Super Fun Ideas for Families in Adelaide to Make Simple Memories with their kids

Hey there, Adelaide families!

Let’s talk about the power of making memories. 

You see, magical childhood memories don’t just ‘happen’.

We need to literally MAKE time. Make time to do fun things as a family and create lasting memories is like a superpower. It strengthens the family bond, brings joy (in amongst the inevitable tantrum and finding public toilets), and creates stories that will be passed around the dinner table in years to come.

I know it doesn’t feel like it now. If you are in the thick of baby and toddlerhood – where you literally feel like it’s in the ‘just too hard’ basket, I’m going to let you in on a little trick. 

You know how you are reminded of parts of your life, particularly your childhood, when you look at family photographs or images from your family home, or family camping trips? 

And you look back on your family trips and they look so happy and you are reminded of the fun and laughter and happy memories?

Do you remember mum loosing her mind because things were packed properly or the washing was getting out of the control or the kids were fighting? No.

Do you remember dad stubbing his toe, or getting cranky because there is sand in his sleeping bag? No.

Why? Because as kids, you don’t see that stuff, and you certainly don’t remember it .. you remember the parts of your childhood that were relevant to you at the time – and more often than not, are captured in PHOTOGRAPHS! …

It’s the photographs that takes you back to those snippets of memories, it opens the pathways in your brain to the memories … and sometimes you’ll question whether, if the photograph didn’t exist, would you remember it at all? 

So this is the trick to making amazing childhood memories: pack those kids up, chuck some food in a basket and go and do some fun things … take pictures of the good stuff, ignore the tantrums and the parental exhaustion .. because in  years time, THESE are the moments and memories which will transport your tween/teenager/young adult back to a happy early childhood – even if you, as a parent, remember nothing but running on zero sleep and endless piles of washing. 

Pack a picnic basket full of tasty treats, grab a cozy blanket, and head to the Adelaide Botanic Garden. It’s like a giant playground of nature! Let the kids run wild, discover hidden corners, and enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors. Just be prepared for the occasional ant trying to join your feast. Hey, even ants need a good picnic, right?

If you venture there in Spring, the Wisteria Walk is in full bloom and is absolutely incredible. Take LOTS of pictures! There is plenty of food available at the kiosk, ducks to feed, toilets available and lots of learning opportunities. 

Looking for a place where your little daredevils can unleash their inner adventurers? St Kilda Adventure Playground is the place to be! From towering slides to epic climbing structures, it’s a paradise for tiny adrenaline junkies.

And the best part? It’s all free! Just remember to bring a first aid kit for those inevitable scrapes and bruises. Superhero Band-Aids to the rescue!

“Back in the day” I remember St Kilda Playground as a place more like a dust bowl with slides that would leave you with third degree burns – oh and it would smell like dead fish on a hot summers day. It’s come a LONG way since then! 

Lace up those walking shoes and venture into Belair National Park for an unforgettable nature walk, guranteed to tucker them out and get a good sleep on the way home.

Discover hidden trails, spot native wildlife (koalas and kangaroos are almost a guarantee, especially if you go early in the morning or towards dusk), and take in the breathtaking views if little legs will let you do one the longer hikes.

It’s the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about the wonders of Mother Nature, mushrooms are everywhere in autumn (don’t eat them!), the creeks are flowing and frogs are singing!. 

But don’t forget the bug spray! Mosquitoes have an uncanny ability to find the tastiest ankles. 

There is an awesome adventure playground right near the carpark if little legs don’t feel like adventuring too far (yes toilets are nearby too!)

Make a day of it or host a birthday party – you can hire areas within the park which have BBQ facilities and even tennis courts!  

Let your little adventurers run wild at Morialta Conservation Park. 

With its stunning waterfalls, rocky trails, and lush greenery, it’s a natural playground just waiting to be explored. Don’t be surprised if your kids come back with pockets full of leaves, rocks, and sticks. In winter, the creek runs the full length of the drive up towards the waterfalls and is absolutely spectacular. 

Play “Poo Sticks” (if you don’t know that game, you haven’t lived, and no, it’s not gross!) 

