Around the country, the plaintive call perfected by generations of children to hit just the right harmony between whinge and whine is reaching its cacophonous height. That's right, it's school holidays. Save your ears – and sanity – and take kids to one of the fantastic free (and almost free) events, exhibitions, shows and workshops happening around the country.
Dino Park at Melbourne Zoo
Aspiring palaeontologists – or Jurassic Park fans – can walk through Dino Park and see dinosaurs going about their business. Creators at Erth Visual & Physical Inc have created a unique experience that explains how dinosaurs evolved. It’s $19 for kids but free for under-16s on weekends and during the school holidays.
Until 14 July; Carousel Park, Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Ave, Parkville; zoo.org.au
Making Space, a collective of female theatre designers, have created a magical underwater world in Beneath. An underwater landscape, glowing with life, has been made entirely from recycled plastic. The exhibition encourages kids to consider the world’s oceans and our reliance on plastic – and spark their imaginations with its luminous sea creatures and eerie underwater sounds.
Until 1 September; Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne; melbourne.vic.gov.au
Wonder Park Interactive Zone
This free event features a narcoleptic blue bear, “chimpanzombies” and a DIY rollercoaster. In other words, if your kids have energy to burn, they’ll expend a good deal of it at this District Docklands pop-up park.
Until April 22; The District Docklands, 440 Docklands Drive, Docklands; thedistrictdocklands.com.au
Queen Victoria Markets
Each market day until 21 April kids can participate in the Easter Trail. There are eight stops; at each one the little egg-hunters must find the bunny and a unique word and jot it down on their trail map. Once they’ve found all eight, they can take their completed map to the Visitor Hub (located on String Bean Alley) to redeem their prize.
Until 21 April; Queen Victoria Markets, Queen Street, Melbourne; qvm.com.au
New South Wales
Easter Egg Hunt
The Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel is conducting a massive Easter egg hunt all over the venue and the surrounding area – including the water! Kids are encouraged to bring snorkels to hunt for the Golden Star (which means BIG prizes). There’s also a pancake parlour, egg-and-spoon races, relays and more.
19-22 April; 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay; watsonsbayhotel.com.au
Mini Makers: In the Deep Sea
A silent disco and art-making session: what could be cooler? Little participants are given a headset to listen to different channels of music spun by a Playground Sounds DJ and hit the d-floor. If dancing’s not their forte, they can head over to the Mini Makers area and get crafty making sea creatures from glow-in-the-dark materials.
Until 28 April; Australian Museum, cnr William and College streets, Sydney; cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au; $10
A free program held each Thursday to Saturday of the school holidays, Kids Collective is for children aged five to 12 years old. The fun happens at Roma Street Parkland and a whole range of fun activities are planned – think ukulele lessons, puppet shows and Easter craft.
Until 20 April; Roma Street Parkland, Brisnane; visitbrisbane.com.au
For kids aged up to eight, it’s all craft, all the time at Maker Space. For the duration of the school holidays, libraries around Brisbane are hosting free children’s craft activities. No bookings are necessary – just drop in and start making.
Until 22 April, 9am-1pm; various locations around Brisbane; brisbane.qld.gov.au
Big Market Adventures for Little Foodies
Almost all the activities at Adelaide Central Markets these school holidays are free or low-cost. Among the excellent free options are the Easter craft workshop, face-painting and eco-crayon making.
Until 26 April; 44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide; adelaidecentralmarket.com.au
Welcome to Joe’s World
Artist Ben Quilty’s exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia, Quilty, is a must-see for adults, but if it’s beyond the younger ones there’s another Quilty on hand to help. The artist’s 13-year-old son, Joe, has taken over The Studio and wants other children to join the action. Small artists of all ages are invited to learn techniques and create their own “remix portrait” using oil pastels.
Until 2 June; Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide; agsa.sa.gov.au
Free Flicks for Kids
Each Saturday, there’s a free movie night at Northbridge Piazza. This school-holiday Saturday, it’s the kids classic Ratatatouille. BYO picnic and make a night of it.
20 April; Northbridge Piazza, Lake Street, Northbridge; visitperth.com.au
Golden Egg Hunt
Let the hunt begin! Drop into the City of Perth Library for a Golden Egg Hunt map then head to Cathedral Square to find all the golden eggs. Once all the eggs have been found and questions answered, little egg-hunters can return to the library to claim their prize.
1-30 April; Cathedral Square, Perth; cathedralsquare.com.au
Dinosaur rEvolution: Secrets of Survival
Animatronics, fossil and interactive displays bring the world circa 100 million years ago to life at TMAG. Kids can find out how dinosaurs lived – and whether they’re still around today.
$7 or free for under-3s; until 5 May; Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery; tmag.tas.gov.au
Alice Springs and Darwin
Bilby Buddies Weekend
In Australia, egg-delivery duties are shared between bunnies and bilbies. In Alice Springs, it’s decidedly a bilby-led affair and at the West MacDonnell Ranges, the Easter Bilby is ready to meet his adoring subjects. There will be arts and crafts, storytelling and, of course, an Easter egg hunt.
19 and 20 April; Alice Springs Desert Park; evensi.com
Holiday program at Darwin libraries
Libraries around Darwin are hosting a free school holiday program including basket weaving, movies and an Easter scavenger hunt.
Until 18 April; various libraries around Darwin; darwin.nt.gov.au
Australian Capital Territory
The Great Easter Egg Trail
Lead kids on an adventure through Old Parliament House this Easter. There are four trails that take egg-hunters through exhibitions as they follow the clues to the trail’s grand finale. Hint: it involves chocolate.
21 April; The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes; moadoph.gov.au