Looking for the best play spaces in Sydney for your next play date? Read on to find our top recommendations.
Sydney is a hustling and bustling city known for its amazing views and cultural showpieces (like the current Vivid show running in the city). However having a baby can change the types of outings you actively seek out, and you may find yourself suddenly googling ‘kid friendly restaurants’ or ‘play spaces in Sydney’ rather than ‘2am rave parties’.
The key to finding a suitable play space for young children usually consists of several elements:
- Room for movement (without unnecessary worry about losing children);
- Facilities for changing and feeding children;
- Stress-free factor for parents in general (no worries about travel or parking); and
- The overall engagement factor of the venue.
With these elements in mind, here are some excellent play spaces in Sydney you may like to venture to with your young children, or even meet up with your mother’s group for a coffee and play date.
Nubo Play Space, Alexandria and Chatswood
Nubo is an innovative, Swedish-styled play centre that boasts a range of activities for all ages of children in a deceptively smallish space. It has a range of experiences including a book corner, builders station (with blue foam blocks), it’s famous ‘blue’ ball pit, a kitchen corner, spider-web climbing frame for older), children, and upstairs spaces for dramatic play and train sets. Nubo also has an amazing selection of delicacies at their cafe (next to the ball pit!), making it easier to watch your children while grabbing a bite and coffee with your mum friends.
Cost: Children under 2: $10/hour or $25 unlimited; Children over 2: $12.50/hour or $40 unlimited (prices vary on the weekend). 1 accompanying adult is free, additional adults are $5 each.
Facilities: Onsite parking, baby-changing facilities, café, party hire options.
Address: Alexandria: Unit 201 / Bldg 2, 160 Bourke Road, Alexandria 2015 or Chatswood: Shop L213c, Chatswood Chase Mall, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood 2067
Early Start Discovery Space, University of Wollongong
While it may just be outside of Sydney (30 minutes from Heathcote), this is my all-time favourite place space for children of all ages. It is a large space designed by educators to provide developmentally appropriate experiences for your children to enhance their learning, and maximise on the fun! Included at the Discovery Space are activities such as:
- A Baby area (Crawlers Beach) with sensory experiences for the littlest ones
- A giant ship for dramatic play
- Underground cave (with flashlights)
- LEGO experiences
- Large train for dramatic play, builder train sets and an electric train set up
- A large crawl-through tunnel of the intestine (with a hilarious, surprise ending!)
- A light up wall
- A music instrument wall
- Sensory wall for babies
- Shopping dramatic play space
- Craft area (workshops running throughout the day)
- Construction dramatic play space
- Book nook
- Outside discovery gardens with water painting, water play, and other outside exploration options (and outside access to the cafe next door!)
The Discovery Space gets very busy throughout the day due to its popular activities. However we can spend a whole morning there (or even a whole day if it wasn’t for day naps!) and my boy would be entertained! The only issue I’ve found is that it can be hard to socialise if you’re chasing your child to different experiences around the space!
Cost: Children under 12 months Free; Children 12 months and over (including adults!) is $15.00; Off-peak rate is $7.50 (half-price entry between 2-4pm on Tuesday to Friday). They also have membership options that are much better value for money if you intend on repeat visits (we definitely got out money’s worth!). Membership options include free onsite parking and discounts at the gift shop.
Facilities: Baby-changing and kids bathroom facilities, access to café (through outside garden space), onsite parking (available for members only), private function options.
Address: Within the University of Wollongong grounds, Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW 2522
Wannabees Family Play Town, Hornsby and Frenchs Forest
For another inventive play space that allows for extended imaginative play, the Wannabees Family Play Town centres are a great venue for northern Sydney families to explore! The Hornsby centre is situated within the Westfields, and with a “drop and shop” service operating weekdays, it is a great opportunity to keep the kids entertained while you get your shopping (or coffee catch ups!) done.
Similar to the Early Discovery Space, Wannabees hosts different ‘zones’ for children to engage with, including a doctor’s surgery, fire station, post office, radio station, rock climbing wall, beauty salon, construction site and more!
Cost: Children under 12 months Free; All children 12 months and over are $15.00; Adults are $5.00 (including coffee voucher). Prices vary for weekends and school holidays (see here for prices: https://wannabees.com.au/hornsby/)
Facilities: Café/restaurant, baby-changing facilities, parking through at the Westfields, and a “Drop and Shop” service allowing parents to shop while children play (price for this is increased).
Address: Hornsby: Shop 2042, 236 Pacific Hwy (Westfield Shopping Centre), Hornsby, NSW, 2077 or Frenchs Forest: C1/1-3 Rodborough Rd, Frenchs Forest.
Lollipops Play Land, Various Locations (See below)
If you’re looking for a more low-key, local play space, Lollipops is a favourite of ours in the Sutherland Shire (although they have locations across Sydney!). There is an enclosed toddler area made of padded floors/blocks, mini slides and a ball pit. There is also a large climbing frame with huge slides and crawl spaces for older children to enjoy. Lollipops also has a jumping castle, mini climbing/rock-climbing wall and a teacup ride. Our mother’s group enjoys meeting here as it is easy to keep an eye on our kids in a small, enclosed space, and still socialise while chasing the Littlies. With a cafe (and free drink voucher with entry), this is almost a weekly outing for us!
Cost: Varies depending on age. Free for babies; $8.90 for 1-2 year olds; $12.90 for 2+ years; $4.00 for adults (including free drink voucher at some locations). Visit the website for more details on cost and multi pass options.
Facilities: Café, baby changing room, party hire options, onsite parking.
Address: Located in Campbelltown, Castle Hill, Menai, Parramatta, Penrith, Wetherill Park. Visit the website for addresses for the various locations
What is your favourite venue to take your bubs in Sydney? Do you have a favourite meeting spot or play space to catch up with other mums?