The BEST things to do in the July school holidays with kids

Basket Swing and slides at Aronia Park Auckland for Kids

25 of the Best things to do in the July School holidays 2021 with kids

Auckland for Kids pick of the top 25 things to do in the July school holidays 2021 with your family and children in Auckland, New Zealand.


1. Go on an urban playground crawl

Auckland playgrounds
Central  Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland and West Auckland.

Go on a playground crawl with your kids for a fund day out. Discover some different playgrounds in Auckland to visit with the kids. 

The rainbow coloured playround in the cover image is Aronia Park Playground.

If you are looking for ideas of playgrounds to visit with your family, check out Auckland for Kids review of more Auckland Playgrounds here. 

Cost: FREE apart from your petrol or public transport fares.

2. Find out why Sea Monsters are different to Dinosaurs at Auckland Museum

Sea Monsters exhibition

Auckland Museum, Parnell, Central Auckland
Exhibition is open from Wed 7 July 2021 and will be open daily during the July school holidays

Visit the exhibition Sea Monsters with the kids at Auckland Museum to learn all about the prehistoric ocean preditors with over 70 displays direct from the Australian National Maritime Museum. See real fossils from millions of years ago, along with gigantic replicas including a 13-metre long Elasmosaur and 9-metre long Prognathodon. 

If the kids are brave enough you can spend the night at the museum at the Sleepover with Sea Monsters event on 14 July, 16 July, 21 July and 23 July. This is only on for 4 nights so book early as this will sell out!

Take the kids to the FREE Dino Discovery session on weekdays during the school holidays for an interactive experience led by the museums learning team to find out all about dinosaurs.

Remember the museum is open late on Tuesday nights until 8:30pm so you can visit the museum in the evening for a different experience too!

Museum Entry is FREE
for Auckland Residents and donations are invited from New Zealand visitors.
Sea Monster Exhibition: Under 5’s are FREE; Children aged 6 to 13 years $10; Adults $19 and Families (2 adults and 2 children) $48.
Treasure & Tales: Dino Discovery: FREE 
Sleepover with Sea Monsters: $75 per person.

3. Let the kids stay up late for Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail and Fireworks

Matariki Night Trail in Glen Innes

Maybury Reserve, Glen Innes,  Central-East Auckland
Sat 4 July to Sat 10 July 2021: 6pm to 9pm each night (until 9:45pm on Sat 10 July).
Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail info

Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail, now in it’s 8th year, is an annual free-to-the-public outdoor lighting festival combining light, music and creativity across nine themes, representing the nine stars of Matariki. The light trail runs for nine nights ending on Saturday 10 July with a Matariki Fireworks Spectacular on Saturday 10th July at 9pm for the festival finale.

Cost: FREE

4. Let the kids go "Wow!" about science at MOTAT

MOTAT, 805 Great North Road & Meola Road, Western Springs, Central Auckland
July 2021 school holidays: 10am to 4pm daily

There’s plenty of fun activities to occupy the whole family for a day out at MOTAT throughout the winter school holidays! 
 – WOW Science holiday experience introduces kids to important scientific concepts whilst having tonnes of fun;
 – MOTAT’s LIVE Village Day on Sun 19 July 2021;
 – Love | Science new exhibition opens on 10 July and explores innovation in Aotearoa;
 – Slice of Life: The World Famous Dunedin Study exhibition; and 
 – Take a tram ride between MOTAT’s two museum site through Western Springs from 10am to 4pm each day during the holidays.

Cost: Usual MOTAT admission charges apply and includes all school holiday activities and exhibitions.

5. Visit your local Auckland Libraries for FREE Matariki inspired activities

Local Auckland Libraries
Saturday 10 July to Sunday 25 July 2021
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland

Shine bright these school holidays with fun activities at your local Auckland Library involving light and illumination, opportunities to be a star and Matariki inspired events for school-aged tamariki. There are lots of fun events to choose from such as: Stories under the Stars on the top of Lopdell House, Matariki Window Charms at Blockhouse Bay Library and more fun activities for kids.

Cost: FREE activities for kids at your local library.

