Looking for things to do in Auckland with the kids? The city has a fantastic range of family activities for every age and every budget. From thrilling theme parks and fascinating museums to unforgettable wildlife encounters and beautiful parks and beaches, keeping everybody entertained is easy in Auckland.
Address: Motions Rd, Western Springs, Auckland.
Opening hours: 9.30am - 5.30pm (last admission 4.15pm) every day except Xmas Day
Cost: Adults $28, Children (4-14) $12, Children under 4 free, student, senior and family passes also available
Why it's so cool: All kids love animals, and Auckland Zoo is home to 150 different species. There's heaps of parking in the free car park, or outside on Motions Rd, and they hire strollers if required. Take a picnic lunch, or buy lunch there at one of several Café's and food stalls. There's also a kids playground. Highlights would have to be the Rainforest filled with birds and monkeys, the impressive seal and penguin area, and the regular feeding times and shows (grab a timetable from the entrance).
We love: The annual family pass - a much cheaper way to go if you plan to visit the zoo more than once a year. We go up once or twice a month for a couple of hours in the morning.
Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland.
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm daily, 365 days per year
Cost: Adults $38, Children (3-15) $22, Children 0-2 free, student, senior and family passes available
Why it's so cool: It's the ultimate underwater experience. Travel in an Arctic Sno-Cat past penguins and a replica Orca whale, and check out what conditions were like for early Antarctic explorers. There's also a touch pool where your children can feel and hold real starfish and coral, and of course, the highlight of the whole Kelly Tarltons experience: the underwater viewing tunnel. You can either ride a travelator, or walk along at your own pace, inside a huge glass viewing tunnel filled with fish and other sea creatures, as well as the odd shark! Boxes are provided for littlies to stand on so they get the best view.
We love: The kids play area, complete with dress up costumes so your kiddies can dress up as their favorite under-sea creature.
Address: 10 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport
Opening hours: 9.30am - 5pm open every day except Xmas day & Boxing day
Cost: Adults from $13 - $27, Children (age 3 - 15) $10 - $16, children under 3 free, student, senior and family passes also available
Why it's so cool: Butterfly Creek is one of Auckland's most exciting and colourful attractions. There is an aquaria where you can spot Nemo and his friends, a wonderful tropical butterfly house where over 500 butterflies surround you. Butterfly Creek also hosts two giant salt water crocodiles, at 1pm daily there is an encounter with them! Buttermilk Farm is very popular at Butterfly Creek as it is a great way for the children to interact with the farm animals - see the goat getting milked, pat a bunny rabbit and giggle at the pigs as they snooze. There is a little steam train and also a playground for the kids to play in, while adults can enjoy a coffee and lunch from the cafe. Butterfly Creek is a great day out suitable for all months of the year as it is 50% under cover. New to Butterfly Creek is Dinosaur Kingdom - an exciting exhibit where you can explore all sized dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago.
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Address: Domain Drive, Auckland Domain, Auckland
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm daily except Christmas Day and ANZAC morning
Cost: Entry by donation, suggested donation per adult $5, children up to age 16 free
Why it's so cool: It's a great introduction to the history of New Zealand, from the Maori waka and cultural display, to bits and pieces from the pacific, animal and insect fossils, and of course, the War Memorial. For kids, there are two hands-on discovery centres, 'Weird and Wonderful' and 'Treasures and Tales'.
We love: The Maori cultural show, performed 3 times a day it's a great display of Maori dance, music and haka. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7.50 for kids, and the ticket price includes your entry donation.
Auckland Stardome Observatory
Address: One Tree Hill Domain, off Manukau Rd, Royal Oak, Auckland
Opening hours: Vary depending on season and weather. Check the website for latest times.
Cost: Evening Shows: Adults $10 Children $8 Children under 3 free. Different pricing applies to weekend fundays - check the website for details.
Why it's so cool: Stars, stars and more stars. With the occasional planet thrown in. Kids seem to be fascinated by the night sky, and the Stardome is a great place to introduce them to it up close and personal. Check out the evening show, and have a look at the night sky through a giant telescope.
We love: The kids school-holiday shows specially designed for preschoolers. Check out the website or keep an eye on your local paper for details of dates and times.
