If you are looking for some inspiration on what to do with your young kids these July school holiday in and around Parramatta, then you have come to the right place! This bumper July School Holidays Guide starts with our 10 top picks of things for you can do with your kids. And then has a What’s On Calendar of over 200 (mostly free) local events, from activities at local shopping centres and libraries to ice skating events, festivals and a Quidditch clinic!
Top 10 Picks – Free, Cheap and Something a Bit Different
With so many activities too chose from, it can be hard to decide what to do these school holidays with your kids…not a bad problem to have though! To help, we have highlighted our 10 top picks for the greater Parramatta area, that are mostly suitable for preschoolers and primary school kids. Keep in mind, our list just focuses on activities done with a parent/ carer, rather than drop off (and run) vacation care type activities.
1Ride Your Bike or Scooter at a New Dinky Track
Nothing like a scoot or bike ride to warm you up and get some fresh air on a sunny winters day! And fortunately for us, the purpose built scooter/ bike tracks that mimic a mini road network are all the rage at the moment. Six new scooter/ bike tracks have opened in the last few months! Read the list of the 20 local dinky tracks here.
2Pick Your Own Oranges, Mandarins and Tomatoes
Did you know that you only need to travel about 60mins north to reach a number of farms that let you pick your own fruit? It’s a really lovely outing wandering around the farm and travelling through a bit of countryside. And afterwards, you get to enjoy delicious freshly picked produce! In season and available to pick nearby these July school holidays are oranges, mandarin and tomatoes. Just remember to rug up and pop on some gumboots!
- Anderson Farm: North of Windsor, on the other side of the Sackville Car Ferry, this farm is open 6 days a week from 10am till 4pm. Entry is $5 for adults and kids are free. You pay for the oranges and mandarins you pick at $10 a bucket, which gets you about 5kgs. There are also cows to feed on the farm and lots of picnic spots.
- Canoelands Orchard: Under an hours drive north of Parramatta, past Glenorie, this farm is open 7 days a week during school holidays. There is a free tractor ride at 10am, farm animals, coffee shack, play area and picnic spots. It’s $5 for adults and kids are free to pick your own tomatoes. You then pay $4.50 per kg.
- Waktins Family Farm: Near Wisemans Ferry, they are open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm and have lots of mandarins to pick.
3Celebrate Indigenous Culture During NAIDOC Week | 8th to 15th July
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The key NAIDOC week event is Burramatta on 15th July, which this year moves to Parramatta Park. Casey Donovan is the headline act, with performances from Evie J Willie and Rebecca Hatch , an open corroboree sand circle, traditional dance and music, free BBQ and lots more. Plus there are events at Sydney Olympic Park (12th July), Blacktown Showgrounds (10th July), Winston Hills (14-15th July), Rouse Hill Farm and House (15th July) and Baulkham Hills (11th July).
4Skate, Play and Eat at the Magical Winterlight | 6th to 22nd July
17 days of magical winter fun is coming to Parramatta these school holidays at Winterlight in Prince Alfred Square from 6th to 22nd July. Winterlight is one of Sydney’s biggest winter festivals and home to the largest open-air ice rink in Sydney. Plus there are a host of family-friendly activities, including a special kids rink, free kids workshops, illuminated ferris wheel, free magical winter light garden, vintage rides, elevated ice slide, roving entertainers, warming winter food and free live music. There is an opening night special and a 2 for 1 Tuesday deal. Read our ultimate family guide for more details.
And if you are looking for a cheaper outdoor ice skating experience these school holidays, there is Icetopia at Prairiewood organised by Fairfield City Council.
5Way Out West Festival | 18th to 21st July
Bursting with live performances, interactive installations, incredible outdoor adventures and wondrous workshops, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre’s annual Way Out West (WOW) Festival returns these school holidays for four days chock-full of crazy and creative family fun.
6Become a Waste Warrior or Run Away to the Circus at a Local Shopping Centre
Local shopping centres have some fab activities on these school holidays, and most are free and you can just drop-in. From being a waste warrior at Rhodes Waterside, circus workshops at Wintson Hills and cooking classes at Stockland Merrylands to soccer play at North Rocks Shopping Centre and meeting Batman at Top Ryde City.
There is still plenty of fun to be had outdoors during winter….well with a warm jacket and when it isn’t too wet. Here is a list of 20 top playgrounds to visit in winter and there are lots of kid-friendly bushwalks to enjoy as well.
If you want to combine a play at the park or play area with coffee, brunch or lunch, then we have mapped over 120 play and food combos for you to choose from. And by taking your reusable coffee cup, you can save yourself some money and landfill at these local Responsible Cafes.
8Get Up Close to Farm or Native Animals
Animals and kids is usually a winning combination! And these school holidays there are LOTS of ways to getup to close to some furry friends. Calmsley Hill City Farm is offering kids entry at $5 and Featherdale Wildlife Park for FREE, which means an adult and child can enter either for about $32. We ❤ the hands-on farm experience at Calmsley, tractor rides and shows, with a side of native animals. And Featherdale has a large number of native animals to get up close to, plus fun farm area. See pics for more details.
For a FREE native animal experience, we highly recommend visiting Auburn Botanic Gardens and Central Gardens in Merrylands. Plus, Kellyville Pets is having a re-opening party after their renovations with free reptile display, face painting and other activities.
9Take a Short Road Trip
Going on a little road trip can be an adventure in itself, made all the more fun when arriving at a great family-friendly destination. And winter is a great time to go whale spotting along the coast. We drove to North Head recently and were fortunate to see a few whales travelling up the coast to warmer waters. We recommend downloading the whale watching app to see where some currently are. Here are two other mini road trip suggestions for these school holidays:
- Head to the only specialised children’s museum in NSW for a fantastic time playing in the 14 interactive zones. Early Start Discovery Space (review) at Wollongong University also has a host of activities and throughout July, they will focus on the wonderful world of Antarctica to support the new Experience Antarctica: Research Vessel.
- Blue Mountains to be mesmerised by the view at Scenic World, with a pit stop at Cafe 2773 and visit to the Gingerbread House….and you may even get to see some snow!
10Watch a Live Performance
Let your kids get swept up in the kind of magic that only live performance can deliver, with family productions at our local Riverside Theatres, and The Joan in Penrith, these school holidays. Our picks are The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Wilde Creatures and the Cumberland Gang ‘Feel the Beat’ show.
Calendar of July School Holiday Events
The events listed in our July school holidays calendar are mostly free or cheap and usually don’t required pre-booking. Nearly all are events that you attend with your child, though your level of supervision and involvement varies. The calendar will continue to grow so make sure to keep checking back! Make sure to check out events at your local shopping centre and Cumberland Council has a great number of Roald Dahl inspired drop-in library events.