family on beach at sunset

Top 10 Family Attractions In Adelaide

2 February 2017
Read Time: 4.3 mins

Adelaide is known as the City of Churches, but there’s much more to see in South Australia’s capital than houses of worship and wineries. The city has a rich history dating back to 1836 and the state’s residents are rightly proud of their free settler heritage – no convicts were ever transported to South Australia.

There’s no shortage of attractions in Adelaide, and here are 10 suggestions for something the whole family can enjoy.

australian sea lion in water at adelaide zoo The kids will love the playful sea lions at Adelaide Zoo.

1. Adelaide Zoo

This is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, and with good reason – its home to Wang Wang and Fu Ni, the only breeding pair of Panda Bears in Australia. Besides the lovable Pandas, there are more than 2500 species at the zoo including tigers, hippos, birds of prey, orang-utans, meerkats and a Malayan sun bear. There’s nothing quite like a day at the zoo for the family, so it’s easy to see why so many set aside one to visit this attraction.

2. Adelaide Gaol

While South Australia may not have had any convict settlers, there were still miscreants among the free settlers, necessitating a prison. As one of the oldest Colonial-era buildings in the city, the gaol – built in 1841 – is a popular tourist attraction and as, unsurprisingly, reputed to be haunted. As well as tours of the gaol, there is also an archaeological dig on site.

3. National Railway Museum

Located in Port Adelaide, the national railway museum is a must-see for trainspotters of all ages. It’s the largest rail museum in Australia and has more than 100 exhibits including steam engines, diesel locomotives, railcars, hand carts, signalling levers, a range of displays, and a large model railway display.

tram moving fast past modern buildings in adelaide Ride the tram to Glenelg for a day at the beach.

4. Ride the Glenelg Tram

Adelaide’s only remaining tramway runs between the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, through the CBD and on to the popular seaside suburb of Glenelg. The 15km trip is an ideal way to enjoy a seaside journey at a leisurely pace. While most of the trams on the route are of modern construction, heritage trams originally built in the 1920s still run on some weekends and public holidays as well.

5. Fort Glanville

One of the best preserved Colonial-era forts in Australia; Fort Glanville was built between 1878 and 1882 to guard Adelaide from foreign threats. Decommissioned and largely abandoned after 1903, the fort was eventually restored from the 1980s and now features a range of exhibits, re-enactments and displays – including functioning cannon, which are fired as part of special demonstrations. As a bonus, there is also a 2km miniature railway line running from Semaphore Beach to the fort, with steam trains operating on summer weekends and during public holidays.

The Migration Museum is well worth a visit for the history of Adelaide. (Image: Migration Museum)

6. Migration Museum

The history of South Australia is a state built on migration and the Migration Museum, located near the University of Adelaide, tells the story of those who have come from across the sea to make the city their home. A range of exhibits highlight the stories of the colony’s British founders and those arriving from far off lands, including the first printing press in South Australia, a collection of tobacco pipes, fans and international costumes .

7. The Beachhouse

Appropriately located on the waterfront in the seaside suburb of Glenelg, the Beachhouse is a five-storey high entertainment complex featuring a range of attractions including dodgem cars, bumper boats, a ferris wheel, waterslides, a carousel and a miniature train. There is also an 18-hole minigolf course as well as a large play castle too. 

the elder wing at the art gallery of south australia The Art Gallery of South Australia is the second largest in the country, with more than 38,000 items on display. (Image: Art Gallery of South Australia)

8. Art Gallery of South Australia

South Australia is well known for its culture and festivals, and one of the best-known places to experience some of this is at the state’s art gallery in Adelaide. With more than 38,000 items in its collection, it is the country’s second largest art gallery after the National Gallery of Victoria and has a number of Aboriginal, Colonial, Japanese and pre-Raphaelite artworks in its collection as well.

9. St Peters Cathedral

One of the impressive churches found throughout the city, St Peters Cathedral is a city landmark, located near the Adelaide Oval. Built in [], the Anglican cathedral is famed for its twin spires, a magnificent oval stained glass window, stunning interior and large organ. The cathedral’s bells are also a familiar sound in the area, with the church also holding regular worship and wedding services as well as music recitals.

front gate arch of himeji japanese gardens in adelaide Explore the serene Himehi Japanese gardens, where water-based Lake and Mountain Garden styles blend with the Dry Garden style, incorporating rocks and sand.

10. Himeji Garden

Established in 1982 as a gift from Adelaide’s sister city in Japan, Himeji, these traditional Japanese-style gardens blends the water-based Lake and Mountain Garden style with the Dry Garden style, incorporating rocks and sand to create attractive vistas.

Some of the features in the garden include a traditional teahouse, a well, a deer-scarer and perspective stones.

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