If you are happy to take a trip into the city, then a visit to the Maritime Museum will surely delight your kids and hopefully yourself.
There are kid specific areas and activities for both little ones (mini mariners) and older kids (kids on deck), numerous kid friendly interactive features throughout the exhibits and the content of the exhibits should spark your children’s imagination and educate them on a range of maritime related topics. Plus, in the harbour, there are at least 10 vessels docked that you can board and explore, as long as you are over 90cm tall (for safety reasons) and have purchased a Big Ticket.
With the combination of indoor and outdoor exhibitions, set in a beautiful location, you can visit rain or shine and still have a great time. Entry to the the gorgeous mini mariners under 5 play space and permanent galleries is free, so your visit can also be a very cheap one.
There are a range of food options available from sitting at the museum cafe overlooking the docked historical vessels to getting some take away from the museum kiosk, enjoying a picnic overlooking the harbour and taking a little wonder to Darling Harbour and grabbing a bite there.
Mini mariners is the museums offering for kids under 5, which includes a free dedicated play space and regular 45min activity sessions for 2-5yr olds.
Free Play Space
Within a short distance of the main entrance of the Maritime Museum, and next door to the members lounge, is beautifully decorated and fun the mini mariners play area.
Building on the maritime theme, your little ones can sail the seas, go fishing, admire jelly fish, play with some sea creatures, learn ocean songs and make some ocean sounds.
These fun sessions consist of games, crafts, story time and an interactive gallery tour led by a costumed guide. They are run on Tuesdays during school term and Saturdays once a month. There is a fee to attend these sessions for both children and adults, though they are free for members.
Kids on Deck
On every Sunday (11am-3pm) and daily during school holidays, Kids on Deck is a dedicated activity space for primary school children with art making, games, and dress ups. Younger children are also welcome as well and my Mr 3 and Mr 2 had a great time when we visited, particularly at the lego table with an awesome view.
There is a fee to enter Kids on Deck for both children and adults (Child $8.50; First adult $3.50; additional adults $7). Entry is included in an annual membership and the Big Ticket.
Family Fun Days
Every few months, the museum holds a family fun day on Sunday with creative activities, lively performances, character tours and face painting. The next one is on Sunday August 21st and themed Harbour Hoots.
Finding the Australian National Maritime Museum
Australian National Maritime Museum is at Darling Harbour, near Star City Casino.