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One of the great things about travelling to Cairns with family is that it is a very family friendly city and there are many great activities and trips to do with children in the area.

We’ve listed 47 Cairns kids activities here and broken them down into educational activities for kids in Cairns, wildlife experiences, interesting trips involving different kinds of transport and straightforward fun playtime activities.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]educational activities for children[/headline]

1.    Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary – learn about Australia’s butterflies (make sure they wear bright clothing so the butterflies land on them)

2.    Paronella Park – this may not seem like an obvious thing to do with children but they always seem to love hearing the story of how this castle was built by Spanish immigrant Jose Paronella.

3.    Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park – learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. There’s plenty to keep the kids amused for hours with art and craft classes and opportunities to learn how to throw boomerangs and play didgeridoos.

4.    Botanic Gardens – Learn about tropical foliage at the Botanic Gardens, check out the exhibits at the Tanks precinct and then go to the Centenary Lakes playground (access via Greenslopes St)

herberton5.    Australian Armoury and Artillery Museum – If you’ve got an interest in the military then this is worth a visit and it is different to other attractions in the area

6.    Historic Village Herberton – A good destination for a history lesson as you step back in time and learn about life in the pioneering era

7.    Taste unusual and exotic tropical fruits at Mission Beach or the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm. Alternatively, you can buy your own at Rusty’s markets Friday-Sunday.

8.    Find out how coffee grows by visiting a coffee plantation in the Tablelands.

9.    Find out how chocolate is made from the bush to the packet at Charley’s Chocolate Tour in Mission Beach or the Chocolate Factory in the Daintree.

10.  Visit the Daintree Discovery Centre and learn all about the different levels of a rainforest

11. Check out the Cairns Museum and learn all about how the history of Cairns and the blood, sweat and tears that went in to making it the city it is today.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]experience and learn about wildlife[/headline]

picture of baby crocodile12.   The Great Barrier Reef is on our doorstep but for those not quite old enough or brave enough to snorkel or dive, head to the Cairns Aquarium.

13. Have breakfast with the birds at Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas before taking a tour around the rest of the zoo (they also run a Ranger program during the holidays so kids can help out behind the scenes)

14.    Learn how to snorkel at Green Island or the Low Isles

15.    Visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre at Fitzroy Island and learn about the plight of turtles on the Great Barrier Reef and what it takes to rehabilitate them

16.    Go platypus-spotting in Yungaburra – look in the creek behind Nick’s restaurant at sunrise or sunset

17.    Feed the rock wallabies at Granite Gorge

18.    Learn all about crocodiles at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]fun ‘transport’ trips[/headline]

cairns skyrail19. Take the Skyrail up to Kuranda and watch the rainforest below through the see through floors

20. Cruise down Dickson Inlet (Port Douglas) on the Lady Douglas paddlewheeler riverboat and learn about the ecosystem of the mangroves

21. Ride around the rainforest in an army duck at the Rainforestation in Kuranda

22. Spot crocodiles and birds on a Daintree River Cruise

23. Try hot air ballooning over the Tablelands

24. Join a quad biking tour through a working sugarcane farm (kids aged 12+ can drive their own but younger kids can ride in a 4-seater buggy with the guide).

25. Kuranda Scenic Railway – this is one of the most popular trips in the region

26. Zoom around in a jet boat with Bad Fishy

27. Join a horse-riding trip in Cape Tribulation (8+ years)

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]funtime physical activities[/headline]

28. Muddy’s Playground – this amazing and huge playground on the Esplanade is a mecca for local families and will keep your kids happy for hours

29. Get wet on the waterslides at Sugarworld Water Park in Edmonton (about 20 minutes drive south of the city)

30. Swim in one of the natural swimming holes or creeks in the local area such as Crystal Cascades

31. Explore all the other activities on the Esplanade including the Lagoon and bouldering park

32. Go river tubing on one of the regions beautiful rivers

33. Get adventurous at the Cairns Zoom (8+ years)

34. Kayak down Bulgan Creek in Tully with Ingan Tours

35. Hire bikes and ride along the Esplanade

36. Go kayaking on Copperlode Dam

37. Go Laser-Tagging – there are two venues in Cairns.

38. Plan some playtime at Figtree Playground (known as ‘The Treehouse’ by locals) located near the Cairns Ferry Terminal

39. Take a daytrip to Cape Trib and join a jungle surfing tour on ziplines through the rainforest

40. Try stand-up paddle boarding

41. Take your skateboard or scooters along to the skate park on the Esplanade

42. Strap in and enjoy the Minjin Swing with AJ Hackett (6+ years depending on how adventurous they are)

43. Race against each other at Go Karting

44. Learn how to kneeboard or wakeboard at Cairns Cable Ski water park (kids aged 10+) or spend an hour jumping around on fun inflatables on the Aqua Park (kids aged 6+)

45. Visit Paradise Palms’ amazing adventure playground near Palm Cove, which includes pools and mini-golf

46. Enjoy the Great Australian Mustering Experience in the Daintree

47. Go paintballing in Kuranda

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]

  • There are many great playgrounds in Cairns and most of the well known ones have coffee available nearby so parents can relax while they play.
  • We haven’t mentioned them in this list but there are also some indoor play centres, which are good for rainy days.
  • Babies and children are welcome on reef trips. We would recommend going with an operator who has a permanently moored pontoon so that you can disembark and move around easily during the day.