If little legs will let you do a hike just after some rain the scenery is absolutely amazing. Allow HEAPS of time, especially if little legs are coming along. 

Yes, the stuffed animals on the ground floor are absolutely the same ones from when you were a kid, but who cares right? Your little haven’t seen them before right? 

And if you have a tween or even a teen, the SA Museum’s “Happy Monkey” is currently pretty famous on tiktok … 😉 

The museum does an amazing job of hosting activities for the kiddos to get involved in and many exhibitions come to town, aimed at all different age groups. 

If you have a teen or tween who loves gift shops (I know this because I have one!) the gift shop is awesome and full of curiosities galore – you can even buy your very own fossils!

Far out guys, AGSA has come a LONG way. 

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s as the kid of a mum who was the Curator of Australian Art at AGSA (it’s a fairly fancy thing to be as a working woman in 80s and 90’s – a lot of my memories at The Gallery were long speeches about artists who I knew nothing about, to an audience of very fancy people who I didn’t relate to one little bit. Oh and lots of champagne sipped with pinky fingers protruding and glasses of orange juice being handed out. Children were required to be seen and not heard. 

How the times have changed! My teenager now heads off the gallery with her friends and enjoys the new program called Neo.

There are activities and programs for ages 3-11 on the first Sunday of every month, and they’re completely free! 

How wonderful that the littles are being encouraged to enter the arts, craft, music and dance space so young! 

So this idea comes directly from my teenage kid who rates this highly! I haven’t actually been there, but damn, it looks awesome! 

The exhibits are updated regularly so you can go every so often and not be seeing the same thing over and over. 

Definitely aimed at the science and tech lovers, everything is interactive and immersive.  Prepare for your senses to be overwhelmed (so on that point it might not be the best for our little people who struggle with sensory overload) but my ASD teen loved it, so use your own judgement there.

If you have late school age kiddos, one thing I just discovered is they offer Work Experience placements which would be amazing for young minds to get into!

Another brilliant thing – it’s on the same street (North Terrace) as AGSA and the SA Museum, AND the Botanic Gardens – so one lot of parking and make a day of it!

I remember being taken on the Cockle Train as a youngster in the mid 80’s. The smell of the steam and coal, and sticking my head out the window and seeing the amazing views of the ocean as it turns the corner and goes straight along the foreshore. The clicketty-clack of the carriages over the rails, and my sweaty legs stuck to the vinyl seats … 

Nothing much has changed although I’m not sure it’s allowed to run during peak fire danger season. But it’s still an epic adventure to take the little one on. 

It’s not on the ‘free’ list of activities but it’s worth the $90 for a family to take the trip between Goolwa and Victor Harbour. Grab some hot cinnamon donuts in Victor, let the kids muck about in the Whale Tail fountain, grab an icecream down the main street and if funds allow, jump on the horse drawn tram across the causeway to Granite Island. 

Whilst the walk around the island is pretty epic, and little legs might take a while, it’s a fabulous little adventure!

Sometimes I feel like Adelaide is a little secret city. Where the inhabitants don’t really want the rest of the world to know how good it is! 

We have so many amazing things to see and do – even just catching public transport is a way to entertain the kids and make an adventure out of it! 

Not included in the links above – what about jumping on the tram from the city and heading to Glenelg for an icecream and a wander – the fountains are hours of entertainment during summer!

If you’re happy to go for a bit of a drive Cape Jervis National Park is amazing especially if you have a 4wd and can navigate your way down to Blow Hole Beach. What about Port Willunga beach, Second Valley – my gosh on a sunny day this beach is STUNNING!, Myponga Reservoir … in the other direction …  Whispering Wall in the Barossa (although you can’t walk down to the bottom and look up the enormous wall like you used to be able to 🙁 ), The Big Rocking Horse in the Adelaide Hills, the Stirling Markets during Autumn, Hahndorf main street, picking strawberries are Beerenberg Strawberry farm, picking apples in Lenswood … 

The list is literally endless. 

But shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Just take photos of the good stuff. The little family adventures. And tuck those memories away. It’s what Childhood Memories are made of.