How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
Good public playgrounds can be found in every city in New Zealand. They accommodate both infants and older children. There are also privately owned and operated play areas in Wellington that require purchasing a ticket to enter. All major shopping malls are equipped with parent and baby rooms with adequate facilities for feeding and changing. Most large restaurants have highchairs for babies to use while parents are dining.
Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
Seek out the local Plunket group (a free advisory group for young mothers, with qualified Plunket nurses), Citizens Advice Bureau or the local telephone book.
Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
Wellington is a coastal city with a variety of beaches. Parents should be aware of the dangers of swimming outside patrolled areas at surf beaches. If a beach is not patrolled, ask the locals as to the safety of any beach.
What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
Wellington Zoo - In the Nocturnal House, kiwis and other birds roam freely while o visitors watch from a dedicated pathway. Zoo keepers also provide animal talks/feed times, which enable visitors to get the most benefit from their visit.
- Te Papa (Museum) - A bold imaginative venue. Constantly changing, always fun and educational. Tells great stories of New Zealand's land and people. Also showcases the arts.
- Silver Stream Railway Museum - Opportunity to view vintage trains and ride the steam engine. From time to time, provides special shows such as "Thomas the Tank" day when visitors get to ride and view various memorabilia associated with trains.
- Staglands Wildlife Sanctuary - A venue to visit wildlife in a natural environment. Come feed the animals or let children ride the ponies.
- Botanic Gardens - Take a stroll around the beautiful gardens or just laze about at the cafe. There's a great selection of flowers and various plant life.
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
Sports play a huge part in the lives of most New Zealanders. Most children are involved in some sporting activity, either with their school or individual clubs. Games and practices often take place after school. During the summer, going to the beach with friends and family is the most popular activity.
Brownies, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and Boys' Brigade are also popular clubs for children. Rugby is the most popular sport in New Zealand followed by netball, soccer and cricket. The schools provide an array of clubs, from band and music to dance and drama plus sports.
What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
Most teenagers with access to vehicles have the freedom of the city to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Sports play a big part in young people's lives and most are on a team. The legal drinking age is 18 years. At 15 years, teenagers can obtain a learner's driver's license, which they need to have for six months before they obtain a restricted license. After 18 months as a restricted driver, a teen will be granted a full driver's license.
Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
Yes, there are many Youth Organizations in Wellington. For information on Youth Programs and groups/ organizations in your area, please contact your local council.
I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
A visit to the Wellington Visitor and Information Center can provide a list of things to do and “What’s on” currently in Wellington. A visit to Te Papa (a museum) will help give a greater understanding of the local history and culture. Visitors are also welcome at any Maori marae (Maori village), which provides an understanding about New Zealand's Maori heritage.
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