The Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney’s Circular Quay is Australia’s only museum dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art from across Australia and around the world. With a continually changing program of exhibitions there’s always something new, exciting and inspiring to see at the MCA. Its location is superb and you’ll always see many mums with young children on the front garden of the museum relaxing and enjoying the amazing harbour view and watching the ferries go by.
BABIES: The museum is great to explore with very young babies as the colour and movement provide constant stimulation. The MCA runs the fabulous Art Baby program, where mums with babes in arms and in prams can enjoy a guided tour of the museum, followed by coffee in the museum’s café, and Art Play, drop-in creative classes every Wednesday during school term (10am-12pm) for 0-5 years with dress up, singing, art activities and stories.
TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS: There are enough wacky displays to keep the pre-schoolers amused and the engaging Art Safari program introduces contemporary art to pre-schoolers aged 3 to 5 years old through music, storytelling, drama and art making in the gallery. The ArtPlay series offers another opportunity for kids under 5 to be immersed in colour and texture as they step into a playful space of soft sculptural forms. You can settle in and read a story together in the book corner, play some art games and let creative play lead the way.
SCHOOL KIDS: There are plenty of family-friendly art-making activities for school age children and the MCA runs some wonderful school holiday events and workshops including the Junior Art School for kids aged 8-12 and the week-long Contemporary Kids drop in program for ages 4+
Best of all is the monthly SUNDAY FAMILY FUN DAY where you can celebrate creativity with the whole family! The galleries are turned over to kids and adults alike for this free day of fun events and art making. You can experience a family friendly exhibition tour, watch performances, listen to stories, play art games and get creative!
Bella Extension is offered as a free supplement to any Artist Educator led school program or Kids and Families event. The aim of Bella Extension is to offer seamless support for inclusive class excursions and families with access needs participating in drop-in and booked family programs. Additional Bella trained Artist Educators are allocated upon request of a Bella Extension, providing individually tailored support for children and young people with learning and support needs within an inclusive whole class experience or Kids and Families event.
All Artist Educator led school programs and the entire suite of Kids and Families programs are eligible for a Bella Extension. Advance bookings are essential and the program is subject to availability.
Ellaslist opinion: The MCA is a great destination for the days when you need an activity that will make you feel like a grown up while still keeping the kids interested and entertained. The most relaxing way to enjoy the MCA is with a very young baby or school age child. Many of the artworks are tactile and very tempting for young hands so make sure your pre-schooler truly understands the look and don’t touch rule before a visit. There are plenty of exhibitions where they welcome young children to participate in the art so just keep an eye on upcoming events to make sure your museum visit coincides with an exhibition that suits your child’s age.
Getting there: MCA is close to all forms of public transport: bus, train and ferry. For further information on public transport phone 131 500 or visit www.131500.com.au. Car parking stations are within walking distance to the MCA, located at: Harrington St, The Rocks and Macquarie St (Sydney Opera House Car Park).
Facilities: The MCA Café is lovely or you could pack a lunch and have a picnic on the front lawn of the museum, overlooking the magnificent Sydney harbour. Baby Change Facilities are available and there is full stroller accessibility.
Read the MCA’s visiting tips for families.
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