Explore the South Australian Museum | Review

South Australian Museum – Review

by Sharon Harrington

The South Australian Museum on North Terrace in the City is FREE to visit and filled with displays that will engage and enchant the little people in your life.

SA Museum

The fun starts as soon as you walk into the Museum. A dinosaur skeleton poised to attack is perched above the customer service desk and a robotic dinosaur roars much to the delight of the children.

With five floors of exhibits, there is so much to see it can be hard to know where to start!

Not knowing what would be of interest to our five and seven year olds, we decided to follow the suggestion of the staff to visit World Mammals, Giant Squid and then have a wander to see what else might interest them.

There really is so much to see, you could spend several hours there and not see it all.

Here are some of our highlights:

World Mammals

The World Mammals section is a children’s paradise, with every mammal you can think of stuffed and on display. It is a great companion visit to the zoo, as you can really see all the animals up close in a way often not possible at the zoo.

You can stand eye to eye with a lion, tiger or screeching monkey. A massive elephant looms in the background. Children have the chance to see the mole, badger and stoats made famous by English storybook the Wind in the Willows. The nocturnal Fennec Foxes are bright eyed and wide-awake rather than snoozing like those during our daytime visits to the zoo.

The Giant Squid 

The Giant Squid is a must see at the Museum! This 11 metre long model of a giant squid is located in an old lift shaft that spans four floors. It is based on the largest squid ever recorded.

On each floor you can take a peek at part of the squid and all the other life sized sea creatures that are floating nearby. Interactive screens provide details of names and information about each creature. At the top, you get a true sense of the size of this wonderous creature.

Ancient Egypt

This small room contains an array of fascinating pieces! Wooden coffins and real life mummies are on display here along with a stone tablet etched with hieroglyphics and statues of the era.

Australian Polar Collections

The highlight of this section was the Icewall where you can feel just how cold the ice is for yourself!

South Australian Biodiversity Gallery

This section rivalled the World Mammals for favourite section with the kids, as they loved seeing native animals up close. The dioramas are also much more detailed in this section and have interactive screens to provide information on each animal.

Minerals and Meteorites & Ediacaran Fossils

The Minerals By Colour collection was a big hit, as was the wall showing minerals discovered at Wallaroo and Moonta Mines where we visited recently on holiday.

The Ediacaran Fossils area also held the kid’s attention for much longer than I would have expected.

Pacific Cultures

The kids loved the Moana-esque life sized canoe and massive model of a New Guinea Dwelling.

Australian Aboriginal Cultures

This section has so many remarkable objects to draw the kids’ attention to like boomerangs, stringybark sleeping mats (try these on your next camping trip!), chaplets (feather crowns), burial poles and shields.

School Holiday Activities

During our visit in the April 2022 school holidays, the kids also had the opportunity to join in on a weaving workshop. This took half an hour or so and the kids loved making their own little weaves, which will now be little designer rugs for their family of toy mice. Check the SA Museum website for any future holiday activities that are on offer.

Events & Exhibitions

The Events page of the website shows their calendar of changing exhibitions and events.

Some regular events at the Museum kids will love include:

Museum Café

There is a café on site if you feel like a coffee or meal after a big day out at the Museum.

Great City Location

The museum is located in the city on North Terrace in between the Art Gallery and State Library and is a short walk to Rundle Mall and the Botanic Gardens.

Paid parking nearby is plentiful and it is also easily accessible by public transport.

The South Australian Museum is a great day out with the kids, and they’ll even learn a few things while they are there. We’ll be back for another visit soon!

Discover The Shadow Initiation at the SA Museum

Opening Hours:

  • Open daily 10am to 5pm
  • Anzac Day 12pm to 5pm
  • Closed Christmas Day & Good Friday



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For more information and all enquiries please visit the SA Museum website.

All photos by Sharon Harrington for Play & Go Adelaide 

As per all our Play & Go reviews, this is not a sponsored post and our review is done completely independently. 

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.


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