What’s on in Newcastle? Here’s the month’s top events in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & The Hunter especially selected for families. (For Easter events, check out the Newy with Kids Easter Guide).

Cats and Dogs, All At Sea Exhibition

Saturday 6 April – Sunday June 2 | SEEN@Swansea | 10am – 3pm | Gold coin donation | Details

Why you should go:This special exhibition from the Australian National Maritime Museum shows the prolific Sydney photographer Sam Hood’s interest in recording not only the vessels that passed through Sydney Harbour, but the life of their crew including the seafaring pets. These photographs demonstrate the strong attachment that people at sea, who are often far from their family for long periods of time, have with on-board pets.

Hunter Valley Airshow

Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 April | Cessnock Airport | 9am – 5pm | Adults $35, kids $13, Family pass $75, Kids under 6 free| Details

Why you should go: Enjoy entertainment in the air and on the ground. See Australia’s finest solo and formation aerobatic displays and relive the past with spectacular displays of classic war bird and amazing vintage aircraft of yesteryear. On the ground, enjoy cars how, motocross, military vehicles, wine, craft beer, food and market stalls. It’s a family-friendly show with amusement rides, jumping castles, face painting, roaming performers and more.

New Run

Sunday 7 April | Newcastle Foreshore | 7:50am – 11am |From $35 | Details

Why you should go: Get some exercise. Parents can run the Fort 5km, a fast and flat course on Newcastle Foreshore while kids can do the 2K4K special 2km run just for kids aged 4 to 17.

Animal Tales by Newcastle Wind Orchestra and Newcastle Writers Festival

Sunday 7 April | Concert Hall at Newcastle City Hall| 10am – 11am | $25 for adults / $15 for kids / $60 Family (4 tickets) | Details

Why you should go: It’s a special family event. The Newcastle Wind Orchestra and Newcastle Writers Festival present Animal Tales. ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ will be presented alongside Henry Lawson’s classic ‘The Loaded Dog’. Also featuring music from How to Train Your Dragon and Frozen!

Newcastle Writers Festival Family Takeover

Sunday 7 April | Newcastle City Library & Lovett Gallery | 11am – 1pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Kids don’t miss out at the Newcastle Writers Festival with the Family Takeover. Families can meet local authors and illustrators in storytime readings, watch illustrator battle it out on drawing competitions and participate in book launches by Katrina McKelvey and Paul Russell.

Love Local

Thursday 11 April | Centre Court, Charlestown Square | 10am – 9pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: Support local makers and shakers at Charlestown Square. Meet local designers and creatives, enjoy live music and beer and wine tastings. There’s even kids activities to keep little ones happy.

Potted Potter

Thursday 11 April – Sunday 14 April | Civic Theatre | Various times | From $69.90 | Details

Why you should go: You have mad Harry Potter fans in your family. Presented by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and Potted Productions, it takes on the ultimate challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into 70 hilarious minutes. This show features all your favourite characters, an appearance from a fire-breathing dragon, endless costumes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwart’s magic!

Steamfest

Saturday 13 April & Sunday 14 April | Maitland Station | 9am – 4pm | Free | Details

Why you should go: To celebrate Maitland’s steam and industrial heritage. Take your family and check out steam trains from all across Australia, antique machinery plus live music, kids activities, market stalls and more. You can even purchase tickets to ride on steam trains. Don’t miss the Great Train Race where a steam train races a Tiger Moth aeroplane.

Hunter Valley Night Glow

Saturday 13 April | Roche Estate | 5pm – 9pm | $25 adult, $16 child, 3 & under free | Details

Why you should go: Watch a spectacular balloon Night Glow hosted by Balloon Aloft which will see hot air balloons inflated and tethered in the Roche Estate vineyards. The Night Glow will be choreographed to music and will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display. The evening will include a family friendly night market offering some of the Hunter Valley’s best food, wine and hand-made crafts, along with live musical performances to entertain you. Kids will enjoy roving performers, face-painting and jumping castles.

Harlem Globetrotters

Sunday 14 April | Newcastle Entertainment Centre | 2pm – 5:30pm | from $29 kids / $59 adults $150 family pass (2A+2C) | Details

Why you should go: If you’re a basketball fan, see the Original Harlem Globetrotters in action. A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages.

Madagascar, A Musical Adventure JR presented by Young People’s Theatre

Sunday 15 April – Sunday 25 May | Hamilton | Various times | $20 | Details

Why you should go: Escape the Zoo and join Young People’s Theatre on a musical adventure in DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. Based on the smash hit DreamWorks animated motion picture, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. follows all your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

‘No Baths Week’ Book Launch & Dog Picnic

Tuesday 16 April | Lambton Park | 10:30am – 1pm| Free | Details

Why you should go: Join children’s book author Katrina McKelvey and illustrator Cheri Hughes to celebrate the launch of ‘No Baths Week’ in conjunction with Newcastle Region Library. Enjoy stories, craft, singing, book signings, paw printing and more. Bring your dog, your children, doggy bags, and a picnic. Prizes and giveaways for dogs and humans.

The Gruffalo Live on Stage

Tuesday 23 April | Cessnock Performing Arts Centre | 12pm or 2pm| $20, kids 3 and under are free on the knee | Details

Why you should go: Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in this magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The show runs for 55 minutes with no intermission and is suitable for kids aged 3+.

Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox presented by Hunter Drama

Wednesday 24 April – Sunday 28 April | The Playhouse at Civic Theatre | Various times | $35.65 | Details

Why you should go: Support local theatre. Following the success of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2018, Hunter Drama will turn the Playhouse stage into the den and tunnels where Mr. Fox keeps his family one step ahead of those dreadful farmers. Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox will be the the perfect family adventure during the school holidays, sure to delight and provide tremendous spectacle for Dahl lovers, young and old!

The Wizard of Oz Arena Show

Friday 26, Saturday 27, and Sunday 28 April | Newcastle Entertainment Centre | Various times | Tickets start from $49 | Details

Why you should go: It brings to life one of the most beloved fantasy tales of all time at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre with state of the art technology and wizardry. Starring over 500 performers, you’ll see all your favourite characters including Dorothy, The Lion, The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Glinda the Good Witch on a stage the size of three basketball courts.

Featured image credit: Newcastle Writers Festival