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Top 10 FREE kids activities on the Central Coast (+10 under $10)

December 12, 2018

From marine centres to play centres, water fountains to water slides, kids clubs to book clubs – there is so much fun to be had for kids on the Central Coast. And the best part is, you can do it all for less than $10. And, better still, some of them don’t cost a cent!

Here is a list of some of our favourites – in no particular order.

1. Play FootGolf at Mangrove Mountain

Have you heard of FootGolf? We’ll admit we never had! But now that we’ve tried it we’ll be playing it again and again. It is as it sounds: a game that combines the fun of soccer and golf – the aim being to kick a soccer ball into nine specially designed holes in as few kicks as possible. It’s great fun, something the entire family can play together and, as of last year, it’s now available to play on the Central Coast – at Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club and Golf Course.

We were told that FootGolf was a game the whole family would enjoy, so we tested it out and took the ENTIRE family. We had toddlers, kids, teens, adults and grandies, and we ALL had an awesome time. Click here to read our review.

Cost: A game of nine holes of FootGolf is $6 for children under 16, $11 for adults and $5 for ball hire (you can bring your own soccer ball if you like).
Where: Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club & Golf Course, 18 Hallards Rd, Central Mangrove.
Read our review for further details.

Image ⓒPlaying in Puddles

2. Edogawa Commemorative Garden and Gosford Regional Gallery

The Japanese Gardens, as it’s locally known, is a 4,000m2 area of meandering paths, wooden bridges and koi-filled ponds. Purchase a bag of fish food for $1 from the gallery shop and let the colourful koi and resident ducklings take over the entertaining for a little while. There’s a small children’s play area in the gardens, too, and of course the adjoining gallery, which often holds free exhibitions.

Cost: Free!
Read our review for opening times and further details.

Location: 36 Webb Street, East Gosford.

A child explores the beautiful grounds of the Edogawa Commemorative Garden and Gosford Regional Gallery.

Get set, go. Have fun exploring the beautiful grounds of the Edogawa Commemorative Garden and Gosford Regional Gallery | Playing in Puddles

3. Pelican Feeding, The Entrance

Watch the pelicans soar in for a feed at The Entrance Foreshore. The feeding frenzy takes place every day at 3.30pm – making it a great after-school activity. Follow it up with a play on the nearby trampoline and scramble maze and it’ll be dinner time before you can blink.

Cost: Free!
Location: Pelican Plaza, The Entrance Foreshore.

Children stand near the play equipment at The Entrance foreshore.

Play time at The Entrance.

4. The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Terrigal

Where else can you see a Port Jackson shark, paint a plaster mold and touch a starfish, coral, cowrie shells and shark teeth? The marine discovery centre is a hands-on experience the kids will love… and the best part is they’ll learn without feeling like they’re being schooled. Win-win. Plus, it’s home to the Parklife Coffee shop and Rotary Park playground, so you can have your coffee and cake fix too.

Open: weekends and school holidays 10am-4pm (Last admission at 3pm).
Cost: $10 adult; $6 child; Family of 2 children and 2 adults $26; Family of 2 children and 1 adult $16. $5 to paint a plaster mold.
Playing in Puddles visited. Click here to read our review.
Location: 11 Terrigal Drive, Terrigal (in the Rotary Park next to Terrigal Lagoon).

Sea horse and shells at Touch and feel at Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Terrigal

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

5. The Haven, Terrigal

Build a sandcastle, splash in the shallows and have a walk up the Skillion (and then roll back down the hill).

Cost: Free!
Location: The Haven, Terrigal.

Children dig in the sand at The Haven in Terrigal, NSW - a protected cove surrounded by pine trees, grassed areas perfect for picnics and a boat ramp for fishermen.

The Haven’s calm waters makes it the ideal beach for young tots to experience a salt-water swim without the fear of being pummeled by waves | Playing in Puddles

6. Bato Yard, Bateau Bay

If pro-skateboarder Renton Millar is calling Bato Yard his “dream bowl”, chances are your little skater will think it’s pretty awesome too. The 2800m2 skate park offers skaters, BMX riders, in-line skaters and scooter riders a mixture of street and transition terrain. There’s also parkour areas for those without wheels. If this all sounds like gobbledygook, don’t worry, just know your tween will love it.

Cost: Free!
Location: 460 The Entrance Rd, Bateau Bay.

7. Circus skills

Have you heard of Central Coast Circus Jam? It’s a fun and FREE event where you can learn how to juggle, unicycle, slackline, hula hoop and more in the sunshine at Picnic Point and Gosford Waterfront. It’s for the young and young at heart, for the circus schooled and complete beginners.

It’s held every fortnight in one of two local parks (at The Entrance and Gosford) and is a gorgeous way to while away a sunny Sunday afternoon.

