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11 Epic Activities For School Holidays With A Difference

While for kids the school holidays never seem long enough, for parents it can feel like they’re stretching on forever. After all, there are only so many ways you can entice them away from the Xbox and into the outside world! So we thought we’d help. Here are just some of the great fun and educational activities for you and the kids to enjoy at Darling Harbour – because after all, time flies when you’re having fun.

LEGO and learn

Generations of kids have grown up with LEGO, and now it’s LEGO’s turn to grow! At the ICC Exhibition Centre until 4 February, you can check out the tallest LEGO model in the world at the Brickman Awesome exhibition. Taking more than 500 hours to create, this NASA SLS rocket model stands at a whopping 7.5m tall and is built from more than 450,000 bricks! The exhibition will be made up of 38 never-seen-before LEGO models, totalling more than 1.5 million bricks and clocking up more than 4,500 hours of build-time.

Get on the water

Our famous pedal boats are back on Cockle Bay! Hop (well, float) onto the water and take in the harbour breeze while you see the city from a whole new angle. Book your very own boat for 30 minutes and pedal around to your heart’s (and calves’) content.

Friendship in the garden

Pop over to the Chinese Garden of Friendship for a fun drop-in workshop, the Great Wall of Friendship, where kids can learn about the significance of China’s Great Wall and why this iconic Sydney garden got its name. Kids aged between 5 and 12 can decorate their own cardboard ‘brick’ to add to the large, colourful and collaborative wall, encouraging friendship between cultures.

A brr-illiant exhibition

Take an interactive journey to this fascinating and changing Arctic at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Arctic Voices exhibition. Kids can pounce, hop, push and crawl their way through the Arctic, and come face to face with giant polar bears. Learn all about the people who call the Arctic their home, how scientists as they catch and tag Arctic whales, how plants survive and thrive in this harsh environment, and try some Inuit throat singing too!

Get Wiggling on Australia Day

In an Australia Day first, The Wiggles will take to the stage at Tumbalong Park both morning and afternoon, supported by kids’ entertainment group Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band. There’ll also be plenty of laughs and kooky fun for the whole family, with ‘True Blue Bush Games’ on the Darling Quarter Village Green, such as a thong-throwing challenge, watermelon-eating competition and a classic Aussie ‘wife-carrying race’!

Stretch it out

Led by Danielle Connor – a nanny, actress and qualified yoga instructor who specialises in children’s yoga, Free Kids’ Yoga takes place every Friday (excluding Australia Day). Mats will be supplied and there’s no need to wear any fancy gear – all you need is yourself and the kids. Namaste!

A silver screen and summer skies

Running until 21 January, the Little Darlings Night Owls Kids’ Film Fest returns with 17 days packed with free outdoor films and family friendly fun! There’s something for everyone, with ’90s classics like Home Alone, and modern-day favourites including Moana, Despicable Me 3, The Lego Batman Movie and Beauty and the Beast. Singing sensation Lah-Lah has curated a line up of kids’ entertainment every night, from 6pm to 6.30pm (including a performance from the superstar herself!) and a superb program of short kids’ films from Little Big Shots will screen at 6.30pm each night. There are films for big kids too on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8.30pm!

How great, inflate!

Giant, 5m tall inflatables will float on the harbour each day between 11am and 7pm, giving you perfect backdrops for that family selfie, or just to enjoy some sightseeing of a different kind. We’ve got a pretty pineapple, a fantastic flamingo, and a super-cool sundae, all chilling on the water for you to enjoy.

Up, up, and away

The Star of the Show Ferris Wheel is back again! Go up, up, up into the sky and find yourselves eye-level to the tall city buildings. Looking down over the glimmering water is truly a sight to behold, and who doesn’t love seeing the city like the birds do?

Get wild

Go outside of the city without even leaving it, at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo. Kids can see exotic animals and marine life, and learn all about their native habitats and conservation.

Press play

The Darling Harbour Children’s Playground at Darling Quarter is completely free and infinitely fun, with water games, climbing ropes, swings, slides, and a flying fox (a 21m long flying fox, to be exact!) to keep the kids entertained for hours. And there’s no need to leave for lunch, with the Danieli Kiosk located on the edge of the park serving up healthy, delicious food for the whole family, plus coffees for mums and dads.

Eat, drink, and be very very merry

Young kids, big kids and mums and dads all need a tasty refuel, and we have top-notch options galore! Fill bellies big and small with a tasty lunch from Betty’s Burgers, or dip into the kids menu for some authentic Italian at Criniti’s. Meat District Co. has plenty of bite-sized burgers for smaller mouths, and throughout January you can feel extra good as $1 from the sale of each dessert goes to the Starlight Children’s Foundation for their Dish Up A Wish initiative.

Experience creative Japanese fusion at Umi Sushi + Udon, with a fun sushi train bringing treats right to you. Relax by the water at Nick’s Bar & Grill, where everything from the kids’ menu is served with a choice of soft drink, a dessert of chocolate mousse or vanilla ice cream with either chocolate or strawberry topping, and a free activity pack as well! Rashays’ junior menus has all mains under $15, and their fun junior desserts (think Smarties sprinkles and marshmallows) are all under $9.

If it’s delightful desserts you’re after, we have the smorgasbord. Grab an ice cream of almost countless flavours from Andersen’s of Denmark, Baskin Robbins & Cookieman, or get it served atop a stack at Pancakes on the Rocks. There’s gelato for all at Bar Gelato, Gelatissimo and Meno Diciotto, where every one of their original gelatos is perfectly chilled at 18 degrees below zero. Or if you’re looking for a healthier dessert option, head to Parisi for fresh fruit salads, frozen yoghurts, chocolate-dipped fruit desserts, fresh juices and smoothies.

So get the kids out the door and on the way to Darling Harbour for some epic school holiday excitement that’s sure to make the hols fun for you as well!

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