Beat the heat with a fun-filled family day out at Wonderwater, the most refreshing ticket in town this summer. Play, relax and discover on, in and around the water.
From December 22 until February 4 come and explore our beautiful, awe-inspiring, ever-changing ocean this summer – in more ways than an octopus has tentacles.
Wonderwater will see the whole of the museum precinct come alive – it will feature six feature exhibition experiences, multiple hands-on activity areas, including a collaborative LEGO® reef, powerful live performance events, a mini-film festival, First Nations video program, fleet activations and opportunities to play, relax and discover on, in and around the water.
All in the one family friendly Wonderwater price ticket.
Wonderwater forges connections with the sea – through ocean imagery and playful ways to discover our incredible sea life and maritime stories.
For full program information go to: www.sea.museum/wonderwater
Ocean Photographer of the Year: A celebration of the blue planet, shining a light on the beauty of the ocean and the threats it faces. The exhibition features over 100 photographs of beautiful and thought-provoking imagery from some of the world’s best ocean photographers.
Valerie Taylor: An Underwater Life – Dive into the remarkable world of an Australian marine pioneer. This exhibition tells the extraordinary story of the life of Valerie Taylor. Through objects and images from the museum’s collection the exhibition showcases the work of Valerie and her husband Ron and their significant contributions to marine conservation, diving and underwater filming.
Octopus Garden – Get tentacle-tied with this fascinating interactive experience Dive into the mesmerising world of one of the ocean’s most enigmatic creatures. Developed in collaboration with Junior Major and featuring artwork by InkHunter, this new immersive space gives visitors of all ages the chance to experience the extraordinary behaviours of the elusive octopus.
Great Southern LEGO® Reef – A specially commissioned reef made of Lego has been developed with the incredible team of Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught and the Great Southern Reef Foundation. We connect creativity and conservation with visitors creating their own specially designed sea creatures.
Blueback: Sharing the Secrets: An interactive, eye-opening and engaging experience that gives family audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how a powerful book became a beautiful film about how we live with our natural world, through the magic of puppetry.
CBeebies Museum Treasure Trail – Explore the museum’s collection as you search for your favourite characters and clever clues hidden behind porthole doors throughout the galleries. Encounter curious objects, beautiful artworks and fascinating stories as you complete the trail to receive special CBeebies prizes.
Il Tabarro – Sydney Festival presents a nautical noir opera under the stars and on the harbour. Puccini’s one-act masterpiece (the first opera in II Trittico) is a darkly romantic tale of passion, desperation and heartbreak. Il Tabarro will be staged aboard The Carpentaria, a historic lightship built in 1917 – the same year Puccini finished work on the composition. Innovative director Constantine Costi and his team are taking this brooding opera to an updated setting inspired by 1930s Depression-era Sydney. Conductor Simon Bruckard leads a cast of exceptional Australian talent and a live orchestra for an unmissable night.
The Sea is Still a Mystery A shadow play by Jumaadi and Michael Toisuta In this short live performance, Indonesian-Australian artist Jumaadi continues his meditation on migration, the oceans and the ships that cross them. Stories of trade and belonging, love, joy and grief are performed using simple cut-outs made from paper and animal skins. Through beautifully crafted silhouettes, Jumaadi and composer Michael Toisuta present a contemporary take on wayang, the traditional form of shadow-puppet plays that originated in Java and Bali. Jumaadi was inspired by the museum’s vessels, particularly the Duyfken, the replica of the first European ship to reach Australia in 1606.
Sea it All Film Festival – Step into the museum’s Theatre to enjoy a series of short films that are fun, diverse and wonderous. Settle in for these stories of the sea. Films run throughout the day so pop in and out as you please.
New Beginnings Festival – Join us in a celebration of hope, unity and new beginnings on Saturday 27 January at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Presented by Settlement Services International in association with Sydney Festival. From First Nations to newcomers and everyone in between, New Beginnings Festival is where you belong. Back after a fantastic 2023, immerse yourself in fresh sounds and tastes, and conversations on inclusivity and equity in the arts.
Rainbow, Mermaid, Fireworks – Peer through the portholes to discover this artwork tucked away in little-known area of the Museum, a magical, watery mermaid’s garden created in tribute to Bondi’s ‘Mermaid Rock’. Award-winning artists Rosie Deacon and Emily Crockford originally created this artwork for the Bondi Pavilion in tribute to those mermaids. As they carved, cut and crafted this work, their ‘Fish Disco Playlist’ pumped in the background and the immortal voice of Sebastian the Crab from The Little Mermaid rang in their ears.
Daily roving performances – Come face to face with a curious cast of characters from ERTH, ICARUS, Neisha Murphy Circus, Deep Sea Astronauts, Trevor Brown Music and more, as performance artists engage in lively roving entertainment around the museum. Enjoy encounters with larger than life deep sea divers, a majestic water dragon puppet, a juggling octopus or a stilt walking jellyfish. Sing along with sea shanty singers, tap your toes to the beats of brass bands, spot trickster seagulls hiding around our site, chase gigantic bubbles or take a 3 minute holiday in the elevator in our rotating program of free daily performances.
Surprising site activations- Surprise encounters can be found inside and out. Wonderwater offers the chance to set foot on our brand-new Heritage Pontoon, see giant inflatable tentacles, dance in drifts of floating bubbles and rediscover the little-used spaces such as a long ramp between galleries which has been transformed into an incredible art installation. The site is alive with new artistic commissions, enhanced wayfinding, seating, increased shade, greening and refreshing water misting installed to help keep the site cool, relaxing and filled with delight for visitors and volunteers alike.
Kids on Deck – Workshops for families – Be inspired by cephalopod superpowers and ocean conservation heroes as you enjoy art making and experiments with your family.
Create your own outstanding octopus hats, puppets, soft sculptures and brilliant badges. Experiment with our plastic recycling machine to transform marine debris into new usable creations. Make a splash with water play and boat racing in our outdoor area. Open daily during school holidays.
Mini Mariners program – Explore the galleries, sing and dance in interactive tours with costumed guides. Enjoy creative free play, craft, games and story time in our themed activity area.
Cabinet of Curiosities – Creature Feature – Explore wonderful and curious specimens and objects from our education collection in this hands-on discovery device in our galleries. Handle marine plant and animal specimens and learn about underwater exploration innovations.
Try on a shark-proof mesh glove, run your fingers over a crocodile jaw or peer up close into the ingenious underwater camera housings designed by Ron and Valerie Taylor.
Sensory Friendly Sundays – Access Program – Enjoy a comfortable environment for kids and adults with a variety of sensory differences.
On Sensory-Friendly Sundays our new exhibitions and activity areas will be open extra early for a quieter experience and modified to suit people on the Autism spectrum and visitors with a range of differing abilities.
Our trained staff and volunteers will be on hand to facilitate creative activities. Sundays 14, 21 January
Underwater Drones – Game on!
Explore below the surface of the harbour with our newest underwater drones. Have fun testing your gaming skills by challenging family and friends to see who’s the best U-Drone Pilot. Underwater drones sessions include a private workshop with our ocean-science educators and access to amazing underwater footage highlights to keep and share.
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