For intrepid explorers keen to learn the history and provenance of one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Junior Adventure Tour is a must do experience. The tours kick off next to the Opera House shop which is located just past the Opera Bar.
Be prepared for lots of stair climbing and walking so visit the cloakroom when you arrive and let them store the things you’d rather not carry around with you for the hour.
Your Junior Adventure Tour begins with a pose against the Opera House green screen. This will later translate into a souvenir booklet of you composited against a variety of cool backgrounds. At $50 it’s your prerogative as to whether you choose to purchase it at the end of your tour.
Let me be your Guide
Time to assemble at the Junior Adventure Meeting Point, located right outside the shop. Here is where you meet your fabulous tour guide, who is hopefully as awesome as Suanne, the charismatic mum of three who took us under her wing this morning! Your tour guide will kit out the Junior adventurers with yellow jackets so they’re easy to spot and then off you go.
The beauty of this tour is that it is designed for kids. Your tour guide will share interesting tidbits of trivia throughout your time together, starting with the name of the architect responsible for creating this architectural beacon. Set against the equally iconic backdrop of Sydney Harbour and its famous bridge, this is a tour like no other.
Get ready to Yawn (Jorn) and put your Boots on (Utzon)!
A Look Inside
With numerous theatrical venues located within the Sydney Opera House, all cleverly designed to host the diversity of productions held at the Opera House each year; your tour guide will take you into one of the smaller theatres as the first stop on your tour. Getting the opportunity to take a look inside the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse, the Studio or the Utzon Room will give you a wonderful flavour of the rich programme available at this magnificent venue. Photography is often prohibited at this point due to licensing restrictions of any productions that are underway. From dress rehearsals to theatre sets, what you get a glimpse of will depend on whatever’s on at the time.
We got a look at the fabulous set of “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist” currently playing in the Drama Theatre. Seating 500 patrons, our Junior Adventurers had the chance to test their powers of vocal projection as this particular venue doesn’t incorporate the use of microphones.
Playing Dress Ups
Here comes the stair climb up to the mezzanine. Before you enter you’ll get to savour the view of the Harbour Bridge across from the House and a rather magical reflection too; just another example of Utzon’s incredible architectural genius.
Then it’s time for mine and Denny’s favourite part of the tour, dressing up. Entering the mezzanine level, you will he met with rails of past costumes worn by Opera House thespians. Victorian collars, knightly helmets and ballerina’s tutus are all up for grabs as parents play audience and your tour guide directs a bit of drama play. This is a great photo op too.
Then it’s time for a little sit down with a video about the history of how the Sydney Opera House came into being. Pay attention because your tour guide will test you on the trivia you picked up from the short film and there’s a Junior Adventure badge in it for your young explorers!
Did You Know
As you wander through the halls and levels of this incredible building, you will learn extraordinary facts about its make-up. Looking at the sails through the mezzanine window, our tour guide quizzed us as to why Utzon used a combination of white and cream tiles. All white would be blinding under the rays of the Australian sun of course!
The Concert Hall
A feature of every Junior Adventure Tour and the grand finale, is the Concert Hall, where the likes of Ed Sheeran, Paloma Faith and The Wiggles have all performed. Every time I enter this amazing space I learn something new about its design, from the different wood types of its interior to the donut shapes hanging from the ceiling which create an acoustic cloud (a false ceiling) depending on the type of event playing in the hall.
The Junior adventurers are given their own chance to test the complementary acoustic surrounds and today our group gave a sweet rendition of Australia Fare.
As the tour comes to a close; more trivia is imparted, this time about the iconic architectural assembly of the building. Inviting the youngsters to touch the “concrete ribs” that preside along the staircase beside the concert hall, today we learned that they were designed to hold up the ‘orange peel’ sails of the Opera House, which were completed in 1966 before work on the interior had even begun.
All adventurers are presented with a certificate at the culmination of the tour, a lovely memento to remember their day. Today’s tour marked a hat trick for my little Hines and I (though we were down one little) and each time, we learn something new and are left with wonderful memories of an enriching cultural experience.
To book your tour, click here.
Note: Tours run during school holidays.
What you need to know:
What: Junior Adventure Tour
Who: Children (must be accompanied by an adult)
Dates: 29 September – 14 October
Cost: $22 per child
Duration: 1 hour
Facilities: There are toilets located near the Opera Bar and I would advise going before the tour as you won’t have an opportunity once it’s underway. (That’s not to say that if your little has a sudden bathroom urge you can’t act on it, but if you don’t want to miss anything try and get them to go before.)
Getting There: Circular Quay is your closest point for public transport options, serviced by bus, train and ferry. If you choose to drive, there is adequate parking in the Sydney Opera House car park and during the school holiday period there is a flat rate of $21.00. Book online with Book a Bay to access the best parking rates.
Please note: Bags larger than a standard handbag will need to be cloaked on arrival and may be subject to a search before being cloaked. It is not possible to store suitcases or large backpacks within the Sydney Opera House cloaking facilities. Please arrive 15 minutes early in order to allow sufficient time for this to occur before your tour.