Family attractions in Auckland run the gamut from educational to adventurous, pulse-pounding to quirky fun. You can ride roller coasters and run away from realistic dinosaurs. You can play 18 holes of wild and wacky crazy golf. You can walk through a wonderland of butterflies and see a 7D theatre experience. Climb and swing among the trees or walk through a zoo filled with exotic animals. See sharks and rays at an aquarium or walk a park at the base of an extinct volcano. Whatever you're looking to experience, you'll find things to do for kids in Auckland to suit the bill.
Ride thrill rides at theme and adventure parks
1. Thrill to more than 20 rides at Rainbow's End
Rainbow's End is a premier theme park in Auckland, located in the Manukau region that offers dozens of rides to thrill every age group. The Kidz Kingdom is ready to entertain the toddlers and under 8 crowd with rides like the Choco Express and Car Wash Convoy. You can even take the youngest ones to the Tiny Tots area. For teens and adults, you'll thrill to the freefall adventure on the Fearfall that drops you 18 stories, or you can ride the Stratosfear with its twists and turns. The corkscrew coaster will get your pulse pounding, and the upside-down power surge will thrill you the whole time.
2. Have an immersive theatre experience at Whoa! Studios
Whoa! Studios is an urban playground and family theatre that seeks to offer entertainment, adventure and excitement for guests of every age. If you're looking to add to your list of things to do with kids in Auckland, this is a must-add location. Here you can run and play in a gigantic playground with attractions as detailed as movie sets, experiencing places like a sci-fi rocket, a fantasy castle and a pirate cove. You can even explore a unique crochet play net made by Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi Macadam. After your playtime, head for the live theatre to take in a puppet show, then have a meal in the sit-down restaurant.
3. Hit the slopes at Snowplanet
Auckland isn't known for its heavy snowfall, but folks here still love to hit the slopes. Just a half-hour from the city centre, you can head for Snowplanet to have a winter holiday in a place where snow doesn't fall, and it's all indoors. You can gear up here with boards and skis to hire. Hit the slopes and race down at a breakneck pace. If you want to give it a go, they have courses for beginners and advanced skiers alike so that every family member can try their feet. Of course, you can just get a sleigh board and sled down if you don't want to try skiing.
4. Try a 4D cinema at Silverdale Adventure Park
Silverdale Adventure Park is an exciting park that lets you try luging downhill, racing over the ground on a zipline or experiencing a next-level 4D cinema with a completely immersive experience including a built-in simulator that involves all of your senses. The park also offers bouncy castles and merry-go-rounds, as well as pirate ships on which to climb and play for the youngest kids. You can go on tube slides or take a vertical bungee ride. The onsite restaurant is the Area 51 eatery that offers a wide range of food options for lunch during park hours. It's a wild and wonderful option for family attractions in Auckland.
5. Ride the coasters at Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain is a unique option for things to do in Auckland with kids that combines a classic amusement park with a museum. You can take a ride on the express train or hit the Speedy Gonzales roller coaster for a breakneck experience around every curve. You can race through Dinosaur Gully to get up close and personal to prehistoric monsters and feed farm animals at the petting zoo area. You can even take an elevator that shows you a massive collection of minerals and crystals from all over the world, and at the bottom, the kids can even go panning for crystals themselves.
6. Climb and swing among Tree Adventures
Tree Adventures lets you channel your inner primate. You can choose from many different courses, each geared towards a different skill level and age group, so it's always as safe as it is exciting. Here you can tackle a high wire course that will take you anywhere from just a couple metres above the ground to dizzying heights of 14 metres and even higher. The most challenging courses include balance beams, Tarzan swings, tree surfing, even flying over the grounds in obstacle courses suspended far above the ground. If you're inexperienced, fear not: you'll have an instructor at your side to guide your way.
Have a world of animal adventures
7. Have a prehistoric adventure at Butterfly Creek
Butterfly Creek has many types of animal adventures. You can walk inside the tropical butterfly house and be in the middle of a wondrous fairy-tale world full of bright colours and beautiful and rare creatures as butterflies of dozens of species flitter all around and even land on you. It's among the largest tropical butterfly houses of its type. You can also explore the world of bugs, visit the tropical fish aquarium, see monkeys and otters and even a buttermilk farm. The most unique, however, takes you through the Dinosaur Kingdom to see animatronic dinosaurs and the Mythic Creatures experience, where you can get up close to a lifelike dragon and unicorn. This is an epic option among family attractions in Auckland.
8. See over 1,000 animals at the Auckland Zoo
The Auckland Zoo is among the more family-friendly fun things to do in Auckland for kids. This animal kingdom is home to over 1,000 animals representing 126 different species. It's an iconic destination for native Aucklanders and visitors alike. Here you'll see all the expected creatures like lions, giraffes and the like, but you can also see unique creatures like adorable red pandas, capybaras, Asian elephants and others. The zoo is gigantic, and you might even want to spend a couple of days kicking around to see all the exhibits. For the youngest kids, you can head to the kids' area, where they can even pet the animals.
