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SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium | What’s Inside, History, Biodiversity & More

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a conservatory and aquarium located in Sydney with over 700 species and 13,000 animals! The aquarium features a large walk-through tunnel with sharks and realistic recreation...

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1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia



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The aquarium's design reflects the movement of a wave, a subtle nod to its aquatic focus. It took nearly two years to construct this building.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium utilizes innovative filtration systems that return clean water back into Darling Harbour, effectively creating a mini marine sanctuary within the city.

As you walk through the aquarium, take a peek down! Special viewing windows allow you to see the bustling world of marine life beneath the walkways.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a popular tourist attraction located in Darling Harbour, Sydney. It is home to over 13,000 marine animals ranging from sharks to rays and sea turtles to penguins. What makes this attraction special is its focus on conservation and education, offering visitors the opportunity to learn about marine life and the conservation efforts. 

Read on to learn more about the aquarium, what makes it special, and the different species that thrive here.

SEA LIFE Sydney - Quick Facts

  • Official name: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
  • Address: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia
  • Date of opening: 1988
  • Number of visitors per year: Over 1.2 million
  • Collection size: Over 13,000 marine animals from 700 different species
  • Largest Tank Vol: 2 million litres

What is SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?


Housing more than 13,000 marine animals and 700 different species, SEA LIFE Aquarium is home to marvellous aquatic animals like sharks, rays, penguins, seahorses, jellyfish, and turtles. The aquarium is divided into various zones and exhibits like the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, the Shark Valley, and the Penguin expedition, allowing you to learn more about these species in their own habitats.

The SEA LIFE Aquarium works towards inspiring visitors to connect with the ocean and its inhabitants and educate them about the importance of marine conservation. It also runs conservation and research programs, including marine rescue and rehabilitation, breeding programs, and coral reef conservation.

Established in 1988, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has become a significant part of the city's tourist landscape, attracting millions of visitors every year. Its unique focus on marine conservation and education makes it stand out among other aquariums worldwide.

Why is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium So Famous?

  • Extremely popular: With over 1.2 million visitors annually, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is one of Australia's biggest and most popular aquariums.
  • Coral reef replica: A must-see attraction is the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, a replica of the world's largest coral reef system, which draws visitors from all over.
  • Observe penguins: The Penguin Expedition ride, which transports visitors through an Antarctic landscape to observe King and Gentoo penguins up close, is a one-of-a-kind and well-liked attraction.
  • Shark tour: The Shark Walk tour allows visitors to walk on a glass platform above the aquarium's shark tank and observe these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Learning programs: Conservation and research programs that allow visitors to learn about marine rescue and rehabilitation, breeding programs, and coral reef conservation efforts.

SEA LIFE Sydney Opening Hours

General Opening Hours In 2023

  • Apr 7-25, Jul 1-16, Sep 23 - Oct 8, Dec 20-31: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Apr 26 - Jun 30, Jul 17 - Sep 22, Oct 9 - Dec 19: 10 AM to 5:00 PM

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Location

History of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a well-known attraction with a rich history that began with its construction in the early 1990s. The aquarium was designed to resemble a wave and took nearly two years to build. In December 1991, the Seal Sanctuary was opened, which showcased Australian sea lions, Australian fur seals, subantarctic fur seals, and New Zealand fur seals. 

In 1998, the Great Barrier Reef complex was opened, which houses over 6,000 animals today in a 2.6 million-litre oceanarium. In 2008, the seals of the seal sanctuary were sent away to an oceanarium in Gold Coast, which was then renovated and repopulated with seals after renaming it Dugong Island.

Over the years, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has continued to evolve, with new exhibits and experiences being added. In 2012, the aquarium underwent a refurbishment worth $10 million and was rebranded as a SEA LIFE Centre.

Nature & Biodiversity of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium


SEA LIFE Aquarium is home to over 13,000 marine animals from over 700 different species, making it a diverse and fascinating attraction. Visitors can see an array of exotic and beautiful creatures, including sharks, rays, sea turtles, jellyfish, octopuses, and many different species of fish. 

The aquarium also has a focus on conservation and education, with many exhibits and interactive experiences that help visitors learn about marine life and the importance of protecting the oceans. 

The Great Barrier Reef exhibit is a highlight of the aquarium and features a wide variety of coral species, as well as many different fish and other marine creatures that can be found in this unique and beautiful ecosystem.

What’s Inside SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?


Day and Night on the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef exhibit at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a must-visit for anyone interested in marine life. This zone offers visitors a chance to experience a mini-version of the aquatic ecosystem found in the Great Barrier Reef. 

State-of-the-art technology has been incorporated to provide visitors with an immersive and interactive experience. This exhibit features a vivid display of over 500 sea creatures from the Great Barrier Reef, all housed in a massive 1.7 million litre display.


