Wellington Attractions for Children
(Wellington, North Island, New Zealand NZ)
There are all kinds of attractions suitable for families visiting the city of Wellington, although many of these are based outdoors and therefore only at their best on a sunny day. The city's historic zoological gardens opened in 1906 and offer the perfect day out for children, with 'Close Encounters' being a real highlight, along with 'Sleepovers' at the zoo's Archibald Centre, next to Monkey Island (suiting children aged five years old and over).
A relatively short drive to the north of the city is the Arena Aquatic Centre, where you can swim, splash around and zoom down water slides. The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre also offers swimming pools and related attractions, while the Capital E Centre is the place to go for interactive fun and workshops. Younger children may appreciate the Story Place at the Museum of New Zealand, or simply an afternoon at Avalon Park, playing in the wooden fortress and feeding the ducks.
Address: 200 Daniell Street / Manchester Street, Newtown Park, Wellington, North Island, 6002, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 381 6755
Just over ten minutes to the south of the city centre and next to Melrose Park, Wellington Zoo certainly ranks amongst the city's top family attractions and is called home by a wealth of exotic animals, including all of the usual animal favourites, such as lions, tigers, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras and meerkats. The zoo also houses a large number of primates, such as baboons, chimpanzees, gibbons, lemurs and tamarins, together with countless native animals, including the likes of kangaroos, wallabies, kiwis and cockatoos.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and families
Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre
Address: 63 Kilbirnie Crescent, Kilbirnie, Wellington, North Island, 6003, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 387 8029
Located on the eastern side of the city and within Kilbirnie Park, the Regional Aquatic Centre contains a large 50-metre / 164-foot indoor swimming pool, smaller pools for young children, diving boards and countless activities for kids. There is also a café area, outdoor picnic tables, private spa facilities, saunas, an aerobics studio and aqua fitness classes.
Open hours: daily - 06:00 to 21:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children, children five years old and under are free
Arena Aquatic Centre
Address: 17 Parumoana Street, Porirua, Wellington, North Island, 6005, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 237 1521
The Arena Aquatic Centre lies on the far northern side of Wellington, being just over 20 km / 12 miles to the north and within the nearby city of Porirua. This is a great rainy day attraction and comes with a 25-metre / 82-foot swimming pool with lanes, a freeform leisure pool with a wave machine, a pool for toddlers, a water slide, a lazy river and a cafe. Close by you may like to pay a visit to the North City Shopping Centre , the Porirua Skate Park or the Te Rauparaha Arena.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 06:00 to 21:00, Saturday and Sunday - 08:00 to 19:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children
Bluebank Blueberry and Emu Farm
Address: 1301 Akatarawa Road, Akatarawa, Upper Hutt, 6007, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 526 9540
Situated to the far north-east of the city and roughly a 45-minute drive away, the Bluebank Blueberry and Emu Farm can be found close to the Kaitoke Regional Park and within the Hutt Valley. Visitors will discover fields of pick-your-own organically grown blueberries, together with a farm shop selling local produce and handicrafts, such as jams, fudge, jewellery and ceramics. There are also around 40 large emus living here, with young chicks often being a common sight. For an unusual souvenir, you can purchase emu oil and related skin-care products onsite.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:00.
Capital E Centre
Address: Civic Square, Wellington, North Island, 6001, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 384 8502
The Capital E Centre stands in the heart of Wellington city centre, on Civic Square, where it serves as an educational entertainment complex, complete with a family orientated theatre, many hands-on exhibits, a television studio, activities and seasonal events. The vast 'Hocus Pocus Toys' shop is a particular highlight here and a great place for kids to spend their pocket money.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Story Place at the Museum of New Zealand
Address: 55 Cable Street, Wellington, North Island, 6001, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 381 7000
Story Place is an enchanting attraction for youngsters aged under five and can be found in the Museum of New Zealand, next to the Circa Theatre and overlooking the waterfront. Here you will find storytelling sessions, together with numerous activities for children, such as toys, games, puzzles, dressing-up and much more besides. Sessions last for around 45 minutes and can accommodate some 25 people.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 15:30
Island Bay Marine Education Centre
Address: 396 The Esplanade, Island Bay, Wellington, North Island, 6002, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)4 383 8285
Located in southern Wellington and within the historic Bait House, the Island Bay Marine Education Centre contains a huge collection of sea life exhibits, housed in large tanks, aquariums and pools. Notable attractions include many interesting displays, crabs, lobsters, starfish, seahorses and a number of hands-on exhibits, where children can touch some of the centre's most friendly marine creatures. Regular talks are held outside, in the 'Ocean Classroom', where you can walk along the beachfront and check out the inhabitants of natural rock pools.
Open hours: first Saturday and Sunday each month- 10:00 to 16:00