Melbourne, the vibrant capital of the state of Victoria in Australia, is not only known for its thriving arts scene, eclectic cuisine, and stunning architecture but also for being a fantastic destination for families. With its family-friendly attractions, beautiful parks, educational museums, and exciting events, Melbourne offers a plethora of activities that are sure to entertain both kids and adults alike. Spending quality time with your children and family is invaluable, and exploring the city together creates lasting memories. In this guide, we will introduce you to 10 fun things to do in Melbourne with kids and family, ensuring an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Melbourne's wide range of attractions caters to various interests and age groups. From nature and wildlife encounters to educational experiences, thrilling adventures, and cultural discoveries, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city. Whether you're a local looking for new adventures or a visitor planning a family vacation, Melbourne has plenty to offer.Let’s get into the details!
I. Explore Nature and Wildlife
A. Visit Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo is a haven for animal lovers and offers an exciting day of exploration for families. Located in the picturesque Royal Park, this world-class zoo is home to a wide variety of animals from all over the globe. From magnificent lions and graceful giraffes to playful monkeys and adorable koalas, the zoo showcases a diverse range of species, making it an educational and entertaining experience for both kids and adults.
The zoo's exhibits are thoughtfully designed to provide a natural habitat for the animals, allowing visitors to observe them up close. Wander through the African rainforest exhibit, where you can spot gorillas, lemurs, and colorful birds amidst lush greenery. Explore the Trail of the Elephants, an immersive exhibit that offers a glimpse into the lives of these majestic creatures. Marvel at the Australian Bush exhibit, where you'll encounter kangaroos, wombats, and other iconic Australian wildlife.
One of the highlights of Melbourne Zoo is the interactive experiences it offers. Kids can get up close and personal with friendly farm animals in the Growing Wild exhibit, where they can pet and feed goats and sheep. The zoo also hosts captivating shows and presentations throughout the day, where visitors can learn more about the animals and their conservation. From fascinating talks by zookeepers to thrilling bird shows, these interactive experiences provide valuable insights and create lasting memories.
B. Explore the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is a tranquil oasis nestled in the heart of the city. Stretching over 94 acres, this beautiful green space offers a welcome retreat from the bustling urban environment. The gardens are a delight to explore, with their stunning landscapes, serene lakes, and vibrant flowerbeds.
As you wander through the gardens, you'll encounter a diverse collection of plant species from Australia and around the world. From towering trees to delicate blooms, the gardens showcase the incredible beauty and diversity of nature. Be sure to visit the Guilfoyle's Volcano, a unique water reservoir that has been transformed into a vibrant garden with colorful succulents and drought-resistant plants.
To enhance your visit, the Royal Botanic Gardens offers guided tours led by knowledgeable guides who provide fascinating insights into the flora and fauna. These tours cater to all age groups and can be customized to focus on specific interests, such as indigenous plants or the gardens' history. It's a fantastic way to learn more about the botanical wonders and conservation efforts in the gardens.
The Royal Botanic Gardens also offers several picturesque picnic spots, providing an ideal setting for a relaxed family lunch or snack. Spread out a blanket on the lush lawns, enjoy the shade of ancient trees, and savor the tranquil atmosphere while indulging in a delightful picnic. It's the perfect opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy quality time with your family, and create cherished memories amidst the beauty of the gardens.
II. Immerse in Educational Experiences
A. Discover Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum is a captivating destination that offers an enriching educational experience for families. Located in Carlton Gardens, this iconic museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, interactive displays, and engaging activities that cater to visitors of all ages.
Upon entering Melbourne Museum, you'll be greeted by awe-inspiring displays that bring history, culture, and science to life. The museum's interactive exhibits encourage hands-on exploration and provide a deeper understanding of various subjects. From the Dinosaur Walk, where life-sized dinosaur skeletons tower above you, to the Forest Gallery, which immerses you in the sights and sounds of Australia's diverse ecosystems, each exhibit is designed to spark curiosity and ignite a passion for learning.
Melbourne Museum also offers kid-friendly areas and activities that are specifically designed to engage younger visitors. The Children's Gallery is a dedicated space where kids can learn through play and discovery. They can delve into imaginative role-playing activities, solve puzzles, and explore interactive installations that encourage creativity and critical thinking. The gallery provides a safe and stimulating environment for children to unleash their curiosity and explore the world around them.
In addition to the exhibits, Melbourne Museum hosts special events, workshops, and educational programs throughout the year. From storytelling sessions and science experiments to art workshops and cultural performances, these activities provide a dynamic and immersive learning experience for the whole family. Check the museum's schedule to see what exciting events are happening during your visit.
B. Visit Scienceworks
Scienceworks is a thrilling destination that combines entertainment and education, making it a must-visit for families seeking hands-on science experiences. Located in Spotswood, just a short distance from the city center, this interactive science museum offers a range of exhibits and activities that cater to visitors of all ages.
At Scienceworks, you'll find a wide array of hands-on exhibits and experiments that invite visitors to explore scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way. From exploring the human body and investigating forces and motion to experimenting with electricity and learning about the wonders of space, each exhibit is designed to encourage curiosity and inspire a love for science.
One of the highlights of Scienceworks is the planetarium, a state-of-the-art theater that takes you on a captivating journey through the cosmos. Sit back and marvel at the stunning visuals as you explore distant galaxies, learn about celestial bodies, and witness breathtaking cosmic events. The planetarium shows offer an immersive experience that ignites the imagination and sparks a sense of wonder in both children and adults.
