The Best Museums In Sydney, Australia

Sydney is renowned for it’s natural beauty, but it’s also full of history and culture. We love to spend our weekends learning about art, anthropology and archaeology, particularly when the weather is not so favourable outside. Check out the best museums in Sydney below.

The Best Museums In Sydney

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

Wander through galleries of exciting modern art from leading Australian and international artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). Grab a coffee at the rooftop cafe and sculpture terrace and enjoy the stunning harbour view.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

The MCA runs lots of free and small donation activities for kids throughout the year too, from their monthly Sunday Family Fun Days to a drop in activity room and school holiday crafts.

MCA
The Rocks

General Admission is free
australianmuseum.net.au

Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM)

Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is Australia’s national centre for maritime collections, exhibitions, research and archaeology. Grab a free ticket from the front desk for admission into the permanent indoor galleries and under 5s play area “Mini Mariners”.

Australian National Maritime Museum

For entry into our fave spot, the “Kids on Deck” craft area, visiting exhibitions and the ships, a paid ticket is required. The ANMM runs lots of programs for kids  all year round including live shows, “Mini Mariners” for kids aged 2-5 and the cabinet of curiosity that contains all kinds of wonders for kids to touch, like the tooth of a blue whale. Check their calendar for upcoming events and look out for when Bailey, the museum dog, is scheduled to make an appearance.

Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray St, Sydney
anmm.gov.au

Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW)

Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia

Stroll through five levels of masterpieces including an extensive collection of Aboriginal art, European masters, Asian art and visiting exhibitions. The general galleries at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) are all free to enter.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

Children can use online booklets to explore artworks or download free audio tours that have been created just for kids. The AGNSW frequently runs free activities for kids on Sundays and school holidays.

Get info on visiting the AGNSW with kids here.

Art Gallery of NSW
The Domain
General Admission is free
artgallery.nsw.gov.au

Australian Museum

Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia
The oldest museum in Australia, The Australian Museum has excellent exhibitions focusing on natural history and anthropology.

When it opened in 1897, The Australian Museum became the first museum in Australia, with an international reputation in the fields of natural history and anthropology. The museum’s dinosaur exhibition, containing 10 complete dinosaur skeletons and eight life-sized models is very popular with kids.

The Australian Museum also runs family-focussed programs year round for kids aged 9 months and up. School aged kids always have a large range of science-based activities to choose from during the school holidays – last holidays we painted fossils and cracked geodes with a hammer, as well as meeting the museum’s giant puppet dinosaur, Bruno.

Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

The dedicated Kidspace area is a hit with littles aged five and under (as well as the slightly bigger kids who still like to sneak in!). Adults will enjoy the museum too, which makes it a must-see on the list of places to visit in Sydney for kids. Check our the museum’s calendar for upcoming events. Keep the museum top of mind for things to do in school holidays in Sydney as they always run excellent science-focussed programs.

Australian Museum
1 William St, Sydney

Admission required a fee
australianmuseum.net.au

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS)

Powerhouse Museum Sydney

The MAAS is Australia’s contemporary museum for excellence and innovation in applied arts and sciences. Their venues include Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and Discovery Centre.

Powerhouse Museum

Powerhouse Museum Sydney

An interactive art and science museum located in Ultimo.

The museum’s collection encompasses science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture.

Locomotive No. 1, the first steam locomotive to haul a passenger train in New South Wales, is a popular drawcard just inside the museum’s entrance, as is the ever-popular interactive Wiggles Exhibition. More on the Wiggles exhibition here.

#Wiggles #Exhibition at the #PowerhouseMuseum #Sydney #australia via brunchwithmybaby.com

Throughout the year the Powerhouse Museum hosts temporary exhibitions plus a wide range of kid-focussed activities and workshops with a strong focus on science and coding, particularly during the school holidays. The focus on science and technology in a very family-friendly environment makes the Powerhouse Museum a top choice for things to do with kids in Sydney. Check out their calendar for upcoming events.

Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris St, Ultimo
maas.museum/powerhouse-museum

Sydney Observatory

Sydney Observatory, Australia

Located in The Rocks, the hill is is a gorgeous spot for a picnic with a view, as well as being home to the Sydney Observatory, a heritage-listed museum and public observatory. The Sydney Observatory runs and family tours and activities throughout the year which are perfect for mini star gazers.

Sydney Observatory
1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point
maas.museum/sydney-observatory

Image credit: Destination NSW

Museums Discovery Centre (MDC)

Inside the Museums Discovery Centre you’ll find millions of treasures and the opportunity to learn about museum collecting, conservation and research practices.

