Stop the search!! We have compiled the complete guide to school holiday activities Adelaide style for summer 2021!!
Adelaide December/January school holiday dates 2021: Saturday 12 December- Wednesday 27 January
Holiday activities Adelaide – free ideas, cheap ideas or GO BIG!
Whether you are looking for free school holiday activities or cheap school holiday activities in Adelaide this summer we’ve got ALL the school holiday ideas for you in our guide.
Read our list of school holiday activities in Adelaide to find all the things that are going on locally for kids.
We know that sometimes it is hard to think of fun activities in Adelaide for kids so we have researched and put together this list. We’ve got school holiday ideas Adelaide style for you in our fun school holidays guide. Add this page to your bookmark bar right now (or share it on Facebook so you can find it later).
This article is an ‘at-a-glance’, go to resource for parents listing the best things to do school holidays Adelaide style!
School holiday activities Adelaide
Give spelling, punctuation and grammar a miss for a while with these fun school holiday ideas. From the Adelaide CBD to the suburbs, our comprehensive guide has listed a bunch of school holiday ideas. These will ensure the kids are kept happy and you will be stress-free over the school break.
20 free school holiday activities Adelaide
The age old saying is true… the best things in life ARE free. So we have compiled this list of school holiday activities in Adelaide that don’t cost a thing!
Museum of Discovery MOD
Get the kids interested in science early on with a visit to MOD, a free future-focused science, art and innovation museum on North Terrace. Just check which exhibits are on beforehand as some may contain adult content.
South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum is a wonderful place for kids (and adults!) of any age to visit. There’s so much to explore, learn and discover and the exhibitions are always informative, often interactive. Boasting five floors of natural history artefacts including the world’s largest collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural material, the museum is a haven for young, curious explorers to discover artefacts and the stories that behind them.
Adelaide Observatory’s Public Viewing Nights
Take the children along to Adelaide’s Observatory’s public viewing nights where you can gaze up at the stars and point out all your favourite constellations. They meet at The Heights School, Brunel Drive, Modbury Heights approximately once a month. Check website for dates and updates.
The Fairy Garden Bridgewater
Take the kids on a 1km each-way walk from the playground near Old Bridgewater Mill, along the Heysen Trail to the fairy garden at Deanery Reserve. The walk starts at a Heysen Trail trailhead, next to the playground and toilets in Bridgewater. The Heysen Trail follows the old mill’s water race to Cox Creek, then through a short tunnel under the railway. From there, the trail meanders through the Arbury Park Outdoor School forest – watch out for ducks, before arriving at Deanery Reserve.
The fairy garden is located beyond the bridge (when walking the Heysen Trail from Bridgewater, turn right at the bridge, don’t cross the bridge), close to the freeway. The fairy garden is scattered throughout trees near the carpark. There are plenty of branches and other hidey-holes for kids to play in.
Haighs Chocolate Factory
Join in for a free guided viewing tour to learn the history of Haigh’s and how they make premium quality chocolate from cocoa beans sourced from plantations around the world. The tours are free but you do need to book.
The Whispering Wall
The Whispering Wall is in fact the retaining wall of the Barossa Reservoir. Built between 1899 and 1903, the dam was a revolutionary engineering feat for its day and attracted attention from all over the world, even making its way into the pages of the journal Scientific American. But what draws visitors to the Whispering Wall is its unique acoustic effects: words whispered at one side can be clearly heard at the other, more than 100 metres away. Children love visiting the wall and testing its abilities.
Besides trying out the Whispering Wall, visitors can also learn about the history of the construction of the dam, take in the scenery of the water reserve and enjoy the colours and sounds of the peaceful bush setting.
St Kilda Adventure Playground
St Kilda Playground has everything you need for a fun family day out. Cook up a BBQ or bring a picnic while the kids play on the slides and swings. It is open every day except Monday.
Carrick Hill Story Book Trail
Designed to enable children to explore and discover the natural world, this short walk through Carrick Hill’s parkland uses classic children’s tales to encourage the imagination. The first stage of the Children’s Story Book Trail mainly focuses on British classic tales that reflect Sir Edward and Lady Hayward’s era. It is thanks to this couple’s gift to the people of South Australia in 1986 that children are able to enjoy the house and gardens today.
Morialta Conservation Park Nature Playground
Enjoy the rugged ridges, gully scenery and seasonal waterfalls that make up Morialta Conservation Park. The three waterfalls along Fourth Creek are popular features of the park and are linked by an extensive network of walking trails. The views from the rock climbing zone also provide opportunities to admire Morialta Gorge and the nearby Adelaide plains.
