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Our home city of Melbourne is a fabulous city for family travel as there are many things to do in Melbourne with kids. Here are our favourite Melbourne family attractions from our Melbourne travel blog – you can also check out other articles we have written about Melbourne including Melbourne’s best food precincts and all about Melbourne’s amazing festivals and events.
Below you will find some of our top picks for what to do in Melbourne with kids…
It would be impossible to not enjoy the Melbourne Zoo. You can see all the big animals you expect at zoos, such as lions, tigers, elephants, as well as Australian animals, penguins, reptile house and a butterfly enclosure. There is much more as well with over 300 species calling Melbourne Zoo home. It is well set up and easily accessible with a pram as well as having many areas to sit and rest and for the kids to play. It is easy to see why it is one of the most popular things to do with kids in Melbourne.
It is quite a bargain on weekends and school holidays with kids under 16 free at these times. There is a fair bit of parking around the zoo, but in high peak times, it can take quite awhile to find a spot. There are tram and train stops at the zoo. You can also visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. They are both worthwhile attractions, but not as easily accessible as the main zoo.
If you have preschoolers, however, we do find that the Open Range Zoo can work better as a Melbourne family activity. It is smaller and there are great bus tours especially aimed at young ones in the morning.
For Melbournians, it’s worth considering a Zoo Victoria Membership. You can visit all three attractions as many times as you want within a year for about the same price as visiting each of them once for an adult with kids for free.
At the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, you can see penguins, crocodiles, sea horses, elephant sharks and many many fish! There are coral, turtles and other associated sea life. It has what you would expect to see at an aquarium, and it is well presented.
I do have mixed feelings about this one though. On the one hand, there is nothing wrong with this aquarium, and it is fun. On the other hand, it is quite expensive considering it is quite small. When I went with a 2 year old S, we got through it all in thirty minutes even going at her pace. If I was paying $93 for a family, I would be very disappointed with only 30 minutes entertainment.
If you are in the CBD, you can walk or tram it here. It is not far to walk from Flinders St station.
You can wander around both and see the usual farmyard animals. It is worth checking out their schedule’s beforehand so you can plan your visit for feeding times and other events, such as pony or tractor rides. The Collingwood Children’s Farm also has a farmers market on the second Saturday of the month. We enjoyed the Collingwood farm more, as it was more hands on, although I have heard people voice the opposite opinion, so maybe it depends when you go.
I recommend a car to go to the Bundoora farm. It is a bit of a drive from the CBD. Collingwood Children’s Farm is much more central and can be reached via bus or train with a walk.
Apart from usual museum items, The Melbourne Museum houses a Children’s Gallery which is designed for 3-8 years olds although our 1 year old loved the main museum as well The Children’s Gallery centerpiece is an exhibition about how things grow. There is lots to touch and feel.
Located just outside of this exhibit, there are more great Melbourne family activities. S and Z loved making Roman buildings and putting on puppet shows. Additionally, there is a great outdoor area for the kids full of activities such as lego, hula hoops and skipping ropes. It’s gold. The main museum has plenty to offer kids with attractions such as the insect room, dinosaurs and lots of animals and fish, as well as a forest area. Our three year old absolutely loves this museum and it is a must see things to do in Melbourne for kids.
This attraction is only $14 for adults and free for under 17s and concession card holders. It is easy to get to as it is located on the edge of the CBD and on multiple tram lines. There is also an imax cinema at the museum with discounted tickets with a museum ticket.
One of our best things to do for kids in Melbourne is definitely Scienceworks. It is a science museum and is fun for all ages. It is packed full of hands on activities for the kids, as well as housing a planetarium. There are also lots of special shows and events running regularly. For the preschoolers, about once a month there is a “little kids day in” with special events for under 6s running all day. However, I would actually recommend avoiding this day! It has far more people and long lines than on a regular day.
The upstairs level of the museum has a fantastic preschoolers area with things like a pretend cafe, cranes and blocks and many more activities to keep kids’ entertained – my kids love it.
You can catch a train here, and there is also plenty of parking. Kids under 17 are free, as are concession card holders (so we got to go for free thanks to my university student card – bargain!).
One of the best things to do in Melbourne city is to visit the Children’s Garden in Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens. It consists of plants, waterways, lots of fun statues, pathways and a kitchen garden. There is also a water feature that sprays the kids in summer, wetlands area, bamboo forest and a plant tunnel. It’s a great space and easy for the kids to play and get their hands dirty. Fabulous for our inner city kids!