Address: 2 Clist Crescent, Manukau, Auckland
Opening hours: Daily from 10am, except Xmas Day
Cost: Adult $59, Children 2-13 $48, Children under 2 free (must be accompanied),Kidz Kingdom Indoor and outdoor (2 - 5 years) $29.00, Kidz Kingdom Indoor only (2 - 5 years) $17.00
Why it's so cool: It's Auckland's only theme park, with attractions for the whole family. Entry prices include unlimited rides; some rides do have height restrictions for safety reasons. Take a picnic lunch, or buy lunch at one of the food outlets on site.
We love: The whole area dedicated to littlies, with a junior rollercoaster, carousel, car ride, bouncy castle and plenty more to keep your preschooler entertained.
MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology)
Address: Great North Rd, Western Springs, Auckland
Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm, last entry at 4.30pm, except Xmas Day
Cost: Adults $16, Children 5-16 $8, Children under 5 free.
Why it's so cool: Step back into New Zealand's Colonial past, with restored and maintained settler houses, plus a school house and a church, as well as original steam locomotive engines, horse drawn cart rides and a huge science and technology area inside. Plus, there's Motat 2 around the corner (on Motions Rd) where you can check out early aircraft and war planes, and entry to Motat also includes a free tram ride, and entry to the tactile dome inside.
We love: The school holiday programmes - even preschoolers love the hands-on activities that are set up during the school holidays. We especially enjoyed the giant bubble making activity where your preschooler (or older child) has a bubble made around him or her. Surreal!
Take the short ferry trip to Rangitoto and explore the island with Fullers Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer Tour. Journey on a 4WD road train through rugged lava crops and native pohutukawa forest and learn more about this iconic volcano from knowledgeable guides. A short walk takes you up to the summit for spectacular 360-degree views back to the city.
Enjoy a breath of fresh air at one of Auckland’s 26 regional parks and find the perfect place for a family picnic or book one of the popular BBQ spots. Take a walk to explore rolling grasslands and native rainforest or take a dip in the sea at one of the sheltered golden beaches.
Grab a bucket and spade and head to one of Auckland's many stunning beaches. Choose from dozens of activities on and off the water, take a stroll with an ice cream, or simply sit back, relax and soak up the sun. From the west coast's black-sand surf beaches to the golden bays in the north, there's a beach for everybody in Auckland.
As the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower offers stunning panoramic views of the Auckland region for up to 80 kilometres in every direction. After you've marvelled at the views, relax with a bite to eat at Sky Lounge or, if the family’s feeling brave, experience the thrill of the SkyWalk or SkyJump.
Don't miss out on the recently opened waterfront space at Wynyard Quarter. Enjoy a meal overlooking the water at one of the many restaurants along North Wharf before taking the family on the 1920’s heritage trams that ride the Wynyard Loop. The kids will love the maritime-themed playspace, while Silo Park is home to regular markets, live music and outdoor cinema in the summer.
Take the family to Auckland Museum to discover the fascinating history of the land and people of New Zealand. MOTAT takes you on a journey through the many technological leaps that have shaped New Zealand, while Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum tells the story of the country’s colourful maritime history.
Nature and wildlife
No family trip to Auckland is complete without an up-close wildlife encounter. Be amazed by hundreds of native and exotic animals at Auckland Zoo, take an underwater journey through Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium, meet exciting species at Butterfly Creek, or experience a breathtaking encounter with dolphins and whales in the Hauraki Gulf.
Enjoy world-class rides and thrills at Rainbow's End, New Zealand's premier theme park. Explore the brand new Kidz Kingdom, the ultimate place for under 8s, and defy gravity on the only corkscrew rollercoaster in the country. For a gentler pace, head further south and lose yourself in the Amazing Maze 'n Maize.
Ski, snowboard or toboggan at New Zealand’s only all-year indoor snow resort. Open 365 days a year, Snowplanet offers the thrill of winter sports just 20 minutes north of downtown Auckland. Soak up the atmosphere of a snow resort, take a skiing or snowboarding lesson with expert instructors, or just play in the snow.
Auckland plays host to a number of exciting family-friendly events right throughout the year. Take in the dazzling sights and sounds of diverse cultures at the colourful Auckland Lantern Festival, Auckland Diwali Festival and Pasifika. Or dance the day away at the annual Coca Cola Christmas in the Park outdoor concerts.