The first two falls are the grandest, each cascading over sheer quartzite cliffs after rain. To see the falls at their best, visit the park during spring or winter when the water flow is strongest. For wildlife lovers, the park’s rock pools and creeks provide habitat for small reptiles, frogs and birds. Watch out for honeyeaters and thornbills among the woodlands that cover the hills.
Botanic Gardens of South Australia
On the outskirts of the CBD you will find the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. With several different areas to explore including the First Creek Wetland, Garden of Health, SA Water Mediterranean Garden, International Rose Garden and the Australian Native Garden, there are plenty of opportunities to teach the kids all about various elements of the environment.
The Migration Museum tells stories of South Australians and celebrates cultural diversity. They have a range of discovery drawers and content for children scattered through the Migration Museum galleries. They run special programs during school holidays, including the ever popular ‘detective trails’.
Art Gallery of South Australia
Start at the Gallery is an exciting introduction to art for children aged 3-12 and their families. Held on the first Sunday of every month, Start is a free family-fun day and includes art activities, tours, live performances and entertainment. Each monthly event is themed around current exhibitions or the general collection. Start is held on the first Sunday of each month, 11am–3pm.
SA Police Road Safety Centre
The Road Safety Centre features a mock roadway where young cyclists learn about road and traffic safety in a safe environment. The mock roadway is available for community use on weekdays from 8am to 10am and 2.30pm to 6pm (8pm during daylight saving) and on weekends from 8am to 6pm (8pm during daylight saving). It is available free of charge but you need to bring your own bike or scooter and safety equipment.
This is a tranquil park featuring mature trees, lawns and landscaped areas. The First Creek traverses through the park in winter. During the summer the covered unsupervised Toddler wading pool is a great place for children to play in.
The Adelaide-Himeji Garden contains features which are of profound religious significance to the Japanese people. It contains features designed to recall the beauty of nature. The Garden blends two classic styles. The first is the ‘senzui’ (lake and mountain garden), where water and the imagination create images of vastness and grandeur. The second is the ‘kare senzui’ (dry garden), where rocks and sand evoke the presence of water, even the sea itself.
Splash Town – Copper Coast
Splash Town is located at the picturesque Moonta Bay foreshore, this facility is free to use and is suitable for all ages. The water park consists of four large water slides, one kiddie slide, several large mushrooms and a large tipping bucket.
Princess Elizabeth Park
This is a very family friendly park. It includes mini trampolines, a large climbing castle with swirl slide, a cool take on a see-saw, sandpit and heaps of other equipment. Plenty of shade, seating and tables. Great landscaping. Looking forward to having our next BBQ picnic there.
Dunstan Adventure Playground
The highlight of this playground is the huge slippery dip. As well as lots of other challenging equipment, the park has a fantastic view of the Torrens River.
Marshmallow Park is fully fenced with a rock hill with interactive water play features. There are BBQs and sheltered picnic tables and lots of grassy spaces perfect for kicking a footy or having a picnic. There is a tennis court with basketball half court for the older kids and paths within the playground and around the edge that are good fun for kids on bikes or scooters.
This reserve truly has it all, with something for everyone. A large grassed area for ball games and picnics. Three playground sections, plus additional play elements including climbing boulders and surfboard. There is a gravel BMX track area for bicycle enthusiasts. A multi-use sports rage cage is great for structured ball games, shooting hoops and wheelchair sports. A highlight of the reserve is the skate park which is suitable for all ages with two bowls, ramps and ledges to hone your skating, scooting and riding skills!
10 Cheap school holiday activities in Adelaide with kids
Want to take the kids out, but you don’t want to blow your school holiday budget? That’s OK – we’ve also listed a bunch of low cost options for the school holidays. These are cheap school holiday activities in Adelaide and suburbs – all $10 or under per child – that the kids will LOVE!
SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre
The SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre boasts world class aquatic facilities for all South Australians to play, train and perform. The Splash Park features smaller slides, activities and the ‘big bucket’ and will keep children under ten years amused for hours. There are two waterslides at the centre, considered the fastest in Australia and provide fun for young and young at heart.
Waterworld Aquatic Centre
Take the family and spend the day swimming in the heated pools, whiz down the curly slide or challenge your friends on the two racing slides. Swim laps in the 50m pool or paddle around the learner’s pool. Toddlers and pre-schoolers will enjoy the crazy fun of the splash pad. There are plenty of shaded areas, a café and free barbecue facilities – all in a beautiful natural environment. The centre is wheelchair friendly and has picnic tables, toilets, showers and lockers.
