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5 Best with Kids Under 5
The best places to visit, dine and play with young children
Contributed by Danni Guerreiro
Sydney really is one big playground if you’re under 5. A great many of Sydney’s permanent attractions have events and programs especially for kids under five all year round.
From the Babies Proms at the iconic Opera House, joining in with the Dandy Lions – a free playgroup for toddlers in the Royal Botanic Gardens, to playing Chinese inspired dress ups in the Chinese Gardens beside Darling Harbour, there’s so much to see and do if you’re one of the younger visitors.
As a mother of one and the owner of a baby equipment hire service, its in both my personal and business interests to know Sydney very well. Here are my top 5 recommendations for little ones in Sydney:
Australia has quite a diverse and unique range of wildlife, and what better way to get to know them than to visit them in person? Visitors to Featherdale can hand feed a wallaby, kangaroo or an emu or enjoy a face-to-face encounter with a friendly little koala bear. Featherdale Wildlife Park boasts one of the largest collections of native Australian animals in a natural bush setting. Facilities within the park include a café, souvenir shop and shaded areas for picnics with BBQ's. The park is easy to navigate with a pram being level throughout and also has baby changing facilities.
Sydney Harbour is on the must-see list when you’re visiting, and there are many safe harbour beaches and pools to take toddlers for a paddle in. Balmoral Beach which is just north of the harbour has a safety netted enclosure, plenty of shady areas and lots of natural parkland. Boasting numerous local cafes and one of Sydney’s best restaurants (if you’re feeling indulgent its called Bathers Pavillion) Balmoral is a great. Note - The best toilets, showers and change rooms are found at the rear of the Bathers' Pavilion.
The Australian Museum
The Australian Museum was established in 1827 and is Australia's oldest (and first) museum. The Museum has an extensive and very unique range of permanent collections relating to the cultural history including many important artifacts and exhibits in relation to natural science.
The Museum is perfectly placed opposite Hyde Park and the main shopping precinct of Sydney. Within the Museum, Kidspace is a mini-museum designed specifically with under 5s in mind to allow them to explore the natural world. Kidspace has 5 separate “pods” for exploration: bug pod, marine pod, volcano pod, observation pod and imagination pod.
The children can touch real animal skins, rocks and animal specimens, genuine fossils including embedded insects. There is a range of wall puzzles to solve and the pods are roomy enough for mum and dad to join in the fun too. Open 9:30 to 5 p.m. daily.
Flying Fox Café, Mona Vale
The Flying Fox Cafe is nestled in one of Sydney’s sparkling foreshore parks, Winnererremy Bay Park. With serene water views, you can enjoy your meal while the kids choose from the Cubs Club Menu, with choices like fish and chips, chicken strips, and Foxy Fried Rice. The café makes sure no one gets bored waiting for their meal to arrive by providing toys and blackboards to entertain the children. Right beside the cafe is an enclosed playground, so the adults can complete their meal while the kids run theirs off. The playground has some awesome features for toddlers, including a flying fox, and a spider’s web.
Family Funday Sunday
For a flat charge of just AUD $2.50 per person, your family can have all day use of Sydney’s train, bus and ferry network. The tickets cover all-day travel on a Sunday around metropolitan and outer metropolitan Sydney, and including Newcastle, the Southern Highlands, the Blue Mountains and the coastal region of Wollongong.
Some suggestions for a Family Funday Sunday trip while visiting Sydney with young kids would be:
Plan A: Catching the train to Circular Quay and then a ferry out to Cockatoo Island in the middle of Sydney Harbour for a picnic and play on the Island,
Plan B: Taking the L90 bus from Town Hall out for a free tour of the Barrenjoey Lighthouse, or
Plan C: Catching the train to Loftus and then visiting the Sydney Tramway Museum and taking the free Tram through the Royal National Park.
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