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Top ways to entertain your kids these school holidays
ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary
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Top ways to entertain your kids these school holidays

This is the anti-boredom blog of brilliant activities to keep your kids entertained and burn off some energy these summer school holidays. Whether you’re a family of adventurers or buggy-bound with preschoolers, whether you have a few hours or a whole day - Zealandia has something for a whole family day out. 

1. Spot a tuatara

Is your kid fascinated by dinosaurs? Either way they’ll love these rare reptiles, the last survivors of an order of reptiles that lived in the age of the dinosaurs. Check out their big spines and scaly skin as they sunbathe. 

Photo: Janice McKenna

 

 


 

2. Climb the lookout tower for a bird’s eye view 

Climbing carefully up the lookout tower by the upper dam and you’ll be as high as the manu. The tower is a replica anchor point for the 200-metre flying fox that was strung on wires across the valley during construction of the upper dam – imagine careening across the valley on that!  

 

 

 

 

3. Guess who in Birdsong Gully 

Birdsong Gully is the perfect spot to practice your birdsong knowledge before putting it to the test further in the valley. Here you can press buttons and hear the calls of rare birds including kiwi.  

 

 

 

 

 

4. Play biodiversity bingo

Grab a biodiversity bingo sheet from the Visitors Centre and head out into the valley. Start a friendly family challenge or work together to see the tīeke, toutouwai, kawakawa, rangiora, kākā. A great way to make sure you see plenty of wildlife is on a day tour, where an experienced guide will use their knowledge to track down even the rarest of animals!   

 

 

 

 

5. Look for sleeping critters in the Taonga Towers 

What could be living behind the doors of our Taonga Towers? Here you might encounter nocturnal tree wētā, cave wētā, spiders or even the “gherkin slug” (seriously, it looks like a gherkin)! If you like nocturnal critters and creatures, return when the sun goes down for a Zealandia By Night Tour and experience the sanctuary as it comes alive with wētā, ruru, kiwi, glowworms and more. 

Photo credit: Chris Helliwell 

 


 

6. Watch kākā at feeding time 

As parents and caregivers, you know mealtimes can at times be chaotic, but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve witnessed feeding time with the cheeky kākā. The boisterous bush parrots are a highlight for many as they swoop and squawk over the special pellets and sugar water we provide daily.  

Photo credit: Brendon Doran

 

 

 

7. Nature-based learning with your kids

Being in nature and experiencing the amazing animals living in the wild will leave your kids feeling inspired. For wildlife-themed kids’ books, games and toys to encourage the little nature-lover at home, visit the Zealandia Store. Also find fun science activities, colouring sheets, wētā building guides on our website – it’s a fun way for kids to discover first-hand the positive impact of looking after our natural world.

 

 

 

8. Picnic with the takahē

The Wetland Lawn is a popular lunch spot – where else in Wellington can you munch a sandwich while dinosaur-like takahē roam the grassy lawn? Zealandia is home to a takahē pair who are friendly to kids –  but only when given plenty of space and respect, otherwise they’ll disappear back into the bush! 

Photo credit: Cam Hayes

 

 

 

9. Enjoy a kid’s event like papermaking, art workshops, or puppet shows 

Our summer events schedule is full of fun drop-in family events – like papermaking, arts and crafts and puppet shows – sure to keep your kids entertained during the holiday period. Check our website regularly for dates and times.  

 

 

 

 


10. Feed hungry tummies at the café  

With a kid’s menu sure to fill grumbling tummies and a fantastic barista coffee to help energise the adults, our onsite Rātā Café makes an excellent beginning, middle or end to any visit to Zealandia.  

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