I’m always on the look out for family friendly museum exhibits; they are such an amazing way to expose your little one to new sensory experiences and learning opportunities. I had recently read about the new Arctic Voices exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum and thought it would be a perfect day out. Farley is currently very interested in anything aquatic - sea creatures, boats, particularly octopuses and I thought learning about the Arctic could perhaps expand on this fascination. And while she did enjoy the polar bear and whales of the Arctic Voices exhibit, it was the Mini Mariners Under 5's Play Area that was the true highlight of the day.
Arctic Voices is an interactive exhibit designed to explore the fragile and rapidly changing environment of the Arctic. It’s filled with lots of hands on, digital displays that will captive kids (and adults) of all ages. While I would say it’s targeted towards school aged kids, there was certainly enough there to keep Farley engaged. She particularly liked the digital interactive game where you help a killer whale through a maze of ice and she also enjoyed seeing the life size Polar Bears.
Afterwards, we headed down to the Mini Mariner’s Under 5s Play Area which was perfect for a little two year old! Much to Farley’s delight, the area was filled with octopuses, sea horses, starfish, shells and boats. She loved the big soft puzzle pieces and played in the mini boat whilst wearing a life jacket. So adorable! There was also books, hand puppets, soft sandcastle blocks and we had the space all to ourselves!
Overall all, I was really quite surprised at how much there is to see and do at the Australian National Maritime Museum. While it was a great day out for a 2 year old, it really would be a jam packed experience for families with older kids. There is an incredible fleet of ships you can explore however, due to safety reasons, you can't go on whilst carrying a baby or child under a certain height. Check out their website for more information on what’s on for kids. I’m keen to head back and check out the Under 5’s Summer Sessions and the Cabinet of Curiosities Touch Trolley.
Tips and Information
Getting there: I caught the train into Town Hall Station and walked to Darling Harbour which was an easy 20 minute walk through the city. However, Pyrmont ferry stop is right next to the museum (which would actually be a great way to continue the nautical theme of your day) More info on parking and buses can be found on the website here.
Pram friendly: Yes, I took Farley in the pram and found it very easy to get around. There were plenty of ramps, didn't need to use any lifts, and it was rather spacious. We visited on a weekday at the start of the school holidays but perhaps weekends could be a bit busy.
Cost: If you’re just heading in to see the Arctic Voices exhibit and the other permanent displays - adults are $20, kids are $12.00 and kids under 4 are free. Or you can purchase a Big Ticket which will allow you entry onto all the fleets of ships then it’s $32 for adults and $20 for kids. More information on admission here.