When it comes to family vacations a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring that everyone actually has a good time. If you are planning a trip to Australia, it certainly helps to do your research in advance, and try not to do everything at once. We’ve asked Jaz of the Great Ocean Road Collective to share the best things to do in Melbourne with kids. Check out the items below to help create the perfect Australia itinerary and memories that will last a lifetime.
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What to do in Melbourne with kids
Melbourne for the Educational Explorers
The Melbourne Museum
Melbourne offers no shortage of museums and galleries, many of which are kid friendly. The Melbourne Museum covers Victoria’s history from dinosaurs to present day. Entry for students and children is free, and a constantly changing roster of temporary exhibitions and classes means there’s always something new to see.
Alternatively, check out Scienceworks for a fully hands on STEM experience. Kids ages 6 to 12 will have a blast at the air playground and the whole family will love the planetarium and the lightning room. The kids will be enthralled by the interactive exhibits and you’ll feel like a superhero for sneaking a little “education” into the family holiday.
Melbourne for Animal Lovers
If you have a future veterinarian in tow look no further than the Melbourne Zoo, where you can have a go at spotting creatures from around Australia and beyond. In addition to being the oldest zoo in Australia, the Melbourne Zoo prides itself on its conservation efforts, including being the world’s first carbon neutral zoo. And a bonus, children enter free of charge on weekends and holidays.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
If you have young children who prefer hands-on activities or if farm animals are just more your speed visit the Collingwood Children’s Farm. Guinea pig cuddles, pony rides and gardening lessons may even fool you into thinking you’ve left the city. There’s also a cafe where grown-ups can get their caffeine fix and a monthly farmers market offering fruit, veg and more!
Sea Life Melbourne
If you or your kids are interested in ocean life, Sea Life Melbourne has got all of your underwater needs covered. View colourful fish from an underwater tunnel, look for rays and sea stars and come face to face with a massive salt water croc. In addition to all the usual aquarium highlights, Sea Life provides guests with an opportunity to get up close and personal with penguins and sharks! Purchase the family pass online for the best price.
Kennett River Koala Walk
If you want to see kangaroos or koalas in the wild you will have to move just past the city limits. Just two and a half hours from Melbourne is the Kennett River Koala Walk. Here you are bound to see koalas dozing in the heights of the eucalyptus trees. Just before that in Anglesea is the Anglesea Golf Club which is known for the large population of roos which roam the property. It will surely delight your little ones!
Melbourne for Adventure Loving Families
The Eureka Skydeck
The Eureka Skydeck is the perfect spot to get a good look at the whole city. To get to the top you’ll ride the second fastest elevator in the southern hemisphere – traveling 88 floors in a mere 38 seconds! If you’re feeling fearless be sure to check out “The Edge”, a glass cube suspended 300 metres above street level which gives visitors a completely unobstructed 360 degree view! Family passes are available, or consider the Sun & Stars ticket which allows you to visit twice in one day, so you can see the city in daylight and come back later for sunset and stargazing.
Melbourne by boat
Older kids (10 and up) will love exploring Melbourne by boat (that is, by sea kayak). Kayak Melbourne offers a range of guided tours each of which explores Melbourne’s top sights and stories all without leaving the water. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous (and if your kids are night owls) you might even try the “moonlight tour” where participants paddle the Yarra River after dark.
Whether you’re looking to escape a summer heatwave or you’re embracing winter in Melbourne, ice skating at O’Brien’s Icehouse is a perfect way to get a bit of exercise and (if you’re lucky) let the kids tire themselves out. Once you’ve paid your entry fee there’s no time limit on your stay and you may find yourself having so much fun that you don’t want to leave! Skate rentals are available or bring your own. If you’re new to ice skating ask about free lessons for beginners and be sure to dress warmly!
Melbourne For the Fun Chasers
Holey Moley Mini Golf
If you’re looking for classic family fun it’s hard to top a round of mini putt, and the experience at Holey Moley is mini golf like you’ve never seen it before. This “multi-sensory experience” is filled with pop culture references that will impress the whole family and perhaps best of all, a full service bar means Mum and Dad can enjoy a well deserved cocktail on the green. It’s adults only in the evenings but kids are welcome during the day, check with your nearest location for details.
B Lucky & Sons Arcade
If your family prefers a virtual experience, check out Holey Moley’s sister establishment, B Lucky & Sons arcade. They’ve got all the old school classics like Pac Man and Space Invaders, 90s favorites such as Mario Kart and Dance Dance Revolution and plenty of new surprises including a few virtual reality games. Best of all, games are paid for with a pre-loaded swipe card, so there’s no messing around with tokens or coins. And of course there’s a bar here too. Kids are welcome before 8pm.
If your kids are daredevils, or if you’re craving a little carnival nostalgia from your own childhood, then Luna Park is a must visit. The park first opened its doors in 1912 and it’s been an icon in funky St Kilda ever since. It is home to the world’s second-oldest operating roller coaster as well as a number of other rides and attractions suitable for a range of ages. Check out the heart stopping Supernova, the toddler friendly Betty Choo-Choo and the beautiful heritage-listed carousel. And of course, be sure to get a photo in front of the famous mouth entrance!
The Moonlight Cinema located in the Royal Botanic Garden is the perfect end to a fun-filled day in Melbourne. Arrive early to explore the gardens and then enjoy a picnic dinner before settling down to watch a film under the stars. Bean bag chairs are available for rent or bring your own blankets and cushions to ensure maximum comfort. Moonlight Cinema operates from November to March. View the lineup and book tickets online.
So whether you’re looking to get out with the kids on the weekend or you’re planning your next big family friendly holiday in Melbourne these family activities are sure to please all ages, with a little something for everyone. Trips to museums and zoos are a chance for your children to enrich their knowledge of history and science and the environment. Trying new activities helps kids build confidence and physical fitness. But most importantly, they’ll be fostering a love of travel, bonding as a family, and making memories that will stay with them well into adulthood.
About the author: Jaz is of the Great Ocean Road Collective. A website dedicated to sharing the beauty of the Great Ocean Road in Australia will travelers far and wide. If you are planning your trip, need some inspiration or looking for authentic advice on Aussie travel visit our website The Great Ocean Road Australia or check us out on Instagram.