Best Things to do in Sydney When the Grandparents Have the Kids

  • Family

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 relish the nostalgia of taking the kids somewhere that they took their kids. Plus, they see the good in every attraction - the things 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 parents, plus grandparents have all the wisdom in the world to share when your toddler asks "why" for the umpteenth time! 

If your parents are Sydney-based, or in town to visit the grandkids, here are our top activities for grandparents to take the kids for a day out in Sydney- it will be hard to tell who enjoys these outings more at the end of the day!

Best Things to do in Sydney When the Grandparents Have the Kids

1. Jump On A Sydney Ferry

Sydney Ferries
For a change of scenery, grab the kids and head out on the water on a Sydney Ferry.

Who doesn't love going for a ride on a Sydney Ferry? Summer, autumn, winter... whatever the season, a trip with the grandkids on a Sydney Ferry service is always a winner. There are loads of different ferry services in Sydney that your little boaties will love, so why not make a day of it?

Visit the Sydney Ferries website to find a ferry ride that's right for you.

2. Visit A Kid-Friendly Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has regular kids' art programs to keep them entertained. 

Another outing to get the kids using their imaginations and learning is to explore one of Sydney's kid-friendly museums. There are so many to choose from, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) for its creative ARTplay sessions for little ones (plus regular family-friendly events) the Powerhouse for its interactive steam trains and science exhibits; the Australian Museum for little dinosaur lovers and the collective of Museums of History NSW for exploring our colourful, colonial past.

Australian National Maritime Museum
Australian National Maritime Museum has a changing program of exhibitions, activities and events.

Perfect for young and old, the Australian National Maritime Museum explores our relationship to the oceans, rivers, and lakes that surround us and dives into our rich maritime heritage. Overflowing with incredible experiences, exhibitions, and activities to keep everyone entertained, venture into Darling Harbour and explore the Australian National Maritime Museum's amazing fleet of tall ships, navy vessels, and beautifully restored historic boats. There is also a Cold War submarine, and a gift shop full of nautical toys and gifts.

Art-making activities at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of Australia's most prominent art museums, boasting a diverse and impressive collection of works ranging from traditional to contemporary art. The AGNSW hosts family-friendly exhibitions, interactive tours and hands-on activities designed to engage children with art in a fun and accessible way. 

Children under 12 are admitted free to the ticketed exhibitions, such as Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2024 and Alphonese Mucha: Spirit of Art Nouveau, and accompanying grandparents will get a family discount to see these exhibits too!

The air-conditioned gallery is free and well-equipped with child-friendly facilities, a café with kid-friendly options, spacious areas for strollers and easy accessibility, making it convenient for grandparents with children to visit. 

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

3. Join Playgroup NSW

Playgroup NSW
Grandparents are always welcome at a Sydney playgroup!

If grandma and grandpa have your young kids regularly, 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.

4. Explore Entertainment Park

Entertainment Park
Got the kids when it's stinking hot or pouring with rain? Entertainment Park is the perfect indoor destination for some family fun!

Entertainment Park is a mecca for indoor entertainment and fun, whether it be for a fun family day out or a birthday celebration! Whether the kids feel like go-karting, bowling, virtual reality, racing car simulators, or traditional old-style arcade games, this family-owned and operated venue will keep your kids occupied for hours on end.

There are also some unique touches such as a barbershop and party shop as well as conveniences such as the all-important on-site cafe and plenty of on-site parking. Race you there! 

Find out more about Entertainment Park.

5. Discover Darling Harbour

Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour
Kids will love exploring the natural beauty at the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour.

My parents love to take the grandkids to Darling Harbour, probably because the kids love it so much and there's so much on offer. Darling Harbour is a kid-friendly one-stop shop where you can spend a whole day doing something new and exciting every hour. There are big attractions like SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, but there are also some hidden gems, like the Chinese Garden of Friendship with its stepping stones, bridges, waterfalls, and 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. 

Check out more useful information before visiting Darling Harbour.

6. Pick A Playground

Sydney playgrounds
Keep the grandparent activities simple with a visit to a Sydney playground.

Sometimes it's best to just keep it simple - and all kids love spending time at playgrounds. They seem to spend hours at the same park without getting bored. So, find a playground in your area and, with a picnic packed, it can easily be an all-day affair for very little money or energy spent on your parents' behalf.

Take a look at some of the best playgrounds in Sydney.

7. Curl Up In A Kids' Library

Sydney Kid-friendly libraries
Sydney is full of kid-friendly libraries, just take your pick!

Grandparents love libraries! Not only are they quiet, but they are also a great screen-free venue where the kids can explore the wonder of books. You might be able to enjoy things like Rhyme Time, Story Time or school holiday activities, or just curl up in a quiet corner with a good book to read the grandkids. 

Find some of Sydney's best kid-friendly libraries

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

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