The vibrant city of Palmerston North has plenty to keep you and your whānau entertained. For indoor fun, Te Manawa, a museum drawing art, science and heritage together, has over 300 interactive exhibits exploring themes such as electricity, time, human biology and aspects of natural history. Visit Te Manawa today!
Within Te Manawa sits the iconic New Zealand Rugby Museum, where you’ll explore how Aotearoa’s rich rugby heritage has shaped the nation and the world. Kids will love the “Have a Go” area, where people of all ages and abilities can test their rugby skills to see how they measure up to the boys in black. Definitely makes an exciting day out.
If you’re after some fresh air and sunshine, explore He Ara Kotahi, the riverside pathway perfect for walks or wheels and offering stunning views of the Manawatū River. Several bridges connect the route, including the star attraction, the He Ara Kotahi Bridge, which is lit up at night creating the illusion that it’s floating on the river.
Alongside the river, discover Victoria Esplanade, a diverse inner-city park with bush walks, bird aviaries, and picture-perfect rose gardens, several playgrounds and adventure forts, miniature train rides, and a state-of-the-art Junior Road Safety Park.
At the centre of Victoria Esplanade is Aotearoa’s only native wildlife recovery centre, Wildbase Recovery. Learn about our native wildlife with a tour and meet some exciting animals like the resident animals and patients rehabilitating after treatment at Wildbase Hospital. The interactive educational area is perfect for kids of all ages, and you’ll get up close to some of Aotearoa’s favourite birdlife.
Don’t miss the latest addition to the city, a purpose-built platform on the Manawatū Awa (river) where you can feed the eels (Tuna) and learn how they once thrived in the river and the importance of this indigenous fish, vital to the health of our waterways. You’ll leave with an increased awareness of traditional cultural practices and the power of our awa.
The Lido Aquatic Centre offers the thrill and excitement of the tallest and only Superbowl in the North Island, an open-flume Speedslide that will propel the bravest of riders at up to 17 metres per second, while the little ones are kept entertained with the AquaPlay multi-level interactive play areas, perhaps a special little ones birthday is coming up the centre is the perfect place for a party without the hard work.
For some active indoor fun, try out the city’s fully equipped trampoline park, Cloud 9 which offer activities for both adults and kids to enjoy. Test out your bouncing skills or have a battle through the different activities on offer, from Olympic trampolines, climbing walls, under-fives areas and ninja assault courses for the adrenaline chasers . Refuel at the on-site cafés or sit back with a barista-made coffee while you watch the kids having fun.
Venture just outside the city for a delicious lunch at The Herb Farm, a beautiful café and shop set in rural surrounds. Let the kids loose to explore the themed gardens as they find fairies, gnomes, and elves hidden in the woods, while you peruse the beautiful natural skin care products made on-site. If you are expecting a little one or have a new born The Herb Farm has you covered with lovely products for mums and bubs.
Extend your trip to take in friendly Feilding, a charming rural town with red-brick pavements, flower baskets, and warm welcomes wherever you go. On a Friday, the town is humming with the award-winning Feilding Farmers’ Market offering artisan products, locally grown goods, and delicious treats.
Finish the day off with a unique overnight experience and treat yourself and your loved ones to a stay in one of the many boutique accommodation options. From hosted lodges to secluded retreats, you can choose from tiny homes, country lodges, and Kiwi farm stays, each with spectacular scenery, farm fresh food, and friendly faces from the families sharing their little slice of paradise.
Whether you like to explore the great outdoors, learn about nature, or gain a taste of our Kiwi heritage, Manawatū and Palmerston North is ready to show you what it’s made of.
Story originally published in Tots to Teens Magazine.