UPDATE – School Holiday Fun With the City of Newcastle

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Fire up your creativity these Winter School Holidays. City of Newcastle is providing fun activities these school holidays at Newcastle Museum, Newcastle Libraries, Newcastle Art Gallery and Blackbutt Reserve. There’s something for everyone whether they like digital coding challenges, arts and crafts, science experiments, or connecting with heritage and nature. For all the details, visit the City of Newcastle website.

JUNE 28 UPDATE: Please check for individual events as some have been cancelled or postponed.

  • Booking capacities have been reduced to comply with the 4m2 rule
  • With the new capacities all sessions are now fully booked
  • We are contacting attendees to ask anyone who has been required to go into lockdown to cancel their booking
  • Any larger sessions have been split to keep attendee numbers below 25

Newcastle Museum

Unfortunately, the entertainment for curious kids at Newcastle Museum this autumn has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

MUSEUM SHOWS CANCELLED The famous museum science shows are back for the winter school holidays. You can enjoy some fun science time with resident scientist Catherine as she lets loose with some liquid nitrogen and talks about all things freeeezing cold. The science shows run on Tuesdays and Thursday over the school holidays at 11.15am, 12.15pm and 1.15pm in McIntyre Theatrette. Free admission but bookings essential as numbers are limited due to COVIDsafety restrictions. 

Kids can be inspired by the Build A World…In Cardboard! session. Come explore the wonderful world of international architecture as seen through the photographic lens of the renowned Australian photographer John Gollings, and use his photographs as an inspiration to help create a cardboard mini-city at the Museum. Kids can use their imagination and think outside of the box. Suitable for children 6-12 years of age. $10 per child. Bookings required. POSTPONED

Entry to the museum is via QR code registration upon arrival. See more on the Newcastle Museum website. Newcastle Museum is open every day during the NSW school holidays.

Newcastle Libraries

There is a raft of workshop experiences to enjoy across the Newcastle Libraries branches these school holidays. Booking capacities have been reduced to comply with the 4m2 rule. With the new capacities all sessions are now fully booked.

  • Sphero SPRK+ Maze Challenge at Wallsend Library – Work in teams to Scratch code our Sphero SPRK+ bots through some twists and turns to land and make it back to base camp. Suitable for ages 9 – 14 years.
  • Create from Nature session at Wallsend Library – Using gumnuts, seeds, cones and other native plants, see what you can create. Suitable for ages 7-12 years.
  • Aboriginal weaving session at Wallsend Library – Learn traditional Aboriginal weaving techniques then create your own small artefact to take home. Presented by artists from Speaking in Colour. Suitable for ages 8-12 years.
  • Indigenous animal sculptures workshop at Wallsend Library – Be inspired by contemporary Aboriginal art of the Red Centre to create your own woven animal sculpture. Suitable for ages 8-12 years.
  • NAIDOC Week Celebration at Wallsend and Newcastle Libraries – Celebrate our indigenous culture with stories, songs, dance and music from Uncle Perry Fuller, a Yadaki (didge) player and artist. Ages 3 – 10.
  • Family movie afternoon at Wallsend Library – Snuggle up to enjoy the latest Disney offering, Raya and the Last Dragon (PG). A drink and popcorn will be provided. Ages 7 – 12.  Those sheep are back! Enjoy A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (G) with a drink and an ice cream. Ages 5 – 10.
  • Kakadu Story Stomp at Wallsend Library and Newcastle Library – Join Newcastle Libraries as they celebrate the exhibition of Dry to Dry by exploring the amazing stories of Kakadu. Immerse yourself in the wetlands as we snap like a crocodile, dance like a Brolga and swim like a Barramundi through the seasons.

Bookings are required for all workshops and all library workshops are free. See more on the Newcastle Libraries website.

Have you visited the Digital Library at 12 Stewart Avenue? Whether it’s dancing with Pepper the Robot, watching 3D printing or exploring space on the HUGE interactive screen there is something for everyone. (It’s also the best place to pick up new release books for both kids and adults!) 

There are workshops and demonstrations at the Digital Library including:

During the school holidays, book in for school holiday workshops.

