Enjoy science-related activities during the spring school holidays. Below are a selection of events held around Aotearoa New Zealand. Many of the providers have additional non-science activities that could also be of interest. Follow the weblinks to see the latest information and full listings.

NOTE: If you know of any science-related events we have missed, please get in touch: enquiries@sciencelearn.org.nz.


Mission Control: Mars

5–8 Oct: A 45-minute immersive experience by HACKMAN, combines live performance with the power of video game engine technology. This high-stakes mission is perfect for intrepid kids aged 7+ and grown-ups seeking an out-of-this-world escape.
To book tickets and find out more: www.eventfinda.co.nz/2023/mission-control-mars/whangarei

Te Ahu Museum

Te Ahu Museum in Kaitaia hosts a remarkable collection telling the stories and histories of the Far North District (Te Hiku o te Ika) of Aotearoa. Treasures among the pre-European Māori collection include pounamu, early carvings and the 500 year-old skeletal remains of the extinct kuri.
Find out more: https://teahumuseum.nz


Little Scientists!

25 Sep–6 Oct: This science based school holiday programme in Auckland from Hillsborough Playcentres, a travelling science show in Auckland. The programmes are designed for 5–10 year old children, to encourage participation and increase engagement in science.
Find out more: www.littlescientists.co.nz/holiday-programme-auckland.

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

Daily Explore over 30 live animal exhibits in spectacular habitat displays, including the world's largest Sub-Antarctic penguin colony and amazing underwater viewing tunnels.
Find out more: www.visitsealife.com/auckland.


MOTAT is New Zealand's largest transport and technology museum and offers a fun and exciting learning experience for visitors of all ages.
Find out more: www.motat.nz

September holiday experience

23 Sep–8 Oct: This September, uncover the different ways navigation technology has helped people of the past and present discover new places and spaces and how this tech has been built in to our daily lives.
Find out more: www.motat.nz/events/september-holiday-experience

  • Want to know more, see our resources under our navigation topic.

Northwest Shopping Centre

25 Sep–6 Oct: There are two exciting and educational science adventures. Week 1 dive into the captivating realm of temperature and how it makes a difference to experiments! Week 2 enjoy some spooky halloween experiments.
Find out more: https://northwestshoppingcentre.co.nz/whats-on/september-school-holiday-fun


25 Sep–6 Oct: Astronomy shows, live science demonstrations and, if the weather is clear, rocket launches outside. Come and enjoy the magic!
Find out more here: www.stardome.org.nz/school-holidays

Rights: Stardome Observatory and Planetarium

Stardome Observatory and Planetarium

Stardome's mission is to be a trusted centre for sharing astronomy and mātauranga in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Auckland Zoo

Daily: Auckland Zoo is a great place for the whole family, plan your trip around one of the keep talks.
Find out more here: www.aucklandzoo.co.nz


Various dates: The Nanogirl science team will be performing the Nanogirl Bubble Shows at various shopping malls across the country over the holidays.
Find out where here: www.nanogirl.co/upcoming-appearances

Butterfly Creek

Daily: Visit Butterfly Creek these holidays for butterflies and lots more, suitable for all ages.
Find out more here: www.butterflycreek.co.nz

Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

New Zealand butterfly families

The butterfly family Nymphalidae holds 12 species of butterflies that are found in New Zealand.

Botanic Gardens

Daily: Visit the Auckland Botanic gardens these summer holidays for fun for the whole family, inluding plant sales every Thursday.
Find out more here: www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz

Auckland Museum

Daily: A wide range of things to do and see, including two T-rex skeletons.
Find out more here: www.aucklandmuseum.com/whats-on


Waikato Museum

Exscite science gallery

Daily: An interactive science gallery, find out more here: https://waikatomuseum.co.nz/exhibitions-and-events/view/257/exscite-

Bricks 4 Kidz school holiday programme

25 Sep–6 Oct: Experience LEGO® like never before! This hands-on holiday programme is perfect for tamariki aged 5 to 12 years, find out more here: https://waikatomuseum.co.nz/exhibitions-and-events/view/2145883795/bricks-4-kidz-school-holiday-programme

For a complete list of events at Waikato Museum, please visit: https://waikatomuseum.co.nz/exhibitions-and-events/current-exhibitions

Te Awamutu Space Centre

Daily: Museum and activity centre suitable for all ages.
Find out more here: www.spacecentre.nz

  • Want to know more, see our resources under our astronomy topic.

