New South Wales
On a rainy day, the playground just isn’t an option – nobody wants to sit on a soggy swing or slide down a wet slippery dip. After a day or two of doing stuff at home, cabin fever can start to set in. If you want to do something outside the house, we’ve come up with ten ideas of places to go and things to do on the North Shore. Go out and try something new today!
Indoor play centres are always a good option on a wet day, as the kids can run around and let off steam and coffee is always close for parents! On the North Shore, we have easy access to Wannabees in Hornsby & Frenchs Forest, Kids Connexion in Oxford Falls, Chipmunks at Macquarie Centre, Inflatable World and Moving Bodies at Mt Kuring-gai. There are also lots in Ryde, the Northern Beaches and Hills District too. We list all the local indoor play centres here.
Get wetter, and go swimming! There are lots of great aquatic centres that have indoor heated pools and lovely spots for children to splash about. On the North Shore, try the newly-opened Hornsby Aquatic & Leisure Centre, Ku-ring-gai Fitness and Aquatic Centre in West Pymble, Lane Cove Aquatic Centre, Willoughby Leisure Centre, North Sydney Pool or Mosman Swim Centre. Beyond the North Shore (but only a short drive) you could try Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre or Warringah Aquatic Centre in Frenchs Forest. Click here to see a list of nearby indoor pools.
Go bowling! From about the age of four, children can learn to do ten pin bowling (with the help of a ramp and side bumpers). During the week (off peak), games start at about $12 per person. Try Strike Chatswood (Mandarin Centre), Strike Macquarie Centre or AMF Hornsby. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours!
Dining with kids isn’t always easy, but when the establishment has a free indoor play area, it’s much more enjoyable! Magpies Waitara, The Belrose Hotel, Terrey Hills Tavern, Pennant Hills Hotel and North Ryde RSL all have indoor play areas for the kids. Plus, it’s a cheap option – you don’t need to pay an entry fee, just buy a coffee or some lunch. Click here for a list of all restaurants with play areas.
Macquarie Ice Rink is located at Macquarie Shopping Centre and is a really fun and active option for children over the age of about four. For pre-schoolers, they hold Kiddies Club on Monday and Friday mornings where you can have a lesson, skate and lunch for just $20. Casual entry starts at $20 per person. Ice skating is run in two-hour sessions, so check the relevant website to work out what session you want to attend. Pack socks (and gloves if little kids are just learning and falling over lots!). Click here to go to the Macquarie Ice Rink website.
Kick back in a dark cinema for a couple of hours. Children can probably sit through a whole kids movie by about the age of three, and the whole experience is usually very exciting for them. Local cinemas include Hoyts Cinema at Chatswood Westfield and Mandarin Centre, Event Cinemas at Hornsby and Macquarie Centre, Roseville Cinemas, Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne and Hornsby Odeon.
Pack your brolly to get from the car park or train station, but there are lots of kid-friendly destinations in the city. At Darling Harbour, Powerhouse Museum, Maritime Museum, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and Madame Tussauds are all perfect for children, and guaranteed to provide a good few hours of indoor fun. Other options in the city include a trip to Sydney Tower Eye (the tallest building in Sydney), Australian Museum or The Art Gallery of NSW. There is an entrance fee for all of these attractions (see website links for details). If you’re likely to go to Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Zoo, Tower Eye or Madame Tussauds more than a couple of times, it makes sense to buy a Merlin Annual Pass, which gives you unlimited access for 12 months!
There’s nothing quite like driving into a multi-storey car park, and walking straight into an indoor shopping centre without the need for an umbrella. Even better, if you choose a shopping centre with a little play area, it’s a win-win for the parent and the child. They can burn off a bit of energy, you can watch with a coffee (if you’re lucky)…. and you might have a chance of them sitting in the pram or trolley, or following you around when you need to shop. We list all the local shopping centres with play areas here.
If it’s during the week (and during school term), libraries hold free story, music and craft sessions for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Check the Library section of the NSM What’s On to see the schedule. During the school holidays, they often have free (or super cheap) activities scheduled. Either check your local council website for details, or the School Holidays section of this website.
Rug up, pack the gum boots, rain coat and umbrellas, and go for a walk! If it’s not raining too heavily, or it has paused momentarily, pop outside and smell the fresh, clean air. It’s not just Peppa Pig who likes jumping in muddy puddles.
What do you do to entertain your children on a wet day? Please share your ideas below!