A city for families to play, learn, and grow

No matter what part of Newcastle you decide to call home, your family is always well taken care of.

From the limitless sandcastles to be built on one of its gorgeous beaches, to the vast array of exhibits and workshops at its libraries, museum and art gallery, the city is literally filled with child and family-friendly fun.

Also, a great selection of public and private schools, and day-care facilities in all points of the LGA, make Newcastle the perfect place to raise a family.

Family walking along the beach at Stockton

Swing into active fun in Newcastle

The City of Newcastle maintains more than 115 playgrounds across the LGA, meaning there is certainly no shortage of options, in every suburb, for fun and active family outings.

These facilities are maintained to the highest of standards through its Playground Replacement Program, which has seen a multi-million-dollar investment over the past five years.

More than 15 playgrounds across Newcastle have benefited so far, including Minmi Reserve playground, which was fitted out with a new balancing trail, swings and sensory bridge, and Kotara Park, which was completely refreshed with a new design.

Checking out all the city has to offer on a bike is another great way to have fun and stay active with the family and there are plenty of safe cycle routes right across the LGA. The City of Newcastle offers a range of cycleway maps to make that two-wheeled trip even easier.

Wide photo of a playground

Making a splash in Newcastle

Keen to get into the swim of things? Well, there’s plenty of opportunities to stay cool in a pool right across Newcastle.

There are five outdoor swimming centres in Newcastle (Lambton, Mayfield, Beresfield, Stockton, and Wallsend) each bursting with all manner of safe and accessible family-friendly fun such as Lambton’s 100-metre waterslide, diving pool, and inflatable obstacle courses.

Another great place for the family to cool off over the summer months is Merewether Ocean Baths – the largest ocean baths in the southern hemisphere.

This icon of the Newcastle waterfront boasts one deep main pool, with plenty of room for laps or just splashing about, and a shallower pool that’s perfect for smaller swimmers.

Aerial photo of Merewether ocean baths

Curious minds and cute critters

Curious kids of all ages will be enthralled at the treasure trove of fun to be had at Newcastle Museum.

Located in the heart of Newcastle, the museum boasts three permanent exhibitions – A Newcastle Story, Fire and Earth, and Supernova alongside an eclectic array of visiting shows and community exhibitions and best of all, entry is free.

This cultural jewel attracts some amazing travelling and special shows as well, including the roar-some Great Baby Dinosaur Show, and the whimsical Museums Victoria Alice’s Wonderland hands-on science exhibition.

Newcastle Libraries, located in the city, Wallsend, Adamstown, Beresfield, Hamilton, Lambton, Mayfield, New Lambton, and Stockton, also offer a robust program of child-friendly events and workshops, as does Newcastle Art Gallery which is currently undergoing a $40 million expansion.

Another popular family hangout is Blackbutt Reserve – a natural wonderland, featuring a variety of nature trails, habitats, and ecosystems, just six kilometres from the city.

You’ll also be able to get up close and personal with an array of animals, including waddling wombats and cuddly koalas, thanks to regular wildlife exhibits, and the tranquil picnic setting makes for a great day out.

Speaking of wildlife, your four-legged friends needn’t miss out on all the fun either, with Newcastle offering more than 15 leash-free areas across the city including Horseshoe Beach, King Edward Park, Carrington Foreshore, and Nesca Park.

A family petting a lizard at Blackbutt Reserve

A city of good sports

Looking for a fun, family day out? Soaking up the electric atmosphere at McDonald Jones Stadium and cheering on the mighty Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets should tick that box. 

If your family is a fan of netball, AFL cricket, rugby union, football, athletics, croquet, or basketball, then National Park is certainly the place to be.

And there’s no better time to visit, either, with the precinct currently undergoing a major facelift including new basketball courts, playing field upgrades at No.5 and No.6 Sportsgrounds and netball court upgrades.

Two young kids playing soccer

The upgrade also includes a major facelift for the site’s No. 1 Sportsground, the largest of its kind since the site’s construction in 1922.

Work includes an increase in the field size and in the installation of bleacher-style seating to increase capacity from 400 to 790, potentially attracting elite-level AFL and cricket matches into the heart of the city.

Also, with sport playing such a major role in the cultural makeup of the city, there are no shortage of junior sports – from soccer, AFL, and rugby league, to surfing, nippers, netball, and athletics (and everything in between!) for your budding champions to try out.

The compact and convenient nature of the city means a day out with the kids can mean a trip to the beach, then a hop, skip and a jump to the Museum to check out an exhibition or workshop, then off to grab a bite in the Hunter Street Mall, Darby Street, or even a picnic in Civic or King Edward Park.

All with time to spare.

A family with their small child at a beach lookout