The school holidays are here, and Perth is never short of kids' activities.
By the time you've worked your way through them all, it'll be back-to-school time! This guide describes ten of the best things to do with kids on holidays in Perth. For heaps more ideas, explore these links: Fun Family Things to Do in Perth and Family Fun in Perth.
1. Perth Wake Park
Spend one day of the school holidays at Perth Wake Park and you're sure to be going back for more! Located 40 minutes south of Fremantle or 15 minutes inland from Rockingham, this place is unique in being the only cable wakeboard park in WA, allowing you to have a go on a wakeboard in a calm lake - huge fun and one of the best school holiday activities for energetic kids.
There are various stages from a beginner system with introductory sessions up to an advanced pool with obstacles. Entry for spectators is free; pop to the cafe, relax on the verandah or beach, and watch the family master a new watersport.
Bookings are essential for this popular venue. Entry includes all equipment, including safety helmets. If the kids are addicted after one session, consider purchasing season passes for great value, or book them into Kids Club for 6- to 15-year-olds, running very Tuesday and Thursday morning in the summer school holidays.
Also at Perth Wake Park is a water playground filled with more than 100 large floating inflatable obstacles, perfect for kids on holidays, called Perth Aqua Park. Everyone will get a kick out of racing, jumping, bouncing, sliding and splashing around the park under the watchful eye of life guards.
Sessions are 50 minutes and must be booked in advance; minimum age 6. Fit both wakeboarding and the aqua park into one day and the kids are sure to sleep well that night!
2. Scarborough Beach Pool
If you haven't visited the new Scarborough Beach Pool yet, this summer school holidays are a great time to take the plunge.
Splashing in the water and visiting the beach are among Perth's favourite kids' activities, but sometimes the ocean can be a little rough and the sun unforgiving. Scarborough Beach Pool is the ideal alternative.
Situated right on the vibrant Scarborough Beach promenade, the two geothermally heated pools are a great alternative to the ocean waves, and when the beach is a bit on the hot side, you can find shade here and relax on loungers while the family swims. Yet you're still beachside, where you can enjoy the wonderful coastal views and fresh air.
The lap pool has both 25m and 50m lanes, while the leisure pool is fun for younger ones. They'll also love the on-site cafes, especially Cocolat's desserts and gelato; this is the place for you to grab a cup of great coffee. You can stay for a more substantial meal at La Capannina, serving home-made Italian fare on the upper deck with beautiful views - a perfect spot to catch the sunset. This is another venue you'll be hooked on after your first visit these summer school holidays.
3. Ocean Odyssey
These school holidays, Perth's much loved Scitech has created an Ocean Odyssey for kids of all ages to explore.
Starting with little ones aged 2 to 6, Discoverland has lots of watery activities to encourage experimentation through play, and 4 to 6s can learn about things that float in the CSIRO Lab. The Lab workshops include plenty of kids' activities for all ages up to 16, including how to build a boat that can't sink.
In the Planetarium, the whole family will be transported to the depths of the ocean to discover the wonders of coral reefs. It's hard to imagine that coral is alive, and this virtual journey explains it all, encouraging a new appreciation of the vast, beautiful, yet fragile world under the ocean waves.
Map Your World is Scitech's feature exhibition over the summer school holidays. Learn how to find your way around a shipwreck and have a go at piloting a simulated undersea vehicle.
Experts are available at various times through the day to satisfy inquisitive minds and answer all those 'but why?' questions. If your kids want to know more about sharks and turtles, or the jobs people can do under the water, this is their chance to get the facts from those with first-hand experience.
4. Mini Golf at the Vines
Mini golf is one of those fun school holiday activities that all the family can enjoy together, usually accompanied by some delicious food. Where better to find this combination than in the sensational Swan Valley?
The Novotel Vines Resort is already famous for serious grown-up golfing, but did you know it also has a picturesque 18 hole mini golf course? Along with the rest of the Swan Valley, it's also known locally for great food; you can even graze on snacks and drinks during your game.
No bookings are necessary. Just turn up, play and indulge! There are lots of family friendly wineries, cafes and things to do around the Swan Valley before or after your visit to the Vines. Top kids' activities include Paintball Skirmish, The Maze and Outback Splash and the Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm.
5. Wanneroo Botanic Gardens
There's a little wonderland waiting for kids on holidays in Perth. Wanneroo Botanic Gardens have been beautifully landscaped with shady trees, flowers and water features for you to explore together.
