11 fun and exciting things to do in Hamilton with your kids

You’ll be able to find plenty of fun and exciting activities that you can do with your kids when you come visit Hamilton. With a multitude of fun destinations able to appeal to many different age groups across the board, it’s important to have a cohesive list of all the things you want to do with your kids, as well as having the proper accommodation. Check out these ideas that you can fill your itinerary.

Experience nature activities in Hamilton

1. Make new furry friends at Hamilton Zoo

Hamilton Zoo is an excellent place to visit where your kids will be able to see a multitude of various animals and might even find a new favourite one and make some furry friends in the process. The zoo covers over 25 hectares, so you and your kids will spot many animals like chimpanzees, rhinos, tamarins, giraffes, meerkats, zebra, red pandas, lemurs, tigers, birds, geckos, tuataras and many more. With over 500 animals at the zoo, there’s bound to be plenty that’ll hold your child’s interest. If your child is interested in more than strolling through and seeing the animals, consider attending a free keeper talk where you and your child will learn from experts about tigers, rhinos, spider monkeys, parrots, lemurs or other fun and exciting animals.

2. Experience beautiful sculptures at The Sculpture Park

The Sculpture Park is a great place to visit to not only appreciate the beauty of nature, but to also appreciate artistic talent. This park is located at Waitakaruru Arboretum, approximately 15 kilometres east of Hamilton and is a must-see. This 17.5-hectare arboretum is filled with 20,000 trees from around the world and 100 sculptures and installations that populate the 2-kilometre trail. Your kids will enjoy the atmosphere that combines art with the beauty of nature. With no places to eat on-site, the destination is also a wonderful place to bring and enjoy a quiet picnic with the family.

3. Stroll at Lake Ngaroto

Lake Ngaroto is another natural site that’s worth a visit. Also located in Waikato and between Hamilton and Te Awamutu, the lake is perfect for an easy-going walk, and it’s suitable for younger children. You won't see much of the lake during the hour and a half walk, so it’s best to treat it more as a bush walk where you and your kids will be able to take in New Zealand’s natural vegetation while breathing in the fresh air. Parts of the walk may also get wet, so you’ll want to plan for that in advance, and if you’re going in summer, wear sunscreen since parts of the walk aren't shaded.

4. Greet chickens at the Taitua Arboretum

Taitua Arboretum is located on 22 hectares and will provide you and your kids with plenty of fun when you visit this destination just outside of Hamilton. Experience the natural wonders, like landscapes, lakes, woodland gardens and birdlife. Your little ones will be happy to see plenty of chickens running around. With plenty of different walking trails to take, you’ll be able to find one that’s suitable for you and your family. Some are steeper than others and may be better for older kids. Other activities include feeding ducks and cows, having a picnic or just relaxing in the grass.

Thrilling adventures at theme parks, rides and playgrounds

5. Have a blast at Blastacars

Blastacars is a thrilling adventure sure to leave your kids having fun with an incredible experience. Although maybe not the most suitable for your youngest kids (7 years and under), if your kids are the right age, then they’ll be able to have a blast racing against you and their siblings on drift karts. Drift karts are different from go-karts as they are handcrafted and powerfully built, and tailored to drive around on indoor tracks. This makes them safer as well as more efficient than go-karts. Use the safe-kid speed settings provided for first-time drivers and the booster seats, if needed. Blastacars is a rewarding experience and perfect for your kids to release their energy and blow off some steam.

6. Splash around at Waterworld

Waterworld is another great way for your kids to blow off steam and get exercise. Waterworld is a top-tier facility that’s perfect to go for a splash, especially in the hot months like summer. Some of the water facilities include 25- and 50-metre pools, a hydrotherapy pool, a hydro slide, a dive pool and a toddler pool. What sets this attraction apart is its outside area with spots and spaces to have a picnic or barbeque, an open-air Lido pool with slides and a kids splash pad. Additionally, amenities like lockers, showers and changing areas and even a cafe further enhance the destination.

7. Have fun at Lake Rotoroa

Lake Rotoroa is also known as Hamilton Lake domain and playground for good reasons. In addition to being a great place to visit so that your kids can appreciate being in nature, an incredible treetop themed playground is available and perfect for younger children. For older kids, visit the parkour area, and the picnic areas are good for the whole family. If your kids want a more scenic view, they can take the 3.8-kilometres walk around the lake. The family will enjoy feeding ducks and watching model boats. There are also bike paths for the family to enjoy.

8. Escape doom at Escape HQ

Escape HQ is a thrilling escape room destination that’s sure to be tons of fun for your kids. It features many different escape-themed games that’s sure to keep the whole family's interest. The outside escape game, Quake Escape, will have your kids moving about the Hamilton and Waikato area either on foot or by bike in search of clues to stop a major earthquake from hitting the city. In Dark Side of the Room, you play as a roadie for a major rock band with 60 minutes to find your missing band. If your kids love combining their mind with interactive, hands-on activities, then Escape HQ is a perfect destination to visit.

Fun and exciting museums and events to visit with kids

9. Zoom around the Classics Car Museum

Classics Car Museum is the perfect one to visit if your kids have a budding interest in automobiles. Located in the Railside Place in Hamilton, this museum features over 100 classic cars with makes, such as Belair, Bugatti, Auburn and Cadillac. In addition to having plenty of classic cars, the whole atmosphere of the museum has a strong 1950s vibe, including the retro Jukebox Diner. To further add to the atmosphere, there are also many petrol collections, including signs and petrol pumps.

10. Have fun at The Waikato Museum & Exscite

The Waikato Museum & Exscite is located at the southern end of the central business district and is definitely worth the visit when you come to Hamilton. In addition to the numerous exhibitions that showcase the local and international art and their history, an interactive learning play area for kids called Exscite keeps them busy. The main objective behind Excsite is to facilitate scientific learning and discovery in a hands-on environment for children. With plenty of fun and entertaining activities to engage in including giant lego blocks, your kids are sure to have a blast when they come to visit. Entry into the museum is free, but entry into Excsite costs a small fee.

11. Zipping around at Minogue Park

Minogue Park is located near Waterworld. In addition to having all the routine activities at a park, such as a playground and a picnic area, if you visit this park on Sundays, then you’ll be able to see a group of model train enthusiasts setting up their model trains to run on 2 separate tracks that include tunnels and bridges. Your kids are sure to be impressed. The combination of park facilities with the model train display make this a great place to visit on a quiet Sunday.

Family accommodation in Hamilton

Stay at houses

House rentals are perfect, especially if you have a larger family and need more space. The advantages that houses provide while you’re on a trip are numerous. In addition to the additional space and multiple bedrooms, you will have a full working kitchen and perhaps more amenities like WiFi or a swimming pool. Depending on what region you’re staying in, you might even be able to secure a house near a beach or lake. With plenty of yard space, houses offer a wonderful way for your kids to release their energy in the morning or settle down and relax in the evening.

Stay at apartment rentals

Apartments are a great option for a smaller family. Whether you want to stay in an apartment for the duration of your trip or just a couple of nights, plenty of great apartments exist in Hamilton that you can rent. While they might have less space than a house, it’s often easy to find an apartment located close to nearby attractions and perfect if you’re in a heavy tourist area.