Are you thinking about booking a Private Dining experience at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, but want to know more? Here are all your questions answered …
The experience includes a self-guided tour, three course dinner, drinks & intimate dinner locations set up in SEA LIFE Sydney’s Day and Night on the Reef zone. This amazing Oceanarium will mesmerise you as hundreds of fish, turtles, sharks and sawfish cruise the reef before your eyes.
- 45 Minute exclusive after hours aquarium tour
- Cocktail on arrival of your choice of Espresso Martini, Margarita or Negroni
- Selection of breads & olives for starters
- Scrumptious main course (set menu)
- Shared treats platter for dessert
- 2 hour Premium beverage package; including Sparkling, white & red wine, house beers, soft drinks
- Memorable dining experience in your chosen zone
Answering Your Questions.
It’s understandable, when you are spending $450+ on a dinner, you want to know the details, and you want to make sure your money will be well spent. So we’ve compiled the answers to all our most common questions. This is the definitive guide to Private Dining at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.
Is the experience completely private?
Each night has 6 dining options, each in a unique location around our Day and Night on the Reef exhibit. All 6 couples are invited to arrive at the same time to explore the aquarium after hours, so whilst this element is not completely private you are only sharing the attraction with a handful of other adults (sorry, no kids aloud), it’s easy to jump ahead or hang back if you’d prefer to experience it alone.
Once you reach Day & Night on the Reef the dining host will take each couple to their booked location, where you will enjoy a 2hr dining experience, with a 3 course meal and 2hrs drinks package included. Whilst there are other couples dining in the area, each location is visually private, you may see other guests throughout the evening, but once seated we do ask guests to be respectful of other couples and remain within their booked location.
What is the best dining location?
This is our most commonly asked question. The simple answer is that they are all great, and no matter which dining location you book you will have a magical experience and you will see some amazing creatures.
Of course some locations are more popular than others, but they each have their own highlights. So here is a detailed description of what to expect.
- Heart of the Reef – one of the 2 most popular locations, Heart of the Reef has instant WOW factor, as you turn the corner catching the first glimpse of your private dining set up it is instantly obvious why this location is always sold out! Your dinner table is set in a 360° Glass tunnel. This means fish, sharks, sawfish, turtles (and more) will not only swim past you, but they will also cruise above and below you. This is the definition of floor-to-ceiling viewing!
- Turtle Beach – the second of our 2 most popular spots, Turtle Beach is the final window into our Day & Night on the Reef Exhibit. It may not have the 360° viewing that Heart of the Reef offers, but the instant WOW is still there. Your dining table will be set under a glowing wave, frozen in time. The view here showcases the full depth of the Oceanarium.
- Glowing World of Jellies – This one is for the Jelly lovers! It is the only dining location which does not have viewing into the main Reef tank, however it is still just as magical. You won’t see sharks or turtles swim past you, so if that’s what you’re looking for then this isn’t the spot for you. Your dinner will be set amongst a series of illuminated pillar tanks each home to mesmerising Sea Jellies. Glowing World of Jellies is just that, the mirrored walls to this zone give the illusion of being in in an infinite sea of pulsing jellies.
- Rainbow Reef – Rainbow Reef consists of a row of 5 large windows (each approx. 2m x 3m) each offering an amazing view into the brighter areas of the Oceanarium. With the dining table set up close to one of the viewing windows, you will be able to witness the full spectrum of colour and creatures that call the Oceanarium home. These windows may not match the scale of some of the other locations, but they are considered some of the best locations to spot our turtles!
- Reef at Night – Full disclosure the Reef at Night viewing windows do have a tinted film on them, this is to create the darker ambience of the night time zones. But rest assured, this is still a phenomenal place to enjoy private dining. This viewing window is unmatched in length (7+ meters), and is (almost) floor to ceiling. And the darker zone means more romantic ambience for you and your date!
- Moonlight Beach – Full disclosure, much like Reef at Night, the viewing window in Moonlight Beach does have a tinted film, this is to create the darker ambience of the night time zones. Moonlight beach does have a smaller window than the rest; however what the window lacks in sizes is made up for by the rest of the surrounds. The table is set against one of three 1 meter wide floor to ceiling windows (one of the favourite hangout spots for Myrtle the Turtle) under neon UV lights, a tank of glowing corals and lion fish is next to you, and you’ll be able to watch the waves lapping on our digital Moonlight Beach, which will glow underfoot as you stroll across it.
