Forget face value, curious kids love to know how things really operate. For even the littlest kiddos who need to know the nitty-gritty details of how their favourite places and spaces work and beyond, we’ve covered 10 fantastic behind-the-scenes activities in Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington!
Auckland behind-the-scenes experiences
1. Sea Life at Kelly Tarlton’s
Where? 23 Tamaki Dr, Orakei, Auckland
If your family has time for a bucketload of fishy fun, family destination Kelly Tarlton’s offers an awesome behind-the-scenes tour of their SEA LIFE areas and aquariums. View underwater aquariums from above, feed all sorts of fish, and explore the animal quarantine area where you’ll meet some of its inhabitants. Aside from their BTS tours, there are so many more unique close-encounter activities to choose from. Whether your child (or you!) prefers wet or dry, be sure to sign up for Shark Dives and On-the-Ice Encounters. You won’t regret it, we promise!
2. Butterfly Creek’s Junior Keeper Programme
Where? 10 Tom Pearce Dr, Auckland Airport
Price: $95 per child
Age: 7-12 years
All little animal lovers will be buzzing over this awesome experience — from cleaning, feeding, mentoring, caring and playing with Butterfly Creek’s animals, this fun and educational programme offers all children the opportunity to have an extraordinary behind-the-scenes experience with keepers and animals. The programme is available during the school holidays or by special booking.
3. Auckland Zoo
Where? Motions Rd, Auckland
Age: Varies per animal experience
From the fastest animal in the world to the biggest rodent around, Auckland Zoo’s big line-up of animals is giving you and your little one the chance to make extraordinary memories. Expect close-up interactions and hand-feed friendly red pandas, tortoises, squirrel monkeys and capybaras, and get the chance to experience thrilling encounters with tigers and cheetahs with their behind-the-scenes programme.
Wellington behind-the-scenes experiences
Where? 1 Weka St, Miramar, Wellington
It’s no secret that kiddos are hardwired to be imaginative, and no matter what the subject may be, their imagination is always rolling. If you know all things adventurous and fantasy-like are a hit with your little one’s interests and imagination, clear out your weekend and book in an unforgettable Weta Workshop tour! From the LotR, Avatar and above, Weta Workshop is home to the magic behind the screen. Enlighten big-little minds and bring fantasy to life with their behind the scenes tours, a surefire day trip that all family members can enjoy.
2. Wellington Zoo
Where? 200 Daniell St, Newtown, Wellington
Wellington Zoo’s awesome range of experiences not only boasts close encounters with all sorts of wildlife, but also consists of fun zoo sleepovers where slumber-goers have the chance to experience the zoo after-hours! Snuggle at night with animals and critters close by, or tempt some animals with a cheeky midnight snack.
3. Police Museum
Where? Royal New Zealand Police College, Papakowhai Rd, Porirua
Children are big dreamers – some often wanting to be like their friendly crime-fighting neighbours, police officers! If you’re around the Welly area, be sure to pop into the Police Museum for a wide range of exciting in-their-shoes activities and awesome tours. Kids of all ages will get the chance to decipher signs, dust fingerprints, uncover mysteries and earn a detective badge with the Junior Detective Trail, The Scene of Crime Officer or Senior Detective Mysteries workshop. Aside from educational tours, the museum offers the chance to try out their awesome uniforms and the M.O.T motorbike. These museum favourites call for some insta-worthy shots of you and your little ones!
4. Zealandia Ecosanctuary at Night
Where? 53 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington 6012
Zelandia’s unique location boasts an ecosanctuary, home to a diverse range of New Zealand’s wildlife. From glow worms to tuatara, their night walk experience is the perfect opportunity to witness New Zealand’s unique and endangered species that only come out at night! If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot at least one of the 130 kiwi who call Zealandia home. This is a perfect after-hours experience for kiddos aged 12 to 17 years old. Never fret, younger kids under 12 have a chance to participate in Kids’ Night Walks, which run from April to September every year.
Canterbury behind-the-scenes experiences
1. International Antarctic Centre
Where? 38 Orchard Rd, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch
If sweet little Mumble has a special place in your little one’s heart, this Penguin Backstage Tour is a must for all the Happy Feet fanatics out there. Hosted by one of the centre’s Antarctic Rangers, kids from the age of five years old have the rare chance to experience penguin spaces not accessible to other visitors. They’ll get the chance to learn all about penguins, feed them, and learn about how the centre’s quarantine area works — up close!
2. Orana Wildlife Centre
Where? 793 McLeans Island Rd, Christchurch
If you have a little animal lover itching to participate with carers and their animals, Orana Wildlife Centre is the place to be as the centre’s farmyard advocates bringing people closer together with animals! They welcome all animal lovers, especially children, to develop or take an interest in animals and their environment. With a core focus on mostly interesting rare/heritage breed animals, the centre schedules a Farmyard Feed every afternoon, where all can help staff feed the animals and interact with carers. If this sounds like your next family day out, be sure to check out more information here.
3. Airforce Museum of New Zealand
Where? 45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch
If your little one is fascinated with all things that fly — from birds to aeroplanes — they’ll have a zooming time at the Air Force Museum and their behind-the-scenes tour. They’ll get the chance to discover aircraft, vehicles, engines, as well as the opportunity to climb inside some of their aircraft. Reach new heights of plane fun this weekend. Find out more information here.
more fun for kids from tots to teens: