Skip to Content

Why you’ll love the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre

Looking for a low-cost, high-interaction, fun and educational activity on the Central Coast?  We found a hidden gem in Terrigal over the holidays.  It was a wet week and we needed an activity that was indoors, interactive, inexpensive and would entertain our four kids (aged 4-10) for a few hours. 

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre (CCMDC) was even better than we had hoped!

Get up close with marine creatures in the touch tank! Credit: Louise Ball

This educational, interactive and fun marine research and education centre is a collaboration of local council, tourism and environmental education bodies to raise awareness about the marine habitats of the central coast.  As well as an educational tourist attraction, the CCMDC also caters to school excursions, offers local coastal marine discovery tours and runs its own research activities in the local region. The centre offers an on-site cafe and is located beside Terrigal Rotary Park and playground and adjacent to Terrigal Lagoon.  The CCMDC is regularly changing and is generally open on long weekends and in school holidays.  

There’s lots to explore – activities make it even more fun! Credit: Louise Ball

The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre is carefully crafted to offer something for all ages.  My preschooler loved looking at all the marine life in the tanks, especially the shark, starfish and sea anemone.  My 6 year old loved the touch tank and learning about the magic floating rocks washed up on Terrigal beach (pumice stone from a volcano in New Zealand).  My 8 year old loved figuring out how the ‘olden days’ SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) equipment worked.  While my 10 year old loved learning about how Port Jackson sharks lay eggs, while other sharks birth live young and other sharks’ young hatch inside the mum’s uterus and mature there before being birthed. 

All the kids loved watching the entertaining educators feed the marine life, including fish, octopus, starfish, sea anemones.  Finally, they were given the maps for the CCMDC Treasure Hunt, which took them back to each area in the centre and ended with a prize from the pirate treasure box!

A great way to learn lots and get involved. Credit: Louise Ball

Central Coast Discovery Centre – The details

At $6 per person for a 90 minute experience with pirate treasure included, and only 90 minutes from Sydney, we highly recommend you add this one to your future holiday activity list.  Why not make a day of it?  Terrigal Beach is only 5 minutes from the CCMDC and offers great lunch options.  In warmer weather Terrigal Beach and Terrigal Lagoon offer all varieties of water play.  Terrigal Headland offers spectacular lookouts and short walks, as well as a few more cafes and restaurants.  Or head a few minutes further north to the Entrance where the kids can get involved in Pelican Feeding and in warmer months play in the nearby foreshore splash park, Vera’s Water Garden.

For additional details and to check opening hours of the Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre and its cafe, as well as current COVID measures, check out their website.


Call of the wild – top Aussie animal encounters

28 best family weekend activities in NSW

* Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links provided, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work we put into!