What days can I book? Why isn’t the date I want available?
Private Dining is one of many after-hours experiences SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium offers, including special events, corporate bookings, SEA LIFE Trust events and much more. Many dates cannot be made available for private dinners due to these other experience. Each Wednesday at 11am we put any available dates on sale for the following 2 weeks. We cannot provide availability further in advance than this.
Can we skip the 45min Aquarium tour at the start & go straight to the dinner?
So, firstly and most importantly, we do not recommend this! The experience starts as soon as you walk in. Without the day time crowds, and with cocktail in hand the chance to visit the aquarium after dark really is a huge part of this experience. It can feel surreal to be wandering alone through the tunnels of Shark Valley, as Grey Nurse Sharks swim above and no screaming kids running past you. And with no crowds, you can take your time, snap those all-important insta pics, and really take in all the aquarium has to offer.
If despite this you still want to skip the tour, then there are a few things you need to know. Guests are asked to arrive at 6.15pm, from 6.15pm – 7pm the full aquarium is open for guests to explore prior to arriving at the dining location. Dinner is served between 7pm – 9pm. If you choose to skip the tour you will not be able to access the dining location prior to 7pm, you will forgo this 45mins of the experience.
What if I am running late?
We do ask for everyone to arrive at 6.15pm sharp. If you are 5 mins late that is not a problem, however if you arrive later than 6.20pm you may have to wait for someone to come and let you into the aquarium, as the hosts will be setting up for dinner and may not be able to get to you immediately.
If you arrive late you may also need to skip certain areas of the tour (which as you have ready above we do not suggest), both to ensure you arrive at your private dining location in time for meal service, but also because our animals in some of the earlier rooms do have earlier “bed” times and cannot be disturbed.
Our suggestion is - aim to arrive early, there are many local bars where you can pass 15 mins easily, or you can simply take a little extra time to enjoy views of the harbour.
I am planning to propose?
We LOVE love and are always excited when there is a proposal during the private dining experience. If you’re planning a classically simple proposal, you are welcome to drop to one knee anytime you like over the course of your experience, there isn’t a necessity to give us the heads up. However if you would like to arrange something special, or would like us to help capture the moment please let us know your plans in advance, so we can help make the moment perfect. Simply call the team on 02 9333 9245 (Mon-Fri) and let us know your plans.
Can I arrange my own table setting or additional decorations?
There is no need at all to arrange your own decorations, the tables a set simply and elegantly and the Aquarium backdrop is all the decoration you need. However if you have your heart set on something special we will do our best to accommodate. We have a number of restrictions regarding access, approved decorations and themeing, so please get in touch with the team before you book to run us through your plans as some dates and locations have more flexibility than others. Please Note: Balloons are never permitted.
Can I book for more than 2 people?
Absolutely! Private dining is perfect for a small celebration dinner, or even just a friends & family night out. Our Heart of the Reef & Turtle Beach locations are each able to host dinners of up to 6 guests as part of this experience. Please Note: Private dining at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is strictly an 18+ experience; we do not permit children or babies.
If your group is larger that is ok too, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium can host larger dinners of up to 120 guests, so if you’re looking for a larger group get in touch with the team today.
What food is served? Can you cater to dietary requirements?
The experience includes a 3 course meal. A light bread and olives share platter for your starter followed by a delicious main meal & shared platter of tasty desserts. You can view our current menu here, please note the menu is subject to change without notice as our chef aims to ensure we are providing the best available produce!
The menu is a set menu, with shared entrée and dessert and an alternate drop for the main course (meaning you will get one selection, whilst your guest has the other) we aim to cater to all dietary requests, please contact us with any requirements prior to confirmation of your booking.
Unfortunately any requests made on the night may not be able to be accommodated.
I saw private dining on a social media account I follow, and they had pictures eating in multiple locations, is this something I can do too?
We love our private dining experience, and we know our guests do too, but many people don’t even know it is possible. So at times we invite influencers in, and often we allow them to experience a different zone with each course, this means you get to see what the different locations are really like through their posts and stories (some of which you can still see on the @Merlinevents Instagram as a story highlight). Other than moving locations between each course all other elements and inclusions of their experience is exactly the same as yours will be!
Sadly this is not something we offer as it requires 3 locations to be booked, of course if you have your heart set on this get in touch with the team, and we’ll see what we can do… but be prepared to pay extra.
Book your SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Private Dining Experience Here!
Contact the team today!
02 9333 9245