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A massive loggerhead turtle swims by in all new Day and Night on the Reef exhibit
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Sea Life Aquarium

The best school holiday activities in Sydney

Here is the ultimate school holiday guide for the best way to keep the kids entertained all summer long

Written by
Alannah Le Cross
,
Maya Skidmore
&
Alice Ellis
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Keeping kids entertained for a whole six weeks is no mean feat, but we have you covered this summer with an ultimate list of the best activities and experiences happening in Sydney these school holidays. Check out something for the explorers, the budding scientists, the mini-athletes, the musical prodigies and just about everyone in between. No sun? No worries. We've also included some indoor activities in the mix for those wet-weather days. 

Looking for somewhere affordable to eat out with the kids? Check out our guide to the best cheap eats in Sydney.

Or visit the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.

What to do with the kids in Sydney

  • Things to do
  • Centennial Park

Hidden deep (well, kind of deep) within the heart of Centennial Park is a playground like no other. Fit out with a wild tree house, bamboo forest, a fancy water-play area, banksia tunnels, turtle mounds and dry creek beds, this ‘wild play’ locale is full of wonderful nooks and crannies that keep kids fresh, entertained and connected to the big outdoors, all from within the controlled paradise of Centennial Park. 

 

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor

One of the best types of holiday camps is one where they return home with new skills – and ready for a good night's sleep. The school holiday camp put on together by Evolve Tennis Academy & Prodigy Football, which runs across five locations in Sydney's north, ticks both those boxes. The team of coaches across both codes provide a unique structured program that will give them skills in both tennis and football, while having lots of fun.

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Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
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  • Museums
  • History
  • Darlinghurst

Calling all amateur Egyptologists, mini history buffs and lovers of gold and glamour – a blockbuster exhibition packed out with priceless Ancient Egyptian artefacts is coming exclusively to Sydney this summer. Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs is an interactive museum experience more than 3,000 years in the making, featuring 181 priceless artefacts. It is the largest cultural exhibition to visit Australia in more than a decade, and in a huge coup, the Museum shipped over the actual coffin of Ramses the Great for it. You can purchase tickets now through Ticketmaster.

 

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Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions

Have you (erm, we mean, your kids) ever dreamed of walking with dinosaurs? Well Sydney, life finds a way. This family-friendly exhibit of Jurassic proportions is roaring into the Harbour City this spring following recent record-breaking engagements in cities around the world. This enormous and immersive experience celebrates 30 years of the film franchise that began with the ground-breaking 1993 movie Jurassic Park

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Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
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  • Film
  • Darling Harbour
  • price 1 of 4

IMAX Sydney closed for a rebuild back in 2016, and after a longggg wait, it's finally relaunched in October 2023, better than ever, in the W Sydney buildingWhen we say this is huge news, we mean it. IMAX Sydney’s new movie screen is the third largest in the world, spanning a staggering 693 square metres. If you're looking to get the title of coolest parent ever, a seat in one of IMAX's private pods or recliner chairs might just bring you one step closer. You can book tickets for IMAX Darling Harbour over here.

 

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Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Darling Harbour

Game on, Sydney. This summer, Australia’s very first interactive gaming rooms will open in Darling Harbour, offering full-scale, immersive versions of Squid Game, Angry Birds, Ghostbusters and a whole lot more. Little ones aged five and up can come for the adventure, too, with light-hearted games featuring beloved characters from Paw Patrol and Shaun the Sheep. Immersive Gamebox will open next door to Sea Life on December 21, with sessions running daily from 10am until 6pm on weekdays and 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights. 

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Sydney’s impressive list of beaches is welcoming a new addition this summer, with plans for Penrith’s new urban beach officially announced. The sandy stretch will be the same length as Bondi Beach, and will be free to visit seven days a week from late December to early March 2024 (with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). As fun as the new beach is as a concept, the $1.7 million swimming spot has been built primarily for reasons of safety and equality – to provide an accessible place for residents of Western Sydney to cool off through what is anticipated to be an exceptionally hot summer.

