Sydney is one of Australia's largest cities and as such offers a plethora of fun things to do and see. Famous for the most beautiful harbor in the world, Sydney boasts amazing natural beauty waiting for visitors to explore. Whether you and your kids are outdoorsy or prefer indoor activities, Sydney has all that and more!
There are so many great things to do in Sydney with kids everyone in the family will remember and talk about for years to come. But before you head out for the biggest adventure of your lives, make sure to drop your backpacks and large bags at a Sydney luggage locker. Exploring the city with heavy bags may be a bit of a challenge!
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is taking kids' activities and programs to an amazing level with interactive performances, workshops, and creative development. During the school holidays, The Junior Adventure Tour takes kids on a guided tour of the Opera House and they are given challenges to complete. For younger kids, check out Zoom, an interactive storytime using lights to bring it to life.
For the older kids, the Street University showcases the up-and-coming talent of Australian dancers, singers, DJs, and MCs at the Opera House. You probably would never have thought a place for opera would have so many youths and kids programs but the Sydney Opera House is like no other. Make sure to check their website for other cool and fun programs like What the Ocean Said, Edward the Emu workshop, and Ping Pong Pow. This establishment is really one of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Going to an aquarium is normally a safe bet when you have big or little kids. There is just something about standing in a glass tunnel of Shark Valley watching the sharks and rays swim past that makes kids of all ages ooh and aah in wonder. The aquarium also has fantastic displays like the Jurrasic Seas, a touch pool, and a Great Barrier Reef display that is almost half a million gallons of water.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is indoors too, so if the weather is too hot or raining it really is a perfect spot to visit. The aquarium alone is fun to visit, but there are two other attractions attached to the same Darling Harbour complex, such as the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and Madame Tussauds Sydney. You can have breakfast with the koalas (literally), pose with some famous people, and touch the sea creatures all in one day.
You can buy tickets for each individual but you will save fifty percent if you buy a combined ticket.
Kids love dinosaurs, and they have a lot of them at the Australian Museum. The Australian Museum is one of the best Sydney attractions. Here, you and your kids can have some educational fun with a bunch of interactive kid programs where they can get up close to the exhibitions, have sing-a-longs, and explore displays like LEGO Jurrasic World.
And that is not all! The museum has more than dinos. There is the Wild Planet exhibit with over 400 animals, the Birds of Australia, and you can even take a cool virtual tour of all the exhibits. It's a good idea to call or book ahead for some of the programs.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
One of the iconic features and best Sydney sights is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is also one of the most memorable experiences if you climb it. There are a few ways to experience the bridge. If you have younger kids they can only walk the road level but the harbour views are still pretty spectacular. However, if you have older kids, ages 8 and up and at least 4 feet tall, they are allowed to hook up and climb to the summit.
There are four different tours to take and each has a different price. The tours take between 2.5 and 3.5 hours and will take you to the top of the bridge and give you a 360 degree of Sydney and the harbour. If you are there on the last Saturday of the month, you can book the Burrawa Climb which has a reduced rate and is hosted by an Indigenous Storyteller. Of course, this thrilling experience is not for everyone. If someone in the family is afraid of heights, this may not be ideal. But Sydney Harbour Bridge is a must-see when visiting Sydney.
Sydney Tower Eye
An attraction that takes you into the clouds is the Sydney Tower Eye, the tallest free-standing structure in the city. You can experience the tower in a couple of ways: the basic admission which gets you access to the indoor observation deck, the 60-minute Skywalk tour which takes you outside, or the Ultimate Tour which includes a window seat lunch.
The Sydney Tower also puts on special events throughout the year like visits with Santa, New Year's Eve, and Diwali. There is a special for buying tickets that includes Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE Aquarium, and the WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and if you have children under 3 years old they get in for free! This trip to the clouds is one of the most exhilarating experiences unless you are afraid of heights.
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
One of the most beautiful places to have a picnic is right in the heart of the city. With 30 hectares of gardens divided into four sections, you could wander the Royal Botanical Gardens all day discovering rare and beautiful flowers and plants. The Royal Botanic gardens have some fun things happening all the time, like Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies, a musical adventure where you can dress up and help find her lost wings. The Calyx is the place to eat, featuring special events and workshops, so while the kids play you can chill out.
You can do self-guided tours or take one of many tours offered including the Aboriginal Heritage Tour. You and your kids will learn all about how to forage for food and the history of the area. If you have young kids that are too tired to walk, take the Choo Choo Express. The small train gives a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens while you and the kids get to sit back and relax.
