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Summer school holidays survival guide

From hungry caterpillars and crazy experiments to mind-blowing illusions and more - make iconic family memories this Summer!

Sydney Opera House

School holidays have rolled around again. And with them, the temptation to hand over the devices to the little ones and send them on their merry way.

But there is another way. The Sydney Opera House’s summer holidays program is for the parents who want their kids to be awe-inspired, to walk away from this magnificent space with a newfound appetite for art. Whether it's a journey of self-discovery told through life-size animal puppets, or an enchanting, multimedia experience about finding oneself in art, you can expect entertainment and inspiration these school holidays, in a venue that epitomises both.

This is our guide to surviving the summer break with your sanity, and your kids' imagination, intact. 

1. Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and friends come to life on stage: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

When: Tuesday 13 December to Friday 23 December 2022

For: People ages 18 months+

One of the most-read and famous children's books of all time, The Very Hungry Caterpillar steps off the page in a masterful theatrical experience for children 18 months+ and their adults.

Created by Jonathan Rockefeller, the production features a menagerie of over 75 magical puppets, including the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar –and an Australian cast who bring these beloved books to life on stage.

Alongside The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the show features three other Eric Carle stories–Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Ten Little Rubber Ducks, and The Very Busy Spider.

2. Make Some Noise with: The Listies

When: Thursday 5 January to Friday 20 January 2023

For: People ages 4+ 

For over a decade the award-winning Listies have toured the world doing shows for literally gazillions of kidults (that’s kids and their adults). Now it’s your turn.

Make Some Noise! is a comedy concert for humans aged 4-400. Join the maestros of mirth Rich and Matt, as they belt out a bunch of songs with the LOLs turned up to 11.

Hilarious, fabulous, and fun for the whole family.

3. Travel across Australia with: Are We There Yet?

When: Tuesday 3 January to Sunday 22 January 2023

For: People ages 3+ 

These summer holidays, join 8-year-old Grace and her family on an adventurous (and often funny) expedition across the country, visiting iconic Australian landmarks along the way including the Great Australian Bight, Uluru, Surfers Paradise and our very own Sydney Opera House.

From the creative team who brought you Magic Beach, come on an armchair journey through Alison Lester AM’s classic book as it comes to life on stage, with songs, fun (and quokkas!). A charming adventure for children aged 3-10 and their adults.

4. Not for the Squeamish: Operation Ouch! Live on stage

When: Tuesday 24 January to Wednesday 25 January

For: People ages 5+

Join TV’s favourite doctors with their brand new show in the Summer school holidays. Following three sell-out Australian tours, and two smash-hit seasons in London’s West End, Dr Chris and Dr Xand are back!  This brilliant show is packed with all-new crazy experiments, mind-blowing illusions and more amazing facts. 

This brilliant show will be packed with all-new crazy experiments, mind-blowing illusions and amazing facts, as the doctors explore the fascinating world of biology and show you the incredible things your body can do. It’ll make you laugh and gross you out!

5. Hands-on artwork and interactive workshop: Wild City

When: Tuesday 3 January to Sunday 15 January 2023

For: Morning workshops: People ages 6-9 Afternoons: All ages

What could life be like for animals – including human animals – living together in our city? Come make, create and play in this wild city where animals take over!

Explore ideas by adding to the sculptural building blocks of a city, creating habitat and infrastructure to welcome wild animals into the mini urban landscape. The result is a collaborative exhibition, that not only investigates environmental issues, but it also inspires solutions.

Facilitated by professional artists and joined by ecological experts that will provide in-depth knowledge about the surprising number of animals we already share our cities with, and what habitats they require. 

6. Uncover mysterious secrets: Junior Adventure Tour

For: Curious minds! 

Embark on a journey behind the curtain and discover how the magic of theatre comes to life on this one hour behind the scenes adventure filled with fun facts, crazy stories and guessing games. Walk away wide eyed with plenty of fun facts up your sleeve to share with your friends.

7. Tick this photo off your bucket list 

Before or after your show, don’t forget to take the ultimate Sydney Opera House photo of the kids on the Monumental Steps. Take in the majesty of the Sails from this vantage point and take home a lasting memory of your day out!

8. Have a bite by the harbour: Kid-friendly menus

Worked up an appetite? Stop by one of our relaxed harbourside restaurants for a delicious junior lunch, and even an adult version too (if that’s what you fancy). There is plenty to choose from, including fresh kid-friendly options at our new Asian-inspired dining venue, House Canteen, to your family favourites like pizza at Opera Bar

Or fancy a picnic? Make a day of it and grab a Kids Lunch Pack from Portside to enjoy wherever you please! The Royal Botanical Gardens are only a short walk away. 

9. Listen in: Book Club podcast 

The new season of our kids' podcast features your favourite kids' authors - Andy Griffiths, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Adam Goodes, and more – sharing their inspiration in enlightening and heart-warming conversations.

10. Pick up a souvenir for your treble makers

Visit our shop at the Lower Concourse (or jump online) to explore our range of gifts and souvenirs including our playful kids collection of backpacks, coin purses, LEGO and colouring books, and much more!

Top tip: Settle in for storytime as Zindzi Okenyo reads Sidney Opera Mouse (thanks to our partner Mastercard) and then purchase your very own copy to read at home. 

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