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Winnie Stubbs
Lifestyle Writer
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  • Things to do
  • Penrith

Would you believe kids as young as three can do indoor skydiving at iFLY in Penrith? It’s all about the "look mum, look dad" here, as the indoor skydiving takes place behind glass in the middle of the venue – so even being a spectator is fun. They also have a camera taking pictures throughout your ‘dive’ so you can purchase your most impressive pose – complete with g-force cheeks.

  • Theatre
  • Dawes Point

Enrol the little dancer of the house into one of Sydney's most established dance school's school holiday workshops. The classes dabble in everything from jazz, to contemporary, to hip-hop, to theatre. The classes target both beginners and kids who have been dancing since they could walk, so hit up the timetable to find something that suits. Learn from some of the best including performers from Grease The Arena Spectacular, the Moulin Rouge in Paris and Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. The multi-day wokrshops will take place both at Bondi Pavillion and the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct 

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Caitlyn Todoroski
Contributor
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  • Kids
  • Neutral Bay
  • price 1 of 4

The work of the late May Gibbs has given Australian children wondrous fantasies for years, with The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie enduring as an essential component in our collective childhood memory. Nutcote is where Gibbs wrote her books and long-running cartoon strip Bib and Bub. Reminisce about Gumnut babies and Banksia men in that childhood fantasy world when you visit the museum, learn about Gibbs and her characters, and then relax in the gardens.

  • Sport and fitness
  • South Granville

Ninja Parc South Granville is a perfect stop for kids wanting to burn off some steam while simultaneously finessing their parkour skills. Featuring rope climbs, bouldering challengers, vertical and horizontal doors, a sea of poles and, the ever-classic ‘warped wall’, this gym-meets-play extravaganza is totally equipped to obliterate every last vestige of school holiday boredom. 

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor
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  • Attractions
  • Farms
  • Sydney

Spend hours cooing over a barnyard of baby animals: chicks, lambs, calfs, kids, ducklings and rabbits, you name it. The almost too adorable experiences at Golden Ridge Animal Farm are largely aimed at human kids wanting to learn about the 500 furry and feathered farm residents – but grown-ups can tag along too.

  • Things to do
  • Mosman

If you’ve ever wanted to get seriously close to tigers (without there being a terrible ethical or safety problem in the way), this is your chance. Tiger Trek is an entertaining but also hugely educational experience that helps you make better supermarket choices to help protect the endangered Sumatran tiger's habitat. The Tiger Trek is included in your ticket to Taronga, so it's free to zoo attendees.

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor
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  • Hotels
  • Haymarket

The Novotel are dishing up two tasty and fanciful offerings for the little ones these school holidays because who said all the hotel fun was reserved just for the parentals? To get in the festive season, kids can attend a gingerbread house-making workshop where they'll be sent home with not only a sweet treat they've decorated themselves, but a 'Santa's Little Helper' certificate.

For more fun, spend the night with Novotel's high tea glamping experience. Kidlets get a high tea spread, and a fancy little set up in the room. 

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Caitlyn Todoroski
Contributor
  • Travel
  • Sydney

The Fullerton is a hotel partly housed in what used to be the Sydney General Post Office (GPO), a heritage building that was built back in 1887. It was Sydney's first major development, and regarded as a building that would come to symbolise Sydney in the way the Houses of Parliament in Westminster represent London, and the Eiffel Tower, Paris. You can discover the rich history of the building and the Post Office on the 90-minute GPO Heritage Tour. Their resident guide will take you on a journey through time, sharing the tales and legends of the city’s iconic Grand Dame. Book here.

