The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a great free family friendly activity. It all starts around 6:15 each morning when the balloons begin to be inflated and the event runs for 9 days (12 – 20 March 2016). Since most kids are early risers, it is an ideal activity to roll out of bed and head down to the lawns of Old Parliament House to watch the hot air balloons set up and launch. It is a weather (and wind) dependent activity, so make sure to check Events ACT to find out where the balloons are launching from. And don’t forget to rug up!
I took my 5 year old princess down to Old Parliament House for the opening day this year. I was fortunate to find a great parking spot as a family was leaving. The family was nice enough to tell us that the balloons were going to be launching from the National Arboretum instead, but there were still a few balloons still tethered there. I decided to stay and see the balloons tethered rather than driving across town to the Arboretum. We were able to watch the Whale, Air Force and Nudie balloons inflate.
At Old Parliament House there was still plenty to do and see. There was a live band, food stalls (hot breakfast supporting the Lions Club of Belconnen), coffee and kids activities. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular has plenty of novelty balloons including one that is meant to look like the balloons from the movie “Up!”
This is definitely an event that I recommend going to with or without kids!
Here are my top tips for the Balloon Spectacular:
- Don’t forget to check Events ACT for updates before heading out.
- Be prepared to walk. While there is plenty of parking around Old Parliament House, it is a popular event, especially on the weekends.
- It is a free event, but there is food and coffee available for purchase. If you are bringing the kids and don’t want to spend any money, avoid the tent and food stalls area. If they don’t know it is there, you’ll enjoy yourself more.
- Better yet, bring a blanket and picnic basket of your own 🙂
- Wear warm clothes. Canberra is chilly in the mornings, so best to wear a jumper.
- Have fun!