RUNNING out of ways to entertain the kids on the cheap these summer school holidays? Never fear, these Ballarat boredom busters won't cost you a cent — and will keep you sane until school goes back!
Bust a move at Summer Sundays
Ballarat turns up the volume on its live music scene during Summer Sundays each January, with an eclectic mix of musical styles and diverse genres from local, regional and metropolitan acts. Accompanying the exciting line-up of music is a delicious selection of food vendors. Held in the beautiful surrounds of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, the free community event is presented by the City of Ballarat.
Get wet at one of Ballarat's outdoor water play facilities
Cool off at one of Ballarat's two outdoor water play facilities this summer. The Midlands Outdoor Water Play Facility (Midlands Reserve, Doveton St Nth, Ballarat) and Sebastopol Outdoor Water Play Facility (Victory Park, Vickers St, Sebastopol) are open from 9am to 9pm every day until April. The button-operated system is operational for 15-minute periods during these hours.
Run wild at the Ballarat Inclusive Playspace
Officially opened in 2016, Victoria Park's Ballarat Inclusive Playspace was initiated by the community in partnership with the City of Ballarat. The fenced playground features approximately 10,000 square metres of accessible play facilities and amenities. It is now a thriving community hub where families can play, interact and have fun. If you're looking for other outdoor play areas to add to your hit list, check out the Ballarat Family Guide for an extensive list of parks and playgrounds across the region.
Take a tour of the Art Gallery of Ballarat
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is a treasure trove of colonial artworks plus contemporary and indigenous pieces, giving visitors the opportunity to experience key moments in the history of Australian art. At 2pm each day, join one of the knowledgeable volunteer guides for a free tour of Australia's oldest regional gallery.
Check out Lake Wendouree
Stroll, jog or ride around Lake Wendouree's six-kilometre Steve Moneghetti track and tire the kids out for bedtime. Or how about a picnic by the water’s edge as the kids explore the much-loved Adventure Playground? While you're there, meander along pebbled paths at the historic Ballarat Botanical Gardens and soak up the beauty of the grand floral displays, heritage oak trees, Italian marble statues and the iconic Prime Ministers’ Avenue.
Become a book worm at Ballarat's libraries
Discover a new world, explore and connect with curious creatures as part of the Summer Reading Club. Register online then pick up the registration pack from the Ballarat, Sebastopol or Wendouree library. You can check out what other activities are planned at the city's libraries this school holidays here.