The Botanical Gardens is easily accessible from the CBD and is located close to Flinders Street station. Entry is free making this the best of the cheap things to do in Melbourne with kids.
There are a few of these around. We recently had fun at the Altona Miniature Railway. They regularly have open days where you can take a ride on one of these miniature trains for very cheap. There are also picnic facilities, and it is a good place to have a picnic lunch. You can take a train and then a bus to reach here, or car parking is readily available.
The Melbourne Star is a giant wheel in Docklands, just outside of the CBD. This is also one of the best things to do in Melbourne for families since it offers great views of the city so plenty for parents and kids. Our kids enjoyed riding it around and checking out the views.
Also at Docklands, at the base of the Melbourne Star, is the Wonderland Fun Park. This is a small amusement park that is perfect with young kids. There are a few different rides which are perfect for toddlers and even more attractions for kids that are a bit older.
You can read more about Melbourne attractions for families in our post about exploring Docklands.
ACMI Screen worlds is a great little attraction inside ACMI in Federation Square. The central location makes it very easy to pop in for a visit especially as its free!
Screen Worlds aims to tell the story of the moving image over 110 years and it’s superb. It traces the early beginnings of film, television, game consoles and the internet with an emphasis on the digital age. It does this through many TV screens, interactive media and old memorabilia. There are many fun exhibits that are awesome for adults and kids like making your own shadow puppets to playing on old game consoles.
It’s all very interactive with lots of lights and sounds meaning its very entertaining even for very young kids. There is a kids’ area but my kids have always been happy everywhere. The old games consoles make it extra fun for adults!
There are also regular children’s movies shown at ACMI. More information on Screen Worlds here.
If you are looking for some fun that will burn off some excess energy, head to one of the Bounce Inc parks you will find a zillion trampolines. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to burn off some excess energy. There are quite a few around Melbourne. More information here.
Latitude Melbourne is another trampoline park and I especially recommend this for families with preschoolers.
It’s located out in Heidelberg, so you will need a car. It has lots of different activities including trampolines as well as obstacle courses, climbing walls, pits full of foam and other fun things.
What stood out for me, as the mum of a 4 and 5 year old when we visited, was the awesome kids zone. This is where it beat our Bounce experience. There’s play equipment, ball pits, trampolines and a big foam pit. It would best suit kids 2-4 years old and it would have been too young for my 5.5 year old had she not had her brother to play with and make things fun.
My only problem with this place only applies if you have kids that are a similar age to mine – S would have been better suited to playing in the older areas which Z was too short for (need to be 1.1 metres). Ideally this place works better if all your kids are 5+ or under 5. However, this is a small criticism of a fun place to let your kids let off some steam!
I look forward to going back when I’m not pregnant so I can play with S on the bigger equipment.
Find more information on the Latitude Melbourne site. When we visited, it was $10 per kid for the kid zone which was unlimited play on weekdays, an hour on weekends. I recommend visiting around lunch time when all the younger kids go home for a nap.
There’s something novel about an ice bar, where you literally get to stand and have a drink in a big freezer where the walls and decorations are made of ice. There’s one in Melbourne, close to where we live, and S and I decided to check it out. This is the third incarnation of Melbourne’s Ice Bar and unlike it’s predecessors it is more kid friendly – kids are welcome before 6:30pm.
If you don’t know what an ice bar is, it is essentially a bar where the walls, furniture and as much as possible is made of ice. There’s some great ice sculptures, a few games and, of course,a bar from which you can get cocktails and mocktails (some of which come in glasses made of ice). Most entry packages include a free drink. It’s pretty darn cold – the room stays around -10 degrees C (apparently the coldest ice bar in the world, so they tell me).
A warm layer is provided – we each were given a warm poncho, socks, ugg boots and gloves. S was also offered a scarf and beanie as well. That said, it pays to dress as warm as you can underneath. Some reviews online have mentioned their reluctance to admit smaller kids that are too small for any of the gear.
The ice bar itself is small. This didn’t bother 6 year old S who loved playing the games and climbing over the ice sculptures which are impressive. We were there for an hour before I could take no more and made us leave. When not freezing to death, it was fun playing the games and enjoying the artwork.
