Things to Do in Sydney: Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium

If a trip to eastern Australia is in your future and you're looking for things to do in Sydney, the Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium is one place you'll want to visit! Opened in 1988, it's one of the largest aquariums in the world and one of Sydney's most popular attractions.

There's lots to explore, so if you have limited time to visit, you'll need a game plan. Here are some of the top attractions, including exhibits and aquarium characters.

Touch Pool

Get up close and personal with sea creatures from Australia's shores, including hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, shark egss, sea urchins and more.

Crabzilla of the Sea

That's right. The aquarium's largest resident Japanese Spider Crab is known as 'Crabzilla of the Sea.' When last measured, in January of 2012, it had a leg span of 1.5 meters*! (*that's 4.9 feet)

Little Penguins

Commonly known as the Fairy Penguin, the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor for you

scholarly types) is the smallest penguin in the world. It's also the only species of penguin which breeds on mainland Australia.

Jim the Amazing Moray Eel

It's not often you see the word "amazing" and "eel' in the same title. But Jim's amazing powers stem from the fact that he was found in the aquarium's shark oceanarium TWELVE years after all the Moray Eels had been removed (and accounted for). No other eels were found, just Jim.

Shark Valley

It's one of the 14 new themed zones launching on September 24, 2012. This magnificent Oceanarium holds 1.5 million liters (396,258 gallons) of water and will host over 1700 marine animals. Visitors will walk through a 100 meter (328-foot) transparent tunnel "amidst" the sharks. Plus they will be able to go through a Shark Walk, a glass walkway that will be partly submerged in water, with a variety of sharks below.

Gorbachev the Australian lungfish

If you think being an Australian fish named after a former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is unusual - wait until you hear what else this aquarium dweller has going on. First of all, he's a lungfish, which means (gasp!) he can breathe air.

Secondly, he's an Australian lungfish which means that (unlike those in Africa and South America) he has not two lungs but one. Lastly,unlike other lungfish who are grey, he's bright yellow. But get this, he was grey when he arrived at the aquarium! He only started turning yellow when he was five years old and is now a very rare shade of bright yellow.

Bay of Rays

This is one of 3 new habitat zones opened in July. It hosts a variety of unique ray species - the Leopard Whipray, which sports leopard-like markings), the Blue-spotted Fantail Ray, the White-spotted Guitarfish and the Blue-spotted Maskray. It's the most colorful combination of rays ever displayed together!

Houdini the Lionfish

This little guy defines persistence. Visitors to the Sydney aquarium can now view Houdini in the Great Barrier Reef display - but it wasn't always so. He was originally in an adjacent tank but kept escaping from it and into the Great Barrier Reef tank. But how? His tank was completely sealed! The only way he could have done it would have been to leap several feet in the air and over into the other tank. Whatever his tactics, he got his wish and you can now view him in his favorite hangout, by the Reef Theater window.

There's so much to see and do at the Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium, so make sure to visit their website ( for the latest exhibits and events. And if you're planning on visiting, check out the details below. ;)

Location: the city side of Darling Harbor

Opening Hours: Open 365 days a year

Normal hours are 9am 'til 8pm daily

Last entries are STRICTLY 7PM

Christmas Day: Close at 5pm and last entries are 4pm

New Years Day: Close at 6pm and last entries are 5pm

Pricing: save by buying online, as the online price is always cheaper than the "walk up price." Click on the link for the latest ticket prices.

Sources: all information directly from the Sydney SEA LIFE Aquarium website []. Photos from the SEA LIFE Aquarium Facebook page.

Post by Anis Salvesen