In another sign of how quickly this year is racing past, the winter school holidays are upon us.
While it might have only seemed like a calendar blip since your darling children were home all day every day during lockdown - surprise! You have another two weeks to entertain them, although hopefully this time with much less homeschooling.
The benefit of these school holidays compared to lockdown, however, is that most things around the city are back open. With the weather looking fairly terrible at least for the upcoming week, you might need some indoor entertainment options to keep you going.
Here are some of our favourite rain-proof ways of keeping the kids entertained in Auckland these school holidays:
Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
The presence of alcoholic milkshakes and late-night openings might have you thinking this new Westfield Newmarket fave is adults-only, but don't fear. If you're looking for something to tucker out both the young and young-at-heart, look no further than Archie Brothers. The circus/arcade-style bar is a perfect day out for the whole family. Let the kids loose on the dodgems and claw machines, while mum and dad sip a glass of wine and do some bowling. It's a family day out and date night in one! Archie Brothers is running a school holiday special as well where customers get bonus money on their game cards. The stimulation of the lights, music and (hopefully) the exhilaration of winning will wring every last drop of cabin fever from the kids' tiny bodies, meaning you might not even have to deal with dreaded 5pm-itis that day.
Jump trampoline park
If you desperately need your kids to exert some energy, here's how to disguise a high intensity-yet-child-friendly workout as fun. There are several Jump indoor trampoline parks around the city, meaning you utilise public transport to get to your closest. The best thing about taking the kids to somewhere like a trampoline park is you can get some incidental exercise in yourself while you're there if you're so inclined, then no need to stress about F45 that day. Or you can just enjoy a flat white and caramel slice at the cafe if that's more your style. Let the kids knock each other off the balance bar and learn how to do a few backflips, and they might just be asleep in the car before you've driven out of the carpark on the way home.
In wonderful news to many parents, most cinemas are back open around the city after closing due to the pandemic. Many theatres are celebrating their return during school holidays with specially released movies and lower-priced tickets - great news if you exhausted every kid's movie on Netflix during lockdown. Event Cinemas is offering $12 tickets to Trolls World Tour and $8 tickets to kids movies like Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs. That's how much movie tickets were generally when I was at school, but let's try not to dwell. There's also a Harry Potter film fest across various cinemas and older releases like 2015's Inside Out also playing around the place. But with the real incentive being two hours in the dark to recline your seat and eat popcorn, who cares what's playing?
Escape grey rainy Auckland through the power of virtual reality! Head along to one of Auckland's two VR Voom locations, so the kids can compete in immersive gaming. If you're just looking for something to do during the afternoon, there are different gaming options for all levels, including the little ones. The VR Voom team will show you the ropes, even if you've never played before. If your children are already showing a penchant for VR tech, Voom provides five-day-long school holiday programs for students aged 11 and up. They'll be able to learn how to design, program and create their very own games, as well as become proficient in coding language and design principles. It could be the start of something great!
If your kids love solving puzzles and getting out of sticky situations on the PlayStation or Xbox, it's time to test how well they can do it in reality. Escape rooms are an awesome school holiday option for the whole family - you'll be shocked at how differently all your family member's brains work! Auckland escape room providers Escapade and Escape HQ both offer school holiday specials and promise even the younger ones will have a good time. According to the Escapade site, they've often seen that it's the kids that crack the toughest clues. And don't worry - there's no scary 'jump out' moments like in a haunted house, and any young ones feeling uneasy can leave at any time.