6. Take the family snow tubing at Auckland's own Winter Wonderland

Tubing at Snowplanet

Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland, North Auckland
Saturday 10 July to Sunday 25 July 2021

Have fun together as a family playing in the snow and snow tubing at Snowplanet’s Winter Wonderland complete with snow capped trees without having to leave Auckland. It’s the perfect winter family activity that everyone in your family will be able to do.  Snow tubing is fun for all ages and requires no skill. Or if you are up for something more challenging you could try skiing or snowboarding at Auckland’s only indoor ski slope, Snowplanet.

Cost for 1 hr snow tubing with entry to Winter Wonderland: Kids under 2 are FREE; Children aged 5 and under are $19; Children over 5 and adults $35, Add on an extra hour for $12 to $17 per person. Spectators are $10 per person.

7. Take in show culture at one of the live kids school holiday shows

Tim Bray Productions The Four Seasons

Enjoy one of the live theatre family friendly shows in the July 2021 school holidays. Choose from:

8. Take the kids for a FREE swim

Boy swimming in pool

Auckland indoor heated pools
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland
July school holidays.  (Please check the pools operating hours before you go.)

Yay, the swimming pools are open to enjoy again for the July school holidays.  Enjoy one of Auckland Council operated indoor pools where children and teenagers aged 16 years or younger get to swim for FREE.

9. Visit the Navy Museum and it's fun playground in Devonport

Devonport Navy Museum and Playground Photo by Auckland for Kids
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum & Playground and Cafe | Photo by Auckland for Kids

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 64 King Edward Parade, Devonport North Shore
Daily in the July 2021 school holidays:10am to 5pm
Event details

Bring the kids to the Navy Museum in Devonport and try out their Future Fleets activity booklet & trail plus make their own 3D ship. Plus when you have finished exploring the museum the kids will love playing in the nautical themed playground in front of the museum and next to the cafe. Or not too far away is the fun new Devonport Playground for the kids to enjoy.

Price: Children $5 (includes a pencil to keep).

10. Climb to the top of one of Auckland's mountains and take in the view

Visit the summit of Mt Wellington | Photo Credit: Auckland for Kids
Top of Maungarei Mount Wellington | Photo by Auckland for Kids

Choose from Mangere, Maungawhau Mount Eden,  Pukewīwī Mount Roskill, Maungarei Mount Wellington, Owairaka Mount Albert, Maungakiekie One Tree Hill, Maungauika North Head, and Tangi Te Keo Mount Victoria.

Open during daylight everyday in the school holidays

Take the family for a walk to the top of one of Auckland’s mountains. Or if the kids have lots of energy, then you could always try a family challenge of visiting a few of them in one day.

Cost: FREE

11. Encourage your kids to donate or sell their unwanted toys

Small dinosaur toys

Encourage your kids to part with their toys that they no longer want by selling them at a Kids Market or donating them to charity.

Book a table to sell their toys the upcoming Auckland Kids Markets:
– Howick Kids Market on Saturday 17 July 2021
– Browns Bay Kid’s Flea Market on Sun 1 August 2021
– Regenerate Kids Market

Or they can donate their toys that are in good condition. (Note different shops accept different things and it changes from time to time so please call or have a look at their website to see what they accept before you go with the kids):
Red Cross Shops in Browns Bay, Henderson, Mt Eden, Onehunga, Orewa, Panmure, Royal Oak, Sandringham, Takanini, Waiheke Island and Wairau Park.
– Salvation Army Family Stores in Albany, Avondale, Balmoral, Birkenhead, Botany Downs, Browns Bay, Clendon, Glen Innes, Glen Eden, Glenfield, Henderson, Howick, Manukau, Manurewa, Massey, Mt Eden, Mt Roskill, Mt Wellington, New Lynn, Onehunga, Otahuhu. Papakura, 

12. Have dinner at one of Auckland Night Markets

Food at the Auckland Night Market

Take the family out for dinner at one of the night markets in Auckland during the school holidays. 

