Entertain the kids these September school holidays

Published: 12 Sep 2023

Entertain the kids with everything from free art and craft activities, music and live entertainment to getting them outside exploring the Botanic Gardens with the perfect weather as Mackay Regional Council facilities offer a range of activities these school holidays.

> Artspace Mackay  

Decorate a Mandap with colour and crepe paper
September 16 to October 1, 2023
Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm

Inspired by Zanny Begg’s video work ‘Stories of Kannagi’ on show at Artspace Mackay, we’ve constructed a Mandap (a four-post structure traditionally used in India for special ceremonies) and we need your help to make it a special, beautiful and colour-filled space! This project is for all ages and abilities, so bring your family and use the many colourful crepe-paper streamers and instructions provided to make a variety of beautiful garlands to adorn the Mandap. Together, we’ll create a thoughtfully decorated structure that brings joy and helps you to feel special just standing within it! Make sure to take a photo of you and your family inside the Mandap to take home! Free entry, no bookings required. See below for special opening hours by Foodspace Café over select school holiday weekends.

Giant outdoor lawn games
Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17, 23 and 24, 10am to 3pm
Love playing Jenga, Connect 4 and Noughts and Crosses? Come along and enjoy playing them in jumbo sizes with the family on the shaded lawn area outside near Foodspace while grabbing a bit to eat and a cuppa at the café.

Foodspace Café – special weekend opening hours and menu
Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm (standard hours)
Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17, 23 and 24, 10am to 3pm

To complement Artspace Mackay’s school holiday program, the Foodspace Café will be opening for the first two weekends of the holidays. As well as its normal menu, on the weekends the café will also be offering a special Foodspace Charcuterie Board with eight antipasto toppings, plus dips and grilled sourdough. For more details, visit Foodspace Mackay’s Facebook page.

> Aquatic facilities

Bluewater Lagoon
Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5.45pm

Mackay ARC
Monday to Friday, 5.30am to 7pm
Saturday, 6am to 6pm
Sunday, 8am to 6pm

Memorial Swim Centre
Monday to Friday, 5.30am to 7pm
Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 5pm

Mirani Swim Centre
Re-opens Saturday, September 16
School holiday operating hours: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm
From Monday, October 2: Monday to Friday, 6am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 5pm
(Open all public holidays except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s day and Good Friday)

Pioneer Swim Centre
Closed until early October for maintenance, weather permitting.

Sarina Swim Centre
Closed until end of September/early October subject to progress of work being conducted by Qld Education and weather.

> Libraries

Spring sand and scratch art
Monday, September 18, 9.30am to 10.30am at Sarina Library
Book tickets
Tuesday, September 19, 10am to 11am at Walkerston Library Book tickets
Tuesday, September 19, 2pm to 3pm at Mirani Library Book tickets
Join in at your local library to create colourful sand art designs inspired by spring and the awakening of minibeasts. For children aged five to 12 years. Bookings are essential.

Reef Guardians: Virtual exploration and craft
Tuesday, September 19, 10am to 11am at Dudley Denny City Library
Book tickets
Wednesday, September 20, 10am to 11am at Gordon White Library Book tickets
Explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and investigate how a hands-on, community-based approach can make a real difference to the health and resilience of the reef. The virtual sessions will be facilitated by a Reef Guardian and include a reef inspired hands-on craft activity. Suitable for children aged five to 12 years old. Bookings and library membership required.

Puppets and pyjamas bedtime stories
Thursday, September 21, 5pm to 6pm at Gordon White Library

Join Ros from Wild Puppets for an evening of family fun. This event is suitable for children aged two to ten years of age and their families. Don’t forget to wear your pyjamas! Book tickets

Larrikin Puppets news

Larrikin Puppets Kids Comedy Puppet Show
Thursday, September 28, 10.30am to 11.15am at Gordon White Library
Book tickets
Friday, September 29, 9.30am to 10.15am at Dudley Denny City Library Book tickets
Join us for a colourful and exciting puppet show featuring intriguing characters, songs, skits, jokes, games and live interaction. Puppeteers Brett and Elissa have trained in the USA under puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street and their fast-paced, feel-good performance encourages audiences to talk, play, sing, and dance along. Suitable for children aged 7 years and under and their families.

Puppetry Performance Workshop with Larrikin Puppets
Thursday, September 28, 1pm to 2pm at Gordon White Library
Book tickets
Friday, September 29, 11am to 12pm at Dudley Denny City Library Book tickets
An interactive workshop led by Brett Hansen and Elissa Jenkins of Larrikin Puppets who received their training in the USA under puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street. Learn the basic techniques that bring puppet characters to life. Suitable for children aged five to 12 years.

Drop-in days
Monday, September 18 to Friday, September 29
Mirani, Walkerston and Sarina libraries

Imagine, connect, construct, create, build and design. Children aged five to 12 years are invited to drop in during library open hours to explore and discover educational construction resources.


International Dance Affair Presents ‘A Night of Glitz, Glamour and Adventure’
Saturday, September 16, 7pm
MECC Auditorium

Experience some of Mackay's most prominent performers showcasing their talents to the Mackay community. The 2023 Showcase is a diverse variety show featuring an array of dance, baton twirling and acrobatic arts. It is constantly changing to keep audiences of all ages entertained. Bring your children and family along for what will be a fantastic way to kickstart the school holidays! Book tickets

MECC Presents: The Sunshine Club
Thursday, September 28, 7.30pm
MECC Auditorium

Set in 1946, the joyful and acclaimed musical The Sunshine Club, tells the story of Aboriginal soldier Frank Doyle, who is just returning home to Brisbane after serving in WW2, to find that, while the world may have changed, the same attitudes and prejudices still exist at home. The Sunshine Club is a gloriously energetic, thought provoking and above all entertaining night of theatre. Book tickets

> Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens  


Tibbles Hunt in the Tropical Shade Garden
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm during school holidays

FREE, self-guided kids’ activity, suitable for ages four and up. Find Tibbles the gnome and decode his latest message. Pick up your activity sheet from the Visitor Information centre weekdays, 9am to 4pm. Return the completed activity sheets to get your sticker.