Stop for a feed at the excellent Leapfrogs Cafe, or snack on popcorn, slushies and ice cream. The all-day menu covers everyone's favourite meals with a kids' selection for smaller tums. On weekends you have a range of wood-fired pizzas to choose from too, including a dessert pizza with marshmallows, chocolate custard, crumble and cream.
Wanneroo Botanic Gardens also happens to be the biggest mini golf centre you'll find anywhere! Two 18-hole courses with a variety of challenges provide lots of laughter, but beware, they'll bring out your competitive streak too. Late nights are allowed during the summer school holidays, so stay until after 8.30pm to play mini golf in the dark using LED golf balls.
6. Amaze Miniature Park
Just five minutes from Mandurah and open all week during the summer school holidays, this miniature world is an absolute delight that will keep you all mesmerised for hours.
Spread over an astonishing four acres is a landscape filled with scaled down gardens and tiny replicas of buildings, canals and railways, created with incredible attention to detail. The park is based on the old English town of Abingdon and includes replicas of some well-known heritage buildings.
After you've explored the Miniature Park, the kids can let off steam in the mazes, gardens and playground, and fill up on ice cream - all adding up to a top item for your list of school holiday activities. Visit Decadent C's chocolate shop and cafe opposite the park before you leave to sample their excellent range of meals and extensive list of cakes.
Mandurah is one of the best spots to visit in the summer school holidays, so consider turning your visit into a short stay to spend time on the foreshore and estuary.
7. Armadale Reptile Centre
Do you know how to recognise a venomous snake? Would you like to cuddle a python? Have you ever come face to face with a skink?
Open every day in the school holidays, a Perth Hills rescue centre for reptiles and other Australian wildlife shows kids how to identify and learn more about native animals. Armadale Reptile Centre does fantastic work in rescuing and caring for animals that might be injured, orphaned or abandoned.
Its aim is to provide natural habitats for a whole range of animals, including lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs, fruit bats, native birds, dingoes and kangaroos, and to increase awareness and respect for these fascinating creatures.
This is an excellent way for kids to find out more about wild animals while supporting a great cause. Get their photo taken with a python for a terrific memento from the summer school holidays!
8. Zookeeper for a Day
Another conscientious animal sanctuary is Ranger Red's Zoo & Conservation Park, which focuses on getting you up close and involved with the animals to better understand their needs. Allow plenty of time to make friends with a huge range of native creatures, including wombats, quolls, possums and the endangered Tasmanian devils. Currently, interactive encounters can be had with a macaw, dingo, quokka, python, koala or squirrel glider.
The zoo is open every day in the Perth school holidays and has free barbecue facilities to encourage families to make a day of it.
One of the best school holiday activities here is the amazing opportunity to be a Junior Zookeeper for a Day. Responsible kids aged 8 to 16 are welcome to register for this program, where they will learn all about handling and feeding the animals, and what's involved in the Tasmanian devil breeding program.
Junior Zookeepers get to see behind the scenes and find out how varied and sometimes unpredictable the job can be. Your kids will come home with new understanding and skills, as well as an enhanced respect for the needs of wild animals.
There's a limited number of places available for this experience, so be quick! If you miss out this summer school holidays, make sure you book for the autumn.
9. The Nostalgia Box
Now the kids are on holidays, Perth's Nostalgia Box in Northbridge is likely to get busy. Luckily there are more than 100 consoles where you can sample video games from the 1970s right up to recent years.
This is another unique experience for your bucket list of school holiday activities, as the first interactive video game museum in Australia. Given the time span covered, kids will be fascinated and parents can get all nostalgic about playing good old Space Invaders and Mario Bros.
Getting interested in more recent video games is also a great way to bond with your kids. Play together, and solo kids' activities become family fun. The Nostalgia Box is an educational experience in not only showcasing the variety as gaming has evolved over the years, but also what goes into creating great video games behind the scenes.
On 23 and 24 January, 8-year-olds and above can book into a one-hour hands-on session to learn more about building, wiring and coding video games.
10. The Space Place
Just outside the heritage town of Toodyay, The Space Place 'dome-free observatory' shows you the wonders of the night sky in an area that's almost free of ambient light. This means you will see many more stars and planets much more clearly than you would in the city.
Astronomers and enthusiasts are there to explain what you're seeing through telescopes, and share amazing facts about space.
Take a day out the summer school holidays to drive out to Toodyay and meander around the cafes and gift shops, take a ride on the gorgeous miniature railway and explore the Avon River. Make sure you arrive at The Space Place in time to stroll through their bush gardens and have a picnic before the sun goes down.