Museums Discovery Centre
172 Showground Rd, Castle Hill
maas.museum/museums-discovery-centre

Museum of Sydney

Museum of Sydney, Australia

Located on the site of the first Government House of NSW, the Museum of Sydney tells the story of Sydney’s history and its people.

Museum of Sydney, Australia

The Museum of Sydney offers family-friendly exhibitions and programs year-round (check what’s on here) and kids eat free with each adult meal purchased at the downstairs restaurant, The Governors Kitchen.

Image credit: Edge of Trees Photograph (c) Brett Boardman

Museum of Sydney
Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/museum-of-sydney

NSW Rail Museum

NSW Rail Museum Australia
Bring your locomotive-loving kids to get up close to trains at the NSW Rail Museum in the historic town of Thirlmere. Since 1975 this little town has been home to a large collection of NSW’s railway heritage, including over 100 vehicles that move on a railway including locomotives, railroad cars and more.

Get info on visiting the NSW Rail Museum here.

NSW Rail Museum
10 Barbour Rd, Thirlmere
https://www.nswrailmuseum.com.au/

Sydney Bus Museum

The 100-year-old Leichhardt Tramshed is home to a vast collection of historic buses, open to the public every first and third Sunday of the month. Jump aboard a vintage double-decker bus over the ANZAC Bridge to the Queen Victoria Building in the CBD and back again.

Sydney Bus Museum
25 Derbyshire Rd, Leichhardt
sydneybusmuseum.info

Museum of Fire

The Museum of Fire, Penrith

Enjoy exhibits focusing on fire safety and firefighting and explore historic fire trucks at the Museum of Fire in Penrith.

Junior firefighters will enjoy puzzles, dress-ups, fire safety activities and computer games.

Museum of Fire
1 Museum Dr, Penrith
museumoffire.com.au

Image credit: Destination NSW Adam Hollingsworth

Sydney Jewish Museum

The Sydney Jewish Museum is dedicated to the documentation of the Holocaust and the history of the Jewish people in Australia.

Sydney Jewish Museum
148 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst 
sydneyjewishmuseum.com.au

Justice and Police Museum

Justice & Police Museum, Sydney Australia

Housed inside the sandstone buildings that contained the original Water Police Court (1856), Water Police Station (1858) and the Police Court (1885), the Justice and Police Museum features 1890s holding cells, offices, charge room and courts, forensic evidence, historic weapons and forensic photography.

The Justice and Police Museum runs family-friendly programs throughout the year for kids to learn about the law, hear true life tales and take park in mock trials. Get info on events here.

Justice and Police Museum
Phillip St & Albert St, Sydney
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/justice-police-museum

Image credit: Police Station Charge Room, Justice & Police Museum

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Australia

This UNESCO world heritage site was built in 1819 at the top of Macquarie Street to house convict men and boys. Among with 10 other sites in Australia, Hyde Park Barracks represents “the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts”. Tens of thousands of people passed through the barracks, during the world’s largest and longest-running transportation of convicts.

Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Australia

The Hyde Park Barracks runs family-friendly programs year-round to engage children in its history such as their “Convict Escapades” event, where kids can experience life as a convict. Get info on upcoming events here.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Queens Square, Macquarie Street
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/hyde-park-barracks-museum

Image credit: Hyde Park Barracks

Casula Powerhouse


Casula Powerhouse, Sydney Australia
Located in South West Sydney, the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre is a place to experience the arts including performances and exhibitions. As well as featuring six galleries with rotating exhibitions, the Powerhouse also has a pair of three-story decommissioned tanks that are open to the public as legal graffiti spaces.

Casula Powerhouse, Sydney Australia

The Casula Powerhouse runs family-friendly art programs throughout the year. Check out their upcoming events and workshops here.

Casula Powerhouse
1 Powerhouse Road, Casula
casulapowerhouse.com

Image credit: Casula Powerhouse

The Rocks Discovery Museum

The Rocks Discovery Museum, Sydney Australia
Rocks Discovery Museum, a free museum located inside a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse with an interactive kids corner upstairs, or grab one of the best scones in Sydney at The Tea Cosy (their kids’ Devonshire tea is adorable and delicious).

The Rocks Discovery Museum
Kendall Ln, The Rocks
therocks.com/things-to-do/the-rocks-discovery-museum

White Rabbit Collection

White Rabbit Gallery, Chippendale Sydney, Australia

Stroll through four floors of one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art. There is also a tranquil street-level Tea House to enjoy.