South Australian Maritime Museum
Explore the human histories of our oceans and rivers. Located in the historic Port Adelaide precinct, the South Australian Maritime Museum preserves, explores and celebrates the human history of our oceans and rivers. Renowned for its innovative approach to maritime history and education, the Museum incorporates the historic Bond Store with three floors of exhibitions, the Port Adelaide Lighthouse from South Neptune Island, and the much-loved steam tug, Yelta.
National Railway Museum
Take a journey into railway history at the National Railway Museum, Australia’s largest undercover railway museum with over 100 exhibits representing State, Commonwealth and private railway operators on the three major rail gauges used in Australia. Take in the size of the giant steam engines, walk through elegant carriages, enjoy the fun of train rides and interactive and educational displays.
Adelaide Aquatic Centre
Take the family along to experience the new splash pads and water play equipment. This pool is suitable for all ages with depths varying from 0 to 0.9m. Accessible lifts have been installed to ensure safe access for all. The blue water slides are open 10:00am–3:30pm during School and Public holidays. During school term time, slides are open Saturday and Sunday from 12noon–4pm.
The Big Rocking Horse
The 7 acre wildlife park contains a variety of native animals such as red and grey kangaroos Bennets wallabies, Swamp wallabies, Tamar wallabies and emu’s. They also have some farm animals such as goats, alpacas and sheep. The ponds are teeming with native and domestic ducks and geese. And of course there is the world’s biggest Rocking Horse! Climb to the top and get a certificate of completion, and enjoy the fantastic view from the Horse’s head.
Latest release, classic & kids’ films shown in an open-air, drive-in theatre with a snack shop. Take the kids to the movies the old fashioned way!
West Beach Mini Golf
An 18-hole mini golf course located on the corner of Military Road and Hamra Road. With a nautical theme, you’ll come across obstacles such as pelicans, great white shark, turtles and pirates and many more. Fun for the ‘hole’ family.
Urimbirra Wildlife Park
Although a little drive out of Adelaide, this place is worth it. They have a range of Australian animals and a wonderful park for you to explore every day (including public holidays). Pet a kangaroo, pat a koala, feed an emu and watch a professional snake handler! There is also a play area and spots for a picnic.
The Adelaide Planetarium
Head to UniSA’s Adelaide Planetarium at Mawson Lakes and learn all about the constellations, stars and planets from the comfort of your own armchair. Saturday sessions will take you on a fascinating journey across our Universe. Join one of their highly experienced astronomers as they guide you through constellations, the solar system and beyond.
10 BIG days out in Adelaide – December/January school holidays
One or two BIG days out are sometimes a fun school holiday activity to create special memories with your kids. Here are our picks:
Aerial Adventure Park
With over 70 obstacles over 7 different routes which are progressively challenging for climbers over 100cm tall, this is an activity for the most adventurous kids and their adults! Check it out here
Mega Adventure Australia
Another one for the thrill seekers amongst you. Manoeuvre your way through an aerial obstacle course in West Beach. Kids must be above 120cm to do it on their own, or kids between 120-140cm can be accompanied by an adult. Little ones not ready to tackle the iconic MegaClimb? Test their metal with the new Kids Course! With ten exciting challenges finishing with a thrilling Zip line the mini course is the perfect way to tire out little monkeys.
All the baby animals live inside the barn and it’s the ideal place to hang out when the weather is not at its best!! Enjoy a hot cappuccino or hot chocolate from the kiosk to help keep your hands and tummy warm while you walk around the barn and watch the kids have a great time playing with the farm animals.
Inside the comfort of the barn is where the shows happen every day and the reptile show is on weekends. It’s also where you’ll be able to milk a cow, bottle feed baby lambs, cuddle baby rabbits, cuddle guinea pigs and hold baby chicks and see all the reptiles inside their glass enclosures.
Adelaide Zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals and 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and fish exhibited over eight hectares of magnificent botanic surroundings. Their beautful Nature Playground includes climbing structures, water play features, a natural creek bed and aerial walkways. The precinct also has disability friendly toilets, a parent’s room and an undercover function area suitable for birthday parties and other unique functions.
Cleland Wildlife Park
There are very few animal enclosures at Cleland Wildlife Park. Most animals live in natural habitat and you can get up close for great photos. The animals are fully adapted to the park setting and accustomed to people, meaning you can pat and feed them.
