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Best of Sydney School Holiday Calendar: September 2015

by Suzanne Milne on 18/09/2015

Spending time in Sydney these September school holidays? Then take a tour of some of this city’s most iconic and historic destinations with our day-by-day guide to events taking place around the city while school is out.

Kids can become movie makers, Olympians, convicts, explorers, chefs, meteorologists and artists and see photography, theatre, musicians and acrobats while your family visits the best places and spaces on offer in Sydney. Each of these events is great for kids ages 5+, but if you have teens or tweens around too, take a look at our highlights of workshops in Sydney for the September school holidays. And if you want some ideas for stay-at-home days or free activities, we’ve made just the list for you!

Destination: Sydney Opera House
Event: Carnival of the Animals Circus Escapade
Acrobats bring this classical music suite to life for a new generation of circus, music and animal lovers. The zebras juggle and flip, kangaroos skip and somersault, there are elephants with street cred, and even the dinosaur bones shake, clatter and roll to the music.
Ages 3+
Time 10.30
Alternative Dates Every day until October 4
Cost $44–$55

Destination: Art Gallery of NSW
Event: The Young Archie 2015
The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists. But for kids, the best part is probably this exhibition of the best works by budding artists aged 5-18. See the winners and let your little artists plan their entry for next year’s show before joining in the various children’s activities around the gallery.
Ages All
Time 10.00–17.00
Alternative Dates Daily until September 27
Cost $15, adults | $10, (ages 5-17) | $40, family (2 adults and up to 3 children)

Destination: Vaucluse House 
Event: Kids In The Kitchen: Damper & Butter
What type of food did the early Australian settlers eat? Kids investigate in the kitchen garden at historic Vaucluse House, churn butter in the colonial kitchen, then learn traditional kitchen skills as they cook and then eat their own damper. They can also explore the grand house and gardens, and say hello to the household’s chickens and ducks as well as Caspar and Pan the goats.
Ages 5 to 8
Time 11.30–13.30
Alternative Dates September 28 (September 25 and October 2 for ages 8+)
Cost $25 (includes one accompanying adult)

Destination: Seymour Centre

Event: School Holidays
September 22 heralds the start of a five day children’s fest at the Seymour Centre when the venue transforms into a children’s delight with two fun productions based on popular children’s books – Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts and Cranky Bear by Patch Theatre, an adaptation from The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland – plus a program of free activities to entertain the whole family.
Ages 4+
Time 09.00–18.00
Alternative Dates September 23, 24, 25 & 26
Cost Free for activities and from $20 for theatre tickets.
BOOK HERE or for Family, Multi-Pack and Group tickets call +61 2 9351 7940.

Destination: Darling Quarter
Event: Project Five Kids Urban Art Workshop
Guided by contemporary street artists, kids of all ages will get a hands-on introduction to street art techniques including aerosol painting, stencilling and wheat pasting in the fabulous surrounds of Darling Quarter. The popular Project Five Kids’ Urban Art Workshops gives baby Banksies the opportunity to dabble in urban art techniques throughout the September/October school holidays.
Ages All
Time 11.00–14.00
Alternative Dates September 22, 24, 29, 30 and October 1
Cost Free

Destination: Rouse Hill Farm & Garden

Event: A Peachy Picnic
Inspired by Caroline Rouse Thornton’s childhood recollections from the 1940s, children step back in time to dress-up in costume and re-enact a story from the period, immersing themselves in a time gone by at this historic farm. There will be traditional games in a mini sports carnival before a picnic of peaches in syrup and fruit cake on the paddock. Dress up clothes, picnic rugs, peaches and fruit cake are supplied, but feel free to bring additional food.
Ages All
Time 11.00–12.30
Alternative Dates October 1
Cost $15 (includes one accompanying adult)

Destination: Australian National Maritime Museum
Event: Family Torchlight Tour
Board the HMB Endeavour for this extra-special torchlit interactive theatrical tour led by the amusing character guide Antonio Ponto, with games, souvenir crafts and themed refreshments.
4 to 12 (minimum height 90cm)
$22/$18/$72 family of four

Destination: Hyde Park Barracks

Event: Convict Escapades
Kids choose their own adventure in this immersive theatrical convict quest to earn a prized ‘ticket of leave’. They will come face-to-face with colourful convict characters that lurk around every corner, be mustered by the mean and nasty Superintendent, meet the lovesick Cook and need to keep an eye out for the shifty Scourger. With hands on workshops, convict games and more, kids will have to keep their wits about them to finish the quest in time in the grounds of this UNESCO heritage-listed site.
Ages 5 to 12
Time 10.00, 12.00 & 14,.00 each day
Alternative Dates September 25, 26 & 27
Cost $15 | $40, family ticket