The Auckland Night Markets are in different Auckland suburbs each night. You can find them at:
Mt Wellington (under Countdown) on a Tuesday from 5pm to 11pm
Botany Town Centre (under Hoyts) on a Wednesday from 5pm to 11pm
Henderson (under Kmart) on a Thursday night from 5pm to 11pm
Papatoetoe (under Kmart) on a Friday from 5pm to 11pm
Pakuranga under the Warehouse on Saturday from 5pm to 11pm
Birkenhead (Highbury Centre) on a Sunday from 4:30pm to 11pm

The Catalina Bay Mid-Winter  Food Truck Night Market is on Sat 17 July 2021 at the Catalina Bay Farmers Market in Hobsonville Point.

13. Go on an Auckland art hunt

Flox street art in newmarket photo by AFK
Flox Street Art in Newmarket | Photo: Auckland for Kids

Take the kids on an art hunt in Auckland. Discover some of Auckland’s best street art and sculptures in your neighbourhood and the City Centre. Visit Sculptureum in Matakana and its stunning outdoor sculpture trail and animals or Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.  Or check out what is happening at the Wallace Arts Trust at the Pah Homestead in Hillsborough or at the Auckland Art Gallery in Auckland City Centre.

14. Try ice sliding or ice staking at Aotea Square

Aotea Square Ice Rink Auckland Live

Aotea Square Ice Rink and Ice Slide, Aotea Square, Auckland City Centre
Open daily in the July school holidays: Friday & Saturday 10am – 11pm and Sunday – Thursday 10am – 10pm.
Event information

Put on your skates and go down the multi-level ice slide at Aotea Square Square Ice Rink and Ice Slide with the whānau these school holidays. Plus there is a cool collection of icy adventures and themed activities at the ice rink. Or if you want to try something different, let the kids stay up late and head in the city in the evening to go skating and afterwards go out for a family dinner.


15. Go to Ambury Farm for a FREE family day out

Ambury Farm Lamb

43 Ambury Road, Mangere Bridge, Mangere South Auckland

Take the kids to see sheep, goats, pigs, turkey,  cows, chickens, peacocks. Plus the Ambury lambs are due in mid July so if you visit at the end of the holidays, you may be lucky and see the baby lambs. There is always plenty of bird watching opportunities. Bring your picnic for lunch,  a ball to play some games and your gumboots if its a wet day. 

Plus if you are looking for more to day have a read of Auckland for Kids recommendations of the best things to do in Mangere and Manukau.

Cost: FREE

16. Have fun at Rainbow's End at Night (or in the day)

Fairy Lights on Kidz Kingdom at Rainbow's End

Rainbow’s End, Manukau, South Auckland

For families Rainbow’s End is open in the school holidays for Winter Lights – Twilight Nights from Sundays to Fridays from 4pm to 8pm. Kids will love seeing the castle lighted up in Fairy Lights at night.

For the older kids visit Rainbow’s End at nights during their Winter Lights Night Rides on Saturday nights in July where the whole theme park is open late. If you come as a daytime guest in the July school holidays you can stay on for free as a spectator after your day of riding to watch the castle and centre court come alive. 

17. Go on a FREE bike or scooter family adventure

Boys learning to ride bikes

Try out some new places go bike riding with the kids in the July school holidays. 

Our favourite places for young kids are: Western Springs Park, Tole Reserve Ponsonby, Onepoto Domain in Northcote, Avondale learn to ride track and  Greville Reserve Forest Hill. 

For all ages we like Grey Lynn Park Pump Track, the pink Lightpath in the City, Westhaven Boardwalk, Waterview Shared Path and Tamaki Drive.

Cost: FREE

18. See the Dinosaurs at Butterfly Creek

Walking Dinsoaurs at Butterfly Creek

Butterfly CreekSouth Auckland
Open daily during the school holidays:9:30am to 5pm

See the newly refurbished tropical Butterfly House, and meet the monkeys, crocodiles and other animals. See the Walking Dino team on Saturdays and Sundays during the holidays at selected times.  There are daily animal encounters in the school holidays so you can see the other animals.  Plus make dino and butterfly masks on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the holidays. Lot’s of Butterfly Creek is undercover so you can always look at some of the inside attractions if the weather isn’t great too. There will also be a special book reading on Thursday 22nd by kiwi author Clare Scott who will share her award-winning story The midnight adventures of Ruru and Kiwi.