  • Rock Stars on Green Screen workshop – Create and star in your very own music video! We’ll team you up with a band, show you how to film and edit, and away you go!  Suitable for kids 8 – 13.
  • Edison Bots Sumo Showdown – Join Geoff McIver from McIver Edubots and learn how to code Edison robots for the ultimate Sumo showdown against other coded bots. Suitable for kids 8 – 14.
  • I See…I See…I See…Opera Glasses and Digital Library Tour – Find out a little bit about Florence Austral while making some old-fashioned opera ‘seeing glasses’. Then tour the Digital Library and wrap it all up by watching your amazing Opera Glasses appear on our Story Wall. Suitable for all ages (children, parents and carers).


This winter Newcastle Libraries will present an exciting new blockbuster exhibition for the whole family – Dry to Dry, The Seasons of Kakadu in the newly upgraded Lovett Gallery. It runs from July and August. This exhibition is a follow-up to the Desert Lake exhibition based on the nature story picture book series of the same title by Pamela Freeman and illustrated by Liz Anelli and  by Liz Anelli and published by Walker Books Australia. 

  • Dry to Dry: create stupendous shadow puppets workshop – Create unique, coloured shadow puppets, then bring them to life at our street party and exhibition launch on July 2.   Presented by artists from Curious Legends.   Ages 6-12.
  • Creatures of Kakadu workshop – Thousands of different species live far up north in Kakadu National Park. See how many you can find! This workshop includes an opportunity to draw with the book’s award-winning illustrator, Liz Anelli, and a collage art activity.  Ages 6 – 10.
  • Aboriginal Art workshops – Be inspired by Liz Anellli’s Dry to Dry exhibition and the contemporary indigenous artwork from Bronwyn Bancroft’s Outback, to create your own contemporary aboriginal artwork. Presented by artists from Speaking in Colour.  Suitable for families with children 6 – 12.

Budding artists will love what’s on offer at Newcastle Art Gallery tying into current exhibitions RACHEL MILNE: Nest and WARWAR: The Art of Torres Strait.

  • Paint a cupcake workshop – Budding artists will enjoy a mini tour of RACHEL MILNE: Nest followed by a fun painting workshop, creating their own colourful, expressive paintings of cupcakes.    Suitable for ages 5-12 years.
  • Torres Strait Islander Flag workshop – Young artists will learn about the Torres Strait Islander flag, designed by the late Mr Bernard Namok, then create their own using coloured sand, a small canvas and glue.    Suitable for ages 5-12 years.

Did you know Art Cart is also on every Saturday during the holidays? Art Cart engages children with the exhibitions on display through discussion and art making. Led by Gallery educators, every weekend we interact with a different work of art on display. Activities are suitable for children of all ages, with supervision required by a parent or carer. Limited spots available.

Bookings are required for all workshops and costs vary, see more on the Newcastle Art Gallery website. The gallery is open every day during the NSW school holidays

Blackbutt Reserve

Playgrounds, walking trails, open spaces, shelters and barbecues at Blackbutt Reserve are open. Visit Blackbutt and see family favourites like koalas, wallabies and wombats. You can also see emus, wallabies and kangaroos in a separate paddock behind the playground. The kiosk has reopened for snacks, coffee and animal food. Purchase a feeding cone from the kiosk and feed the emus.

School Holiday Reptile Shows – CANCELLED

The School Holiday Reptile Shows are back at 11am and 11:45am from Monday to Friday and 11am on weekends. Blackbutt’s expert team will allow attendees to meet, learn about, and at times interact with, their favourite scaly, slithery friends! You will learn interesting facts about their behaviour, physiology and habitats, and if you’re lucky… an opportunity to get up close and personal! $4 per person, tickets available at the Kiosk (limited tickets available).

There’s also 10km of walking trails and plentiful picnic and playground facilities to enjoy. Drop into Richley Reserve and experience the adventure playground with rope courses, bridges, swings and slides, and an adventure tower, or swing by the playground at the Carnley Avenue entrance ideal for children aged 6-10 years with interactive musical instruments and activities.

Blackbutt Reserve is open every day during the school holidays. Wildlife exhibits are open 10am – 5pm, picnic facilities 7am – 7pm and the kiosk 10am – 3pm. Visit the Blackbutt Reserve website to find out more.

Fort Scratchley

Boasting one of the best panoramic views of Newcastle and with space for the kids to run wild and free, this historic landmark is a must do for all school holiday itineraries. Pack a picnic and enjoy the rolling grass hills overlooking the ocean, or book in for a tunnel tour where you will learn about this history of this amazing site. Stick around for the daily gun firing at 1pm (weather permitting)! For more details visit the Fort Scratchley website.

Fort Scratchley is open from 10am – 4pm except The Fort is closed on Tuesdays.

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