On the downside you’re not meant to take photos in there. Instead you can use the fixed cameras in there and buy photos or prints when you’re done. That annoyed me as the cameras didn’t cover the stuff I would have wanted to take a picture of, like S riding a big Cerberus made of ice.
Entry isn’t cheap and the drinks are mainly pre-made (which is understandable) and although strong (the cocktails anyway, to stop them freezing) you’re not coming here for the drinks. It’s all about the novelty of a mini-world of ice. Even though its a bar this is a place that kids can get a lot more out of than adults.
IceBar is located at 319 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.The number 11 tram to West Preston (which travels along Collins Street in the city centre, past Parliament and Southern Cross stations) will drop you off a couple of minutes walk away. You can find more information here.
Another great things for kids to do in Melbourne can simply be to visit the local library. Libraries usually have regular events for 0-5 year olds, as well as events during school holidays for older kids.
If you are spending a bit of time in Melbourne, it is worth doing an internet search for your local library to see what events they are holding. The toddler sessions are a bit hit with our kids with lots of songs, dancing and books.
Phillip Island is an awesome place to visit from Melbourne. Many people do it as a day trip although ideally, I’d recommend spending at least a few days.
It is most famous for its penguin parade in the evening when the local penguins come up the beach. It’s quite a sight! There’s also a koala sanctuary, a farm, a maze and sooooo many other attractions perfect for kids.
If you are short on time, this is a good value day tour.
There is always something happening in Melbourne – that’s why we love it so much! Many events are also fantastic for children with many aimed directly at families and many more having family friendly facilities.
No matter when you visit Melbourne, there is likely to be something on! So it is worth doing some quick research to see what is on during your visit – read our guide to events in Melbourne!
There are many theatre productions, musicals, dance performances, concerts, etc in Melbourne. Whatever your tastes, you are likely to find something that suits. If any of this sounds interesting, check out the That’s Melbourne site for a full list of what’s happening.
Many of the performances are suitable for kids. We recently went to our first musical (Matilda) which was a massive success. S (at 5) loved getting dressed up, going to the theatre and watching the kids on stage.
We went to the opening night and bought the last two tickets at the Princess Theatre which meant we had a pole in our view. However, it was very narrow and didn’t get in the way. It actually turned out to be a bonus as the tickets were cheaper and we were in the back row – which meant it didn’t matter when S got fidgety or wanted to stand to see better.
There are also more kid focused performances regularly like the Wiggles, Playschool, etc.
Nestled along the banks of Stoney Creek in Yarraville is McNish Reserve, better known as “the Dinosaur Park”. This small but fun park is home to a three metre tall dinosaur sculpture, Mimi the Muttaburrasaurus, complete with a slide for a tail. Mimi is designed to be played in and on and kids can climb inside, go down her tail or make her talk or roar through her mouth.
The park is small, with Mimi the star of the show, some dinosaur eggs to climb on or into, and some dinosaur rocking horse type things. Even though there isn’t much our kids loved it and despite it being a windswept day, a lot of other kids did too. Even after an hour I had to drag S and Z off for lunch. Mimi’s really well made and obviously a lot of fun, making this park one of Melbourne’s better kids playground.
There’s decent parking at and close to the park, although it’s time limited. There’s water taps but no public toilets.
Sovereign Hill is located in Ballarat – about an hour’s drive west of Melbourne and is a popular day trip. It is a recreated gold rush mining town from the 1850s on the site of an old mining area. It is lots of fun!
Sovereign Hill is quite extensive with many attractions, shows and demonstrations as well as mine tours and more kid focused activities – like arts and crafts. We visited in July during its Winter Wonderlights festival. This also meant Christmas carols, snow falls and a ton of shows. We had a great time!
This is an attraction both for adults and kids. Our kids particularly loved the opportunity to pan for gold. 6 year old S was especially happy when she found some herself. They also liked the mine tour and the shows which were hilarious for adults as well.
I recommend a full day at this attraction and if you have the time, stay in Ballarat. There are some fun attractions for families. If you don’t have the time, this site is easily visited in a day from Melbourne with kids.
Read more about visiting Sovereign Hill here.
You can find more information about visiting Sovereign Hill including the latest prices here. We used a carrier for our baby but the site is relatively stroller friendly if you can handle gravel.
