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It’s that time of year again… cold, wet and school holidays!

If your kids are anything like mine, the first day is fine, then they get antsy, cabin fever, and are forever saying things like ‘I’m bored!’ or ‘I’m hungry!’

Never fear, I’ve got my fave holiday activities all sorted for you in one spot! And best of all, they are either super cheap or free!


It is so easy to have a cheap day out in the city. Catch a tram in, stroll down the mall to marvel at the copper pigs and the Mall’s Balls (seriously, who doesn’t remember saying ‘meet you at the balls!’ when you were 15..), and the array of new mall art and laneways.

Then hit up my top 3 – Migration Museum, Art Gallery and the SA Museum. All are free, and will keep the kiddies entertained for the entire day!

Also check out the fab play, Emil and the Detectives, presented by Slingsby Theatre Company, at the Myer Centre. A great way to get the little ones cultured and enjoy a live, inexpensive show while supporting the arts in South Australia.

Another fave of mine is Carclew’s Explore Arts holiday workshops – they present such a broad range of inspiring, hands on experiences for kids, such as screen printing, shoe box photography, weaving and illustration.

The ever popular Adelaide Central Market Trail is pretty cheap, $8, and provides enough food along the way that you won’t even need to buy them lunch! Winning!


Follow the tram down the bay, for some awesome fun at Winter Wonderland at Glenelg. With heaps of sessions scheduled between the entire month of July, you won’t miss out. Family skating for 1 hour is $35. Grab a bite at one of the fab cafes or restaurants down the main drag; our fave is pizza from Mama Carmelas… they never disappoint!

Miss Fairy is running her Winter Fairy School during July, with sessions including winter craft, unicorn headbands, snowballs and snowmen and culminating in the Fairy Winter Ball!
One and a half hour sessions are $20, but book ahead!

We love booking into a Little Picassos school holiday ART workshop and you will be amazed at what the kids can create! With painting, printmaking, sculpture, clay, textiles and more. Drop and Go sessions from ages 4.5 years and start from $30 with an incredible artwork to take home!

GU Filmhouse is the perfect place to go in winter. Free parking below for movie patrons (score!), and with the Cinebuzz Member Family Pass, you can check out the latest hits such as Despicable Me 3, Cars 3 or Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul for $50.

My three kidlings all enjoy a trip to IKEA too – free play in the play zone, cheap eats, Creative Kids workshops, a Treasure Hunt and I don’t mind walking away with another soft toy because they don’t break the bank!

Further down the coastline, and you’ll have an awesome day out at the Port. Now with Winterfest Ice Skating at Port Adelaide, the old Lighthouse, Port River cruises, markets, SA Maritime Museum (with a fab Treasure Island show for only $6) and the National Railway Museum, that’s another day of the school hollies you can tick off!


Here’s one for all the star gazers and astronauts! The Adelaide Planetarium is a dome shaped theatre that simulates being in space! All tix $8. While you’re there, check out the other shows and workshops on offer.

Sciworld’s Pop up Science Centre (at Elizabeth and Wayville) have some uber cool workshops on Robotics, Palaeontology, Illusions or Rocket Science for only $15 for 3 hours! And, parents are free!

The Tea Tree Gully Heritage Museums time machine will take you back 100 years for only $3, and features hand on activities in differently themed rooms.

The Churchill Centre is fast becoming a hub for all things fun in the school hollies! And free! Check out ‘Winter in Wellies Show with Digger the Dog’ and decorate your own pair of free Gumboots! They also have Little Chicago Express, Adelaide’s largest and free indoor playground. Perfect for winter… then you can get your Kmart fix or pick up some Aldi bargains on the way out!

Elizabeth City Centre has entertainment covered these hollies with none other than PEPPA PIG visiting for a free stage show in the first week! Don’t miss it, or you’ll be rolling on the ground crying, not laughing..*snort, mum joke*


Nothing says Winter holidays like gumboots, raincoats and a good ol day out in the fresh air.

We love to head to Hahndorf and explore the gorgeous parks, stores and of course, Hahndorf Farm Barn… you could easily spend the day here, especially if you’ve had a German lunch you need to walk off!

Platform 1 Heritage Farm Railway at Littlehampton have a Paddock to Plate and Train Experience. Learn about making butter, collecting eggs, and even crack a whip!
Train rides, and railway displays for all the railway nuts, this isn’t one to miss.

Urimbirra Wildlife Park has so much to do and see. Lizards, dingoes, crocs, wallabies, wombats and more. Bring a picnic lunch, make use of the free BBQ or enjoy lunch at the gift shop.

Another family favourite is the National Motor Museum at Birdwood. With over 400 vehicles to explore, including ‘Big Foot’ from the Mad Max films, there are heaps of entertaining and informative activities to choose from.

Woodhouse Activity Centre provides a great opportunity to ‘unplug’ and really burn energy in the great outdoors, with fully facilitated day camps for kids from 6-15 years old. The days run from 9-5pm and are jam packed with activities focused around the day theme. Just $60 per day includes use of the Challenge Hill obstacle course, games, cooking, all materials and meals. Themes include environment, hiking, campfire, cubby building, bug adventures and construction. Get in quick to secure your spot.


Book a session at Bounce, Pumpt, Latitude or Inflatable World for some indoor, tire them out fun.

Got a budding director on your hands? Kids Camera Action is a unique film-making school designed especially for kids, while RMT Management’s Kids on the Move Acting and Modelling course encourages confidence, creativity and self esteem.

Now is a great time to visit Kangaroo Island, especially as Sealink have kids travelling FREE with one or two paying adults and a vehicle. That’s a saving of up to $100!

Before you head home from Kangaroo Island, head to Victor Harbour and spend the day wandering the main street, eating pasties, drinking coffee, riding the horse drawn carriage, visiting the SA Whale Centre… another day ticked off!


These are some of my family’s best-loved holiday excursions, and hope they become yours too!

Happy Winter Holidays!


Lia Loves
Lia Loves
Theatre. Dance. Culture. Events. Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

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