Best Things To Do In Sydney When The Grandparents Have Got The Kids

  • Family
ellaslist COVID-19 update: Please note that all the information on the website is correct at the time of publication. Please check the relevant website before visiting a venue or destination for the latest COVID-19 information. ellaslist is not responsible for any cancellations or closures.

I don't know about your parents, but when mine take the kids out for the day in Sydney, they manage to find a whole new world of activities that I have either been too busy (or too lazy) to explore. They can spend hours at a local park, while I struggle after a few minutes. They relish the nostalgia of taking the kids somewhere that they took me as kid (that I had forgotten about). They basically see the good in every attraction that as a parent you often put in the "too hard" "too expensive" or "too time consuming" category. Being a grandparent means you (generally) have more patience than us time-poor Mums and you enjoy all the precious moments with the little ones, plus grandparents have all the wisdom in the world to share when your toddler asks "why" for the umpteenth time! Some days I can't wait until I am a grandma myself...

If your parents are Sydney based, or in town to visit the grandkids, here are some suggestions for a fun-filled day out that everyone will enjoy... it will be hard to tell who enjoys these outings more at the end of the day!

Choo Choo Express, Royal Botanic Gardens

A trip to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is the perfect place for Nanny and Poppy to explore with young kids. My son particularly likes to tour aboard the hop-on-hop-off Choo Choo Express - a trackless train making its way through the grounds throughout the day. The trip takes about 25 minutes and you can hop off and on at any of the 4 stops along the way. It's the best way to see the entire surrounds without having to worry about getting tired (that goes for all parties involved). Best of all, kids under 3yrs are free!

Find out more at Royal Botanic Gardens.

Playgroup NSW

If grandma and grandpa have your young kids on a regular basis, joining a playgroup is a wonderful way for them to establish a routine with your child, and potentially make some new friends themselves. Playgroup NSW is frequented by lots of grandparents and they hold around 1,000 playgroup sessions every week all over Sydney. Most playgroups meet once a week for a couple of hours and are fairly informal gatherings where babies, toddlers and preschool-aged children along with their carers come together in a relaxed and friendly environment to connect, play and learn. And it's less than $1 per week if you're a member!

Find one in your area via Playgroup NSW.

Explore A Kid-Friendly Museum

Another outing to get the kids using their imaginations and learning (because "too much TV will make their eyes square" - okay mum) is to explore one of Sydney's kid-friendly museums. There are so many to choose from, including the Museum of Contemporary Art for its Art Baby and ARTplay events (find out more about their family-friendly events here); the Justice and Police Museum for learning about Sydney's seedy past, the Powerhouse for its interactive steam trains and Wiggles exhibition, the Australian Museum for little dinosaur lovers and Sydney Living Museums for exploring Australia's colonial past and more.

Take a look at our guide to the Best Kid-Friendly Museums In Sydney for more inspiration.

Darling Harbour

I've always found Darling Harbour a bit of a nightmare. It's busy, it's overpriced, it lacks the cultural delights of other Sydney precincts. But my parents love to take the grandkids there - probably because the kids love it so much! It's actually a one-stop shop where you can spend a whole day doing something new and exciting every hour. There's the big attractions like Sea Life Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Wild Life Sydney Zoo, but there's also some hidden gems, like the Chinese Garden of Friendship with its stepping stones, bridges, waterfalls and the gorgeous temples. Here grandparents can enjoy the tranquil tea garden serving a selection of dim sum and scones and also daily fish feeding. Kids can also spend hours at the playground and water play area in the middle of Darling Harbour. Even just having lunch al fresco (with the terrifying seagulls) is an adventure for all involved.

Pick A Playground

Sometimes it's best to just keep it simple - and all kids love spending time at playgrounds. Like I said, my folks can spend hours at the same park without getting bored. So find a playground in your area - here are some of the best playgrounds in Sydney, or head further out to a destination playground or even an exciting adventure playground to really get the heart rate up. With a picnic packed, it can easily be an all day affair for very little money or energy spent on your parents behalf.

Curl Up In A Library

Grandparents love libraries! Not only are they quiet, they are a great screen-free venue where the kids can explore the wonder of books. If your parents think your kids spend "too much time on their devices", then point them in the direction of one of Sydney's best kid-friendly libraries. Here they can enjoy things like Rhyme Time or Story Time or just curl up in a quiet corner with a good book to read the grandkids. 

More Things To Do With Little Ones

Best Music Classes For Toddlers and Babies
Top Things To Do with Babies and Toddlers in Sydney
Sydney's Top Beaches for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!