Strolling Story Trail – One Remarkable Reef
Monday, September 18 to Friday, September 22, 9am to 4.30pm

Follow the story of One Remarkable Reef along the trail throughout the holidays. Find the painted reef-inspired rock with ‘YOU WIN’ on the back along the way and return it to Botanic Gardens Visitor Information Centre to win a reef-inspired prize! Suitable for kids of all ages.

Creatures of the Gardens
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm during school holidays

Discover some of the creatures found in the botanic gardens and surrounding region. Pick up your booklet from the Botanic Gardens Visitor Information Centre, answer the questions along the way and give yourself a sticker at each stop. This free, self-guided family friendly activity is suitable for kids aged seven years and older.

Bocce with a Buddy
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm during school holidays
Malta Garden’s Bocce Court
Enjoy a game of bocce with a friend on our sand bocce court. Bocce sets are available to hire from Botanic Gardens Visitor Information Centre or bring your own to play. Cost: $5.00 to hire a bocce set.

Free Friday guided walks
Every Friday until the end of October, 10am to 11am
Meet at the Botanic Gardens Visitor Information Centre
Discover the gardens with their friendly guides! Bring a hat, water, comfortable shoes and a camera. To find out more including details of themed walks, visit the botanic gardens Facebook events. Children under the age of 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.


Creative container plants
Wednesday, September 20 and 27, 10am to 11.30am
Tropical Sun Lawn
Cost: $7/person

Spring has sprung! Get your gardening gloves on and join in to create a container garden with a difference. Reuse your plastic containers to create a decorative, tiered mini garden to attract wildlife or add a splash of colour to your garden. Bring along three plastic containers (eg 1.25L soft drink bottles, 1L milk bottle, yogurt containers, etc) and suitable clothing that might get dirty. Parental supervision is required at all times. Suitable for school aged children with colouring-in activities available for younger children. To book your spot, phone the gardens on phone (07) 4952 7300. Payment is required to confirm your spot.

> Mackay Waterfront  

River Wharves Activities
Wednesday, September 27
9.30am to 10.15am:
Story Time presented by Let the Children Play at the Pavilion stage.
9.30am to 11.30am: Mackay Libraries exploration stations and First 5 Forever van.

> Sarina Sugar Shed  

Special kids tour of the Sarina Sugar Shed
Saturday, September 16 to Sunday, October 1, 10.30am every day
Adults at children’s prices (bookings essential)
Field of Dreams Parklands, Railway Square, Sarina

(Please note this tour does not include a full tasting of products for the adults)
This fun, interactive session focuses on the kids, with the added bonus of adults being welcome at kids' prices! During the 45-minute tour, the kids will discover the growing and harvesting of the sugar cane and complete a hunt for the critters that live in the sugar cane patch. Enter the miniature sugar mill to see how sugar cane is crushed, and sample deliciously sweet sugar cane juice straight from the miniature mill, 'Bill the Mill Junior’.

Special stickers help the kids to understand the machines that work in the process from turning juice into sugar – they can touch and feel the different stages of the production from the bagasse to the sugar and taste the molasses! They will also receive a free information sheet at the end, which is great for school projects, and the quick, fun quiz will help to keep the young ones engaged - they are guaranteed to learn something! Finally, everyone gets a chance to taste the non-alcoholic ginger beer brewed onsite and freshly spun fairy floss. Book tickets.

> Sarina Youth Centre

School holiday activities
All events run 10am to 2pm

A variety of school holiday activities are on offer for youth aged ten to 21 years. You must register for a spot and please indicate what day/program you would like to attend. Contact Sarina Youth Centre on 4961 9277 or email sarinayouthcentre@mackay.qld.gov.au.

Monday, September 18: Cupcake baking
Tuesday, September 19: Talk like a pirate day!
Wednesday, September 20: 3D Printing Session 1 - basics of 3D printing
Thursday, September 21: 3D Printing Session 2 - printing your design
Friday, September 22: Chair yoga, 11am to 12pm. Limited spaces available.

Monday, September 25: Cooking
Tuesday, September 26: Trivia competition
Wednesday, September 27: Minute to win it - 60 seconds challenge
Thursday, September 28: Movie day
Friday, September 29: Board games - verse your friends

> Ken Burgess Orchid House

Monday to Friday, 10am to 11am and 2pm to 3pm
Sunday, 10am to 2pm
Closed public holidays

Kids and adults alike will love the beautiful and rare orchids on display at the Ken Burgess Display House within the beautiful Queens Park. Stroll through the display which houses an astounding variety of orchids, all flowering at different times of the year.

Mackay’s Orchid Extravaganza
Saturday, September 16, 8am to 3pm
Don’t miss the Orchid Extravaganza held at Queens Park! There will be a colourful and diverse range of orchids on display in the Ken Burgess Orchid House as well as orchid sales, demonstrations, plant and accessory sales and raffles. Food stalls will also be available for those who want to grab a bite to eat or a hot/cold drink at the event. Follow the Facebook event for more details and updates. FREE ENTRY!