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25 BEST things to do in the April school holidays in Auckland for Kids

25 BEST things to do in the April school holidays in Auckland for Kids

Western Springs Playground
Western Springs Playground: Photo by Auckland for Kids

School holiday provide the chance to create memories together as a family, so have some fun in Auckland these Autumn school holidays.  Pick from magical theatre shows, trips to Insta-friendly attractions, fun activities that even the older kids will want to go out for the day with Mum and Dad.

1. Check out Auckland's new playgrounds on a family playground crawl

Take the kids on a playground crawl in your local neighbourhood, or discover some of the new playgrounds in Auckland, such as  Western Springs Park (pictured above), Home Street Reserve and Devonport Playground. Or visit some old favourites such as Grey Lynn Park in a neighbourhood you don’t normally visit when you are juggling the traffic across Auckland on a school day. Apart from your petrol or public transport costs it’s a FREE day of energetic outdoor fun with the kids!

Home Reserve Playground, Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand | Photo: Auckland for Kids
Home Street Playground

2. Discover the stories of Auckland Tāmaki Herenga Waka at Auckland Museum

Check our Auckland Museum’s new galleries Tāmaki Herenga Waka, which means “the gathering place of many waka” these school holidays with the kids. This permanent gallery chronicles Auckland’s past, captures its present, and looks to the future. There are lots of fun interactive exhibits for the kids to have fun exploring while also learning about Auckland. Read more about  visiting Tāmaki Herenga Waka Stories of Auckland

Auckland Museum is open late on Tuesdays until 8:30pm for Twilight Tuesdays during the school holidays which is a relaxed environment to wander through the museum with your tweens and teenagers.

Tamaki stories Auckland Museum
Tamaki Stories sounds of Tiritiri Matangi birds at Auckland Museum

3. Head into the city and enjoy FREE April school holiday activities in Aotea Square

Aotea Square has lots of FREE fun for the kids and families in Auckland these Autumn school holidays.

The Latin Fiesta brings the exciting sounds, tastes, and experiences of Latin American culture to the heart of the city for three days these school holidays from 16 Apr to 18 April 2021. Enjoy free salsa and tango dance classes, live music featuring a 15-piece Latin band, Samba parades, Brazilian forro bands, Latin DJs and more.

Watch the outdoor movie screening of  I am Greta, which coincides with Earth Day on the evening of Thu 22 Apr.

Be dazzled by an impressive, family-friendly line-up of aerial acrobatics, hilarious flips and slips, and a whole lot of tricks as Aotea Square transforms into a mini Circus in the Square festival featuring a mixture of local and international circus and music performance over two weekends Fri 23 to Sat 24 Apr and Fri 30 Apr to Sun 1 May.

See Jandel J and the Funky Friends in the FREE film screening Motuhake on the Digital Stage in the afternoon on Fri 23 Apr, Sat 25 Apr, Fri 30 Apr or Sat 1 May in the afternoons in Aotea Square. 

Towel you What
Manubrium Circus Theatre's Towel You What!?

4. Check out one of the live family shows at a theatre in Auckland

Little kids will love Tim Bray Productions of A Lion in the Meadow and Other Stories at The Pumphouse,  The Downs & Ups of Peep & Squeak at the Basement Theatre and tweens will like The Addams Family at Spotlight Theatre. Keep the kids entertained with more family theatre shows.

Lion in the Meadow
A Lion in the Meadow and Other Stories live show at The Pumphouse Theatre

5. Go camping in your own backyard

If you are like us and need to juggle working from home these holidays plus entertaining the kids going on a camping trip in your own backyard can be fun. The advantage is it’s easy to get too with no traffic jams, it’s FREE (if you own or can borrow a tent from family or friends) plus you can pick an Autumn day that isn’t too wet hopefully!  The kids will often want to leave up the tent to have another playspace for the holidays.

Camping backyard
Camping your backyard

6. Head to the movies to see a new family film with the kids

The cinemas have had a tough year with COVID so please support your favourite cinema and film studio by taking the kids to see a family movie these holidays.  Two of our favourite holiday movies are Beatrix Potter’s classic character in  Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (watch the trailer) or the classic Hanna-Barbera cat and mouse team  in Tom and Jerry (watch the trailer). 

Peter Rabbit 2 Trailer 848
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

7. Head to your local library and join in the FREE holiday activities

Auckland libraries always have lots of fun and FREE activities for kids in the April school holidays. Choose from a reading adventure Wilbur’s Cosmic Cone, Dancing with Grandparents, Learn Karate, Worm Farming Talk  or Lego Science. Remember to load up on some books to take home to read too. Choose some books that your kids can read independently and some that you can read together in the holidays.

8. Get the kids in the garden

Get the kids to help out in the garden or even help them to start their own. Now is the perfect time to plant spring bulbs so you have flowers ready to bloom in spring. If you are new to gardening, find out what plants grow well in Autumn. If you haven’t got a garden, then your children can still enjoy gardening in containers instead.

Boy gardening and watering the plants with a watering can
Having fun watering the plants

9. Take some Instagram worthy pictures at HAPPY PLACE

Take your tweens and teens to HAPPY PLACE to get some Instagram pics of them and hopefully they aren’t too embarrassed to get some with Mum and Dad as well at the immersive pop-up experience at Spark Arena these holidays. The pop up phenomenon opening in Auckland on Friday 23 April is dubbed ‘the world’s most Instagrammable exhibit’ sold-out residencies in Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. Featuring larger-than-life whimsical installations and multi-sensory immersive rooms, you can get snap-happy in the world’s largest indoor Confetti Dome, the famed Rubber Ducky Bathtub (below), the wildly popular Cookie Room scented with the aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, an Upside Down room that defies gravity, and Super Bloom a room filled with 40,000 golden handmade flowers, to name just a few of the photo-friendly spaces. 

