Stop the search! We have compiled the complete guide to school holiday activities Adelaide, SA style for December/January 2024! We have literally just updated this article to include all the Summer events happening for the school holidays in Adelaide this year, perfect for toddlers, kids, teens and even adults.
School holidays might be a morning activity, a day trip or even a week long holiday to Kangaroo Island.
Adelaide school holidays dates 2024: 16 December 2023 – 28 January 2024
School holiday fun activities Adelaide – free ideas, cheap ideas or GO BIG
Whether you are looking for free school holiday activities Adelaide 2023/24 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 Summer school holiday activities and what’s on school holidays for kids in Adelaide to find all the things that are going on locally for children on their December/January school holiday break.
If it isn’t the right weather for these activities, check out our list of the best rainy day activities in Adelaide
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 these Summer school holidays Adelaide style!
- School holiday fun activities Adelaide – free ideas, cheap ideas or GO BIG
- Things to do school holiday activities Adelaide 2023/24
- Adelaide University Sport and Fitness School Holiday Program
- 21 FREE school holiday activities Adelaide
- 10 CHEAP school holiday activities in Adelaide with kids
- 10 BIG days out in Adelaide – Summer school holidays
- Kids theatre shows Adelaide
- Looking for more things to do in Adelaide with kids?
- Celebrating with kids in Adelaide?
- More great articles in South Australia
Things to do school holiday activities Adelaide 2023/24
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.
Alex’s top pick for summer:
Adelaide University Sport and Fitness School Holiday Program
School Holiday Program – Thursday 14 Dec 2023 until Thursday 25 January 2024
The Adelaide University Sport School Holiday Program returns these summer holidays, filled with action packed days to keep your children active over the break. Experienced coaches will assist in developing new sporting skills, whilst building social skill and physical literacy.
Your children can train like a pro, while taking on unique sports they may have never tried before! They will stay active and fit over the break, while also developing relationships with others.
Coached by some of the university’s elite athletes, they will learn the fundamentals of sports such as AFL, Soccer, Cricket, Gymnastics and more.
Their School Holiday Program will help develop attitudes and feelings towards interactions with others, while building motivation to stay fit and healthy over the holiday break.
21 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!
1. Explore Glenelg
Bay side Glenelg is a magnet for families, thanks to its expansive sandy beach and the Beachouse amusement centre, featuring waterslides, rides, and arcade games. You can explore local history at the Bay Discovery Centre, housed in the 1870s Town Hall, which showcases exhibits including a vintage swimwear collection. Nearby Holdfast Marina is the departure point for dolphin-spotting cruises. The area exudes a laid-back charm with its casual pubs, organic cafes, international dining options, and independent boutiques, creating a trendy and vibrant atmosphere.
2. 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.
These school holidays you can see:
- TBC SUMMER 2024
Looking for a more simple activity? Check out the best dog friendly beaches and swimming holes in Adelaide.
3. South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum is a wonderful place for kids (and adults!) of any age to visit. There’s an abundance of exploration, learning, and discovery to be had at this museum, with its exhibitions consistently offering informative and often interactive experiences. With five floors dedicated to natural history artifacts, including the world’s most extensive collection of Australian Aboriginal cultural material, the museum serves as a treasure trove for inquisitive young explorers eager to uncover both artifacts and the fascinating stories they hold.
These school holidays you can see:
- TBC SUMMER 2024
4. Adelaide Observatory’s Public Viewing Nights
Bring your children to Adelaide’s Observatory’s public viewing nights, where you can together marvel at the stars and identify your favorite constellations. These events are held at The Heights School on Brunel Drive in Modbury Heights, usually around once a month. Be sure to visit the website for specific dates and any updates.
5. 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.
6. 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 tours are suspended during Covid until further notice.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Carrick Hill Story Book Trail
Created to foster children’s exploration and discovery of the natural world, this brief stroll through Carrick Hill’s parkland leverages classic children’s stories to inspire young imaginations. The initial segment of the Children’s Story Book Trail predominantly features British classic tales that resonate with the era of Sir Edward and Lady Hayward. The accessibility of the house and gardens for children to appreciate today, free of charge, is made possible through the generous gift bestowed upon the people of South Australia by this remarkable couple in 1986.
10. 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 Easter 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.
11. 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 Adelaide Botanic Gardens also plays host to a popular school holiday program designed to promote fun, hands-on learning about plants, animals and the environment. Ticket costs range from $10 up to $30 – book early as spots sell out.
12. Migration Museum
The Migration Museum is dedicated to recounting the tales of South Australians and commemorating cultural diversity. Throughout the Migration Museum galleries, you’ll find various discovery drawers and content tailored for children. During school holidays, they offer special programs, including the highly sought-after ‘detective trails,’ providing engaging and educational experiences for young visitors.
