SYDNEY CITY: TOP 10 Rainy Day Places to Go with Kids

Rainy, chilly or even too hot to be outside? Being stuck indoors can make for a LONG day with young kids. Here’s our TOP TEN picks for Sydney City.

#1: The PowerHouse Museum (Ultimo) The Powerhouse Museum is one of our all time favourite low cost activities for kids in Sydney. It’s Sydney’s most popular museum with a unique and diverse collection of objects that spans history, science, technology and design. It gives kids a brilliant hands on, interactive experience and it is such fun that they won’t even know it’s educational! With so much to see as well as excellent daily activities for kids on offer, it is definitely worth more than an annual visit. It is the perfect rainy day destination and best of all, the Museum is suitable for mums and bubs, toddlers right through to young adults.  

#2 The Australian Museum (Sydney City) A visit to The Australian Museum is a wonderful family day out for any age, this large museum houses everything from dinosaurs to insects and everything in between so you’ll find plenty here to keep kids of all ages busy for hours and hours. We love this place and can’t recommend it highly enough. There is so much to see and do that repeat visits only uncover more interesting displays. and great special exhibitions. Perfect for rainy days and hot summer days. We especially love Kidspace, brilliant for 0-5’s.

#3 SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium (Darling Harbour). Suitable for all ages even young bubs. There’s so much to see and do here, you’ll easily spend 3 hours here. You’ll find the world’s largest collection of all-Aussie aquatic animals, including sharks, penguins, giant rays, tropical fish, turtles, dugongs, crocodiles, platypus, sea dragons and more. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is also excellent for mums and bubs, all areas are easily accessed with a pram and even the tiniest baby enjoys gazing at the creatures behind the glass. Toddlers have plenty of room to run and explore (especially on weekdays) and pre-schoolers and up love trying to find Nemo and discovering other fish and sea creatures they recognise.

#4 National Maritime Museum (Pyrmont, Sydney). This Museum is not just for maritime history buffs, it is truly dedicated to introducing children to our national sea-faring history in a fun and engaging way. This museum captures these themes with fascinating artefacts, lively exhibitions, fun activities for kids and even the chance to board ships. They also offer fantastic organised activities for toddlers, pre-schoolers and older school children. During school term, every Sunday is Family Fun Day for kids aged 5-12. Excellent activities for 2-5’s on Tuesdays and a must do for any kid who loves a boat. 

#5 WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo (Darling Harbour) Sydney Wildlife World houses the nation’s largest variety of Australian animals under one roof and provides a complete all-Australian wildlife activity experience for kids in the heart of Darling Harbour. This is one of our favourite rainy day activities and it is very easy to spend a couple of very pleasant hours here and and there’s plenty of room for active kids to race around.

#6 Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney City) The Barracks is a child friendly destination that really strives to involve even young children in both their permanent and temporary exhibitions. Whether your visit includes catching a children’s theatre performance in the old convicts quarters, dress ups and a kids’ convict trail or wonderful school holiday ideas, there is plenty on offer for your pre-schoolers and school age kids. Even very young children will love the idea that they are walking through a building that once housed convicts and pirates when they visit the Hyde Park Barracks. Kids (and grown ups) can lie in a convict’s hammock, try on leg irons and look for distant relatives. This is a great place to spend and hour or so on a rainy day and the excellent and very child friendly Hyde Park Barracks café is also well worth a visit. Best for ages 5 years +.

#7 Go Swim: There’s nothing better in rainy weather than to get wetter.  Cook and Philip Aquatic Centre (Sydney City East) Shallow kids pool with water bubblers, and 33 degree hydrotherapy pool available for use (when no classes are on) – perfect for little babies. The Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre (Ultimo) Separate kids pool with lots of crocodile floaties for the kids to play on. This pool is always nice and warm and right next door to the Powerhouse Museum.

#8 Art Gallery NSW (Domain, Sydney City). A visit to the NSW Art Gallery in Sydney’s Domain is a wonderful activity for kids of all ages. Indoors, spacious, great for prams and strollers and safe for toddlers it’s a great option for rainy or chilly days. Art Gallery NSW hosts an extensive range of free activities for children from tots to teenagers, including free performances every Sunday at 2.30pm and in the school holidays. You’ll find specially created children’s trails and a kids audio tour to help young visitors engage with the art in the exhibitions. Plus a lovely spacious cafe, perfect for lunch with friends. Best of all, it’s FREE.

See also Museum of Contemporary Art (The Rocks, Sydney City) Great for mums and bubs, and 3 years+.

#9: Movies & Bowling. Always a favourite family rainy day activity. Visit Event Cinema’s or Hoyts to see what’s on. Hoyts also run Hoyts Junior’ weekend morning movies for preschoolers at participating Cinema’s. You’ll find IMAX cinemas Darling HarbourFor bowling try Strike Bowling also at Darling Harbour and The Entertainment Quarter. 

#10 Indoor Play Centres: See our top picks of Sydney’s Indoor Play Centres.