Sydney is a kids’ paradise, flaunting heaps of outdoor space, sports options for days, and the kind of weather that makes it easy for mom and dad to take their children out to play. Plus, the city’s well-organized council does an excellent job of maintaining its parks and playgrounds, so you can take the little ones out for an afternoon of roughhousing without much worry. The venues on this list are well kept, safe, and most importantly, capable of keeping children preoccupied for hours. Plus, they’re fun for adults too. From MCA’s Art Safari to the playground complex at Sydney Olympic park, this city has enough family-friendly attractions to keep you busy for a day, a week, or even a month-long visit. Go for a swim at Manly Beach, ride the Ferris wheel at Luna Park, and relish in the knowledge that you’ll never run out of family-friendly things to do.
Darling Quarter Playground
This is the biggest playground in central Sydney, and admission is free. Take the kids on swings, slides, climbing ropes, the “flying fox” (that’s Aussie for a zipline), and in warmer weather, let them run loose in the Pump Station, which features 26 separate water jets that’ll keep them busy for hours.
Children will be hard-pressed to get bored at Manly, which has a netted ocean swimming pool where they can splash all they want, a highly regarded aquarium where they can marvel at the creatures of the deep, and streets filled with shops selling fish-‘n-chips, burgers, and ice cream.
Walk through the gigantic (and, frankly, somewhat creepy) giant mouth that has beckoned visitors to Sydney’s own version of Coney Island for decades. There are all manner of amusement park rides here; the Ferris wheels, rollercoasters, a carousel and an old-fashioned mirror maze leave the adults just as amused.
Sydney Olympic Park
Where do I even begin? There are so many activities on this massive playground that cater to kids that you really need just show up, take your pick, and let them run loose until they’re tuckered out. The swimming complex is a must, there’s a zipline course, parks and playgrounds galore, outdoor art, and even daily Segway tours. All of it’s fun, much of it’s free, and none of it will bore them.
Sydney’s premier modern art house does a good job of catering to kids. It regularly programs workshops and tours designed to get little ones into the practice of appreciating art. Art Safari is an interactive tour that changes themes each month; Art Baby caters to new parents who want to have a day out (and some post-tour coffee and conversation outside the house); and Junior Art School gives kids a full day of lessons along with lunch, materials, and a USB stick to take home their masterworks.