When it rains in Sydney, it pours. So it pays to have a few wet-weather saviours up your sleeves for when the kids are home and bored with cartoons and colouring-in books. Luckily, our city has a number of indoor playgrounds and kid-friendly museums – as well as craft workshops, leisure centres and active areas – to keep ’em busy for a while. Pull on the gumboots and try one of these ten activity ideas. When it stops raining, run off some steam at these outdoor playgrounds.
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10 rainy day activities for kids in Sydney
This circus-themed funhouse will dazzle the kids with a dizzying selection of games, rides and prizes all under one roof. Younger kids (aged 8-10) can enjoy carnival adventures like dodgem cars, carousels or the overhead ropes course, while older players shoot hoops, go bowling or ride the interactive 3D theatre fit out. If they’ve gotten their hands on one of the extravagant milkshakes from the diner, get them to burn off all that sugar-strength running around the laser tag field or games arcade. This glittery wonderland is open seven days but the kids get kicked out after 8pm (when the party really gets started).
The little ones can dance around the Wiggles Exhibition while bigger kids explore space travel at this Ultimo Institution. The Powerhouse Museum has diverse exhibitions, intriguing object collections and interactive experiences, so you may have to make a return visit to explore everything on offer. It’s open every day except Christmas, so it’s a sure bet when the rain is pouring and the kids are running wild. Best part is, general admission for under 16s is free.
Bounce on the inflatable jumping castle at Monkey Mania, in Moore Park, then race around the climbing structure and shoot down the slides to burn off all that stuck-inside-all-day energy. Parents can even use the playzone as a handy kid-sitting service while they shop, as you can leave children aged five and up in the care of Monkey Mania’s staff for up to three hours for $26.50 (single child price is $10-$15, with an additional $4.50 for an accompanying adult).
Art is for everyone, but the kids will be particularly fond of Jenny’s Painted Pots, which hosts ceramic-painting workshops. You can choose to decorate ceramic mugs, plates, animals or signs and lettering starting from $12. It’s also home to a traditional lolly shop, so you can taste test old-timey sweets while you paint. All the arty equipment is supplied, so your only job is to get inspired and get painting. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained when it’s grizzly outside and it could be a prime opportunity to procure some sentimental stocking-fillers for the family.
Kids will be high-as-a-kite with excitement after hearing about this place. Children from as young as three years old can learn how to skydive in an indoor facility in Penrith – and it’s fun for adults too. After a safety briefing and training from experienced instructors, children can experience being lifted into the air by a powerful wind generator. For the seriously keen, there are ten-week courses for ages 6-16 years and birthday party packages available for flyers.
The kids will go wild for the hands-on experiences at the Australian Museum, and free admission for under 16s makes it an affordable day out for the whole family. If you’ve got tinier tots, head to Kidspace for a mini museum tailored to under fives while the bigger kids check out the mainstage of minerals, plants and animals. So pull on a raincoat and head to the city to explore the many levels of animal exhibitions, from marsupials to snakes, lizards and spiders. Plus, you can catch up with old pals Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Flip Out Trampoline Arena is Australia’s largest trampoline playground. First opened in Western Sydney, there are now centres across the country offering indoor and outdoor fun that’s flippin’ awesome. The Penrith centre has wall running, an after-dark program and dodgeball – plus you can book kids’ birthday parties and children can sign up for Little Ninja classes to learn how to twist and bounce like a pro.
What’s missing from your average mini golf course? An East African theme, of course. Putt Planet brings the city streets of Mombasa to Miranda with 18 holes of themed fun. Though the course is relatively challenging, it’s suitable for all ages. There’s a dedicated function room for parties and café that’ll cater events or serve up snacks once your tournament is won. And it’s all enclosed; wet weather will never ruin the green or your day out.
Get creative at one of the many kids workshops and experiences at the Art Gallery of NSW. If they like getting messy, send them off to one of the hands-on art-making workshops and clubs that run monthly. The Tours for Tots program is perfect kids aged 3-5 and explores a different aspect of the museum each edition. If the rain doesn’t run to your schedule, the halls of the gallery are kid- and pram-friendly, and you can take a break at the adjoining café and restaurant without venturing into the rain.
Whether it’s so hot you need to cool down, or so cold you need to warm up, the swimming pools and water playgrounds at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre are always a balmy 26 degrees. Pack swimmers for the whole family and spend the day racing the kids down the Rapid River Ride.