These school holidays you can see:
- TBC SUMMER 2024
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Tusmore Park
This peaceful park boasts mature trees, well-maintained lawns, and thoughtfully landscaped areas. In the spring, the First Creek meanders through the park, adding to its natural charm. In the summer months, the covered and unsupervised Toddler wading pool becomes a fantastic spot for children to enjoy some playtime.
16. Himeji Garden
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.
17. 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.
18. Princess Elizabeth Park
This park is incredibly family-friendly, offering a range of amenities such as mini trampolines, a spacious climbing castle with a twisty slide, a unique take on a see-saw, a sandpit, and a wealth of other play equipment. It also provides ample shade, seating, and picnic tables, all set amidst beautifully landscaped surroundings. It’s an ideal spot for a barbecue picnic, and we’re eagerly anticipating our next visit there.
19. 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.
20. Marshmallow Park
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.
21. Goldenfields Reserve
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 that the kids will LOVE!
22. Code Camp – for the best school holidays ever!
Let Code Camp inspire your children to get creative with technology these holidays, learn some valuable new skills, have fun and make new friends. With a wide range of in-person camps and online programs available, there really is something for everyone. Choose from beginner to advanced coding camps, robotics, stop-motion animation, DJing, video production and so much more!
What’s New? Code Camp is launching brand new camps this summer!
Kids can learn to code with DreamWorks Trolls! At Little Coders: Trolls Edition, 5-7 year olds will take their first steps on their coding journey banding together with their favourite characters. At Spark and Ignite, kids 7-12 years can code and create an adventure game with Poppy, Viva, and Branch.
Plus, AI Camp where kids embark on an exciting journey into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the most important technology of a generation. Young minds discover the wonders of AI and its fun and practical applications in our everyday lives and create their own comic book using AI!
Your favourites are also back this season including Minecraft Engineers (for kids 7-12), Minecraft Minis (for kids 5-7), and Roblox Legends (for kids 7-10). Robotics Camp and Drone Camp are also running this summer, offering the coolest few days of STEM learning and fun.
23. 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 offers a range of attractions, including smaller slides, interactive activities, and the thrilling ‘big bucket,’ ensuring hours of entertainment for children under ten years old. At its heart, you’ll find two waterslides, renowned as the fastest in Australia, providing enjoyment for both the young and the young at heart.
24. 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.
25. 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.
These school holidays you can see:
- TBC SUMMER 2024
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. 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.
32. Captain Jolleys Paddleboats
Want to see a different view of Adelaide? Hop on a boat and paddle along the Torrens, passing the Convention Centre, Adelaide Oval, and many other riverside sights of Adelaide. It costs $20 for 3 people a 30-minute paddle. Life jackets are provided for the littler paddlers, so everyone can enjoy their ride while being safe at the same time.
10 BIG days out in Adelaide – Summer 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:
33. Treeclimb 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
34. 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.
35. Farm Barn
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.
36. Adelaide Zoo
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.
37. 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.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40. 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.
Their Crazy Crimes activity trail will take you all through the Gaol and is the perfect outdoor activity for kids (and a fascinating day for adults!).
You can grab tickets for the Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour here.
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.
42. 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
43. 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.
44. Pixar Putt
This outdoor pop-up mini-golf attraction offers a delightful experience with interactive putt-putt holes inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from Pixar’s most cherished films. These films include Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Inc., Turning Red, Soul, The Incredibles, Onward, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, Inside Out, Luca, and Lightyear. Additionally, this season marks the Adelaide debut of a new hole inspired by Pixar’s latest release, Elemental.
This experience is designed to be enjoyed by players of all ages and promises to be a sought-after destination during the school holiday season. For those looking to continue the fun after dark, there are Pixar Putt After Dark sessions available for adults aged 18 and above, running from Thursday to Saturday nights from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, complete with a pop-up bar.
Kids theatre shows Adelaide
If you are looking for school holiday entertainment Adelaide style, why not a kids show or kids concert!? Here’s where you can get some great kids theatre in Adelaide kids this December/January:
45. Adelaide Entertainment Centre
If you are looking for a top venue for entertainment these school holidays, you can’t go past the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. With family entertainment programs these holidays, make sure you take some time out to see a show.
46. Marion Cultural Centre
The Marion Cultural Centre has kids covered when it comes to entertainment these holidays. The lineup includes music, comedy, and magic so you will find a show that everyone loves. Spots fill up fast so make sure to get in quick.
47. Patch Theatre
Patch Theatre specialises in theatre specifically for kids and families. With shows to inspire and ignite little imaginations, Patch will leave the kids wanting more.
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