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Family fun

Things to do for families & kids in Napier

  • 3 minutes

Napier Marine Parade, New Zealand

Napier is an ideal family destination with the Hawke’s Bay National Aquarium, a kids friendly historic prison tour, cycling trails for fabulous selfie moments and a Marine Parade where everything happens. Places to go add joy to the holiday when the kids hand feed endangered rescued adorable small Blue Penguins. Attractions such as a vintage fire engine and turning knobs to see what happens is a kids idea of a great holiday in the Hawke’s Bay.



The place is jumping, hopping and bouncing with energy it is a one stop entertainment destination and it is FREE.

Marine Parade Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Marine Parade Napier
  • Get a scooter or bike then get onto the Pump Track. It’s 500 metres of dedicated bumps and curves designed specifically for kids to test their metal on a cleverly designed track.
  • Playground overlooks the sea with views of the container ships sliding past to the port, Te Mata peak and beyond to Cape Kidnappers. The playground is fully fenced for safety with shade sails over the equipment.
  • Junior bike track is a mini-replica of a genuine road network. There is a roundabout, traffic lights and pedestrian crossing. What a great way to have fun on holiday learning to be safe on the roads.
  • Bay Skate park is excellent with several well thought out ramps for kids to test out skateboards

Parents have access to a coffee cart and nearby ice cream shop.


Gory bits have been removed to create a quality experience for kids. This is a must-do for families in Napier. This is unusual, lots of fun and definitely an adventure for kids to visit a heritage prison where the bad people went to. Find the resident ghost Basil and get the kids to:

  • Take your mugshot in prison clothing
  • Get your fingerprints taken

The high walls, drab colour and plenty of grills, locked doors is atmospheric. Throughout the experience kids will hear unforgettable stories about happenings.

Old Napier Prison Entrance, New Zealand
Napier Prison
@Ocean Spa Napier
@Ocean Spa Napier


The pools are open air heated chlorinated salt water pools. The premier aquatic centre has separate pools for toddlers, playtime and serious lap swimming creating safe zones for activities. There are shaded areas, an onsite cafe and plenty of outdoor seating. The views are stupendous as Ocean Spa has a prime location on the waterfront Marine Parade. Check the travel pack section for pool layout.


Relax in the Napier suburb of Ahuriri. The shallow estuary waters of Ahuriri Beach are ideal for toddlers and kids to enjoy a day at the beach with nearby cafes and restaurants to ensure everyone is fueled up for the day. Nearby Spriggs Park Playground offers equipment to swing on and the rocky shore is a great place to explore at low tide. Ahuriri’s boardwalk through the estuary wetlands is another option for families.

Ahuriri boardwalk flying bird sculptures, Napier, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Ahuriri boardwalk flying bird sculptures, Napier, Hawke's Bay

Check out art deco Ahuriri attractions in Napier Travel Guide for more holiday inspiration.

Marine Parade 1936 fountain, nighttime, Napier, New Zealand
Marine Parade 1936 fountain, nighttime


Napier is charming with the hills, the art deco architecture, the gardens and sea complimenting the small city and integrating urban with nature. Encourage the kids to ‘find’ the best spots to star in their Napier photo feed. Here are some locations to get the fingers clicking for the perfect selfie moment.

  • Boardwalk Walk Ahuriri Estuary
  • Napier Art trail, SeaWalls
  • Marine Parade
  • Art Deco Ahuriri tobacco building
  • Napier City Centre
  • Napier Bluff Hill Lookout


Discover what happened when a massive earthquake hit Napier in the 1930’s and the recovery efforts that resulted in the art deco buildings. A brochure is available from the visitor centre. Watch the film of the disaster and the determination to rebuild the broken city. You will get plenty of tips where to look for evidence of the earthquake.

National Tobacco Co art deco beauty, Napier, New Zealand
Nationla Tobacco Co art deco beauty

Check out Things to do for free in Napier for ideas where to go.



Interactive exhibition space that is FREE to enter, a great rainy day place and is fun as you are allowed to jump in a vintage car, turn the knob of an old arcade game and hop into a red telephone booth with a phone that rings. There are home appliances from the early 1920’s onwards without a microwave in sight. It is a visitor entertainment centre with real objects.


Explore the city on wheels, cycle your way on the Water Loop city trail encompassing Ahuriri and Taradale. With dedicated cycle lanes it is a safe option for families who do not wish to use a vehicle to discover what Napier has to offer. The wider Hawkes Bay has over 200 km of cycling trails and growing. And they are mostly flat, easy firm tracks. For more information about cycling trails check out Hawkes Bay cycling trails.

Kids Cycle Track With Traffic Lights, Napier Marine Parade, New Zealand
Kids Cycle Track With Traffic Lights, Napier Marine Parade
The Fairy penguin (or Blue penguin) in National aquarium of New Zealand. This species is the smallest penguin in the world.
The Fairy penguin (or Blue penguin) in National aquarium of New Zealand


A highlight for kids is feeding the adorable Little Blue Penguins. There is even a good and naughty penguins of the month pinup board which is very relatable for kids. The penguins have a fan club with a dedicated virtual encounters experience meaning kids can continue to connect with one of New Zealand’s endangered penguin species. Napier’s National Aquarium of New Zealand operates a rescue centre for the world’s smallest penguins.


Ocean Spa Complex Napier pool layout Ocean Spa Complex Napier pool layout


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