Australian Museum in Sydney
The Australian Museum in Sydney is an absolutely fantastic outing for families.
We’ve been debating going to the Australian Museum for ages. I had read a lot about it but was cautious about venturing into the busy city and taking the kids to what is meant to be a quiet space.
But we went and it was awesome! I am so very glad that we went. Even dad came and enjoyed the outing which made it all the more special.
Where is the Australian Museum
The Australian Museum is located in Sydney’s City centre. Close to the Botanic Garden and across the road from St Mary’s Cathedral.
How to get to the Australian Museum
Driving into Sydney’s city centre is not always the easiest thing to do. Coming from the North and crossing Sydney harbour can be daunting for even the most seasoned driver. From the South or West there are a myriad different routes and highways that twist and turn over one another. Having said that driving into Sydney is always an exciting experience.
There is on-street parking around the Museum. There isn’t a lot of parking and it is metered parking.
The museum also has a relationship with the Hilton Hotel on Pitt Street. You can park at the Hilton for up to 3-hours for only $15.00 and beyond 3-hours at a great CBD flat-rate of just $20.00. Just make sure to get your parking ticket validated by the Museum Staff.
Australian Museum Features
It is the country’s first museum and is celebrating 190 years in 2017. The architecture of the building on its own is impressive – something your kids will no doubt notice 🙂 As expected some of the exhibit items are historical pieces in their own right.
The Australian Museum is set over three levels with the entrance being on the Ground Level.
The Ground Level
You enter on Ground floor and pay for your ticket there. Move around the corner and you will find the main temporary exhibition. Currently there is a Spider exhibition which of course we did not venture into.
After the Temporary Main Exhibition you will come across the lift and then the Museum shop. The Museum shop is packed with so many cool toys and interesting things that you may not want to take your kids in there.
There is a main hall where you can sit and eat or drink what you have brought from home. This is great because it provides for you to bring your own eats and you don’t have to pay to eat out there.
After the main hall you enter Wild World where there are hundreds of stuffed animals and skeletons. This isn’t as scary as it sounds. The kids were absolutely fascinated.
First Australian Galleries
Here you can wander through the diversity of Aboriginal culture. The displays are beautiful and there are so many interesting things to learn about the Aboriginals.
I love the sayings and quotes translated into English and spread across the walls.
The kids loved looking at all the fishing nets and contraptions used to catch fish. There are also little screens showing clips and beautiful images projected on the sails above the you.
The first floor is largely closed as at the time of our visit as a new gallery is opening in October 2017.
The children loved looking at all the crystals, gems and stones in the Albert Chapman collection.
I have been wanting to visit the Scott sisters’ exhibition for ages and was so glad that I finally got to see the work of these two amazing sisters. Their drawings are absolutely beautiful and given the time at which they entered the scientific world of entomology it is amazing what these two women were able to achieve.
The Scott Sisters, Harriet and Helena lived on Ash Island in the Hunter Valley River in the 1880s. Their father Walker Scott was an entomologist and entrepreneur and so the two girls started drawing and recording the fauna and flora they came across on the Island.
The two sisters drawings were soon collated and used in a scientific journal – first volume of AW (Walker) Scott’s Australian Lepidoptera and Their Transformations.
Following this the sisters’ drawings were used for other scientific publications.
This is the BEST floor for kids. The are three reasons for this – the dinosaurs, kidspace and search and discover.
Explore and Discover
This is the first place you should visit if you are visiting the museum with kids. I didn’t even know that this section of the museum existed until I walked past it on the way to the bathrooms. I am so glad we found it because this is the highlight of the museum from a family perspective.
In this section of the Museum the kids can:
- touch everything – all the displays
- climb under turtle shells
- look at bug, beetles and skins under a microscope
I have a son and a daughter and my daughter adores my son so loves everything he does. My son loves dinosaurs (at the moment) so his sister does too as such both my children LOVED this part of the museum.
Even if your kids aren’t that interested in dinosaurs it is still worth the visit as there are some interactive sections here that are fun to play with.
Kidspace is a small area where the kids can just relax and play. It doesn’t matter how young your kids are because there is even a separate little crawling space for pre-walkers.
This section is made up of 5 learning pods, two reading areas, a light table and a small open space where I assume the weekly kids activities are held.
If you are planning to visit the museum with your kids but you don’t have much time then make sure you aim for the second floor and spend your time there. Start with Explore and Discover then walk through to the Dinosaurs and then Kidspace.
In addition to the above, the second floor is also home to:
- Surviving Australia
- Birds and Insects which is closed until mid 2017
- Pacific Spirit
Australian Museum Facilities
There are staircases throughout the museum to take you to the different levels. From what I counted there are two lifts, one which is much bigger than the other and perfect for prams.
Each level of the Museum is flat, so coupled with the lifts, everything is accessible to people in wheelchairs.
At the very top – Level Four – there is a restaurant. We didn’t try it so I can’t attest to it but maybe we will be back and then will update the post.
Tickets and Admission
There are General Admission tickets and then tickets for the Main Temporary Exhibition which also includes General Admission.