Hamilton Gardens

Daily: Visit the Hamilton gardens these holidays for fun for the whole family. Download the free Discovery Trail sheet here to help explore an enchanting world of secret-themed gardens.
Find out more here: https://hamiltongardens.co.nz

Rights: Dr Megan Balks

Te Parapara Garden

Kūmara plants, growing in Te Taupa at Te Parapara Garden.

Te Parapara is designed to incorporate two realms representative of both wild, uncultivated foods and cultivated or farmed foods. Te Ara Whakatauki (Path of Proverbs) lies between the Piazza (section of garden) and the waharoa (gateway). This realm represents the unculivated foods under the care of Haumiatiketike. Te Taupa sits beyond the waharoa and is under the care of Rongomātane renowned as atua of cultivated foods such as the kūmara.

The garden takes its name from the pre-European Māori settlement that occupied the site.

Bay of Plenty

The National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa

9:30am–2pm daily: join one of their experiences during hatching season (September–March), you'll get to see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process and newly hatched kiwi chicks.
Find out more: www.nationalkiwihatchery.org.nz/visit

Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri

23 Sep–7 Oct: Visit the Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri for a wide range of events, from robotics, lego, craft and coding.
Find out more: www.rotoruanui.nz/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/2023-Spring-School-Holiday-Programme-A4-trifold-programme.pdf

Hawkes Bay

National Aquarium

Daily: Visit the National Aquarium of New Zealand – it's home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world. Plan your visit around the keeper talks and animal feeding.
Find out more: www.nationalaquarium.co.nz

MTG Hawke's Bay

Daily: Visit this award-winning museum, home of the Hawke’s Bay region's taonga and other treasures, including the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Exhibition.
Find out more: www.mtghawkesbay.com


Puke Ariki

There is loads to keep everyone entertained – be captivated by the exhibition Te Kitenga o Hina as it shares the sacred seasons of Aotearoa, catch the State of Nature exhibition before it closes, Reef Alive is great for anyone curious about the Taranaki's fascinating reef biodiversity.
Find out more: https://pukeariki.com


Te Manawa Museum

Daily: Visiting Palmerston North? – why not head into outer space with fantastic Tūhura Tuarangi – Aotearoa in space roadshow science exhibition and/or visit the Te Awa – The River exhibition. There are also many more things to see for all the family.
Find out more: www.temanawa.co.nz


Capital E

26 Sep–3 Oct: Book a session in Let’s Get Digital! School Holiday Workshops.

Daily: These school holidays will be your last chance to visit SpaceHQ with your youngest (suitable for ages 0–5) before a new play activiation centre is introduced in November.
For more about what's on at Capital E: www.capitale.org.nz/whats-on-at-capital-e

Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

Daily: A great day out with hands-on experience with nature and education.
Find out more: http://ngamanu.co.nz/

Police Museum

This museum takes visitors 'up close and personal' with policing methods of the past, present, and future. Your tamariki could participate in the Junior and/or Senior Detective Mystery trails and there are daily musem tours.
Find out more about the museum events and activities: www.police.govt.nz/about-us/history-museum/museum

Rights: Kitchener Bain. Image licensed through 123RF Limited


Fingerprints can be detected and used for forensic purposes.

