There’s no better time than family time! And, lucky for us, Auckland has a multitude of family attractions that both the whole family can enjoy. Whether it's screaming on a roller coaster or coming face-to-face with sharks or having a pony ride, there's no shortage of things to do.
Here's the best family attractions in Auckland.
Auckland's best theme park really is the gold at the end of the rainbow! Situated in Manukau, it's worth blocking out an entire day to spend at Rainbow's End! With more than twenty rides, all age groups are well looked after. For the younger sprogs, make a beeline for the Kidz Kingdom. Catering to children aged eight and under, take a ride on the Choco Express or join the Car Wash Convoy for a gentle ride in an oh-so cute car. For those aged two and under, there's a special tiny tots area they'll love. For older kids and adults who love a good thrill, you won't be disappointed! Face your fear of heights and literally fall 18 stories on the Fearfall. Or, go next level with their scariest ride yet—the Stratosfear! You'll be taken high, taken low and spun until you're dizzy on this insane ride!
Treat the kids to one of Auckland's most family-friendly venues, Butterfly Creek! A treasure trove of delights, step inside the stunning tropical butterfly house or travel back in time to the Dinosaur Kingdom, which has more than 60 dinosaurs! Some are life-sized and will roar as you wander through—watch out for the vicious Velociraptor! There are plenty of animals here too—adorable Asian small-clawed otters, an aquarium (can you find Nemo and his dad Marlin?!), crocs, kiwis, reptiles and all the creepy crawlies you could hope for.
Home to 126 species and more than 1000 animals, The Auckland Zoo is basically an Auckland animal kingdom! This makes it not only a great family attraction but an iconic spot for all Aucklanders. They have the classic lions, zebras and giraffes but they’re also the home to red pandas, Asian elephants and capybaras! It's a huge zoo, so chances are you'll want to dedicate a couple of days to getting around it. For the younger kids, there's a hands-on kids' area where they can explore and pet friendly animals. Don't forget to stop by the dragon and take a photo inside its mouth!
Channel your inner monkey and take tree climbing to a new level at Tree Adventures! With a different course for different heights to ensure the course is safe for each person, Tree Adventures offers excitement with high wire courses and is an unmissable experience of pure adrenaline and thrill. The instructors will not only make you feel safe but they're also pretty darn funny to keep the kids entertained. Your child will be feeling like Tarzan and walk away with newfound confidence and courage after hours of pushing their limits.
When it comes to Auckland's best attractions for families, the iconic museum is an absolute must! While the venue as a whole is pretty fricking amazing, make a beeline for the first floor's Weird and Wonderful area. This is the space where touching and learning is actively encouraged (no more cries of 'hands off!') Your little scientist can explore the world through a microscope or head to the collection wall to see a real bone or even a dinosaur skull! There's plenty of things to explore on the discovery trail, too! With books, live insects, hands-on exhibitions, this is one of the best things to do with kids in Auckland! When you're done with the first floor, head to the volcano room to experience a real. life. volcano....well kind of!
Many children go through a stage of loving planes, trains and automobiles and, for them, MOTAT (Museum of Technology and Transport) is like a dream come true. There's always something exciting happening at the venue but soak in the history of cars, visit the houses to see how great grandma used to live or step inside the Simply Machines exhibition that celebrates what a talented bunch New Zealanders really are! But wait, there's more! When you're done exploring, take a ride on their tram. It'll take you on a ride around Western Springs as well as the Zoo and beyond. Expect screams of delight!
We point at it from afar, but there's nothing quite like the exhilerating thrill of a ferry ride to an almost untouched island. Put that geography hat on and explore Auckland's youngest volcano, Rangitoto. A much-loved day trip, take a 4WD to the summit or walk if their little legs can handle it and soak in the spectacular views 260 mentres high! But here, it's not just about the climb. Oh no, there's some magic on this island! Yep, here you'll also discover lava caves with lava tubes left behind after being liquidated. There are also countless little beaches to play on. Pack a picnic and make the most of this family day out.
For something up high and a little scary, head to Auckland's iconic Sky Tower. With a glass bottom lift that zooms you to new heights, it's a great adventure for the littlies. You can head to the main obvservation area for some of the most spectacular views of our fair city. If your sprogs are a little older, they may be keen to take things next level and actually jump from the Sky Tower or, if that's too much, head to the Sky Cafe for some delicious ice cream.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
Another one of the best family attractions in Auckland is Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium. Situated on Tamaki Drive, this is a hands-on, fun activity for the young and young at heart! Come face to face with roaming sharks and stingrays in the Shark Tunnel, spot the penguins in the Antarctic Ice Adventure or head to Amazing Creations where you can create your own sea creature and then watch as it swims! There's so much to see and do, it'll be an experience of a life time.