-1st Sunday of the Month – Picnic Point, The Entrance (near the Skate Park)
-3rd Sunday of the Month – Gosford Waterfront (either on the water side near Eat Street or closer to Fish Dining under the trees)
Time: 3-6pm.

It’s on our events calendar. Thanks to Roundabout Circus for bringing this cool initiative to the Coast.

Cost: Free!

🌿 PARKS 🌿 Looking for fenced, shaded parks with tables, BBQs, coffee and more? We’ve got you covered. Click here to see our park reviews. ?

8. Vera’s Water Garden, The Entrance

I don’t know any child who doesn’t beam with delight upon seeing this water-play area for the first time. The quirky colourful statues, spurting fountains and other children running, jumping, skipping and laughing in the water make it a joy to behold.

Cost: Free!
See our review for photos and further details.

Location: Next to Memorial Park on The Entrance Foreshore.

Kids splashing in the water amongst the colourful sculptures of Vera's Water Garden in The Entrance.

Escape the heat at Vera’s Water Garden, The Entrance | Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

9. Everybody clap at Impact, Erina

Warm up your clapping hands and join in the fun at Impact’s music morning. This casual weekly class is the perfect place to brush up on ye olde nursery rhymes if you’re confused about your itsy bitsys and humpty dumptys. And, as a double bonus, you get morning tea and discounted entry to Kidsworld Play Centre too.

Cost: $5 per family.
When: 10am and 11am Wednesdays.
Read our review for opening times and further details.
Location: Impact Centre, 19 Chetwynd Rd, Erina.

Image ⒸImpact

10. Play Time for tiny tots, Kincumber
Play Time is an indoor play centre for kids aged 0-7, and it has a huge range of toys, inflatables, cubbies and ride-ons. One of the things we love about Play Time is that everything is located in one large open space. This makes supervision so much easier, as you can watch, for example, your 6-year-old bouncing on the jumping castle and keep an eye on your toddler on the bike ramp all while sipping your cappucino at the cafe.

Cost: Children under 10 months, free; 10 months-2 years, $7; 2-7 years $10; Adults, free. 10% Discount applies for families with 3 children or more.
Read our review for further details.
Location: Kincumber Indoor Sports Centre, 19 Cochrone St, Kincumber.

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

♥ It’s fun to discover new places. Share this list with your mothers group, so together you can experience a new place each week.

11. Laser tag

Get your kids to Laserblast for skirmish-style fun that’ll see them run, roll and laugh. This is hide ‘n’ seek on steroids. Laserblast at Charmhaven has an awesome evening deal: $6 games after 6pm! Teens and tweens are going to go nuts!

Cost: $6/game after 6pm. See website for other pricing and specials.
Location: Unit 6, 132 Chelmsford Rd, Charmhaven.

Image ⓒLaserblast Charmhaven.

12. Narara steam trains

Toot toot! Thomas fans will absolutely love this little expedition. On the first Saturday of every month from 11am to 4pm you can climb aboard a miniature train and ride the tracks. Some of the engines run on steam, some battery-powered electric motors and others by small internal combustion engines. They’re all driven and owned by lovely volunteers. Hungry kids? You’ll find 1st Noraville Scout Group there every month too – they’ll be on the tongs making sausage sangas.

Cost: $2.50 per person per ride (babies in arms are free). Closed-in shoes must be worn.
Check out our What’s On page for dates.
Location: Showground Rd, Narara (opposite Bellbowrie Ave).

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

13. Kidsworld Play Centre at Impact

Impact has a double-story play area complete with ball pitt, a long double slide and soft obstacles to race through. They have a toddler zone out the back and race track, cubbies and trikes in the foyer. Plus the barista does a mean coffee and banana bread.

Cost: Children under 12 months are free; 1-10 years, $9.90 (or only $5 after 1pm); adults $4 (includes small hot drink).
Read our review for opening times and further details.
Location: Impact Centre, 19 Chetwynd Rd, Erina.

A yellow caterpillar from the toddler area of Kidsworld at Impact Centre, Erina

Kidsworld at Impact Erina | ⓒPlaying in Puddles

14. The Running of the Horses, Glenworth Valley

Glenworth Valley’s iconic Running Of The Horses is a daily event in which some 200 horses are mustered out of the riding yards and across the river to other pasture. This event occurs every afternoon at about 4.30pm; however, the time and location varies daily, so it’s best to check with staff on the day for all details. You’re welcome to come to the Valley any time to watch this event, and it won’t cost you a cent!

Cost: Free.
Read our review for further details. 
Location: 69 Cooks Road, Glenworth Valley.

Image ⒸGlenworth Valley

15. Local pools, slides and on-water inflatables

Have you checked out your local pool lately? It’s a cheap and fun way to entertain the kids.

