It's a bit sad that we've been to many of Sydneys' tourist traps and not been to the one virtually in our backyard! My Mum was in town and staying a short walk from Oceanworld, which I thought was a brilliant opportunity for a day activity. We've not been to the Sydney Aquarium as a family - I've been pre-kids when it first opened, and we've been to Sydney Wildlife World (next door) so I suppose that's next on the list.
OK, so Oceanworld. When I went as a child (which admittedly was at least quarter of a century ago) I have fond memories of the fairy penguin show, the seals. I just want to warn you - there is none of that anymore. If you want to see Fairy Penguins and Seals (and the cutest otters for that matter!) you'll need to go to Taronga Zoo.
But what Oceanworld does have is sharks, and stingrays, and plenty of them. The bottom level is the 'tunnel tour' and you walk through the tank and see many types of fish, port-jackson and grey-nurse sharks. The Stingrays are ENORMOUS. They were breathtaking. Everything is accessible to smaller kids.
On the mid-level there is smaller type fishes - seahorses, 'Nemo's' and 'Dories' and the Touchpool. This is where kids can touch the fish and things. There were shark eggs (those twisty seaworld looking things) and some other smaller sea-life and fish. The kids loved this bit.
The upper level is now about wildlife - goannas, tortoises and lizards. You can look down into their pits and see some baby ones too. They have shows a couple of times a day where you can get your pic taken for $10.
We did see some kids having parties there and the party prices were pretty reasonable at around $18-22 per child for party food and personalised tour. They also have sleepover options.
It only takes about an hour to get through the whole place, though you could stretch it out further if you did the free tours.
It's in close proximity to Manly Wharf (5 minutes slow walk) so I would recommend a ferry ride, a picnic at the esplanade, maybe a little wade and then icecream afterwards.
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