White Rabbit
30 Balfour Street, Chippendale
whiterabbitcollection.org

Image credit: Destination NSW

Elizabeth Farm

Elizabeth Farm, Sydney, Australia

Built in 1973 for John and Elizabeth Macarthur, Elizabeth Farm is one of the oldest homes in Australia. Inside the house you’ll find reproductions of furnishings and objects that belonged to the home’s original owners. Wander the recreated 1930s garden or enjoy a Devonshire tea at the tea room. The scones are some of the best we have ever tasted.

Elizabeth Farm, Sydney, Australia

Elizabeth Farm runs year-round family tours and programs to engage kids in the history of the property and introduce them to what life was like during the early 19th century. Kids will get a kick out of trying to do the laundry in a tub, throwing quoits or doing some craft. Get info on upcoming events and programs here.

Elizabeth Farm
70 Alice St, Rosehill 
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/elizabeth-farm

Vaucluse House


Vaucluse House was built in 1803 and was once owned by William Charles Wentworth, father of the Australian Constitution. It’s one of Sydney’s few remaining 19th-century mansions that is still surrounded by its ten hectares of original gardens and grounds.

Take a tour through the house for a glimpse of what life was life for the families who once lived there, stroll around the beautiful gardens and enjoy a high tea at the tea rooms.

Vaucluse House runs year-round family-friendly programs to immerse kids in colonial life. Get info on events here.

Get more info on high tea at Vaucluse House here.

Vaucluse House
69A Wentworth Rd, Vaucluse
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/vaucluse-house

Museums Outside of Sydney

Early Start Discovery Space (Wollongong)

The Early Start Discovery Space via christineknight.me
This is one just for the kids! The Early Start Learning Space is Sydney’s only dedicated children’s museum, so well worth the drive to Wollongong to visit.

Inside the museum, kids can let their imaginations run wild with interactive and engaging playful exhibits. Everything is designed to be touched!

The Early Start Discovery Space via christineknight.me

Kids will particularly enjoy crawling through a giant stomach, constructing a house, acting on stage and captaining a ship among many other things.

Get more info on visiting the Early Start Discovery Space here.

Early Start Discovery Space
UOW Building 21 Early Start Facility
Keiraville, Wollongong
earlystartdiscoveryspace.edu.au

Space Science (Wollongong)

Science Space Wollongong

Science Space is the only dedicated science experience in NSW and is home to DIGISTAR 6, Australia’s most digitally advanced Planetarium. 

Science Space Wollongong

The museum focuses on educating and inspiring through hands-on learning with over 100 interactive exhibits, science shows and workshops.

Space Science
Innovation Campus, 60 Squires Way, North Wollongong
sciencespace.com.au

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum (Blue Mountains)

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

I’ve been visiting Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge for over 15 years and it always enchants. Norman Lindsey (1879-1969) was an Australian artist, cartoonist, and writer. His former home and studio have been turned into a gallery and museum run by the National Trust, showcasing his work and life.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum, Australia

We love to wander around the landscaped gardens and admire his sculptures, or wander through the gallery to see his beautiful paintings and etchings. Norman Lindsey is also the creator of the Magic Pudding. Visiting the gallery is a great introduction for kids to this Aussie masterpiece.

Get more info on visiting the Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum here.

Norman Lindsey Gallery and Museum
14 Norman Lindsay Cres, Faulconbridge
normanlindsay.com.au

Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame (Southern Highlands, Bowral)

The Bradman Museum, Bowral

Take a trip back to the glory days of cricket with a visit to the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame in the country town of Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.

The museum features state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and a large collection of cricket memorabilia. Adjacent to the park where the Bradman Museum is housed you’ll find a cricket-themed children’s playground.

Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame
St Jude Street, Bowral
bradman.com.au

Image courtesy of DNSW.

Gosford Classic Car Museum

Gosford Classic Car Museum, Australia

With a collection of over 450 cars and motorcycles, the Gosford Classic Car Museums is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the 5 largest car museums in the world. This privately owned museum is housed in an old Bunnings hardware site, with the vehicles covering an area of more than 11,000 square metres.

Gosford Classic Car Museum, Australia

Be careful not to scratch these classics – the total value of the cars and motorbikes on display is estimated at over $70 million. Stroll past 35 shiny Ferraris, 25 Communist cars and the full range of Holden’s from 1948-1978 on this car-lovers day out.

Get more info on visiting the Gosford Classic Car Museum here.

Images courtesy of havewheelchairwilltravel.net.

Gosford Classic Car Museum
3-13 Stockyard Pl, West Gosford
gosfordclassiccarmuseum.com.au

The Best Museums In Sydney Australia

More things to do in Sydney

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Find the best beaches to visit in Sydney here.

Get a list of free things to do in Sydney here.

Find the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney here.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!