First published on 19 May 2011. Updated on 14 Aug 2012.
Kids of all ages and interests can tour the town with the countless art galleries and museums that host events and exhibitions geared in their direction. From hands-on playrooms for energetic performances to exciting classes for honing new skills, Sydney's institutions are stacked with free and inexpensive activities.
City kids can visit Rouse Hill House & Farm Museum and get a taste of life on a farm. Children will collect eggs, feed the animals and pump water among other traditional farming jobs, and take home a free tin bucket and their own handpicked egg. Ages 3+. Sat & Sun 11am–1pm. $8.
The Powerhouse Museum combines healthy eating and healthy activity in the Magic Garden interactive playroom. Kids will play in a pumpkin patch, swim with the fish in a digital pond, or chase butterflies at the garden gate. Ages 2–8. Mon–Sun 10am–5pm. Free with museum entry.
While you're there, don't miss the Wiggles Exhibition! The Powerhouse's tribute to our musical awesome foursome includes interactive games, life-size models and plenty of wiggly history.
Every Sunday afternoon the Art Gallery of NSW hosts a free Gallery Kids performance relating to an aspect of the collection. The Didgeridoo Dance with Mathew Doyle exposes the little ones to Aboriginal music while When Camels Could Fly sees Bronwyn Vaughan recount travellers' tales from the Silk Road through theatrical storytelling. All ages. Sun & public holidays 2.30pm–3pm. Free.
If it's entertainment for the whole family you're looking for, head to the MCA for Sunday Family Funday. Hands-on art activities, family-friendly guided tours, storytelling, and competitions are all part of the day of creative fun. Ages 5–12. Last Sun of every month 10.30am–12 noon. $15.
Roving hands don't fly at most museums, but at the Australian Museum they're actually encouraged. Touch Tables let kids literally get a feel for what they are learning about, whether it be platypuses or bones. All ages. Daily, 9.30am–5pm. Free with museum entry.
Over at the Maritime Museum, the vessels on display include the submarine HMAS Onslow, the big gun destroyer HMAS Vampire and, when they're in port, the 1874 tall ship James Craig and the magnificent replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour. And there's some great indoor exhibitions too! Daily 9.30am-5pm. $25.