Woodhouse Activity Centre
Crawl, climb, swing and slide your way around Challenge Hill obstacle course, try your hand at Disc Golf weave your way through The Labyrinth and whizz down the Tube Slides (slides run only on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm, weather permitting). Explore the natural beauty of the property on one (or more!) of the seven Orienteering courses or Photo Hunts, have a bit of a cook up on a free gas BBQ… or just curl up under a tree and read a book.
Gorge Wildlife Park
The Gorge Wildlife Park opened in 1965 and is still operated by the same family. Situated on 14 acres of land, under shaded trees, paths meander among one of the largest privately owned collection of Australian and exotic animals, birds and reptiles in the country. The park offers you an up close and personal experience with wildlife.
Old Adelaide Gaol
Visit the Adelaide Gaol for a guided tour. The Gaol is a major part of Adelaide’s heritage. The Gaol’s history extends from the time of the early settler’s right through to today. As one of the two oldest public buildings in Adelaide, the Gaol has much to offer every visitor. They offer a variety of tours including ghost tours, twilight tours and history tours.
You can grab tickets for the Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour here.
Steamranger Heritage Railway
SteamRanger Heritage Railway operates a number of different heritage steam and diesel hauled tourist trains between Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills, up over the crest of the southern Mt Lofty Ranges, down to Strathalbyn and on through the coastal holiday towns of Goolwa and Port Elliot to the tourist resort town of Victor Harbor.
Trains operate on up to 140 days a year and are manned by volunteers from the Australian Railway Historical Society, who are also responsible for maintenance of the rail line and the heritage locomotives and carriages.
Popeye River Cruise
See Adelaide from the best seat in the house, by cruising along The Torrens River in the heart of the city in a heritage icon. Order a drink, a slice of cake and enjoy a 45-minute cruise with live commentary from the friendly skipper. You can do the round trip, stop over at the Adelaide Zoo or just travel one way only.
*Bonus Big Day Out
Society, who are also responsible for maintenance of the rail line and the heritage locomotives and carriages.
Monarto Safari Park
A sister to Adelaide Zoo, Monarto Safari Park is a real safari adventure. Your entry includes a bus tour through the savannas and plains to see lions, African painted dogs, rhinos, and giraffes, with walking trails to visit other animals like the chimps, reptiles, porcupine and wallabies. You’ll need to be wearing comfortable shoes if you’re to visit them all and catch all the keeper talks! There’s a cafe and gift shop on site, and lots of interactive fun for the kids. If you are an animal lover and supporter of conservation you have to put Monarto Safari park on your to-do list – it’s awesome!
Suitable for all ages; entry fee applies. Cafe and picnic facilities on site.
Tip: Consider becoming an annual ‘zoo member’ for unlimited entry into Adelaide Zoo, Monarto Zoo, and several other zoos across Australia.
Find out more here: Monarto Safari Park.
Kids theatre shows Adelaide
If you are looking for school holiday entertainment Adelaide style, why not a kids show or kids concert!? Here’s what’s on for Adelaide kids this summer in terms of kids live shows:
To be confirmed due to Coronavirus
Previous kids shows in Adelaide:
The Beggars: Christmas Favourites | The Parks Theatre | Friday 13 December
The Beggars are singing everyone’s favourite Christmas songs around the Christmas tree. Get into the festive spirit with this wonderful concert full of our favourite songs, carols and sing-alongs. Featuring the beautiful playing and three-piece harmony singing of The Beggars, presented in their relaxed and friendly style – The Beggars are coming to town.
The Dragon of Wantley | The Parks Theatre | Friday 20 – Saturday 21 December
Based on an English legend involving real people, this pantomime was beloved by Victorian audiences and has now been adapted for the 21st century by that master of pantomime – Norman Robbins. With vengeful fairies, knock-a-bout bailiffs, a romantic leading lady and a handsome Principal boy, plus the outrageous Dame, all the ingredients are here for a wonderful evening’s entertainment!
Billy Elliot the Musical | Festival Theatre | Sunday 29 December – Sunday 26 January
Featuring music by the legendary Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical has been seen by over 12 million people worldwide. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, it is the recipient of over 85 awards internationally. Set in a northern town during the miners’ strike of 1984/5, the show follows Billy’s journey from boxing ring to ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that unites his family, inspires his community and changes his life forever. Billy Elliot the Musical is an extraordinary theatrical experience that has captivated audiences around the world.
