Situated in Cockle Bay, just across the water from Darling Harbour, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Architecturally designed to resemble an ocean wave, the aquarium is home to more than 13,000 animals and 700 different species, and is divided into 14 themed zones.
The star of the aquarium is the Shark Walk and Shark Valley, which houses Australia’s largest collection of shark and ray species. Walk through glass tunnels as sharks glide slowly above you, sometimes only inches away!
Check out the tropical Bay of Rays and the interactive Discovery Rockpool. A favorite with kids and families, the Rockpool lets you actually dip in and handle the urchins, starfish and sea cucumbers. Staff rotate the animals during the day to ensure these fascinating creatures don’t suffer from “petting fatigue.”
If you don’t have time to visit Australia’s most famous coral wonderland, don’t fret. The aquarium’s Great Barrier Reef exhibit captures all the color and beauty of the world heritage listed reef. Watch clown fish, lion fish, sawfish and reef sharks swimming harmoniously through the coral outcrops in this 530 000-gallon (2-million liter) aquarium.
The South Coast Shipwreck is another exhibit popular with families. Designed to look like a sunken ship, this display is home to animals that typically live in cooler southern waters. See kooky pineapple fish, green eels, octopuses and weedy sea dragons. Be sure to stop by Dugong Island, where the resident dugong orphans Pig and Wuru are crowd-pleasers.
The aquarium has two cafés, a snack bar and three gift shops offering souvenirs from the cute to the educational.
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is open daily, including major holidays. It’s easily accessible by train, bus or light rail, and nearby parking lots offer discounts to aquarium patrons. Darling Harbour is within walking distance from downtown.