School holiday ideas – Madame Tussauds, Sydney

Action! The Crocodile Dundee wax dummy movie set!

Action! The Crocodile Dundee wax dummy movie set!

This week I took my single parent family to Madame Tussauds, Sydney…

The last time we were at Darling Harbour we visited the Sydney Aquarium and I had tried to talk the kids into visiting Madame Tussauds wax museum too, but they were just not interested. At the time, I thought it was pointless to waste the entrance money on two resistant, whiny kids, no matter how much I wanted to take a peek at the wax figures, myself. (Take heed of this warning – never outnumber yourself with your kids!)

This visit I was a little more determined, and attacked Darling Harbour with a game-plan. Soften the kids up with a play in the Darling Harbour kids playground first, (an excellent playground towards the back of the Precinct, with huge climbing frames, slippery dips and flying foxes – and totally free!) and then stealthily sneak them past the Aquarium, and on to Madame Tussauds…amazingly, it worked!

I must say that the entrance fees to Madame Tussauds were a bit of a shock…

I must say that the entrance fees to Madame Tussauds were a bit of a shock. “This better be one good museum”, I muttered to myself, handing over the nearly-$100 entrance fee for myself and the two kids. (See our concessions tips note at the end of this article)

In we went and were met by numerous wax figures – incredibly life-like, their eyes really did seem to stare right at you. It was a little unnerving for a while, but soon we were doing exactly what this museum is designed for – posing like there is no tomorrow.

The girls with Justin Bieber - hamming it up for all it's worth!

The girls with Justin Bieber – hamming it up for all it’s worth!

Wax figures are arranged so that you can artfully, cheesily, and in some cases, embarrassingly drape yourself around, under and over them. If ever it is time for your close-up, that time is at Madame Tussauds Sydney, my friend!

I wasn’t sure if this museum would be kid-friendly enough, as all the figurines were adult celebrities of some sort. There were none that my kids really recognised – other than the past Prime Minister, Julia Gillard! But the kids really enjoyed making a game out of copying the wax figure poses, or arranging themselves in sporting poses, rockstar poses, celebrity poses…there were lots of props for them to use, such as hats, clothes, etc. that the kids (or adults!) could dress up and pose in.

If the exhibits had not encouraged interacting, all would have been lost with the kids, I suspect.

When I was young, I was lucky enough to visit the London Madame Tussauds as a child, and later the old Kings Cross Wax Works here in Australia, I still remember the kid-appeal of the Horror section, and was disappointed to find that there was no Horror section of Madame Tussauds at Darling Harbour – or even any kind of child-recognisable character.

Although Rolf Harris was still in the glossy guide book, he had already been removed from exhibition. Interestingly, Michael Jackson’s figure had not suffered the same fate, and was one of the feature displays!

Michael Jackson - it's okay, he's just a wax dummy!

Michael Jackson – it’s okay, he’s just a wax dummy!

There is a token educational room dedicated to how the wax dummies are created. Whilst interesting, this is probably not going to grab the kids attention for too long. You can get a wax dip of your child (or your) hand, but at $20 a pop, if you have a couple of kids that adds up to quite a lot for souvenirs. Especially when you know you’re about to hit a money-draining, kid-attracting souvenir shop and obligatory photo gallery at the end of the exhibit.

It didn’t really take that long to “do” this museum, and although the kids had great fun posing their way through the museum, the novelty did start to wear a little thin in a short period of time.

I always knew I was meant to be a star - just check out those legs!!

I always knew I was meant to be a star – just check out those legs!!

So, considering it barely took us an hour to work our way through Madame Tussauds, was it worth the rather hefty admission price? Well, actually, in my opinion, probably not. I wouldn’t recommend this museum to families of younger (under 10) children unless you have cash to burn. That said, teens that are into sport would probably enjoy the sporting section, but for the young-uns, you’re better off stopping at the Aquarium instead – the kids are going to get far more fun, education and “wow!”-value out of the marine exhibits than they are from a wax dummy museum.

Better still, just go to the Darling Harbour playground for a while and take a wander around the Harbour – that won’t cost you a cent. Or there’s plenty of fun to be had with WinterFest at the moment, with a floating light-up iceberg, a skating rink (a little pricey, but picturesque with a huge blow-up slide for the kids too (at extra cost)

The girl's Oprah interview went really well!

The girl’s Oprah interview went really well!

Madame Tussauds In Summary

Madame Tussauds is located in Darling Harbour, a tourist precinct in Sydney that stretches from the Sydney Harbour to Paddy’s Market. Accessible by cars and buses, it is free to enter the public harbour area. Attractions include the Madame Tussauds, Sydney Aquarium, the Imax Theatre, Maritime Museum, moored museum ships, rides, restaurants and shops, open year-round. In winter, an ice skating rink is also a temporary feature.

Cheaper Madame Tussauds admission tips

There is no family discount for single parent families (one paying adult) with less than three children – but two-parent families of four only need two children for a family discount – go figure.

Plan in advance and buy tickets online at the Tussauds website to save up to 30% – but single parent concessions cannot be applied online. Whilst a concession discount for single parents is not advertised (NSW student or senior only stated on the Tussauds website), if you show them your parenting payment single concession card at the entrance, this may get you a $10-odd discount.

When I contacted Madame Tussauds to clarify their concession policy, I was told that it was up to the discretion of the person at the entrance. Later, they contacted us to say that this was not the correct information – so basically, concession discounts may be worth a try to ask for, but are unlikely.

Kids under 3 are free.

This information is correct as of July 2014 – prices and attractions are subject to change

Have you visited Madame Tussauds at Darling Harbour in Sydney? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below!


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About LetsGoMum

Hi, I'm Barbara, mum of the Let's Go Mum blog. We'd love to hear from you! You can contact me anytime with ideas on where you think we should go or what you think we should try...just drop me a line at!