between 10am and 5pm, the museum renowned for its world-class natural history and cultural collections is free of charge to visit and offers a roster of family favourites including the Young Explorers program for early-years learners and the Discovery Centre (closed at time of writing; check ahead). Don’t forget to pause between exhibitions with a slice of cake at the museum café.
Get your running shoes on and prepare for a sugar overload at Uniqorn Eats, in the heart of the CBD. Whether you (or the kids) are into Gaytime waffles, milkshakes with marshmallows and sprinkles, a cold, hard alcoholic beverage (parents only, of course) or something more… conservative, it can all be found here. Just be sure to save room for the Rainbow Pancake Stack, a significant tower of brightly coloured sustenance featuring six rainbow pancakes, white chocolate, mascarpone and rainbow ice-cream (including a mini kids’ version). Open Thursday to Sunday. Provide plenty of time for the obligatory photography session.
Nope, not a franchise of the famous Peter Rabbit brand (fear not: there is no merch to be found here), but rather a cool café in the west end of Adelaide’s CBD where the focus is on good food, a child-friendly space for the kids to run around, and oh yes, the resident rabbits Ginger and Rosti who rule the courtyard out back. The perfect place to wind down after a long day of running around, parents will love the coffee and the rabbit-free menu, while the little ones will make good use of the games box, fruit trees and on-site fountain and pond. Do they have babycinos for the weary kids? You betcha.