Pūkaha Junior Rangers Holiday Program

26 Sep–5 Oct: Created for young nature lovers aged 6 to 12 years, Junior Rangers offers hands-on learning in the Pūkaha Reserve. Kids spend the day exploring the forest, getting to know the birds and watching them being fed: especially the cheeky kaka and tuna.
Find out more here: www.eventfinda.co.nz/2023/junior-rangers-september-2023-school-holiday-programme/masterton

Star Safari

Various: Experience the best telescope equipment in Wairarapa and explore the night sky from one of the best places for stargazing in the world, the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve and discover New Zealand’s most famous constellations.
Find out more: https://star-safari.nz

Space Place

28 Sept and 6 Oct: Get hands-on with some tasty, edible science these school holidays! Science Bites is an edible science workshop for tamariki aged 8–12 years old.
Find out more here: www.museumswellington.org.nz/science-bites-edible-science-workshop (SOLD OUT)

Daily: Visit Space Place these summer holidays for lots of resources on astronomy and fun for the whole family. See the school holiday planetarium schedule there.
Find out more here: www.museumswellington.org.nz/space-place

  • Want to know more, see our resources under our astronomy topic.

Te Papa

Daily: A great place to take the kids during the holidays, including free Food art and science with Wendy Joyce shows. For a list of events at Te Papa, please visit: www.tepapa.govt.nz/visit/events

Wellington Botanic garden

Daily: Visit the Wellington Botanic Gardens these holidays for fun for the whole family.
Find out more here: https://wellingtongardens.nz/our-gardens/wellington-botanic-garden


25 Sep–7 Oct: An outdoor school holiday programme for kids aged 5 to 12 centred around exploring nature and learning about the world around them.
Find out more here: https://sustaintrust.org.nz/school-holiday-programme

Wellington Museum

Daily: For fascinating stories of the Wellington region, visit: www.museumswellington.org.nz/wellington-museum/

Wellington Zoo

Daily: Wellington Zoo is a great place for the whole family to visit.
Find out talk times and more: https://wellingtonzoo.com

Holiday program

26 Sep–6 Oct: Aimed at 5–12 year olds, the Zoo’s holiday programmes are perfect for kids who want to learn about animals and conservation. Each session will explore a different side of the Zoo and its inhabitants. You do need to be in quick to book a place.
Find out more here: https://wellingtonzoo.com/visit/plan-your-day/things-to-do/holiday-programmes/


Daily: An awesome place to visit with the whole family to see New Zealand’s native wildlife, open 9am–5pm. Check out the daily talks about New Zealand's unique wildlife.
Find out more: www.visitzealandia.com

Rights: Judi Lapsley Miller CC-BY-4.0


ZEALANDIA in the heart of Wellington City was concevied in 1995 and opened in 2000 after the erection of an 8.6 kilometre long predator proof-fence. The sanctuary has a 500 year plan to restore the reserve to how it would have appeared before humans arrived in New Zealand. It is already home to many endangered species of birds, plants and animals such as saddleback, tuatara, giant wētā and little spotted kiwi.

Flutter Puppet Show wth String Bean Puppets

1 October: A bat who is afraid of the dark encounters a glow worm who thinks she is a star. Themes of courage, friendship and conservation are interwoven with a heartwarming story that introduces audiences to the unique and endangered short-tailed bat. Experience the magic of puppetry and te taiao in this show for young audiences.
Find out more here: www.facebook.com/events/989774628982813

Rights: TheyLookLikeUs, CC BY-SA 4.0

Communal roost

A group of short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) in a communal roost tree on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island.


The Nelson Provincial Museum

Daily: This museum is the kaitiaki (guardian) of social and natural history and Taonga from the Nelson and Tasman regions, until mid November they are also hosting the touring exhibition Code Breakers: Women in Games.
Find out more here: www.nelsonmuseum.co.nz


Christchurch Botanic gardens

Daily: Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens these holidays, for fun for the whole family. Check our the various tour options.
Find out more here: www.ccc.govt.nz/parks-and-gardens/christchurch-botanic-gardens

International Antarctic Centre

The Antarctic Academy Programme offers daily and multi–day programmes with Antarctic themes. With Science Alive learn about the important role Antarctica plays in scientific discovery, including fun activities focused on electricity, astronomy, and technology. Join a behind the scenes tour, take a Hägglund field trip and more.
Find out more here: www.iceberg.co.nz

  • Want to know more, see our resources under our Antarctica topic.

