A family holiday in Sydney offers everything from a world-famous harbour to tons of beaches and one of the most magnificent zoos around, which has showcased native and exotic animals for more than a century. Here, you can ride a classic Ferris wheel and carousel, thrill to rollercoasters, see the skeletons of dinosaurs, learn all about the earliest settlers, explore the indigenous culture and watch your kids engage their imaginative creativity, all just minutes away from each other. Look over some of the most exciting, fun, thrilling and educational journeys you can take on your Sydney holidays for families.
Check out museums and cultural sites
In many ways, Sydney is the cultural heart and soul of New South Wales, and if you're looking for a museum or cultural things to do with family in Sydney, you'll find enough here to occupy your entire holiday. From seeing dinosaurs to learning about Aboriginal culture and the earliest settlers from the country's days as a penal colony, it's all here. You can see famous paintings and sculptures from throughout history, witness the tradition of native art and explore the way the city has changed over the years. At many museums, you can even explore hands-on creative activities for the kids.
See the dinosaurs at the Australian Museum
Almost every child dreams of becoming a paleontologist someday, and they thrill to see the gigantic skeletons of megafauna that ruled the Earth long before humans came along. These creatures spark the imagination and are exciting to look at, and the Australian Museum has a collection of the very same ones that walked this continent millions of years ago. It's not all about dinosaurs, however; the museum also has anthropological and archaeological exhibits tracing human development, natural history and even other kinds of animals, from birds and insects to mammals and reptiles. This is an entertaining and educational option for things to do on Sydney holidays for families.
Hear stories about the city at the Museum of Sydney
Something that's always an interesting and educational option for entertainment while on a family holiday is learning about the history of the region you're exploring. When it comes to Sydney attractions for families, the Museum of Sydney offers an intriguing look at the history of this city from its pre-colony Aboriginal days through its days as a penal colony and all the way to the modern era. What sets this museum apart from others is that, aside from the photos, artefacts and documents, you can hear stories told from the mouths of the people who lived them. Kids tend to really relate to the experiences here because they're experiences of regular people living regular lives throughout history.
Learn about early settlers at Susannah Place Museum
The Susannah Place Museum is a living history exhibit located in a set of heritage-listed buildings dating to the 19th century. Here, you can witness what life was like in the earliest days of colonisation. These houses, built in 1844, hosted dozens of families over a period of almost 150 years and have seen the city grow and change all around them. Today, they stand as a museum dedicated to telling the stories of the original Irish immigrants as well as all those who lived and worked here over the ensuing decades. You'll also learn the history of the Rocks neighbourhood where they are located.
Explore kid-centric exhibits at the Powerhouse Museum
The Powerhouse Museum is part of the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences and is focused on science, innovation, design and the arts. It's located in a heritage-listed building and houses the oldest operational rotative steam engine in the entire world. Kids also thrill to see Locomotive No. 1, the first-ever steam locomotive to haul passengers in the NSW region. The museum also offers exhibitions on transport, the steam revolution, time and space, the environment, computers and connections, experimentations, art and industry. In addition, temporary rotating exhibits are on display, and kids can get hands-on with arts, crafts and technology at the discovery centre.
Check out the paintings at the Art Gallery of NSW
The Art Gallery of NSW was founded in 1872 as the National Art Gallery of New South Wales and is among the largest and oldest in Australia, as well as one of the most important. It's located in The Domain neighbourhood and is just steps away from family accommodation in Sydney. It offers free admission to its 5 buildings. Important collections in the library include a display of works by indigenous artists from all over Australia, ceramics, bronze and other works from Asian artists, a gallery of Australian art dating to the early 1800s through the modern era, and many other paintings, sculptures and media art.
Have sightseeing adventures
Sydney isn't just museums and architecture. You can have a wild time taking in breathtaking sights and scenery at places like the unspoiled Bushlands surrounding the city, heading up into the Blue Mountains, or even just taking on scenic walks, tours and ferries within the city itself. You can actually climb a suspension bridge or trek to the top of an iconic observation deck. You can walk the elegantly tended pathways of the city's gardens and even head for a place where you can get lost in the cosmos itself. Sightseeing adventures should be on every agenda during Sydney holidays for families.
Tackle the BridgeClimb Sydney
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in the city's skyline, and one of the more exciting and pulse-pounding things to do with family in Sydney is the famed BridgeClimb Sydney. This guided adventure leads you on an actual climb of the bridge itself. The full trip takes just over 3 hours up and down, but several other options are available that climb to a lower height. Anyone over the age of 8 who is in good health is welcome – in fact, a visitor completed the climb at the age of 100 years old. The bridge rises 134 metres high, and from the summit, you can take a breathtaking photograph of the landscape for miles around.