9. See sharks and rays at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium is a hands-on aquarium where you can get face-to-face with fearsome sharks and stingrays as you walk through a tunnel under the water, you can see penguins in the Antarctic region, or create your own mythical sea creature at the Amazing Creations area, and then you get to watch it swim through the water. See turtles and colourful tropical fish, explore a shipwreck discovery area and discover the entire underwater alien world of adventure and life, unlike anything we have on the surface. You can even explore a replica of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic hut and see how he lived 100 years ago at the frigid ends of the Earth.
10. Learn to harvest wool at Sheepworld
Wool is one of the major drivers of New Zealand economy, and at Sheepworld you get a tour of how sheep are raised and cared for, how their wool is sheared and harvested, then produced for general use. Besides sheep, you can also get up close to other animals here like calves, pigs, goats, deer, ponies, alpacas, possums and even emus. For a slimy adventure, time your visit to see the eel feeding at the pond. After you've had all the animal experiences you like, head for the eco-discovery trail that will take you through wetlands and native bush so you can see all the natural wonders of New Zealand.
11. Go horseback riding at Mackenzie Shiloh Farm
The Mackenzie Shiloh Farm in Warkworth offers horseback riding experiences through a scenic farm and forest area just about 45 minutes north of the city centre. Add horseback riding to your agenda of family activities in Auckland for a couple of hours of fun. Riders are accompanied by an experienced guide that makes sure your entire experience is safe. The youngest kids and inexperienced riders can rent a gentle pony for an easier ride. When done, you can feed the horses and ponies. Whether you choose a short pony ride or take a full 2-hour trek, you're sure to have a great time with the entire family.
Try other unique adventures in Auckland
12. Ride the Glenbrook Vintage Railway
The Glenbrook Vintage Railway is a must among fun things to do in Auckland for kids, just a few steps from your family accommodation in Auckland. Just about every kid goes through a phase where they love trains, and this vintage railway experience will see you board an authentic steam engine and go through 15 kilometres of rural space, ending in the small village of Waiuku, where you can feel like you've stepped back in time. The train even has a parlour car with spacious seats and dining right in the car. You can even head out to the covered platform and soak up the country views as you go.
13. Make a keepsake at Paint the Earth
Creative activities are always a great idea if you're looking for things to do for kids in Auckland and Paint the Earth engages their full creative juices. They can make a hand- or footprint in plaster and paint it to create a keepsake. You can book a family painting party where the entire family will paint ceramic dishes, cups, bowls and other creations. If you're not an experienced painter, that's okay. Staff members on site are there to help you, and in the end, it's all about engaging your creative energies. The end result is just for you. After you paint, the pieces are wrapped and named for pickup 6 days later.
14. Go Putt-Putting at Lilliput Mini Golf
Lillput Mini Golf is the very first 18-hole miniature golf course in Auckland, and offers a wide range of other experiences. You can choose from any of 3 different locations across Auckland, and don't forget to explore the Safari & T-Rex Alley animal-themed mini-golf course, where you can walk with the dinosaurs while challenging yourself. When done with crazy golf, head for the Fun Zone, where you can enjoy VR and arcade games, escape rooms and even laser tag. Lilliput also offers the Live Wire Family Entertainment Centre with bowling, racing simulators, a restaurant and tons of technologically-advanced family attractions in Auckland to keep you occupied for days.
15. See antique trains, planes and cars at MOTAT
MOTAT, or the Museum of Transport and Technology, is a wild place that is sure to tap into every kid's love of cars, trucks, planes and trains. You can view antique vehicles here, learn about scooters and explore changes in fashion, culture and technology related to these fun rides. Also, view exhibits that celebrate ingenuity and innovation of the Kiwi people, and see a collection of posters, photographs, paintings and artefacts all related to the history of transportation in New Zealand. See real steam engines in action or get up close to real aeroplanes. All this and more is present at MOTAT, which offers a wealth of family activities in Auckland.
16. Explore the paths of history at the Auckland Museum
The Auckland Museum is among the more iconic family attractions in Auckland. From the Weird and Wonderful hands-on area that's ideal for children to explore the natural world to the collections with real dinosaur bones, from the discovery trail full of interactive exhibits and even a volcano room, there's plenty here to keep the kids thrilled on their New Zealand adventures. Be sure to check out rotating exhibitions like those exploring the prehistoric oceans or the onsite War Memorial celebrating those who have given their lives for their country throughout history. From science and technology to anthropology and the natural world, it's all here to explore.