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13 Family-Friendly Rainy Day Activities

13 Family-Friendly Rainy Day Activities

Don’t let a wet and windy forecast rain on your parade. Here in Palmerston North there are plenty of fun family-friendly things to do. Strap on your gumboots, zip up your jacket and venture out for some all-weather fun – some free, some for a fee. Let’s start with the free stuff!

Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery

Wildbase Recovery Palmerston North Bird scaled

Meet New Zealand’s native wildlife as they’re rehabilitated and nursed back to health by the talented team at Wildbase Recovery.  Birds, reptiles and other animals come to the centre after treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, and you can see them as they spend time recovering and regaining their strength before being released back into the wild.

Much of the centre is undercover, including the interactive Powerco Education Centre, but take your raincoat so you can visit the resident animals in the walk-through aviary – if you’re lucky the tuatara might even venture out to say hello.

Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage

Te Manawa Museum Palmerston North, Manawatu

Every trip to Te Manawa is unique – with regularly-changing displays alongside permanent exhibits that can be enjoyed over and over again. Their regular events program is packed full of hands-on activities where curious minds can learn something new and have fun at the same time. Discover the story of the Manawatū River with the interactive Te Awa exhibition, wander through the Manawatū heritage exhibits, or have a play in the under-8’s area featuring stories in both English and Te reo Māori.

Palmerston North City Library

palmerston north city library side2

Much more than just books on shelves, the multi-storey Palmerston North City Library is known as the Living Room of the city for good reason. Whether your little bookworms like their stories in paperback or digital form, cosy up in the children’s area with a good read.

Jump online with the free public computers and Wi-Fi, get interactive with plenty of hands-on activities in the children’s area, or grab a book and curl up in front of the window overlooking The Square or George Street, where you can pop down for a fluffy and sweet treat. A regular events calendar offers an exciting new reason to visit each time – during both termtime and the school holidays.

Victoria Esplanade Bush Tracks and Manawatū River Pathway

Walkways in the Victoria Esplanade

A little rain shower shouldn’t stop you from exploring the great outdoors! Put on your raincoat and take your pick from the network of bush tracks in Victoria Esplanade, right in the heart of the city. Follow the Forest and Bird Tree Trail surrounded by lush native trees, wander through the fernery and explore the many side tracks that connect on to the Manawatū River Pathway. Plus, who doesn’t love jumping in a muddy puddle?

Here’s a few more fun ideas to keep the family occupied on a wet day. Check out individual websites for opening hours and pricing:

Timezone Palmerston North

With over 100 arcade machines,  Timezone Palmerston North will keep the kids amused for hours with old favourites and virtual reality games on offer at the downtown arcade.

Lido Aquatic Centre

Girl at the Lido 1

The Lido Aquatic Centre is a great spot to make a splash on a rainy day – with a toddler’s pool, hydro slides, a lazy river and more! Pack your togs and googles and head to the Lido for an awesome afternoon at the pool.

Game Started

Game Started offers a thrilling range of activities including Lazertag and Lazermaze, Spider Tower, Adventure Game, Mirror Maze and more. Rally a bunch of friends along for an adventurous afternoon that’s sure to put smiles on everyone’s faces.


Bowlarama Palmerston North credit .nz  1

Strap on your bowling shoes, pick up a ball and get ready to roll! Challenge your mates to a round or two of ten-pin at Bowlarama and aim for a lucky strike. Even the younger members of the whānau can join in, with special ramps to help wee bowlers and gutter borders to ensure the ball reaches the pins. If bowling’s not up your alley, there’s arcade machines, pool tables and air hockey to keep you busy.

Lollipops Playland

Keep the kids entertained for hours at Lollipops Playland in Palmerston North – a mammoth indoor playground with slides, foam pits, tunnels, a merry-go-round and more. Fuel up after playtime with a snack and a drink from the on-site café.

Cloud 9 Trampoline Park

Bowlarama Palmerston North credit .nz  1

Jump, climb, flip and fly at Cloud 9! This isn’t your typical backyard trampoline – take on the ninja course, the climbing wall, basketball hoops, giant foam pits and Olympic-sized tramps for a big blast of adrenaline. Parents, unwind and relax with a coffee while the kids exercise and exhaust themselves!

Catch a movie

Always a favourite on a rainy day, grab a popcorn and a Pepsi and settle in for the latest blockbuster on the big screen. Choose from Event Cinemas, Focal Point Cinema or Silky Otter !

Indoor go-kart tracks


Young racers are spoilt for choice with two go-karting tracks in Palmerston North to satisfy their need for speed. For an action-packed experience, head to one of New Zealand’s best indoor raceways Daytona and race the whole family around the track! Feel the thrill of racing on one of the biggest indoor go-kart tracks in New Zealand at XKarts. See who gets the fastest lap time – who’ll take out the top spot on the podium?

Coach House Museum

Coach house museum Feilding Manawatu

Journey into Manawatū’s 150-year rural history at the world-class Coach House Museum in friendly Feilding.  Uncover fascinating stories of local people and the vehicles they used to develop Manawatū into the thriving rural heartland it is today. 

Looking for more family fun inspiration in the Manawatū? Read our guide ‘Five great days out with kids in Manawatū’ 

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