It’s been a long and very confined year, but now is the time to get out and about and enjoy our national institutions and visitor attractions. To help you plan your Christmas/New Year break, we’ve got all you need to know about what’s open, and when. But you’ll need to pre-book online before heading out for almost all venues.
For the culture vultures
National Gallery of Australia
National Library of Australia
National Portrait Gallery
There are some great portraits hanging in exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery this summer, including Pub Rock and Before Hand: The Private Life of a Portrait. You can book a ticket to see all exhibitions with timed ticketing only.
For the kids
National Zoo and Aquarium
Give the animals some love by visiting the Zoo between the hours of 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily (except for Christmas Day). Some great deals on family tickets are available at the Zoo gate.
National Dinosaur Museum
The kids will also love seeing the miniature village at Cockington Green, which is open every day with pre-booked ticketing.
For nature lovers
Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex
Did you know Canberra plays a role in NASA’s exploration of space, with our very own Deep Space Communication Complex? Head out to the centre with your family this summer at Tidbinbilla from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm daily (closed 25 and 26 December) and see what they’re tracking out in space.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve
Take a walk in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm and see if you can spot some native wildlife like an Eastern Bettong. Before you go, do check their website as the Reserve and Visitor Centre may be closed on days of total fire ban, severe weather events, or for management requirements.
Australian National Botanic Gardens
Enjoy a picnic at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. While you’re there check out the Dirkswirks Timber Mosaics exhibition, or if you would like to dine in at the Pollen Cafe you will need to pre-book.
The National Arboretum
The National Arboretum is a great outdoors option for a walk, and the Grounds and Pod Playground will be open daily from 6:00 am to 8:30 pm over Christmas. The Village Centre including the Curatoreum gift shop and Arboretum Cafe will be open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, but is closed on Christmas Day.
Museum of Australian Democracy
The Museum of Australian Democracy has some great events happening this summer, including Behind the Lines: the year in political cartoons, and the must-not-miss Truth, Power and a Free Press. It is open every day (except Christmas Day) with pre-booked timed ticketing from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Australian War Memorial
Explore the Ink in the Lines and The Napier Waller Art Prize exhibitions now open at the Australian War Memorial. Open daily except for Christmas Day with free entry, but you must have a ticket which you can book online.
Parliament House of Australia
Parliament House will be open daily for visitors with pre-booked timed tickets, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Catch the Life and Times of Edmund Barton: Australia’s first Prime Minister exhibition.