Snow showers or ice skating? Giant light creatures or laser shows? In the City of Adelaide, you can just let the kids decide.
When the temperature goes down in Adelaide, the city fires up with more than 50 events and festivals to feed your family’s imagination and create indelible memories. There’s something to keep the whole family enthralled in Adelaide, whether you have toddlers or teens – from illuminations and art installations to after-hours access to special spots and new experiences the whole family can enjoy.
Calling all kids who long to be night owls: it’s time to break the rules and forget about bedtime. Adelaide’s inaugural light festival, Illuminate Adelaide, showcases the city like never before. After dark, sneak into Adelaide Zoo to see giant light creatures at play, or take a night-time sojourn through the Botanic Gardens with sounds and special effects showing off nature’s secret rhythms.
Strap the little ones in the stroller and let the bigger ones loose across the north, east or west precincts for the free and fabulous City Lights display. Cutting a trail across the city, it features 40 light installations from a deconstructed inflatable rainbow in Rundle Mall, to heritage buildings and hidden lanes lit up with lasers and projections in the historic north precinct. And whatever you do, don’t miss Van Gogh Alive, an immersive, multi-sensory experience that sees Van Gogh’s paintings come alive, from his blazing Starry Night to his vivid Sunflowers (and you can even do it in the day).
The Winter Village
Ever wanted to see snow in Adelaide? Well, it happens a few times each day at the Winter Village at Torrens Parade Ground. If your kids always dreamed of walking in a winter wonderland, this is the place to be. Experience Adelaide alpine style, with ice skating, 21 snug igloos fitted out with fairy lights and cosy chairs and, of course, snow showers that are scheduled to happen on cue (and hourly during school holidays).
There’s free kids’ entertainment on Sunday mornings, family skate passes, and a special rink rats kids’ menu featuring hot chocolate and chocolate ice-cream sandwiches. Mum and dad won’t miss out either: there’s a full menu on offer inside the igloos, alongside sneaky mulled wine to help recharge after a wet and wonderful skating session.
Tasting Australia Winter Series
Every parent knows little people can have a big appetite. Luckily, Tasting Australia’s month-long Winter Series doesn’t just let grown-ups have all the fun, with more than 40 events on offer over the month of July. Mini master chefs can test their skills at Ragi’s Chills, Grills & Cinnamon Quills dinner. Or, if your little ones are fabulous foodies, take a seat at Natale a Luglio, a five-course Christmas in July feast filled with Christmas favourites.
SALA: South Australia Living Arts Festival
Help your kids celebrate the arts at the South Australia Living Arts Festival, known as SALA, held each August. The month-long festival involves thousands of emerging and established contemporary and modern artists exhibiting their works at more than 600 venues across the state, with the majority concentrated in Adelaide. While details for this year are still to be announced, there’s a tonne of ways your kids can get involved with tours, meet the artists and take part in projects.
THE BEST OF THE REST: WINTER FESTIVALS
There are more than 50 events being held this winter in Adelaide, many of them catering to families (and a few that are completely free, making them friendly for families on a budget). During July, rock out at the Adelaide Guitar Festival, which offers workshops, performances and competitions at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Kids can also try out instruments, and there are hands-on demonstrations.
If you like to get down and boogie with your babies, check out the all-ages gigs across Adelaide during the Umbrella Festival. Younger kids will love Musical Mall Melodies featuring Humphrey B. Bear and the Tutti Choir in Rundle Mall, while older teens can try to pretend they’re not with you at Ukulele Death Squad’s gig at the Adelaide Arcade Unplugged series. And don’t miss the special Umbrella art installation at Vaughan Place, back for this year’s festival by popular demand.
Heading out after dark? Check out the Winter Weekends. Held every Friday and Saturday from 5pm, there are fire pits, roving fire twirling performances, live music and outdoor dining in six locations across the city.
With live music, mulled wine for mum and dad and more than 50 market stalls, Adelaide’s Winterfest is sure to keep the kids busy. Browse the best of the city’s local small businesses and sample the tastiest snacks from food trucks in the Queen’s theatre, which will be decked out with festoon lights and cosy corners you can sip hot chocolate in.
Lastly, don’t forget to barrack for your family’s team; there are more than 11 AFL games for kids to get a kick out of at Adelaide Oval this winter.