The Old Melbourne Gaol, built in 1842, was Melbourne’s first permanent jail (or gaol, whichever you prefer) and was used up until 1929. Located on the northern edge of Melbourne’s CBD, it is most famous for being the place where Ned Kelly was hung. These days you can visit without needing to be sentenced first.
There’s simple displays and information on different themes, like the gaol’s history, a look at some of the people hung here, a bit on Ned Kelly, and some of the more infamous crimes of people sent to the jail. The information is spread throughout the different cells on three different levels and you can wander in and out of at your own pace.
Included with the entry into the gaol is a short tour of the Old City Watch House (which is 40m down the street). Used from 1908 till 1994 for those arrested and waiting to front a magistrate, your tour starts as if you’ve been arrested, complete with mock processing and being locked in a cell (with the lights out) for a couple of minutes. It gives you a bit of a feel of what it would have been like to have been stuck there – not very fun.
There is also a reenactment of the Kelly trial that you can watch and night tours.
For kids, both the jail and the watch house tour are better suited to older, school aged kids, with younger kids possibly finding it all a bit boring or scary. There’s also a lot of stairs if you want to see all the goal and it is not made for prams.
Older kids did seem to love the place – especially when we were treated as though we had been arrested in the Old City Watch House and the pretend cop did a great job of including them. There are also Ned Kelly costumes for younger kids to try on.
We enjoyed our visit to the gaol and the tour. Although it is all quite simple and non-interactive the gaol was interesting to explore and the tour was entertaining and all up we spent a couple of hours between the two. An usual attraction but worth the visit.
You can find more information on their site.
This thought provoking museum on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD documents the history of immigration in Australia including the different policies that have been in place at different times, the different groups who have immigrated and how and why they would have immigrated.
There are also sections on what it means to be Australian and why immigration has been important for our country.
The museum is better for older kids although there is good use of multimedia and objects to entertain younger ones for awhile. There was also a dinosaur craft activity when we visited.
The highlight for me (and the kids) is a big boat structure where different cabins are set up to illustrate what the journey would have been like in the 1840s, the 1900s and the 1950s. It was very well done and made me very glad that I live in a time when we can just fly in and out of Australia!
Find more information about visiting the Immigration Museum on their website.
It’s hard to go wrong with a trip to Luna Park – Melbourne’s only amusement park.
Luna Park is located in an excellent spot by the water in popular St Kilda. It’s a short tram trip from the CBD and it is free to enter – although then of course you have to pay to go on the rides.
It’s a low key theme park. It’s much more about having fun than being scared to death by roller coasters. The main roller coaster you can see around the edge of the park is actually 104 years old and quite rocky. I got more of a thrill out of the lovely views than the speed, but it is a lot of fun.
There are enough rides to fill at least half a day and it’s worth getting an unlimited ride ticket. It’ll be more fun if the kids are at least 1.2 metres as that will get you on everything but one ride (which is minimum height on 1.3 metres). There are rides specifically for little ones as well though so you will find something to do. We visited on a Sunday in winter and only a few rides had lines.
Find more information, including latest ticket prices, on their site. The park is open school holidays and weekends.
After visiting Luna Park, treat you all to what nearby Acland Street, St Kilda is famous for – cake! There are quite a few cake shops here all with superb offerings on display. You can eat them in and outside of the shop or take one the one block walk to eat it on the beach.
If you are visiting Melbourne, then you are going to be looking through the best family friendly hotels in Melbourne. Here is a list of some recommendations from us. All are family friendly apartments and all are located in a convenient location.
Read our full list of the best family hotels in Melbourne here.
Melbourne is a city known for its eating options and there are many fabulous restaurants with many cuisines well represented, especially Asian and European ones. There’s also some fabulous Ethiopian options.
My favourite option for eating out in Melbourne is to head to one of the food precincts – especially one that specialises in the cuisine you are after. You can read about our favourite Melbourne food precincts.
However, if you are in the city, here’s some quick and easy options with kids:
If you are looking for some particularly kid friendly cafes in Melbourne try:
If you find yourself visiting St Kilda for Luna Park and cake, we had a good meal at Veludo on Acland Street which has large kid meals in lovely surrounds.
Read all our other articles we have written about things to do in Melbourne.
There is our favourite list of things to do in Melbourne for families – there are lots more! What are your recommendations for what to do in Melbourne for kids?
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