If you have more time and a full day out, you can always combine your visit to Butterfly Creek with a visit to Rocket Ropes to go climbing which is right next door too.

Read more about Auckland for Kids visit to Butterfly Creek here.

19. Take the kids to the cinema

The movies are open again for these school holidays! Head inside to the movies on a wet and cold wintery day to keep the kids entertained .

New family movies showing in the July school holidays include: Spirit Untamed; Luca; Cranston Academy: Monster Zone; Moonbound and Space Jam: A New Legacy.

20. Let the kids choose a plant to grow in a pot indoors or in the garden

Let the kids discover looking after and watching a plant grow these holidays. Whether they want to plant strawberries now to eat in spring, or sweet peas to bloom into beautiful flowers, herbs for cooking there is lots of easy plants kids can enjoy nurturing and watching them grow.

Boy gardening and watering the plants with a watering can

21. Take a cruise on Auckland Harbour

Go dolphin and whale watching on the Hauraki Gulf

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari
Check out what days the tours are on here:

Wrap up warm and take the family on an eco safari direct from downtown Auckland to see whales, dolphins, seals, rare seabirds and more. Kids can learn lots too as the tours are hosted by marine experts.  And if you are worried that on the day you go you don’t get to see any marine mammals, don’t worry because if you don’t you get to cruise again for FREE.

Auckland sunrise with Rangitoto in the background - AUCKLAND FOR KIDS

Catch the ferry and walk to the top of Rangitoto

Fullers 360 Ferries go to Rangitoto each day in the holidays. 
Check out their timetable here before you go:

Rangitoto is only a 25 minute ferry ride from the city centre. You can walk to the top of Rangitoto on foot, or if the kids are tired then there is a 4WD train tour to the top that travels through the lava crops and pohutakawa forest. Then the kids just need to walk part of the way to the top of the summit. At the top you get a superb view of the Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges.

Tips: There are no places to buy food on the island so remember to bring your lunch from home.  You are best to bring a backpack or baby carrier for young children and leave strollers at home.

22. Go horse riding on one of Auckland's beaches

Horse riding

Two of our favourite places to go horse riding on Auckland Beaches are Muriwai Beach Horse Treks and Pakiri Beach Horse Rides.

Both horse treks cater for all levels of experience and have friendly guides who help your children gain confidence on a horse. Plus both rides go through stunning scenery and along the beaches.

23. Take the kids to enjoy a FREE activity at your local shopping centre

Kids playing circus games

Visit one of Auckland’s shopping centres for some FREE school holiday winter fun for the kids.  

NorthWest: FREE circus Fun with eco-juggling balls and interactive circus games
Glenfield Mall: Face painting, Lego workshops, Pizza Making, Karate, Dance shows, Paw Patrol, Bouncy Castle, Hungerball, Minions, Elsa & Olaf, Taekwondo and more.
WestCity: Pokemon Day on 13 July
Pakuranga Plaza: Balloon Twisting, fun games, puzzles and magic shows

Cost: FREE 

24. Create your own Treasure Hunt at home

Get the kids to create a fun treasure hunt throughout the house (or in the garden). Give each of your kids a few objects, prizes and toys to hide and then to make a map for their sibling to find all of the treasures.  Little kids will need your help to make the map. Once the map is made, swap it with your sibling or friends and see if they can find everything.

Or if your kids are older and think this would be lame, then treat them to a visit at one of Auckland’s fun Escape Rooms. 

25. Take a tour of the Chelsea Sugar Factory

Chelsea Sugar Factory, 100 Colonial Road, Birkenhead, North Auckland
Tours run from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday and are one hour long, bookings are required.

Take a tour of the sugar factory, then enjoy the free interactive kids zone. Plus afterwards you can enjoy coffee in the Sugar Cafe while watching the kids play in the playground outside.  They also have classes available for kids in the school holidays at the Edmonds Baking school onsite.

If you don’t want to go on a tour, you can just go and enjoy the playground and interactive kids zone too.

Chelsea Sugar Bay Tour