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19 May 2013
When asked to name the "World's Best Summer City," today's tourists gave Sydney, Australia high marks for its oceanfront location and the wealth of activities available to entertain parents and children alike. We look at the top ten family attractions worth visiting in one of the world’s favourite summer destinations.
1) Luna Park
Open since 1935, Luna Park is a permanent carnival located on the Sydney waterfront. From the Wild Mouse roller coaster to the Flying Saucer, which spins riders high into the air, Luna Park has thrills for the whole family. Entry is free, but the games and rides require tickets.
2) Royal Botanic Gardens
Also on the waterfront, the Royal Botanic Gardens are open until dusk on most days, with free admission and twice-daily tours. A relaxing way to enjoy the sights and sounds of the gardens is to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it on any of the grassy areas in the park.
3) Sydney Aquarium
Another nature attraction is the Sydney Aquarium. More than 12,000 marine animals are on display here, many in the planet's largest Great Barrier Reef exhibit. Children will love exploring the underwater tunnels as they admire ocean predators such as sharks and stingrays.
4) Harbour Jet
Jet-boat tours of the harbour are ideal for those with a taste of adventure, with the longest tour providing more than an hour of high-speed thrills. Best of all, family packages are available.
5) Taronga Zoo
Zoos are always popular with young children, but the amenities at the Taronga Zoo will appeal to older children and adults as well, with the Sky Safari cable car ride a perennial favourite. Most visitors cross the harbour to reach the zoo; combination ferry-and-zoo tickets are the most affordable option for families.
6) Sydney Sky Tower
This attraction is clearly visible from the sky to tourists arriving on their flights to Sydney. Equal in height to the Eiffel Tower, the Sky Tower offers a panoramic view of the city of Sydney and the Pacific. Tickets also include OzTrek, a 3D adventure experience providing a virtual "walkabout" across the wilds of Australia.
7) Australian Museum
History and nature packed into one, this museum dates from 1827 and offers free daily guided tours of the exhibits, which focus heavily on the peoples and species native to the "island continent." One entire wing is sure to be a hit with children; it focuses on the dinosaurs that once roamed the vast wilderness of the interior.
8) Manly Beach
A family visit to Sydney must include at least one day at the beach; here, visitors can enjoy sea kayaking and snorkelling as well as swimming and sunbathing.
9) Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
This park features spiders, snakes, and other crawling creatures. Located about an hour north, a visit here will require car hire in Sydney.
10) The James Craig
This 19th-century sailing ship cruises monthly around Sydney Harbour, taking visitors back to the past as they learn about the early settlement of the nation.
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