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Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Be one of the first in the world to witness Luna Park's latest grand transformation. On December 22, 2023, Luna Park will launch ‘Dream Circus’, an enchanting $15 million immersive experience – what they’re referring to as a high-tech ‘Magic Box’ inside Luna Park’s existing 3,000 square metre Big Top building. The Magic Box is being constructed as a high-tech, theatre-like set. So custom-designed 360-degree projections, motion-activated LEDs and hologram technology will work in with 3D, textured walls and stages. Tickets for the Dream Circus experience are on-sale from today over here. The hour-long experience is priced at $35 for children and $45 for adults. 

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Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor
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  • Kids
  • Active events

Can’t bear the thought of another day at an obnoxiously loud play centre or crowded movie theatre? Enter the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Fun, safe and nurturing, the Garden is a lovely environment for getting kids involved in some active and educational activities that will connect them with nature. They always have some First Nations-related activities on the cards where little (and big) ones get to taste bush tucker, discover native plants, meet Aboriginal elders and connect with culture. Other events include an adventure with Tinkerbell and the fairies from a Midsummer Night's Dream, DIY'ing a frog hotel to take home, star gazing and more. 

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Want your kid to get benefit out of their screen time? Children aged 5-13 can develop valuable computer skills at a two- to three-day Code Camp. There are 121 Code Camp locations around Australia, though they can also join in online. Choose a camp based on their interests – there are themes such as Roblox Legends Camp (where they'll learn to code their own Roblox game), Drone Camp (program and code a drone), YouTube Creators camp (for budding content creators), and even a DJ Camp.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Alexandria

This little pocket of Alexandria is the perfect place to hide out on a rainy day. You’ve got 9 Degrees for indoor climbing, Hijinx Hotel for group challenges (more info below), Holey Moley mini golf, boozing for the grown-ups at Rocks Brewing Co – plus an arcade of retro games, bowling and laser tag at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq. Inside, there are bowling lanes, an interactive 3D theatre ride (our pick of the whole venue), a laser tag zone for kids, the tightest dodgem track you’ll ever come across, and a whole lot of arcade games.

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Alexandria

Swim in a giant cereal bowl ball pit, tip-toe around a floor of lava, or enter a neon polka dot universe or an old-timey carnival in this incredible challenge rooms 'hotel' where no two rooms are the same. You’ll have just four minutes in each room to earn as many points as you can – it's a fun, high-energy vibe for the whole family.

 

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  • Art
  • Art

Sydney Festival is catering for even the little ones this year with the Hive Festival event at Sydney Modern. If you haven't had the opportunity to check out the new building of the Art Gallery of NSW, now's your chance. Little artists can contribute to a big scratch-and-sniff beehive installation by Noa Haim that will teach the significance of ecosystems. The art gallery will be putting on a heap of performances, workshops, storytime sessions, obstacle courses and musical events. 

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Caitlyn Todoroski
Contributor
  • Museums
  • History

Sydney is home to some pretty fascinating museums – some that you may not have even heard about. Places where you can learn about nature, science, design, ships, time, military history, society, the police force and more. Rain or shine, head out on a journey of discovery at these all-weather-friendly houses of knowledge.

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Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
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Bowling is a lark for all ages, and Strike Bowling has multiple venues throughout Sydney, inclduing the harbourside location at King Street Wharf, complete with a cocktail bar, three escape rooms and gourmet nibbles; the Entertainment Quarter location in Moore Park, as well as the Chatswood, North Ryde and Castle Towers bowling alleys.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Taronga TV isn't a bad way to while away a gnarly weather day, when you don't feel like leaving home. Taronga TV features some live streams from animal enclosures, as well as behind-the-scenes 'sneak peeks’ and after-hours footage revealing what the keepers and animals get up to when the park is closed to the public.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

Whether you, your kids or your mates want to get out in Sydney to see the Christmas lights in 2023, we have you covered with our guide to all the best places Sydney Christmas lights, in the CBD, surrounding suburbs, and all the places just out of Sydneytown that do truly incredible festive light displays. 

 

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