It was my daughters 7’th birthday and when we gave her the list of available activities in Auckland this was her very first pick, and the best part? Admission free on your birthday! We applauded our daughters fine decision making.
Once you pay the entry fee (you can get 10% off in any of the city brochures so pick one up) you are welcomed into a world of rotating ice then a display of penguins that blew my mind.
I must preface this by saying I was a Zoology major in college and have been traveling with two small children for some time so I consider myself an aficionado… These penguins were something else.
Photos will not do these penguins justice so you will just have to believe me and when you are in Auckland go see them for yourself.
After the penguins you will enter a world of big tanks, big fish, a circular underwater “people moving” observatory (similar to what they now have in San Francisco) and a great place to grab some grub which overlooks Auckland City at sea level.
All of this adds up to make Kelly Tarlton’s a must do activity in my list of things to do with kids in Auckland.
2. Take a Ferry Ride
There are two main ferry rides in Auckland that people will recommend for day trips. (see timetable)
After discussing our sailing options with a friendly local at the ferry terminal the night before we chose Devonport for its small size and cheaper price. Also, I heard it was the hometown of New Zealand born Lorde, both my daughter and I thought this was cool because we like to rock out to “Royals”.
Devonport is everything the brochures say it i: It is quaint, has some nice shops, a fun playground next to the ferry terminal for the kids and a nice short hike up Mt. Victoria (that the kids complained about) where we “ice skated”, rested and ate some lunch.
3. The Auckland Museum
We did go to the Auckland Museum and it does have a great kids section on the bottom floor where there are tons of hands on specimens for the kids to get excited about. The Mauri exhibits and the volcanic displays were amazing.
The Museum resides in a picture perfect park, that is great for a picnic lunch, we even took a short hike through the gardens.
I am not sold that this is a “must see” in Auckland, and after having been to Te Papa in Wellington, the Auckland museum isn’t nearly as kid friendly. That being said, if it is a rainy day and you are looking for a fairly inexpensive indoor activity that is educational with your kids, the museum should be on the top of your list.
4. Walk the City
Auckalnd is a great city just to be in. It has a fun vibe, lots of activity and great street musicians. People are friendly and you can walk kitty-corner across very busy streets, very cool!
A walk down Queen Street is worth it at any time of day or night, veer left to explore the University and nearby park, veer right and explore more shops, hip restaurants, and Auckland’s music and theater scene.
Not too loud, not too quite, very clean and full of activity, Auckland is just a great city to be in! Our kids thought so too.
Celebrating Layla’s 7’th
A Note on The “Seattle Like” Sky Tower
Since I lived in Seattle and have spent way too much money at least twice to go up the Space Needle we did not pay to take a ride up the Auckland Sky Tower. But, we did enjoy the sunset view from the base, the purple lights and a tramp around the Sky Tower Mall.
I am sure it is a great view from up top, but it is expensive and I think your kids will probably forget about it after a couple of days.