Sydney sleepover: exploring Darling Harbour

Suite Life On Rhapsody (6)
December 2, 2010
Oceanworld Manly
December 22, 2010

There’s nothing like a short break to refresh sibling relationships – even if it’s just a trip into town – which is what Deborah Dickson-Smith did recently with an overnight stay at Sydney's Darling Harbour.

It’s easy to forget just how much your own city has to offer by way of family entertainment and we find quite quickly there's too much to fit into a single weekend. But we decide to give it a go.

We’re staying at the Medina Grand, a great choice not only for its location (directly behind Sydney Aquarium) but also because its one and two bedroom apartments are ideal for families. It’s also got a swimming pool and a small gym which I expect I’ll do my best to avoid the entire weekend.

After checking in we head straight for Sydney Aquarium, anxious to take in the new Shark HQ exhibit and its life-size animatronic great white, as well as our favourite residents here: dugongs Pig and Wuru.

Shark HQ is fantastic, full of interactive displays, videos and oodles of shark trivia. Here’s a great fact: Did you know that Australia’s most dangerous animal is not the shark or the funnel web spider, or even the king brown snake? It’s the horse. That’s right: there are more horse related fatalities each year than any other animal.

The shark is a much maligned creature and many species are in serious danger of extinction, so exhibits like this are a great educational vehicle for kids.

The shark is a much maligned creature and many species are in serious danger of extinction, so exhibits like this are a great educational vehicle for kids.

Our next stop is the Maritime Museum where I test my claustrophobia in the submarine and we marvel at the size of the bunks – you would need to be really tired to be able to sleep in these. Living conditions on the Endeavour replica are even scarier. My 12 year old son is doubled over trying to navigate the low ceilings. Were Captain Cook’s crew all midgets?

The next day we head for the Powerhouse Museum. Always great for its interactive displays, the Powerhouse just keeps gets better each time I visit. This time around I’m enthralled by the 80s exhibit, which includes table top games like Pac Man and Space Invaders – computer games I can actually play. The kids also enjoy the giant Rubik’s Cube and marvel at the giant plastic CDs and enormous Nintendo consoles.

All of these attractions are within walking distance of our hotel and it’s great fun to leave the car behind and walk everywhere for the weekend. In two days we’ve really only scratched the surface of Sydney’s family attractions and yet the kids feel like they’ve been on a holiday.

 
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