Wondering what to do with the kids on these scorching hot days in Sydney? Whilst the beach, pool and water play parks are fun wet options, you could also try ice skating, the movies, a museum or ten-pin bowling for some indoor air-conditioned relief. If you’re looking for some ideas of how to keep cool (and get out of the house), we’ve come up with plenty of ideas to keep you entertained.
1. Go swimming at an Aquatic Centre
We have so many fabulous aquatic centres scattered around the North Shore and nearby areas, you really are spoilt for choice. They all have indoor and well as outdoor pools, so you can avoid the UV rays with some indoor splash action. On the North Shore, try:
- Hornsby Aquatic & Leisure Centre, Hornsby
- Ku-ring-gai Fitness and Aquatic Centre, West Pymble
- Lane Cove Aquatic Centre
- Willoughby Leisure Centre
- North Sydney Pool
Beyond the North Shore (but only a short drive) you could try Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, Manly Boy Charlton Pool or Warringah Aquatic Centre in Frenchs Forest.
2. Have some water fun at a Water Play Park
Water play parks are a great option if you want to be out in nature but don’t want to deal with sand or getting soaked. There are lots scattered around Sydney, including
- Putney Park
- Blaxland Riverside Park
- Darling Harbour Playground
- Pirrama Playground, Pyrmont
- Lizard Log, Abbotsbury
- Steel Park, Marrickville South
- James Ruse Reserve Water Playground, Parramatta
3. Go to the beach
If you fancy a trip to the beach, either go first thing in the morning or late afternoon, when the UV rays are at their lowest. The sand gets burning hot for feet on hot days, so really isn’t a fabulous option for the middle of the day. And of course, slather everyone in sunscreen and stay in the shade where possible! Some beaches on the northern beaches have Rockpools (like Queenscliff, Dee Why, Freshwater, Collaroy, North Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Newport, Bilgola, Avalon, Whale Beach, Palm Beach).
4. Go to the movies
The movies are an awesome option on a super hot day, as the air conditioning is pumping and you can sit in a dark, cool theatre for a good two hours. 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.
5. Seek refuge at an air-conditioned indoor play centre
Not all indoor play centres are air conditioned, so choose wisely! The ones that are air conditioned are usually really busy on a scorching day, but at least they’re a good option for kids who love to play and you want to stay cool.
Our favourite air-conditioned play centres on the North Shore:
- Planet Mino, Chatswood
- Chipmunks, Macquarie Centre
- Wannabees, Hornsby
- Moving Bodies, Mt Kuring-gai
6. Go for coffee, brunch or lunch (where the kids can play too!)
Most restaurants have air conditioning, and these ones have free indoor play areas too! 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.
7. Indoor, air-conditioned Museums, Art Galleries & Attractions
There are lots of indoor, air-conditions attractions in the city that provide a cool escape for a few hours. 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.
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!
8. Go bowling
You’ll be delighted at the cool air conditioning happening at your local bowling alley. From about the age of four, children can learn to do ten pin bowling (with the help of a ramp and side bumpers). Once you’ve finished your game, stay for some lunch or a coffee. During the week (off peak), games start at about $12 per person. Local options:
- Strike, Mandarin Centre, Chatswood
- Strike Macquarie Centre
9. Hit the local ice rink!
When it’s 40 degrees outside, why not go somewhere icy cold… like a local ice rink? Macquarie Ice Rink is our nearest option on the North Shore, and is a great way to spend a couple of hours. Don’t be fooled by the heat outside, you still might want to pack some gloves for the kids (in case they fall over lots!) and a long-sleeved top (with perhaps a singlet underneath). And don’t forget socks too! Check the website for session times.
10. Hang out in an indoor Shopping Centre
Everyone often has the same idea, so parking can raise the blood pressure, but once inside an indoor shopping centre, you’ll want to stay all day! 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.
11. Enjoy some waterside dining
It’s often a few degrees cooler by the coast, and there’s nothing more refreshing than a sea breeze to cool you down. There are loads of child-friendly cafes by the water. Some of our particular favourites include:
- Bathers’ Pavilion Cafe, Balmoral
- Flying Fox Cafe, Mona Vale
- Plonk Beach Cafe, Mosman
- Echo on Marina, Roseville
- Bacino Bar & Kiosk, Chowder Bay
12. Feast on Fish & Chips
If sitting down at a cafe isn’t easy with your kids and a picnic is a more relaxing option, how about pulling out the rug and feasting on fish and chips by the water?
From Manly all the way up to Palm Beach, plus Brooklyn and Bobbin Head, we list nearby spots for Fish & Chips by the water.