Six wonderful and wacky museums, NSW

September 30, 2019 / By Claire Atteia

Stuck for something to do these school holidays? Interested in taking the kids to see some of the most unusual . . .  well, things?  Then plan your days around these fun and fantastical museums. From taking a ride through yesteryear on a fairground carousel, to watching vintage cars roar, or gasping in wonder at the human body, each of these museums offers something truly amazing. And educational too.  Ready? Here are my top picks of the best.

Sydney Tramway Museum, Sydney
Open every Wednesday and Sunday, you'll step back in time at the Sydney Tramway Museum. It’s Australia’s oldest tramway museum, and houses the oldest operating electric tram in the country, which dates back to 1861! Trams were an important part of everyday Sydney life until 1961, so there's a wide selection of trams from that time at the museum. Take a photo of the kids behind the controls, or just sit back and let them explore. It’ll be a great outing for the whole family. 

Sydney Bus Museum, Sydney
Sticking with the transport theme, you can also visit the Sydney Bus Museum on the first or third Sunday of the month. Here, there's a huge collection of vintage buses so you can reminisce about your youth and tell the kids what it was like getting stuck to the seats on a hot summer's day. This place is great for kids as you're encouraged to climb on, peer into and nose around everything. 

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Sydney
Incorporating Powerhouse Museum and the Sydney Observatory, the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS) is Australia’s contemporary museum for innovation and excellence in, yes, you guessed it, applied arts and sciences. With an estimated half a million items in the MAAS collection, covering everything from history, science and technology to design, music and space exploration, you and the family will be sure to find something fascinating on at all times of the year. 

One exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum which looks quite fantastic is ‘Fantastical Worlds’, which reveals the creative brilliance behind contemporary designs by artists and designers, including Alexander McQueen. If gazing at the night sky is more your thing, the Sydney Observatory runs nightly tours in which you can explore the highlights of our southern sky through their telescopes. 

Museum of Fire, Penrith
Let the kids live out their dreams by becoming a firefighter for the day. Take a ride on a fire engine and browse one of the world’s largest collections of fire-fighting memorabilia which date back to the late 18th century. 

Kurrajong Radio Museum, Kurrajong Hills
For a nostalgic trip through the golden years of radio, this is the place. Be entertained by seeing World War 2 spy radios, military radio equipment and the very first stereo FM transmitter in Australia. With plenty of interactive displays and demonstrations, you can event try your hand at sending a morse code message!  

Museum of Human Disease, Sydney
Housed within the University of New South Wales campus, this quirky museum has more than 3,000 preserved body parts in its collection. It’s been listed by CNN as one of the top 10 weirdest museums in the world. Whilst definitely a macabre experience for the kids, you can learn about the top 20 killers in Australia, including diseases long forgotten and those we bring on ourselves. This is weird, at its very best!

Fairground Follies, Bowral
When you think of fairgrounds, you probably don’t think of Bowral’s semi-industrial precinct (well I don't). But here you find Fairground Follies, Bowral’s best kept secret. A visit will transfer you straight to the delights of going to the fair with all the music, lights and smiles. 

Fairground Follies is filled with antique organs, mechanical instruments and unique pieces of fairground memorabilia from yesteryear, all in working order and playing their music. One special collection piece is the Mortier Taj Mahal, a 101 key organ built in Belgium in 1924 that is regarded as the ultimate instrument, and this piece, in Bowral, is the only one remaining in the world! 

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