Climb the heights of the Tower Eye
The Sydney Tower is among the tallest structures and observation towers in the Southern Hemisphere. It's a member of the World Federation of Great Towers and rises 305 metres above the Sydney Central Business District. It's an iconic part of the Sydney skyline and can be a wonderful experience among Sydney attractions for families. The tower boasts 4 sections that are open to the republic, 3 of which are occupied by restaurants. The top deck, the Sydney Tower Eye, stands 250 metres high and offers panoramic views for kilometres around the city as well as a gift shop and touch screens that offer information and data about the tower and current weather conditions.
Explore the entire cosmos at the Sydney Observatory
The Sydney Observatory is a heritage-listed site that serves as a science museum, multipurpose event centre, education facility and meteorological station in addition to its primary use for observing the stars. The building has served many purposes over the years, from windmills to a defence fort. When you add this to your list of family activities in Sydney, you're getting as close to flying among the stars as you can get without leaving Earth. It's been in use since the 19th century and today makes use of the most modern technology. Among its many interactive exhibits is a vintage refracting telescope from Georg Merz and Sons dating to the 1860s.
Walk the paths of the Royal Botanic Garden
The sheer beauty and colour of the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden make it an ideal destination while looking for things to do with family in Sydney. This heritage-listed garden covers 30 hectares of land and serves as a public recreational area and event venue in Sydney's central business district. It's been open since the early 19th century and is the oldest scientific institution in the nation. It's divided into a number of sections, including the Lower and Middle Gardens, the Palace Gardens, the Bennelong Precinct and Palm Grove Centre. Each offers different themed attractions, such as a rainforest walk, rose gardens, a palm grove and exotic plants. You can also enjoy a gift shop and cafe on the premises.
Try active and thrilling adventures in Sydney
Sydney also boasts a wonderful collection of adventures that are thrilling, pulse-pounding and active. You can ride thrill rides at a famous amusement park, shoot archery and fly on a trapeze in an actual Olympic venue in Greater Western Sydney, or get out on a boat to see the city from the harbour and maybe catch sight of pods of whales on the water during their migration. The sheer amount of wonder and amazement available on Sydney holidays for families is endless.
Ride the coasters at the Luna Park amusement park
Sydney is full of important heritage-listed sites, and among the most exciting and fun heritage-listed family activities in Sydney is the Luna Park amusement park. It's one of only a few amusement parks in the entire world that are protected by government legislation, and it offers a traditional, classic theme park experience for the whole family. Some of the more popular rides include the Wild Mouse, the Ferris wheel, the rotor, bumper cars, the Hair Raiser drop tower, a swing ride, the Boomerang rollercoaster, a classic carousel and an entire area modelled after Coney Island. Spend your day riding rides, playing games and eating classic amusement park food like fries and funnel cake.
Shoot archery and fly on the trapeze at Olympic Park
Sydney Olympic Park is just about 13 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district and was the home of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. It still stands as a monument to that event and allows visitors to partake in many of the same exciting events that Olympic athletes perform. You can shoot archery on the course or take a class to learn how to swing on a trapeze high above the ground. While you're here, you may catch a live musical performance or other cultural event, such as the annual Sydney Festival celebrating music, circus, drama, arts and dance. It's a wonderful part of Sydney attractions for families.
Have wildlife encounters on land or under the sea
Sydney is also a wonderful place to get up close to indigenous and exotic animals, from sea life in Darling Harbour to animals of the African Savannah, right here in an Australian suburb. Whether you're interested in walking an underwater tunnel with sharks all around or you want to see tigers and polar bears, the animal adventures you crave can all be found just a few minutes away from family resorts in Sydney.
See native and exotic species at Taronga Zoo
The Taronga Zoo has been a cherished part of Sydney for well over 100 years and houses more than 4,000 animals from among 350 different species of bird, reptile, fish and mammal. The zoo is among the largest of its kind in Australia. You can witness bush animals at Wild Australia, walk the African Savannah, explore forests full of chimpanzees, gorillas and lemurs, see elephants and the animals of Asia, catch a glimpse of tigers and giant tortoises, and see so many others. When you're done, stop and have a bite to eat at the onsite cafe or find a souvenir at the zoo's gift shop.
Walk through a shark-filled tunnel at SEA LIFE Sydney
SEA LIFE Sydney is a vast public aquarium that displays over 700 species of sea life, from tropical fish and reptiles to birds and mammals. From its astounding exterior architecture to the themed areas inside, you're sure to find worlds of wonder here. Its 14 themed regions include the Discovery Rockpool, the Jurassic Seas, the Shark Walk and a Great Barrier Reef exhibit that's among the largest in the world. You'll get to see penguins, tropical fish, sharks and stingrays as well as sea anemones, jellyfish and others. It's a must-visit site on any Sydney holidays for families.