ellaslist Explores Museum of Sydney’s Sydney Harbour Icons with LEGO® Bricks

  • Preschoolers
    Mums & Bubs
    Parents Only

By Megan Gibson, ellaslist explorer

It was a miserable rain soaked day when I took my three children, 5, 3 and 9 months to the Sydney Harbour Icons LEGO exhibition at the Museum of Sydney. We had never visited the Museum of Sydney before. Being only two blocks from Circular Quay train station with ample public transport and food options it was a big hit!

Sydney’s Historic Underground Beginnings

The Museum of Sydney is built on the grounds of Australia’s first Government House. The forecourt of the museum showcases the layout for the original buildings and allows you to glimpse down into the past to view the remaining foundations.


The ground level of the museum has clear floor panels to allow you to view artefacts found when the current building was constructed – pottery, pipes and the skeleton of a dog!

lego image 1

The Character & Soul of the City

The Museum of Sydney exists to celebrate the people and events that have shaped the character and soul of the city. There are exhibits on trade in the early colony, a small theatre and displays on Sydney’s history, including its original inhabitants, the convict settlement and the building of our icons. Of particular interest to my children were the scale replicas of the boats of the first fleet.


One space currently features an exhibition on Lloyd Rees, an Australia artist from the 1930’s. Unfortunately the beauty of his finely drawn work was lost on my art aficionados. They did however enjoy a wander through the exhibition and the chance to do some colouring in an activity booklet.

lego model convicts

Time For Lego Yet?

While the children enjoyed a wander through the whole museum, the major drawcard at the museum is The Sydney Harbour Icons with Lego Bricks exhibition. Entry to the exhibition is for one hour only and you must attend at your booked session time.


The exhibition features four main models, the Harbour Bridge, The Opera House, Luna Park and the Pacific Aria Cruise Ship on raised tables around the room. There are also smaller models of fireworks, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, a tugboat and the tall ship HMB Endeavour dotting the space. The exhibition is small and intimate, freeing you from the crowded feel of some museums.

lego watching

Build Your Own Masterpieces

Despite these masterpieces the draw card of the exhibition is that the tables are also filled with thousands of Lego pieces and the option to design your own masterpiece to display. There are three large desks with enough stools for all the attendees to take a seat and begin creating. It was fun to watch everyone work away and see some real works of art emerge.


Mr 5 made some monsters, Miss 3 was just overjoyed to get her hands on some “little Lego” (which is normally kept out of reach) and was happy sticking pieces together at random. It wasn’t until we had been in the exhibition 20 minutes until they began to notice the large scale models around us.

make your own lego

Oooh’s & Ahhh’s for LEGO

The work that went into the exhibition pieces was amazing. There was a train that ran over the Harbour Bridge, the Ferris wheel at Luna Park spun around to collect passengers and the fireworks “exploded” overhead. But by far the most interesting models were the Opera House and the cruise ship which were actually sliced in half, built so you could see the inner workings of these fascinating structures.


The detail was incredible – there were cooking classes, swimmers, a prison in the brig, backstage engineers, a bride and groom, and restaurant diners. It was fascinating the see how all the various Lego pieces had been used for different purposes. There were also a few hidden surprises, a lady with a hoard of cats, David Hasselhoff and more for eagle eyes to find.

lego opera house

Firing Their Imaginations

The models got the kids’ imaginations fired as they tried to recreate some of their favourite scenes. They also really enjoyed finding a mini-fig to represent the passions of each member of our family. The more you looked at each piece the more there was to see.


lego pile

Packed Full of Fun

The exhibition was the perfect size for us, the kids could easily move around the space and I could keep an eye on them as they looked at the different displays, chatted with the other guests and tried their hands at building. The models are raised on display tables, but the children could easily climb on the stools to get a better view. Because the models are located over the Lego building benches there were times when it was difficult to get close enough to view the details on each model. Luckily people moved around during the session, allowing us to come back and see bits we had missed.


lego opera house

Even Little Ones Are Catered For

Mr 9 months was very happy watching the bigger kids build, then we discover the Duplo area at the back of the space. Here there is a trough filled with the larger Duplo branded LEGO (suitable for under 3’s) as well as a Lego wall to stick the bricks to. Mr 9 month’s enjoyed pulling out the blocks and throwing them all over the floor and then the bigger kids joined him, making shapes and letters on the Lego wall.


lego building

Make the Most of Your Session time

You are allotted 1 hour in the exhibition space and this was just the right amount of time. We were able to rotate through viewing, building and chatting several times without the children loosing focus and they all finished with a big grin on their face.


happy lego builder

Coming Home to Build More Lego

The trip home was filled with creativity as the children discussed what they were going to build next. The exhibition was well laid out, entertaining for the kids, but with enough detail that adults had a great experience as well. The Sydney Harbour Icons exhibition is recommended, especially if you have a Lego fan in the house.


happy lego builder 2

ellaslist’s Top Tips

1. Allow an addition hour, outside your Lego exhibit time, to tour the other areas of the museum.


2. Don’t miss the replica first fleet boats replicas on the first floor.
3. Ask for a MOS 4 Kids booklet at the ticket desk. This guides kids to find, count, colour and draw their way through the museum.
4. There is a great viewing room at the top of the museum to sit and watch the world go by.
5. Unsecured pram parking is available on the ground floor near the bathrooms but you are able to take your pram into all the exhibits.
6. In the Lego exhibit, don’t forget to look around the room at the models made by previous attendees. There were minions, Minecraft characters, Elmo and more made by talented hands.
7. Encourage the children to create something themselves and display it with other creations around the room. Don’t forget to give it a go yourself!
8. You can book your tickets to the Lego exhibition online. Make sure to arrive 5 minutes before your session time to make the most of your allotted hour.
9. The baby change / disabled toilet is a tight squeeze if you have a pram and several children to fit in.
10. All toilet facilities are located on the ground floor near the elevator. Encourage children to go before your enter the Lego exhibit on the second floor.
11. The moving Lego elements are on a timer, if the kids miss seeing one of them, just tell the staff, as they will happily turn them back on.




Sydney Harbour Icons with LEGO® Bricks Information
When: finishes 31 July 2016
Where: Museum of Sydney, Cnr Phillip and Bridge streets, Sydney
Cost: $15 adult, $15 child, $45 family (4 people), children 3 and under free

Book tickets HERE
For more information go to the website, book your ticket online here or phone 1300 448 849.

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Jan 16 2016

Hi there, We would like to win the free tickets as my son is one of the Legoes lovers and I think it would be the best present for him in this new year. Cheers Emma