Happy Place exhibition

10. Go dolphin spotting on Auckland Harbour

Treat the family to a unique experience in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park with Auckland Whale & Safari Dolphin.  You can typically see dolphins and Bryde’s whales. Sometimes, they also find sharks, orca, bottlenose dolphins, blue, humpback, minke, sei, pilot, beaked, sperm or southern right whales, leopard and fur seals, turtles and manta ray in the water. Plus there are over 20 species of seabirds confirmed breeding in or near the Marine Park including the Northern Blue Penguin.

You are more likely to see very large pods of dolphins banding together in winter, which is why it’s worth braving the colder autumn weather with the kids, instead of waiting for summer!

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari

11. Attend the Dawn Parade with your family on Anzac Day

Honour the soldiers who fought at Gallipoli and other conflicts in which New Zealand has been involved in Anzac Day by attending one of Auckland’s Dawn Parades.  Find out what ANZAC parades are on in Auckland this year.

Anzac Day poppies

12. Go on a bike tour of your local Auckland neighbourhood

Go biking with the kids in your local neighbourhood and see what new things you discover. Or if you prefer go further afield and explore some other parts of Auckland on your bikes.

13. Get hand-on with science at MOTAT

Don’t miss seeing Science Fiction Science Future before it finishes at MOTAT on 9 May. Kids will enjoy the interactive experience that has robotics, invisibility, mind control, holograms and augmented reality.

Kids can get crafty with robots at MOTAT in the April school holiday experience: Rad Robots as part of the general admission.

Science Fiction Science Future at MOTAT
Auckland for Kids having fun at Science Ficiton Science Future at MOTAT

14. Hold a garage sale

Host a garage sale with your family these Autumn school holidays.  Get the kids to sort out their toys, games and clothes that they no longer want or fit because they have grown out of it.  Once they understand that they can get some money for new toys they usually don’t mind selling old ones that they no longer play with.  You can put out some baskets and mark each basket by price such as $5, $2, $1 or 50 cents rather than pricing everything separately.  You can also teach the kids about giving and suggest that half of the proceeds you donate funds to a charity they choose. 

15. Head into Auckland city centre to check out some art and culture or go shopping

These holidays pop in to see Van Gogh Alive at Spark arena multi sensory experience to entertain the whole family. 

Visit the Auckland Gallery which is FREE for Aucklanders to check out the Creative Learning Centre’s latest installation Te Ha o Te Wao Nui a Tāne (The Breath of Tāne)! with the kids. Enjoy the immersive forest, ecosystem created  and make your own rub drawings to   contribute to Tāne’s korowai (cloak) on the art gallery wall.

Take the teens to check out some of New Zealand’s best fashion designers in Britomart, even if they can only afford to go window shopping.

16. Make a blanket playhouse or fort with the kids under your dining table

What kids don’t love hanging out in forts and playhouses when they are little?  With just a table and some sheets or blankets you can create an instant play space for the kids. 

Play fort

17. Check out the free activities at your local shopping centre

Lots of the shopping centres in Auckland have free school holiday activities for the kids. Check out our events calendar to find what’s on at your local centre.

18. Organise a playdate at home with their best friends

Invite your children’s friends over for a playdate these school holidays. Kids can have a fun relaxed play together without the busyness of a regular school week of activities. Plus if you need to work for part of the holidays you can take turns with another family to each have a playdate so you get a free day to go to work.

19. Give the kids a "Yes" Day

Let your kids have a day where they pick what to do, and as a parent/caregiver you can’t say no. You can set some boundaries around location, and also an agreed amount to spend. Kids could choose their own activities for the day, such as visiting one of Auckland’s Zoo’s, Galleries or MuseumsFamily Attractions, Indoor Playgrounds or go out for ice cream.

Vector Wero Family Rafting

20. Play some board games

When it’s a wet day take out your family board games and get the kids to round up their friends and the neighbours’ kids to join in a friendly day of games. The friendly rivalry should keep the kids entertained and as it’s a day at home you won’t need to spend anything.

21. Go on family picnic at one of Auckland's best gardens and parks

Head to one of Auckland’s best gardens and parks for an autumn picnic. Pack a picnic hamper, a ball, some books to make it a fun day out. 

Auckland Domain and wintergardens
Auckland Domain and Wintergarden
Parnell Rose Gardens
Parnell Rose Gardens
Auckland Botanic Garden Sculptures
Auckland Botanic Gardens

22. Suprise the kids with a spontaneous day out

Check out our picks of fun things do today in Auckland and choose something new to do.

23. Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple New Zealand

Visit the Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush in East Auckland to experience another culture without having to leave the city.

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple New Zealand
Auckland for Kids visits Fo Guan Shan Buddhist Temple New Zealand

24. Go out for meal at family restaurant in Auckland

Head out for lunch or dinner at one of Auckland’s kid-friendly restaurants and cafes.  Or if you want something more relaxed then head to one of Auckland’s Night Markets.

25. Meet your favourite animals

Visit one of your your favourite animal farms or zoos in Auckland. Choose from Cornwall Parks farm animals, Ambury Park farm animals, Auckland Zoo or Butterfly Creek.

Horse on a New Zealand farm
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