Activities for School Holidays: Sydney
The school holidays are a great opportunity to get the whole family out and about. Throughout the break, a number of Sydney’s best entertainment centres and adventure parks bring out their kid-friendly best, so you might just find yourself rediscovering your inner child when you visit these museums, wildlife sanctuaries and theme parks highlighted below.
With the hope of dragging young eyes away from TV screens and into the real world, there’s a variety of venues offering family friendly thrills across the city:
Sydney Olympic Park offers a brilliant array of enjoyable activities for children through its popular Kids in the Park program. This includes plenty of free and cheap options including disc-golf, archery and even a flying trapeze rig. Centennial Parklands offers horse-riding events throughout the school holidays, with hand-led pony rides for younger and less experienced riders. Or, you can head to the Western Sydney Parklands to go rushing through the trees at the Tree-Top Adventure Park.
For those seeking a more relaxing adventure, the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney run kid-oriented activities that make a tour of the grounds an engaging and stimulating experience for younger visitors (and they’ll even sneak a little education in too).
Young minds respond brilliantly to cultural and artistic stimulation, and with expertly crafted kids’ programs, a holiday visit to one of Sydney’s world-class museums and galleries can be just as fun for your young companion as it is for you.
There's no easier sell for a visit to a museum than the promise of enormous dinosaur skeletons and recreations at The Australian Museum, right in the heart of the city. With frequent programs involving hands-on, interactive activities paired to the latest exhibits, you’ll have to drag the kids away when it’s time to leave.
At the Art Gallery of NSW children can create their own little masterpieces, gaining a new appreciation for the exhibits on display and finding a tactile connection to the works on the wall. Get lost in Sydney’s people, places and cultures through the dynamic exhibitions at the Museum of Sydney and check out the extraordinary scale models of the First Fleet! The Powerhouse Museum, which has always had a focus on interactivity, features the brilliant Play at Powerhouse program, encouraging creativity and imagination and letting younger visitors walk away with their own creations.
The Sydney Opera House’s long-running Kids at the House series always has something perfect for visitors as young as two-years-old. In the Western Foyer, the Creative Play program runs every school holidays, and purchasing an adult ticket to any of the Kids at the House performances nets you a free child’s ticket to the Sydney Opera House Junior Tour, a fascinating journey through the Opera House specifically designed to keep young minds engaged and amazed.
Feathers, Fur, Fangs and Fishes:
If things that move,growl or splash about are more to your taste (or that of the kids), Sydney has an enviable range of aquariums, zoos and wildlife parks populated with fascinating creatures from across the country and around the world.
See the famous QBE Free Flight Bird Show and head to the 950-seat outdoor theatre to watch the incredible Great Southern Ocean Seal Show at Taronga Zoo and while you’re there check out the season’s latest tiny new additions. For an added thrill for the kids, get there the fun way, crossing Sydney’s beautiful harbour by ferry. If that doesn’t satisfy your hunger for animal adventures, head back across the harbour to at Wild Life Sydney Zoo, which has a strong focus on native animals and features Rex, one of the world’s largest crocodiles.
Right next door, Sydney Sea Life Aquarium is always a hit with visitors young and old, so bring the whole family along to enjoy a range of fascinating displays, including creatures from the harbour itself and an enormous Great Barrier Reef exhibit. With an enormous range of animals from the Japanese Spider Crab – the world’s largest – to the strange and majestic dugong, to the frightening inhabitants of Shark Valley, you’ll be oohing and aahing just as loudly as all the younger visitors.
Over in Manly, you can get up close and personal with grey nurse sharks, stingrays and turtles at the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary. A little further afield, though still less than an hour from the Harbour Bridge, the Australian Reptile Park offers visitors of all ages the chance to handle a snake or cuddle a koala. You’ll be glad of the protective fencing while watching the brave keepers feed Elvis, the grumpiest alligator in New South Wales.
The holidays would not be holidays without a theme park trip and Sydney is home to one of the best.
Right under the Harbour Bridge, in Milson’s Point, Luna Park awaits. Whether the wild thrills of a roller coaster, the gentler experiences of a ferris wheel or the amazing displays at the Big Top are more to your taste, the whole family will leave the park bearing grins as big as the one that welcomes visitors in the famous Luna Park face. The beloved theme park also offers discounts for holiday care, school groups, tourist packages and unlimited rides passes!
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