South Coast Shipwreck

The South Coast Shipwreck zone of the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is home to the Little Penguins. Watch these cute creatures slide, swim, and waddle around right in front of you. Meet the penguin crew including Mr Black, Spinner, and Raptor, who are considered the Kardashians of the colony. 

With the help of the informative staff, learn more about these charismatic animals and their behaviour. You can also explore the exhibit's interactive features and displays to gain a deeper understanding of these penguins and their habitat.


Penguin Expedition

Housing Sydney's only sub-Antarctic penguin colony, you get to witness penguins as they waddle and swim in their unique display. The design of this penguin exhibit is inspired by Macquarie Island, which is home to the King and Gentoo Penguins. 

You get to view penguins in their natural habitat and also learn about the impacts of pollution on the natural habitats of these species.


Shark Valley

Experience the thrill of getting up close to a shark at the Shark Valley exhibit. This immersive exhibit allows guests to come face-to-face with some of the world's largest aquarium sharks, including the impressive Grey Nurse Sharks. 

As you walk through the exhibit, you will be surrounded by fascinating marine creatures like the Sandbar Whaler Sharks, Port Jackson Sharks, and the Blacktip Reef Sharks.


Sydney Harbour

The Sydney Harbour exhibit at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium showcases the marine species that are native to one of the world's most iconic harbours. Discover the beauty of the underwater world and observe water dragons, lionfish, boxfish, old wives, and many other aquatic animals. 

With the help of the interactive displays and informative staff, learn about the role these species play in maintaining the delicate balance of the harbour's ecosystem.


Jurassic Seas

The Jurassic Seas exhibit at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium takes you on a journey through the deep depths of the ocean, where life began. This zone provides an opportunity to witness the evolution of life by exploring the weird and wonderful living fossils. 

Discover fascinating creatures like octopus, lungfish, hagfish, and mudskipper in this inspiring zone. With informative displays and interactive features, learn about the habitat, behaviour, and unique features of these fascinating creatures.


Dugong Island

One of the most popular exhibits at the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is the Dugong Island that offers you a unique opportunity to meet and interact with the famous Pig, a dugong that has become a crowd favourite. Visitors can walk through a tunnel as Pig swims around them, providing an unforgettable experience. 

In addition to Pig, there are other sea creatures to discover, including White Spotted Eagle Rays, Bamboo Sharks, and dozens of different species of fish.

Frequently Asked Questions About SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

What is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

Located in Sydney, SEA LIFE Aquarium is an interactive and educational aquarium that brings you closer to the marine life of Australia. More than 700 species and 13,000 different types of fish and marine animals, SEA LIFE Aquarium is one of Sydney’s most popular attractions inviting people from all over the world. 

Where is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium located?

The SEA LIFE Aquarium is located at 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia. Find on Maps

What is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium famous for?

Apart from its various educational programs, SEA LIFE Aquarium is quite popular for the different varieties of penguins, seals and sharks it houses. You get to view these marvellous animals living in their natural habitats and also learn about how to protect and conserve them.

Why should I visit SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

SEA LIFE Aquarium provides a unique opportunity to experience marine life up close and learn about the importance of ocean conservation. You get to view little penguins’ waddles, sharks swimming through the reefs, and even meet its famous dugong Pig. 

How do I book tickets to visit SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

You can easily book tickets to SEA LIFE Aquarium online. We recommend that you book these tickets in advance as the venue tends to get crowded.

How much does it cost to visit the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

The prices for SEA LIFE Aquarium tickets start from A$40.80.

When did the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium open?

SEA LIFE Aquarium opened in 1988 as Sydney Aquarium and was rebranded as SEA LIFE Aquarium in 2012.

What’s inside the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

With a variety of exhibits, SEA LIFE Aquarium houses 13,000 different marine animals, including sharks, seals, penguins, rays, turtles, reef fish, and much more. There are 9 interactive exhibits that showcase various marine animals in their habitat, showing you the specialties of each species. 

What are the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium opening hours?

The general opening hours of SEA LIFE Aquarium is 9:30 AM to 5 PM or 10 AM to 5 PM, with the last entry being at 4 PM. These timings vary based on the dates, so we suggest that you always check the timings before you plan your visit.

Why is the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium important?

SEA LIFE Aquarium works towards spreading awareness about the importance of marine life and how it affects the entire planet’s ecosystem. With many species being endangered or close to being extinct, SEA LIFE Aquarium does its part with educational and interactive programs about these beautiful creatures.

Is it worth visiting the SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium?

SEA LIFE Aquarium can be considered one of the premium attractions of Sydney, attracting more than half of its visitors from overseas. With carefully curated interactive programs, not only do you get to learn about these fascinating creatures, but also make some wonderful memories from your holiday.