The Peninsula Leisure Centre is particularly great. There’s a toddler slide, a large waterslide, floating inflatables and a dry softplay area in the foyer.
Cost: 0-4 years free with a swimming adult (children up to four must have an adult in the pool with them); 5-19 years $4.30; swimming adult $7.40; spectator $3.40.

Mingara Aquatics has a whirlpool and multiple fountain sprays. Plus inflatables in the holidays. It’s guaranteed to keep your little ones giggling.
Cost: Adult Swim (12 years+) $6; Child (2-11 years) $4.50; Child (under 2 years) Free; Spectator $3. Inflatable Fun $5 plus pool entry.

Plus there are public pools at Gosford, Woy Woy, Wyong, Toukley and an ocean pool at The Entrancce.

Read our feature on local pools for further details and to find out dates of on-water inflatable fun. 

Mingara Aquatics Inflatable Fun - School Holidays Central Coast

Mingara Aquatics Inflatable Fun – School Holidays on the Central Coast. Image ⒸMingara Aquatics.

16. The Pelican Express, The Entrance

Thomas fans will get such joy in boarding the Pelican Express – a small blue train that laps the Entrance’s foreshore on weekends. Jump aboard, sound a toot and wave at the passing crowd.

Cost: $4/ticket, or if the markets are on it’s $3/ticket (as the ride’s not as long).
Location: The Entrance Foreshore. Pick up is near Pelican Plaza (where the pelicans get fed).

The Pelican Express train drives along the Esplanade at The Entrance

Climb aboard the Pelican Express train at The Entrance. Image ⓒPlaying in Puddles

17. The Fur & Feathers Rescue Farm, Mandalong

The Fur & Feathers Rescue Farm is home to animals big (pigs, Shetland ponies, goats) and little (mice and chicks), and all of them are up for adoption. Children are invited to pat the free-ranging chickens, bottle feed the cheeky goats and cuddle up to the super-fluffy bunnies.

Cost: $10 person.
See our review for further details.

Location: Mandalong.

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

18. Get down to your local

There are so many great clubs and hotels across the Central Coast that go above and beyond in creating great spaces for people with kids to eat, relax and play – and they’re free! Some of our favourites are:

  • The Kincumber Hotel. It has a sand pit, rope swing and, get ready for the cute factor, ducklings – need we say more. Read our full review here.
  • The Davistown RSL. The play equipment is fully fenced and covered in shade cloth, there’s a large grass area for chasings and ball kicking, and on weekends they have a jumping castle.
  • The Doylo. They have a softplay area (that looks like a treehouse), loads of arcade games, and host a kids club every Sunday evening where your children might be invited to dress up in Star Wars costumes one week and get sticky with craft supplies the next.
  • Mini Mania indoor play area at Gosford RSL. The soft-play area – specifically designed for the under fives – is fenced and air-conditioned, and has a two-level play maze packed with obstacles for kids to crawl through, squeeze under and scramble over. Read our review for opening times and further details.

Cost: Free!

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

19. The Entrance carousel + carnival rides

Of all the entertainment options on the Coast, few have seen more grins than The Entrance’s carousel. Built in Germany in the late 1800s, the carousel has been a local lady of The Entrance since 1930. With fairy floss, laughing clowns and kewpie dolls on sticks, this is nostalgia at its best.

Cost: $3.50/ride or four rides for $10.
Open: weekends and school holidays (10am-3pm winter; 10am-10pm summer).
Location: The Entrance foreshore.

Image ⒸPlaying in Puddles

20. Sing Read and Rhyme at your local library… plus much more

There are 13 libraries across the Central Coast and they host loads of free events throughout the year. Have you attended any of them?

If you have a baby aged 6-24 months, they’ll get a kick out of “Sing, Read and Rhyme”. 2-3 year olds aren’t forgotten with “2 to 3 – What About Me?” and 3-5 year olds are encouraged to come to Storytime. And then there is book club for school-aged children – the perfect way to encourage your little ones to get excited about reading.

They also hold lego-building sessions, science experiment classes and special events during the school holidays.

PLUS Did you know you can borrow up to 20 items from the library? 20! And you’re not restricted to books only – they also have music CDs, DVDs, audio books, magazines and toys. That means many, many hours of free entertainment you can take home. Plus, a visit to the library is a fun excursion itself. You know how your toddler always wants to take over the shopping? Hand them a basket and let them have free reign choosing new books each week. And better still, get them their own library card – they’ll feel so special and grown up.

Visit Central Coast Council’s libraries website here.

Head over to our What’s On page to check out when and where there’s a library event near you.

Image ⓒPlaying in Puddles

♥ There are always loads of FREE festivals, fairs and activities occurring across the Coast. Check out our events calendar to see what’s happening near you.



























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