Make a day of it this January and take the family for a traipse around Parramatta, where you can catch some free and ticketed family-friendly Sydney Festival shows and explore all the sites that Sydney’s demographic heart has to offer. We put together an itinerary for the perfect January family day in Parramatta.
Spend the morning with boat hire and swimming at Lake Parramatta
Lake Parramatta is a hidden oasis only 2km from the Parramatta CBD with over 70 hectares of bushland to explore. Hire a boat from Parramatta Rowboats for a refreshing start to the day, paddling out on the water; kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, stand up paddleboards and row boats are all available to hire. Or if you simply just want to cool off from the summer heat, take a dip in the water.
Grab lunch at Chefs Gallery Parramatta or El-Phoenician
Kids getting hangry? Then it’s time to refuel with an epic meal of delicious Asian or Middle Eastern food. Sydney Festival punters get a great value deal at the Parramatta outpost of renowned restaurant Chef’s Gallery: $30 gets you two courses plus a glass of wine or soft drink (we highly recommend the eggplant and dumplings).
Feeling more in the mood for mezze? Sleek, modern Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant El Phoenician is also offering a top value dining deal to Sydney Festival patrons: for $55 per person (two person minimum) you get an epic banquet of dips, tabouli, Lebanese meat skewers and much more, plus a glass of wine or soft drink and baklava for dessert. Just mention Festival Feasts when you book.
Family circus fun with Splash Test Dummies at Riverside Theatres
Circus comedy trio Splash Test Dummies have a brand new show of high-energy hijinks for kids and adults. The hour-long adventure brings together synchronised swimming on unicycles, ‘Muscle Beach’ human balancing acts and water skiing through the theatre, in a unique and whimsical afternoon of aquatic fun.
On your way in or out of the theatre, stop by the small exhibition in the foyer by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, MAAS and the Moon
, featuring scientific instruments and models, astrophotographs, moon-inspired ceramics, textiles and more from the Museum’s rich and diverse collection of astronomical history, design and decorative arts.
Splash Test Dummies
11–13 January (11am and 2pm, see website for details)
Splash around yourself at the James Ruse Reserve waterpark
Feeling inspired for water-based adventure after Splash Test Dummies? Let the kids run free and cool down at the water playground in James Ruse Reserve, where you’ll find water jets streaming from the ground, mushroom fountains and interactive water play.
Free circus workshops and performances at the Circus Comes To Town weekend
Plan your Parramatta day out over the weekend of 11–13 January and you’ll get to experience a whole world of free circus fun at Prince Alfred Square. Kicking off at 6pm on Friday 11 January with a grand parade of DIY flying machines down Church St to Prince Alfred Square (find out how you can participate here
), the Circus Comes To Town
weekend features free and paid circus skill workshops, free performances by Mallakhambindia and the Heliosphere, a (ticketed) outdoor Flying Trapeze set-up and much more family-friendly circus fun.
Prince Alfred Square
Grab a post-show dessert at Messina
The perfect finish to a day of adventure – an indulgent dessert from Gelato Messina, famed across Australia for their innovative, freshly churned flavours and weekly specials. Stop by Gelato Messina for a dessert treat on your way from Prince Alfred Square back to Parramatta train station.