Spring is in full swing and summer’s almost here, just in time to plan a fun family outing in Melbourne, Victoria!
As the dynamic and beautiful capital of Victoria, Melbourne has a multitude of family-friendly venues to explore in and around the city. Whether you are looking to engage the kids in some educational fun or just want to enjoy a day at the beach, the variety on offer means you’re sure to find something that everyone in the family will appreciate. Read on to learn about just a few of the options available for family-friendly fun in and around Melbourne.
Spend a day at the museum
First up is the Melbourne Museum, which always has something going on, from their daily activities and permanent galleries to the numerous visiting exhibitions. For the budding paleontologists in the family, you can take the Dinosaur Walk or take in the Dinosaurs of Antarctica IMAX 3D show. Then there is the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, an exhibit created specifically to engage the imaginations of younger tots from babies up to 5-years-old. And don’t forget to explore the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre for an engaging look into the history and culture of the many Indigenous peoples of Australia. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, however, make sure to check their visiting information ahead of time as some of the exhibits require reservations, and timed tickets are currently in operation.
Embark on a curiosity voyage
If you want to get your science on, a visit to Scienceworks is a must. At the Planetarium, experience the beauty of the night sky while watching Starlight or take a trip to the red planet in the fun new animated show, Tycho Goes to Mars. For the younger crowd, the immersive exhibition Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together is an enthralling experience designed for babies to five-year-olds. And don’t forget to check out the Born or Built? Our Robotic Future exhibition, open until 30 January 2022, which examines how “the line between humans and technology is blurring,” and is great food for thought for the older kiddos. Scienceworks is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm and, as with the Melbourne Museum, some exhibits require reservations and timed tickets are currently in operation, so review their visiting information before dropping in.
Discover a whole new world under the sea
One of the most popular attractions in Melbourne is the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. The kids will have a blast exploring the 12 different underwater exhibits, seeing everything from the cutest penguins in the Penguin Playground to lizards, turtles, and frogs in the Rainforest Adventure zone. Pre-book online for General Admission to guarantee entry, or you can go with the Melbourne Big Ticket which gives both general admission to the aquarium and a pass for LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne, Australia’s only indoor LEGO playground. Currently, the aquarium is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the school term but will be open all week when school is on holiday. So, don’t forget to Plan Your Day at the aquarium ahead of time, and do check their Facebook page for the latest updates to ticket and attendance policies before heading over.
Explore the animal kingdom
Another great stop is the Melbourne Zoo, which boasts over 320 animals species from all over the world. Come face-to-face with the big cats in the Lion Gorge or take a gander at some animals from our own backyard on the Australian Bush trail. There is so much to see and do at the zoo that you can easily plan a full day of fun activities for the whole family. However, they do have specially tailored itineraries based on how long you want to spend exploring the habitats if you are looking for a more streamlined experience. The zoo is open every day of the week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, though the habitats close at 4:30 pm. Just make sure to pre-book your tickets online, as they are not currently available at the gate.
Take a walk on the wild side
If you want to get out of the city for a bit, a quick jaunt to Werribee Open Range Zoo is just the ticket. There are multiple options available for taking the family on this fantastic African safari experience from the general Safari Bus to the Deluxe Safari Adventure, or even an overnight Slumber Safari. Located approximately 35 klicks southwest of the city, it’s a quick drive to the zoo on the Princes Freeway or you can catch the train from the Melbourne CBD to Werribee station. As with the Melbourne Zoo, they are open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and you will need to pre-book your tickets online for this adventure.
Have some fun in the sun
If your family is craving a day at the beach, then St Kilda is the destination for you. There are tons of fun family activities you can enjoy at St Kilda Beach, from lounging on the beach to swimming in the ocean. If you like to be more active, rent some roller skates and take a class from Roller Bae or sign everyone up to learn how to stand-up paddleboard. And no trip to St Kilda would be complete without a visit to Luna Park. Play some carnival games, ride the rides, and enjoy the fairy-floss, snow cones, and hot dogs found at food stalls located throughout the park. Luna Park is open every weekend during the school term, and from 18 December will be open every day, excluding Christmas, for the summer school holiday. Just make sure to book your tickets online since they are currently operating at a limited capacity.
Visit the world-class Fed Square that is anything but square
As Melbourne’s number one visitor destination, Fed Square offers a diverse array of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The fam can fly across the Yarra River on the Firefly Zipline or take in the Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibition at the ACMI. When it’s time to eat, sit down at Chocolate Buddha for some casual Japanese fare, pick up some awesome Middle Eastern streetfood from atiyah, or relax on the banks of the Yarra River at the Riverland Bar. As always, check ahead of time for hours of operation and any restrictions for each venue you plan to visit.
Shop local at Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market, also known as Vic Market or Queen Vic to the locals, has been serving the Melbourne community since 1878. The sprawling marketplace, shown here in the Queen Victoria Market Map, is home to over 600 small businesses where you can buy everything from local produce to gourmet foods to souvenirs. Once you’re done shopping, there are dozens of restaurants and cafes to choose from to grab a bite to eat. To plan your trip to the market, you can find their trading hours, tour information, and directions on the Visit Us page.
For more family-friendly restaurants in and around Melbourne, check out this GetOutWithKids article.
Find your home away from home in Melbourne
If you want to stay in the heart of Melbourne two highly recommended family-friendly hotels are the luxurious Pan Pacific Melbourne or the more budget-friendly Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank. Alternatively, you could book a studio, one-, or two-bedroom apartment through Scape Living at either their Aurora or Franklin properties. And for a truly unique kid-friendly place to stay, The Larwill Studio is a boutique Art Series Hotel in North Melbourne located just a quick hop from the CBD, Melbourne Zoo, and Queen Victoria Market.
How to get to Melbourne
Rex Airlines flies direct to Melbourne from Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Coolangatta, and Canberra via their Domestic Routes multiple times a day. There are also 9 Regional Routes into Melbourne from cities in VIC, TAS, SA, and NSW. See the map below for details on how to travel to Melbourne and book your flight here.
Take precautions and stay safe from COVID-19
While everyone is more than ready to get out and have some fun, it’s important that we all continue to follow best practices to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus. Every venue listed here is subject to Victoria’s COVIDSafe Settings, including requiring everyone to wear masks, practice social distancing, and only allowing entry to those who are fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption if they are 16 years of age or older. For further information on any restrictions that may be in place due to the ongoing pandemic, please refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.
If you enjoyed this read our family-friendly ideas for Sydney.