Check Out Both Sydney Sea Life Aquarium & Sydney Wild Life Zoo With A Big Ticket

  • Family

By: Kylie Purtell, ellaslist explorer

If you’re looking for something fun to do in Sydney with the kids then look no further than Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour is one of the kid-friendliest places in Sydney, and it’s also home to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wild Life Sydney Zoo.

On Easter Monday we headed over for a visit and grabbed ourselves a Sydney Big Ticket which got us access to both the Aquarium and the Zoo. The Sydney Big Ticket is a really cost-effective way of seeing more than one attraction when visiting the city. You have the choice of buying a 2, 3 or 4 attraction ticket giving you the option of visiting the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney and/or the Sydney Tower Eye.

Where To Choose First?

Our first stop for the day was the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the kids (girls ages 4 & 6 and boy aged 2.5) loved it! It’s really well laid out and extremely pram friendly, there were no tight spots to try and manouvre through and no stairs to worry about. Being there on a public holiday it was quite busy but that didn’t stop our enjoyment.

There is a really great range of aquatic life to check out, starting with the fish of the south coast seas through to the strange inhabitants of the Jurassic Seas. The viewing tanks are set up so that even the smallest kids are able to get up close and catch a glimpse of this normally hidden ecosystem.

Without a doubt the kids were most impressed by the underwater viewing tunnels that allow you to see in to the homes of dugongs and sharks. As well as the dugongs and sharks we were all blown away by the size of the graceful rays that swam above us.

Mission: Paw Patrol

For a limited time Paw Patrol fans can see Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol SEA Patrol at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium! If they choose to accept they can go on an underwater mission to become an honorary member of the pup squad. Mr. 2.5 he absolutely loved having the chance to look for his favourite Paw Patrol characters hidden throughout the exhibits. After we had our fill of the underwater viewing tunnels we headed to the Discovery Rockpool where the kids got a kick out of being able to get their hands wet and discover some of the more overlooked inhabitants of the ocean floor. Our final stop was the Clownfish Garden where there was much excitement to see everyone’s favourite fish, Nemo!

For the girls, their favourite part was the Discovery Rockpool, and I know that for Mr. 2.5 the PAW Patrol SEA Patrol was a definite highlight. 

After we’d had our fill of the Aquarium we stopped at the cafe to fill our bellies. We were impressed by the food options available and their relatively cheap prices (compared to the price of food at many other big attractions). The cafe looks out on to Darling Harbour and was a nice place to sit and have a rest before heading into the Wild Life Sydney Zoo.

We're Going To The Zoo, Zoo, Zoo!

The entrance to Wild Life Sydney Zoo is right next to the Aquarium and like this venue, navigating our way around with 3 kids and a pram was easy. Our first stop was the tropical butterfly enclosure, and without a doubt this was the kids favourite part. So much so that we had to turn around and go back 5 minutes after we walked out because Miss 4 just hadn’t had enough time to admire the beautiful butterflies!

After we finally managed to tear Miss 4 away from the butterflies we explored the rest of the Zoo. It was nice and cool after the large crowds and warmth of the Aquarium and we didn’t have to worry so much about making sure everyone got a chance to see things like we did with the bigger crowds next door. While it’s a small Zoo, it was exactly the right size for 3 kids who were by this stage getting a little tired (we spent almost 3 hours in the Aquarium from 11am so by the time we hit the Zoo it was early afternoon).

Mr 2.5 absolutely loved all of the snakes and lizards and we spent quite a while watching the different snakes moving around their habitats. Again the displays were the perfect height for the kids to be able to look in and quite a lot of the wildlife were right near the glass, making it easy to observe them.

The girls really loved getting to pat a snake that one of the keepers was showing to people and enjoyed seeing the kangaroos outside in their open air home. We were all impressed with the massive crocodile and enjoyed getting to watch all of the native birds and other smaller wildlife in their enclosures.

Tips Before You Go

All in all we had a really lovely time exploring the Aquarium and the Zoo and would highly recommend both as a great way to spend the day. Be prepared for the larger crowds in the Aquarium and make sure you take water bottles and a few snacks for the kids as you can easily spend hours in there. Don't forget about the cafe too - they have everything from fruit to sandwiches and muffins. Getting there was really easy, and both attractions have deals with near-by parking stations for discounts on all-day parking if you get your parking ticket validated at the gift shops before you head home. Alternatively you can catch the train or light rail and take your time walking over to the attractions, there is a lot to see and do in Darling Harbour!

Sydney Big Tickets are valid for 30 days from your first visit. Pricing starting from $35 for Kids $50 for Adults for two attractions. Find out more about pricing here.

All images by Kylie Purtell.