Orana Wildlife Park

26 Sep–7 Oct: The education team are running a school holiday programme for 8–11year old for kids to connect with nature, experience behind the scenes activities as well as visit some of amazing animals.
For more information and to book: www.oranawildlifepark.co.nz/plan-your-visit/events

Daily: A great place to visit during the holidays for an animal adventure the whole family will enjoy. You could have the chance to get up close and personal with the animals.
Find out more here: www.oranawildlifepark.co.nz

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

Daily, 9.30am–5pm: Visit this New Zealand themed wildlife park, including visiting the Nocturnal Kiwi House to see North Island Brown Kiwi. Check out the Junior keeper and the Junior keeper PLUS programmes during the school holidays.
Find out more here: www.willowbank.co.nz


Dunedin Botanic Garden

Daily: Visit the Dunedin Botanic Gardens these holidays, for fun for the whole family. Take the 1-hour walk up an extinct volcano, view a wide range of birds and take one of the varried trails.
Find out more here: https://dunedinbotanicgarden.co.nz/

Kiwi Birdlife Park

Daily: Discover the captivating wildlife Sanctuary at the Kiwi Park and witness conservation in action, nestled in the heart of Queenstown.
Find out more: www.kiwibird.co.nz/

Rights: Tansy Bliss, Crown copyright, Department of Conservation. 2009

Haast tokoeka kiwi

Haast tokoeka Kiwi (Apteryx australis) being held by Department of Conservation staff Phil Tisch with a male kiwi (left) and Paul van Klink with a female (right). The Haast tokoeka is one of the rarest kiwis in existence, with only about 300-400 left in the wild.

Otago Museum

Otago Museum is always a fabulous place to visit with so much on offer, including a free daily science show all about the ocean that surrounds us. Visit Tūhura – New Zealand's biggest science centre and the Tropical Forest with exotic butterflies and so much more.

These exhibitions are finishing soon: Glam Rocks – examples of crystal, rock and minerals glam rocks paired with a glam rock-inspired soundtrack ending 2 October. Trouble in Paradise – Climate Change in the Pacific – a moving photographic exhibition of beautiful and challenging images documenting the effects of the climate crisis in the Pacific will be finishing 8 October.

Find out more: https://otagomuseum.nz/whats-on/

Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary

Daily (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday): Orokonui is a 307 hectare biodiversity sanctuary near Dunedin and is home to many threatened species and habitats.
Find out more: https://orokonui.nz/

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

Mainland sanctuaries, also known as mainland islands, are an important conservation strategy in New Zealand. In this video clip, Associate Professor Alison Cree, talks about the establishment of Orokonui Ecosanctuary and the process of introducing tuatara to the sanctuary.

Sinclair Wetlands, Te Nohoaka O Tukiauau

Daily: Visit the Sinclair Wetlands these holidays and see if you can spot all 46 bird species that live there.
Find out more here: www.tenohoaka.org.nz

Vanished World

Daily: Take a walk along the vanished world trails or visit the Vanished World Centre and see a range of geological finds including fossils.
Find out more here: https://vanishedworld.co.nz/

  • Want to know more, see our resources under the fossils topic.

Related content

Try some of these fab science ideas and activities from our Signs of spring Pinterest board.

If you want to continue the learning at home during the holidays whilst still keeping it fun – see Learning science from home – ideas to deepen learning before you begin. Science for young learners is about discovery, curiosity and observation. Two key outcomes of any activity can simply be enjoyment and the conversations that arise from the experience.

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