SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, formerly known as “The Sydney Aquarium”, is a famous family attraction in Sydney, New South Wales. It houses a rich diversity of aquatic life in Australia, featuring over 12,000 animals from 650 different species. It also has several themed attractions or zones such as Jurassic Seas, Shark Walk and the largest Great Barrier Reef display in the world.
The Sydney Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. It was designed by Australian architects and took almost two years to build. It opened in 1988, during Australia’s bicentenary celebrations, and has been one of the most popular attractions in Sydney.
Attractions and Zones in the Aquarium
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is home to a wide variety of aquatic species. These species are on display in different exhibits and zones.
What to Do
Explore the Great Barrier Reef
As the world’s biggest Great Barrier Reef exhibit, “Day and Night on the Reef” gives visitors a feel of what it’s like to live in the world-famous aquatic habitat. Using state-of-the-art technology, it recreates life on the reef giving visitors a 24-hours interactive experience. Visitors will go on a journey across bioluminescent beaches with swarms of jellyfish. They will also witness nighttime coral spawning, and travel through the heart of the reef to meet marine turtles.
Go for a Penguin Expedition
This one-of-its-kind Penguin Expedition provides a personal and an up-close encounter with King and Gentoo Penguin. Visitors will get to meet the park’s popular penguins Steven, George, Genie, Nog, and Phen and Magic. But aside from meeting the town’s coolest colony, visitors will also be treated to the magical experience of snow flurries, stunning southern lights and freezing, whistling winds.
Walk among the Sharks
The Shark Valley takes visitors to an under the sea journey through parallel underwater tunnels to explore some of the biggest aquarium sharks in the world. One of the must-see species here is the huge Queensland Grouper, a type of fish which even the sharks are afraid of. Other shark species visitors can expect to see here are the Grey Nurse Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Wobbegong Shark and the Grey Reef Sharks.
Listen to Dugong Talks
This attraction offers an encounter with Pig, an orphaned dugong rescued from Forrest Beach in North Queensland by Sea World on the Gold Coast after being separated from his mother. Aside from viewing encounters, aquarists also share the story about the park’s dugong at specific times. The dugong talk times are at 10 am, at 1 pm and 4 pm.
Get Your Hands Wet at Discovery Rockpool
This attraction offers a hands-on encounter with shark eggs, sea stars and corals for both adults and kids.
See More Penguins
South Coast Shipwreck is another attraction in the park that features penguins. The type of penguins featured here are the Little Penguins, who dart through the water and waddle across the beach. This area is also home to a vast array of native Southern Oceans animals, such as Port Jackson Sharks and Moon Jellies.
Walk under the Sydney Harbour
This is a themed zone that houses the local aquatic animals that inhabit the world’s most iconic harbours. It features more 600 species of fish residing under the Sydney Harbour. Some of the species visitors can expect to see here are Old Wives, Silver Sweeps, Mados, Snappers and Cuttlefish.
Revisit the Jurrasic Era
The Jurrasic Seas in another themed zone in the park that features pre-historic aquatic artifacts and living fossils. In this zone, adults and kids alike can learn about the evolution of the mysterious Nautilus, Port Jackson sharks, jellyfish and lungfish.
What Else to See
Species categorised as Freshwater Fish can be found in the Jurrasic Seas. These species include the long and silver-bodied Barramundi with an elongated jaw; the air-breathing Lungfish, which is believed to be the missing link between fish and land animals; and the silver and triangular-shaped Archerfish.
Species in this group of predators are found in the Great Barrier Reef zone. It includes species of fish such as the large open-water predatory fish of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Giant Trevally; the Black cod of rocky shores or coastal reefs; and the mighty Queensland Groper with a powerful mouth that sucks prey such as fish, juvenile turtles, octopus and crustaceans.
Rays and Sawfish
Aquatic species belonging to this group can be found in the Dugong Island. The animals you can find here are the sharply-toothed Smalltooth Sawfish; Shark Rays or also known as “Bowmouth Sharks” and “Mud Skate”; the Giant Shovelnose Ray with shovel-like snouts; as well as the White Spotted Eagle Rays, who appear to be flying underwater.
This group of aquatic species belong to the Great Barrier Reef zone. The animals that belong to this group are the ambush predators and the world’s most venomous fish, the Estuarine Stonefish; the world’s second most venomous fish with long spines, the Lionfish; the Crown of Thorn Starfish; and the Red Rock Cod.
Of course, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium will not be complete without featuring its own local aquatic residents. The animals in this group can be seen in the Sydney Harbour theme zone. This includes the silver and black striped Old Wife; the Port Jackson Shark with distinct harness-like markings; and the overfished Snapper.