The Story of Aladdin | Stirling Community Theatre | Tuesday 14 – Sunday 19 January
Aladdin is a poor boy, from a poor family, with poor prospects. He lives in the City of all Cities, a bustling place of colour and activity. Although he has seen Princess Yasmin and believes she is very beautiful, he holds no hope of gaining her attention. Enter Abanzar, a magician from a foreign land, who has traveled afar to search for a special lamp in a certain cave in the east. Being too old and no longer nimble, he wins Aladdin’s trust and engages him to enter the cave and discover the lamp. For this duty, Aladdin is promised enough riches to be a viable marriage prospect for Princess Yasmin.
Dr AudiYO’s Giant Adventure | Space Theatre | Saturday 18 January
Join Dr AudiYO, a beat boxing clowncome-superhero, as she sets off on a surreal adventure to slay The Beast, who’s on a rampage to silence the city. She must use her ‘magic looping bum bag’ and enlist the help of the audience to save the city!
Storytime Ballet: The Nutcracker | Dunstan Playhouse | Wednesday 22 – Friday 24 January
Experience the world’s most famous ballet live on stage in a brand-new production of The Nutcracker created especially for children aged three and up. Join narrator and a colourful cast of characters at a marvellous Christmas party that transforms into a spellbinding, magical adventure. Children are fully immersed in the story and help make the magic happen on stage. Storytime Ballet is an interactive, educational ballet production that encourages kids to learn, practise making magic and explore their love of dance! Packed with wonder and delight, this is the perfect first ballet experience for boys and girls. Don’t forget to dress up in your favourite ballet-inspired outfit!
Operation Ouch | Thebarton Theatre | Friday 31 January
TV’s favourite identical twins have been hard at work – creating more incredible medical stunts and even crazier experiments…and the show is packed with fascinating facts about biology and the awesome things your body can do. Plus they’ll share their favourite bits from the TV show! Don’t miss Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand live on stage as they explore medical science from a kid’s-eye view.
If you are looking for kids entertainment Adelaide style, why not a kids’ show or kids concert!? Here’s what’s on for Adelaide kids this October in terms of kids love shows:
Orphan Annie and her Nutcracker Dreams | The Norwood Concert Hall | Sat 21 – Sun 22 Sep
After sell-out performances of Cinderella – The Untold Story during the Adelaide Fringe, SACBC is busily preparing a brand-new ballet, Orphan Annie and Her Nutcracker Dreams. This new production is choreographed by the renowned Paul Boyd from Queensland Ballet, and will be a delight for audiences young and old.
Andy’s Amazing Adventures | Thebarton Theatre | Sunday 29 Sep
Andy Day is fascinated by all creatures – little and large, existing or extinct. And now, he is on a mission to thrill and entertain in a brand-new live adventure. He’ll have some help too – from familiar faces, new friends and hopefully you!
The Next Step – Absolute Dance | Thebarton Theatre | Tue 1 Oct
Featuring nine of the cast from the hit television series, The Next Step – Absolute Dance will be a brand-new show that offers fans a chance to get up close and personal with cast members from the global hit TV show. This 90-minute stage show features solos, duets, trios and group numbers choreographed to popular hit songs along with original music from the show.
Alice In Wonderland | The Parks Theatre | Wed 9 – Fri 11 Oct
This brand-new musical version of the timeless classic takes you down the rabbit hole with zany characters, mad tea parties, flamingo croquet on the lawn, and tap dancing playing cards, all in a land where nothing is as it seems. All the characters you love are here: The ever-curious Alice, the White Rabbit, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar, the Mock Turtle, the mysterious Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. Lewis Carroll’s beloved books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is a magical, tuneful, and over-the-top entertaining musical for the whole family!
13: The Musical | Adelaide Theatre Academy | Thu 10 & Fri 11 Oct
Following a move from New York City to small-town Indiana, young Evan Goldman grapples with his parents’ divorce, prepares for his impending Bar Mitzvah and navigates the complicated social circles of a new school. This play deals with the hardships of leaving familiar places for unfamiliar ones, fitting in with your peers and transitioning from youth to adulthood.
The Nutcracker | The Australian Ballet | Adelaide Festival Centre | Tue 8-Sat 12 Oct
The artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet has created a gold-standard production of this beloved party piece, remaining faithful to the feel of the 19th-century original. Tchaikovsky’s last great score for ballet, with its lively motifs and bewitching melodies, draws us into the story of Clara, a young ballet student celebrating with her family on Christmas Eve. When the clock strikes twelve, enter the realm of dream where Clara is whisked to the Land of Sweets in the arms of her Nutcracker Prince.