Hands down the best zoo in Sydney is the Taronga Zoo with so many kids' activities and programs. Your little ones can get up close with the tigers and lions, watch feeding time (for free), and they can even spend the night at the Billabong Camp. To see the zoo from a different view take a ride on the Sky Safari.
The Zoo is easy to get to by public transport. Take the 100 bus from the Queen Victoria Building which runs every 10 minutes throughout the day (20 minutes in the early morning and late-night). You can also hop on the Manly Ferry from Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, or Manly Wharf, which is a great sightseeing trip itself.
Australian National Maritime Museum
Sydney museums are a fun pastime. The Maritime Museum is a place of wonder for kids, especially kids aged 2-5 years. Every month the Mini Mariners programs give kids a chance to check out the galleries. They get interactive tours with guides in costumes where they can sing, dance, and more. For the next age group, there are crafting and art projects, science experiments, and awesome workshops to participate in.
If your kids are not into any of that they can explore a battlecruiser, a replica of the Endeavor, a submarine, and even a helicopter. And if for some reason none of these things interest them, they can run around on the dock chasing seagulls with Bailey the border collie. But if you see him wearing his yellow vest it means he is working and can't be petted at that time.
Sydney Olympic Park
There is plenty to do at the Olympic Park for the whole family, from sporting venues and a huge aquatic center to outdoor spaces and playgrounds. In fact, one of the best playgrounds in the park is Blaxland Riverside Park. It has tunnel slides, a climbing wall, a flying fox, a multi-level treehouse, a huge outdoor water play area, and a lot more.
Your kids can take part in the full-day fantasy writing workshops, skateboard at the mega-skate park, or you can relax and have a picnic. Visiting the Sydney Olympic Park is sure to please everyone in the family. Whatever you decide to don't miss out on the Cold Rock Ice Creamery where you pick the flavor and they mash it up right in front of you.
Going to the beach with your kids is always a good idea and a great way to escape the busy city streets. Luckily, Sydney has plenty of them and the most famous beach is Bondi Beach. While you can just enjoy the white sands and splash around in the water, Bondi Beach offers so much more. Grab a mask and check out the underwater marine life, take a surfing lesson, stroll through Centennial Park, or if you are there in the wintertime go ice skating right by the beach.
You don't even have to pack a lunch as there are several family-friendly restaurants where you can relax and enjoy the ocean view. If you want some beaches that are a little less touristy check out the Northern Beaches like Manly Beach or Shelly Beach. You will still get the white sand and beautiful ocean views just without the big crowds.
An adventure park is one of the best things to do in Sydney with kids as it literally has a ride for every level and age group. Most adventure parks' kiddie rides are very tame, but if your little one is a bit of a thrill-seeker, Luna Park has rides for them. Big thrill rides, big and small rollercoasters, and of course, sideshow games are all to be found in Luna Park.
The Coney Island section is a family-oriented area with a mirror maze and wonky walk. Special events and concerts also take place throughout the year. When you are done having the time of your life in this amazing adventure park, head down to the nearby North Sydney Olympic Pool where the entire family can relax and swim. There is no charge to enter Luna Park, however, you do need to buy passes for the rides and events. Undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Sydney with kids.
There are quite a few museums in Sydney that are great for kids. Many of them have hands-on interactive exhibitions and displays, but the Powerhouse Museum has some of the coolest. "The Lab" and "Experimentations" encourage learning through science and technology experiments and workshops that are as fun as they are educational.
The programs are not just for kids, they are for the whole family. There are school holiday activities on offer for free or paid to keep your children engaged throughout the entire day. For other great kids' museum programs check out the Art Gallery of New South Wales or the Museum of Magical Arts.
What are the best family activities in Sydney?
Sydney is so full of family-friendly activities you really can't go wrong with anything on this list, although some are targeted to certain age groups. But for things that the entire family can do together no matter the ages it is best to go with animal-related activities like the Taronga Zoo or the SEA LIFE Aquarium.
An amusement park such as Luna or one of the many other waterparks are excellent choices too. However, if you are looking for thrilling Sydney adventures, you can not miss the chance to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
You see, the amazing capital city of New South Wales is a capital city in every sense of the word. Whether you are traveling alone, with friends or with children, you will always find things to do and see in Sydney. For information on seeing free Sydney attractions, read this guide by Bounce.