Best Kid-Friendly Museums In Sydney
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
Whether you’re escaping the rain, the stinking heat, or just want to help kids get creative and use their imaginations, a family trip to one of Sydney’s awesome kid-friendly museums will do the trick! They’re never too young to be introduced to a bit of art, culture and history…
1. The Museum of Magic
Even getting to this museum is a magical trip. The Australian Museum of Magical Arts is hidden within the secret walls and corridors of The Magicians Cabaret theatre in Darlinghurst. The museum has a fascinating collection of magic, illusions, historical objects, secreats and real live doves and rabbits. And it's the home base for Sydney's best magicians to test out their tricks. Explore the small chambers, narrow tunnels and passageways and feel like you're in a Harry Potter movie. See the website for times of magic shows and performances.
2. The Museum of Contemporary Art
One of our absolute favourites. This museum is just so family friendly- we recommend Art Baby for a perfect mums and babies day at the museum, the Bella Family Experience for families with special needs, and the FREE Family Trail where kids and their parents can learn about art through doing rather than looking. Right now check out the kaleidoscopic projections of Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist in Sip my Ocean where you can wander through a forest of hanging lights, lie underneath the lily pads or rest on a wild cushion on the floor. For a great cafe with a view, head to the rooftop, where the menu changes seasonally to reflect the current exhibitions. There’s always a great program on for children of all ages at the MCA.
3. Australian National Maritime Museum
It's Australia’s national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology - but you might know it as the museum with the Endeavour replica out the front. Your kids can get hands on with Captain Cook's ship and relive his voyage to Australia. Down at Darling Harbour, this museum presents a changing program of stimulating exhibitions and events including the coolest family exhibit, Arctic Voices where kids can pounce, hop, push and crawl their way through the Arctic, and come face to face with giant polar bears!
4 Justice And Police Museum
The fascinating Justice and Police Museum is one you may not have considered, but this is the place to be! Kids and parents will be truly fascinated learning about Sydney's past and sometimes seedy underbelly- schemes devised, tempers lost, deals done...and laws broken! Their Bushrangers Behind Bars program is an awesome courtroom experience where you can participate in a mock trial! Guilty or not-guilty? You decide!
5. The Rocks Discovery Museum
If you find yourself around Circular Quay with the family, don’t forget to check out the FREE Discovery Museum at the Rocks, set in a gorgeous restored sandstone warehouse. We visited with kids recently, and were given a colourful ‘chatterbox’ origami structure to use to help with our discoveries about Australia’s past. The Discovery Corner is also a great quiet place to rest little legs, colour in, browse the kids’ fact sheets and describe what artefacts you’d put in your own museum! Our verdict? This one sparks questioning, conversation and imagination for curious little minds.
6. Powerhouse Museum
Hint: children under 16 go FREE! At the Powerhouse Museum, there are two absolutely fantastic exhibitions for families. The first is the recently refurbished Wiggles Exhibition, which features an interactive Big Red Car and memorabilia from the new cast including Lachie's teddy bear and Ema's ballet slippers. The second is brand-new exhibition, Learn & Play! teamLab Future Park where you can immerse yourself in an interactive world of light and colour where imagination meets technology.
7. Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is one that you can return to again and again. Not only do children under 16 go FREE, but the Kidspace for under 5s will let kids can hands-on and encourage them to explore the natural world through picking up, touching and holding pretty much everything! This kind of tactile experience is rare in most museums. They also have great school holiday programs, and various activities tailored to specific age groups including Tiny Tots for 9 month to 3-year-olds and Mini Explorers for 3 to 5 year olds.
8. Sydney Living Museums
Families are always welcome to explore the gorgeous heritage properties on Elizabeth Farm, Vaucluse House, Rouse Hill House & Farm & Elizabeth Bay House. Each boasts beautiful grounds and a story from Australia’s past at every turn. There are a HEAP of exciting activities on the calendar, including the Convict Kids program, Earn Your Tucker, a huge day of fun with the Family Fair, Bush Tucker, playing shop at Susannah's Place, and the winning combination of LEGO and sand at the Museum of Sydney's Sand in the City exhibition.
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