What's Happening for Kids

Activities, Exhibitions & Vessels

  • Activities

    Activities

    We offer an exciting program for the whole family with kid’s activities held on weekdays, weekends and during the school holidays. Kids and adults can also climb aboard our vessels including a real submarine and retired warship, and roam the museum’s expansive exhibition space.

    Click on the links below to find out dates, times and ticket information for each event.

    School Holidays

    Children dressed up as Romans

    At the end of every school term, we offer a fantastic program of special events, workshops, theatre shows, tours, exhibitions (and more!) for kids to explore.

    Mini Mariners events

    A toddler in the at play in the museum

    Mini Mariners is for 2–5 year olds who love to sing and dance, get crafty, explore exhibitions and listen to stories.

    Kids on Deck

    Three kids outside the Maritime Museum

    Kids on Deck gives primary school aged kids (5–12) the chance to get creative together with art-making activities, craft, dress-ups, science activities and more.

    Family Fun Sundays

    Pirate tour guide Johnny Grognose

    Family Fun Sundays are special action-packed Sundays held every month, featuring lively performances, film screenings, character-led tours, face-painting and more.

    Youth Workshops & Performances

    A group of kids participating during a youth workshop

    We offer creative youth workshops & performance programs for children aged 8 to 14 years including photography, film-making, animation, circus arts and more.

    Escape from Pompeii

    Escape from Pompeii The Untold Roman Rescue

    Tie on your togas and travel back in time to the heyday of the Roman Empire.

    Torchlight Tours

    2 children with character actor during a torchlight tour

    Join us for an after-hours guided tour by torchlight. Go on a hunt through the galleries, make souvenirs and enjoy themed activities.


    Cabinet of Curiosities

    Kids looking at a sextant in the Cabinet of Curiosities

    Children of all ages can discover and handle amazing artefacts from our ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ touch trolley and hear the stories behind them.

  • Exhibitions

    Exhibitions

    Set the kids free in the museum’s massive 3700 square metres of exhibition space! Explore our permanent and special exhibitions about Australia’s unique connection to water and the stories, objects and people that link us all together.

    A boy plays on the mat inside our new Mini Mariners Play space.

    Mini Mariners Play space

    Welcome to our brand new interactive gallery and play space for kids under five. Children will take an imaginative journey from the 'sandy seashore' to 'under the sea' with free-play games, activities and displays specially designed to stimulate their growing minds and inspire their curiosity.

    Mannequin on display along with various suitcases at the museum

    Passengers

    Get assignment help on the First Fleet and convict ships with this fascinating exhibition. The kids can see images of a ship from the First Fleet, and personal items such as diary excerpts, clothing, precious mementos and shipboard souvenirs from travellers who have journeyed to Australia as convicts, immigrants or war brides.

    Family of four walking alongside the Welcome Wall at the Australian National Maritime Museum

    Welcome Wall

    Is your family among the 6 million people who have migrated to Australia? Let the kids search for their surname on the museum’s Welcome Wall. This special tribute stands in honour of all those who have migrated from countries around the world to live in Australia.

  • Vessels

    Vessels

    Kids love our historic ships and vessels - including the HMB Endeavour (replica and part-time pirate ship!), a warship and a real floating submarine!

    The museum has one of the largest floating historical vessel collections in the world. Docked at our wharves, kids can climb on board to explore life at sea.

    See our Vessels page for the full list or check out some of the highlights below:

    The museum's navy destroyer HMAS Vampire at the museum wharf

    Destroyer: HMAS Vampire

    HMAS Vampire, Australia's largest museum vessel, is the last of the country's big gun ships.

    Important tips

    • Kids must be accompanied by an adult
    • Some vessels have a height minimum of 90cm - HMB Endeavour Replica, Submarine HMAS Onslow and some visiting vessels – ask at the desk. (Unfortunately smaller children cannot be carried on these vessels.)
    • Be prepared to get physical. Most vessels involve some climbing, steps, crouching and navigating confined spaces.
    • No high heels. Flat shoes with enclosed toe recommended.

    The museum's HMB Endeavour replica under full sail in open sea

    HMB Endeavour

    The Australian-built replica of James Cook's HMB Endeavour is one of the world's most accurate maritime replica vessels. When you come on board you may wonder whether James Cook and his crew have just stepped ashore somewhere on their voyage.

    Onslow Submarine Vessel

    Submarine: HMAS Onslow

    Venture into the secret world of submarine warfare on HMAS Onslow. It's still close to operational condition so if you go onboard listen out for the diving alarm!

  • Lighthouse

    Lighthouse

    Various vessels and a lighthouse on the waterfront of the Australian National Maritime Museum

    Built in 1874, the museum’s historic Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse is 22 metres high and located on our stunning waterfront overlooking Darling Harbour.

    • The lighthouse is open every day (except Christmas) and guided tours run daily. You can check times at the ticket desk in the museum foyer when you arrive.
    • Kids of all ages are allowed to climb to the top when accompanied by an adult (small children can be carried). The stairs are narrow and winding making the climb a great adventure!
    • Once you get the top the views are magnificent – perfect for selfies and family pictures.
    • Learn about the lighthouse’s history (it was originally a working lighthouse in Townsville, Queensland) and get a close up look at the amazing clockwork and kerosene mechanism from 1913.
  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    A young boy building a boat in the Going Places exhibitionA girl & boy using an interactive in the Going Places exhibitionTwo girls in front of a photograph in the Beautiful Whale exhibition3 young kids in playing in Kids on DeckA boy doing craft in the Kids on Deck spaceA girl doing craft in the Kids on deck spaceCraft items to make a whale mobileA Narwhal puzzle from the Kids on Deck spaceA male story teller with a young girl in a life vestA male storyteller in front of an audience of childrenA women with 2 small girls at the touch trolley in the museumA women with 2 small girls at the touch trolley in the museumA whale mobile in the Kids on Deck spaceA young girl showing off her finished whale mobile in the Kids on Deck space