Destination: Centennial Park

Event: Writers in the Park
Celebrate books and ideas in this historic Sydney park with more than 50 speakers including Jessica Rowe, Pamela Allen, as well as authors and illustrators from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. There will be launches, illustrator duels, stalls as well as a Hip-Hop Poetry slam.
Ages All
Time 09.00–17.00
Cost Free

Destination: Museum of Contemporary Art
Event: Junior Art School: Microcosm

Here, kids get to create their own microscopic alien world, then transport themselves to their world using the Museum’s green screen studio, dressing up and acting out fun scenarios. Be warned – parents are encouraged to participate too.
Ages 5 to 8
Time 10.30 & 13.30
Cost $35

Destination: Sydney Olympic Park (site of the 2000 Olympic Games)
Event: Circus Solarus Kids Games

There are no special athletic skills necessary, just the ability to join in the fun as Solarus takes kids on a race through as many silly sports as we can fit on the track, with two teams competing for Games glory in the 15th anniversary of the Sydney 2000 Games. This event might not be faster, higher, stronger than other games, but it promises to be more fun, with humour and laughter!
Ages 5 to 10
Time 11.00–12.15 and 13.00–14.15
Alternative Dates September 22, 23, 24, 25 & September 28, 29, 30 & October 1 and 2
Cost Free

Destination: Australian Museum
Event: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

From scorpions basking in the sun to snakes in search of food, fireflies lighting up the night and polar bears swimming under ice, your children will love exploring wild life with these 100 images selected from more than 40,000 entries worldwide.
Ages 2+
Time 09.30–17.00
Alternative Dates Runs until October 5
Cost $20 (adult) | $3 (child ages 5+) | Free under 5

Destination: The Observatory
Event: Kids Extravaganza
For one day only, kids can analyse conditions at the weather station before launching their own rocket. Peering through the Observatory’s telescopes and binoculars, Observatory guides will teach children how to use these pieces of equipment at home. Enjoy sessions in the 3D Theatre and North Dome telescope, get a space-themed airbrush tattoo and take an astronomical balloon creation home.
Ages 3+
Time 10.30–13.30
Cost $12 per child (Free entry for accompanying adult)

Destination: Sydney University (the Nicholson Museum)
Event: Games in the Ancient World
Learn what it was like to be a child in ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome experiencing the toys they played with, including the ancient Egyptian game of chance, Senet!
Ages 5 to 12
Time 10.00–16.00
Cost Free
More Information

Destination: Chinatown

Event: Good Food Month: Everybody Loves Dumplings
Discover the art of making traditional Chinese dumplings with children at this hands-on class that teaches parents and children how to make two varieties of dumplings, which are then cooked and enjoyed alongside other dim sum dishes.
Ages 5+
Time 16.00–19.00
Cost $60 (2 adults and 1 child) | $80 (2 adults and 2 children)

Destination: Barangaroo
Event: Sea Giant Picnic
Experience Sydney’s newest parkland at this celebration weekend with bands and musicians playing on the Stargazer Lawn and in Nawi Cove, parades and kids activities as well as guest chefs and pop-up bars. You can also explore the James Craig Southern Sea Wall with guided activities and watch tug boat water displays. There will also be roving pirates, gypsy duos and sea shanties to learn.
Ages All
Time 11.30–17.00
Alternative Dates Weekends in September, October & November
Cost Free
More information

Carnival of the Animals Circus Escapades at Sydney Opera House
Carnival of the Animals at Sydney Opera House
The Young Archies 2015 at Art Gallery of NSW
Daniel Harford's winning entry for the Young Archie's 2015 5-8 year category
Kids In The Kitchen Damper & Butter Day at Vaucluse House
Cranky Bear at the Seymour Centre
Urban Art Workshop at Darling Quarter
Peachy Picnic at Rouse Hill Farm
Torchlight Tour at the Australian National Maritime Museum
Convict Escapades at Hyde Park Barracks
Convict Escapades Map at Hyde Park Barracks
Writers in the Park at Centennial Park
Microcosm at The Museum of Contemporary Art
Circus Solarus Kids Games at Sydney Olympic Park
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Australian Museum
Family Extravaganza at The Observatory
Everybody Loves Dumplings in Chinatown
Sea Giant Picnic at Barangaroo

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