Back at Darling Harbour, today we walked through Wildlife Sydney, a small animal attraction that serves to give tourists a taste of Australian wildlife without actually having to leave the city. We were impressed with the variety of animals and reptiles on show and loved the experience of getting so close to some of Australia’s creatures.

Earlier this month, we invested in an annual family pass to a number of attractions across Sydney. For our family, it worked out cheaper than paying for a single entry to one attraction. This is how we’ve been able to visit so many tourist attractions while in Sydney, including the Sydney Aquarium, Oceanworld, Sydney Tower, and Wildlife Sydney.

Our girls patting a cat, January 2012
There are a number of cats resident in the apartments where we've been parking, and some of the friendlier ones are happy to greet our girls in the morning.

Ladder against an apartment, January 2012
Before we head into the city, we help out a local resident who has locked herself out of her unit. We lend her and her friends a ladder so they can access her balcony and climb in. (I've been wondering why we carry a ladder around on the roof of our truck — now I know!)

Entering the city and travelling to Darling Harbour is still fun for our family. The familiarity of some of the landmarks as we go to the train station, ride the escalators and wait for our stop, I can see the growth of the excitement for the day’s outing.

Cherries and footprints in Redfern, January 2012
On the way to Redfern train station, our girls love walking past this local landmark — decorated with cherries and footprints. This building's façade is an homage to Kevin Gilbert's 1968 play The Cherry Pickers which is considered to be the first play to be written by an Aboriginal author.

Darling Harbour, January 2012
It's a glorious day to be visiting the city, and a huge, beautiful cruise ship is docked nearby at Circular Quay.

Brioni on David's shoulders, January 2012
David carries Brioni around on his shoulders as we pass the animal exhibits.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
There's a duck in there... and Delaney and Calista are less than a foot away from it, separated by glass.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Koalas are on close display and are active in the early evening, including a number of cute baby ones.

Delaney and a snake, January 2012
There are a large number of snakes on display, and they're easy to spot in their glass enclosures. Most of the animals are really easy to spot, which makes a nice change from find-the-well-camouflaged-animal exhibits we've seen recently.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Calista and a very plump kookaburra stare each other down. I think the bird flinched first.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Delaney watches the sleeping wombat. Despite their rotund shape and wobbly gait, wombats can run as fast as Olympic athletes at speeds of up to 40kph (25mph).

A cassowary, while visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Getting close to a cassowary is pretty special. It's the male that incubates the eggs — the females lay eggs in the nests of several males.

Kangaroos while visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
These big grey kangaroos are pretty comfortable in their enclosure. There's a door that allows us to go into their pen where we can get even closer.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
A string of young emus wander around freely as David chats to staff member Brina about her experiences at the centre.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
This five-metre crocodile is aptly named Rex and remains a staunch bachelor. The last couple of attempts to find him a mate have ended with the death of the female!

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Throughout the animal exhibits, interactive screens offer short games or informative movies.

Visiting Wildlife Sydney, January 2012
Even a bilby is on display at Wildlife Sydney! The bilby is the closest thing Australia has to a rabbit or hare, but it sports a long, pointed nose, a long tail, and the female keeps her young in a pouch.

Calista dancing, January 2012
Outside on the boardwalk, Calista dances amongst the other pedestrians.

We had such a good time looking at the animals that we decided to visit the aquarium that is just next door. The last time we visited the aquarium, it was too crowded for our comfort, and today we felt much more comfortable as we walked past most of the tanks and straight to the dugong pool.

Aisha with a large Lego man, January 2012
Large Lego exhibits are on display throughout the aquarium as Lego ramps up its local marketing attempts.

Dugong, January 2012
This aquarium is home to the only captive dugongs in Australia, and presently there are fewer than five long-term captive dugongs in the whole world.

Face on a fish, January 2012
I really liked the friendly "face" of this fish. It reminds me a bit of Jabba the Hut.

Smalltooth sawfish, January 2012
The face belongs to the smalltooth sawfish which uses electroreceptors on its snout to detect its prey.

I’m glad we have annual passes to both these attractions. We’ve had a good time looking at the animals and just need to time our visits for non-peak periods if we want to miss the crowds. The girls are learning so much about animals, as are we — which makes for a great family outing!