Relatively new to the Auckland scene is a child (and parents!) paradise—Whoa Studios. Here you'll find one of the best playgrounds in Auckland, a top-notch restaurant headed up by MKR judge and local legend Ben Bayly and even a film studio! Step into the theatre as live action puppets perform on stage for all the lols. The kids will be captivated! You can eat in The Grounds restaurant or, take a spot outside and enjoy handmade ice cream as the kids play in the park.
Auckland may not see snow fall from the sky but that doesn’t mean we're absolute strangers to it! Hit the slopes with your family at Snowplanet and have a winter holiday just a half hour drive away from the CBD. Snowplanet has you covered with their gear up for hire and for those who aren’t brave enough to hit the skis, they have an in-house café and restaurant to relax. From beginner courses to advanced courses, any member of the family has the chance to put their snow skills to the test. But, if all goes to custard, hit up the sleigh boards and just slide down with ease!
Silverdale Adventure Park
Driving all the way to Rotorua for the luge rides isn’t necessary when we have Silverdale Adventure Park! This is a powerhouse of entertainment with endless amounts of activities and rides to go on. We’re talking dual zip lining, 7D cinemas, downhill luges and more.We have to say, the downhill luges are the must-do activity at Silverdale Adventure Park. Driving has never been so easy and the speed you achieve on these babies make you feel like you're a racecar champion. The cosmic playground is also a fave amongst kids and there are bouncy castles, merry-go-rounds and pirate ships for the super youngens!
Learn a thing or two about one of New Zealand’s iconic items—wool! Sheepworld gives an fun tour on how they take care of the sheep, harvest and use their wool. But they also have a New Zealand farmyard area where the kiddos can get up close and personal with calves, pigs, lambs, goats, ponies and deer. But there's more! The kids can also enjoy more exotic animals like alpacas, emus, possums and mini horses! For something totally fascinating, plan your timing to witness the surging, sliming eel feeding at the pond. When you've finished with the animals, take a stroll along the eco-discovery trail. With beautiful native bush, wetlands and streams it really brings our national wonders to life. If the kids are keen for some adventuring, don't miss the terrain and picnic area. Here you'll find a landscape sculpted by bolders logs and ropes—perfect for running and playing on!
While you’re in Warkworth, add this one to the agenda! Get your saddles, chuck on some boots and go for a horse ride! The rides last for up to two hours and there’s a guide that follows you around to look after the kids' safety. Even better, they'll be able to feed the horses afterwards! Horse Riding Warkworth caters to all ages and abilities and has lovely horses and ponies to look after your chiddlewinks. Whether it's a pony ride or a longer trek, it's a great time out with the family.
Putt, putt! Colourful balls, challenge, great scenery, mini golf is a must-do for Auckland families. There's nothing like a little bit of healthy competition to heat things up a bit and there are plenty of mini golf courses in Auckland to try. One of our faves is Lilliputt Mini Golf, home to Auckland's very first 18-hole mini golf course. With views over the sparkling Waitemata Harbour, there are two different courses to choose from—just watch out for wild beasts, dinosaurs and other scary critters!
Paint The Earth
Every child loves to explore their creativity—especially when they get to keep it forever! Head to Rosedale's Paint The Earth and have them create a keepsake of their hand or footprint or book in for a family painting party (yes, they're a thing) and spend some time painting ceramic pieces. You can pay per piece painted and there are a wide range to choose from! You'll have a staff member looking after you and to help when needed. When you're done, leave your masterpieces at the venue and they'll be wrapped, named and ready for you to pick up within six days.
Part theme park, part museum, Crystal Mountain is a super-fun family attraction in Auckland. Hop on the express train for a fun ride or, for something a little more thrilling, ride the Speedy Gonzales Roller Coaster. For the animal lovers, take some time to feed the cute and friendly animals or get up close and personal with the prehistoric beasts in Dinosaur Gully. In the heart of Crystal Mountain is an elevator where you'll discover New Zealand's largets collection of crystals and minerals that have come from mines from all around the world—the kids will love panning for crystals afterwards!
Glenbrook Vintage Railway
If you have a child who's going through a Thomas the Tank Engine phase then a visit to Glenbrook Vintage Railway is a must! Sit back and relax in a large steam engine through 15 kilometres of stunning rural landscape to the quaint town of Waiuku to really have an authentic experience of by-gone times. If you're feeling super flash, book a spot in the Parlour Car! Here you'll have spacious seating, a bite or two to eat and a large covered platform to soak in the views.
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Image Credit: Rainbows End