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 escape rooms – to keep ’em busy for a while. Pull on the gumboots and try one of these ten activity ideas.
Rainy day activities for kids in Sydney
Found next to another crowd-pleaser Sky Zone, this entertainment centre in Alexandria houses an impressive amount of good times – all under one roof! There are laser beam mazes, an arcade shooting gallery and dodgem cars. Plus, ten pin bowling and climbing ropes! The new facility caters to all ages and they offer a three-hour ‘All U Can Play’ card for $49.99, as well as an under-six package, including bowling, laser frenzy and entry to the XD Theatre, for $14.99.
General admission to the Australian Museum is now free for under 16s, thanks to a NSW government initiative to make culture, arts and science more accessible to children. 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.
The idea behind escape rooms is that you’re locked in to a room and you’ve got 50 minutes to figure out the puzzles and escape. It’s not as scary as it sounds (well, mostly!) and there are a handful of rooms in the city that cater for all ages. Escapism, by Strike Bowling in Darling Harbour, has a garden-themed escape room that’s designed for families. It’s not as gruesome looking as the other rooms, and the challenges are simple enough – even for Dad!
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 option 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.
Duck into Hyde Park Barracks as soon as you see those rain clouds gather, and let the kids loose on a bunch of nitty-gritty hands-on activities that tell the stories of those who built our city. Kids can sit at a table to eat a convict meal, try on a set of leg irons or wear convict clothing. Admission is $5 for kids and $10 for adults and the museum is open every day except Christmas Day and Good Friday.
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.
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 with accompanying adult is $12-$15).
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.
This drop-in art workshop is a lifesaver for parents who’d like to encourage their children to be creative, but would rather they didn’t leave colourful handprints on the walls. At the Messy Spot, kids can paint, draw and decorate to their heart’s content from a bountiful selection of art materials. No booking required; dress for mess and turn up from 9.30am, Tue-Fri.
Dress up and play grown-ups in this indoor play centre that’s geared towards ambitious youngsters. Wannabees has created a mini city where kids can role-play at being a firefighter, a beautician, a police office, a stage performer and many other jobs. The play town is open seven days a week for casual family outings, birthdays and special events.