For those seeking a thrilling and electrifying experience, Scienceworks' lightning room is not to be missed. Step inside this unique exhibit and witness the power and beauty of lightning as it crackles and dances before your eyes. Learn about the science behind lightning and gain a deeper understanding of its incredible energy. It's an electrifying experience that provides a real sense of awe and wonder.
Scienceworks also hosts interactive science shows and demonstrations throughout the day, where visitors can witness exciting experiments and engage with science communicators who bring scientific concepts to life. These shows are both educational and entertaining, allowing visitors to participate in hands-on demonstrations and learn through active engagement.
Ill. Enjoy Fun-filled Attractions | Fun Things to do in Melbourne for Couples
A. Experience Luna Park
Luna Park, located on the iconic St Kilda foreshore, is a vibrant and nostalgic amusement park that promises a day filled with fun, laughter, and excitement for the whole family. With its colorful entrance featuring a wide grin and glowing Luna Park face, this historic attraction has been delighting visitors since it first opened in 1912.
Luna Park offers a wide array of amusement park rides and games that cater to different age groups and thrill preferences. From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters that twist and turn to gentle rides suitable for younger children, there's something for everyone. Brace yourself for the Hair Raiser, a thrilling roller coaster that catapults you through loops and inversions, providing a heart-pounding experience. If you're looking for a classic carnival ride, hop on the Ferris wheel, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline and Port Phillip Bay.
One of the iconic attractions at Luna Park is the historic carousel. Step onto the beautifully crafted horses, and let the enchanting music transport you back in time. The carousel is a nostalgic reminder of the park's rich history and provides a delightful experience for riders of all ages. Additionally, Luna Park features a variety of games and skill-testing stalls where you can try your luck and win prizes.
B. Explore SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a captivating underwater world that allows visitors to explore the wonders of the ocean and get up close with a vast array of marine life. Located on the banks of the Yarra River, this popular attraction boasts immersive exhibits and interactive experiences that provide an educational and entertaining adventure for families.
As you step into SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, you'll be greeted by a mesmerizing world of underwater exhibits. Marvel at the majestic sharks as they glide through the expansive Oceanarium, which offers a 360-degree view of the marine habitat. Observe graceful rays, curious seahorses, and vibrant coral reefs as you journey through themed exhibits that showcase different ecosystems and marine species.
One of the highlights of the aquarium is the interactive experiences it offers. Get hands-on in the rock pool area, where you can touch and learn about fascinating sea creatures like starfish and sea cucumbers. Witness captivating feeding sessions, where knowledgeable aquarists share interesting facts about the animals while they're being fed. You may even have the opportunity to see penguins being fed and watch their playful antics.
For a truly immersive experience, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium offers unique encounters such as the Glass Bottom Boat Tour. Hop aboard the boat and glide over the oceanarium, getting an incredible perspective of the marine life below. Learn about the different species and habitats from the knowledgeable guides as you cruise along.
Throughout the day, the aquarium also hosts informative talks and presentations by marine experts, providing valuable insights into marine conservation and the importance of protecting our oceans. These educational sessions allow visitors to deepen their understanding of marine life and the challenges they face in the wild.
lV. Have Outdoor Adventures
A. Ride the Puffing Billy Steam Train
Embark on a nostalgic outdoor adventure by riding the Puffing Billy Steam Train, a beloved attraction that takes you on a scenic journey through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges. This charming heritage railway, located just outside of Melbourne, offers a delightful experience for families seeking a unique way to explore the natural beauty of the region.
Hop aboard the vintage steam train and feel the thrill as it chugs along the historic railway tracks, winding its way through lush forests, fern gullies, and rolling hills. As the train traverses the Dandenong Ranges, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including towering eucalyptus trees and stunning vistas.
One of the highlights of the Puffing Billy Steam Train experience is the opportunity for interactive engagement. Kids (and kids at heart) can relish the chance to sit on the carriage's open-sided windows, allowing them to dangle their legs over the edge while taking in the fresh air and immersive scenery. The rhythmic chug of the steam train and the nostalgic atmosphere make this an enchanting experience that harks back to a bygone era of train travel.
During the journey, the train stops at several stations, providing opportunities to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings. Many visitors take advantage of these stops by disembarking and indulging in a leisurely picnic amidst the idyllic settings of the Dandenong Ranges. There are also walking trails near the stations, allowing you to stretch your legs and immerse yourself in nature's beauty.
B. Visit the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
For a different kind of outdoor adventure with spectacular panoramic views of Melbourne's city skyline, a visit to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is a must. Located in the vibrant Docklands precinct, this impressive Ferris wheel offers a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.
Step into one of the spacious and comfortable enclosed cabins as the wheel begins its slow ascent. As you rise above the ground, prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking vistas that unfold before your eyes. From the top of the Melbourne Star, you'll be treated to sweeping views of the city's iconic landmarks, glittering waterfront, and expansive skyline, providing a memorable and photogenic experience for the entire family.
The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel's enclosed cabins offer a comfortable and safe environment for visitors to enjoy the ride. Each cabin is equipped with audio commentary, providing fascinating insights and information about the landmarks and points of interest that you'll see during the journey. It's an educational experience that adds depth and context to the awe-inspiring views.
Whether you choose a daytime ride to bask in the city's vibrant atmosphere or opt for an evening ride to marvel at the sparkling lights, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel offers a captivating experience that allows you to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Melbourne from a unique vantage point.
V. Discover Cultural Experiences
A. Wander through the National Gallery of Victoria
Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Melbourne by visiting the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), a cultural institution that showcases an extensive collection of artworks from around the world. Located in the heart of Melbourne, the NGV offers a captivating cultural experience for families, with its diverse art collections, thought-provoking exhibitions, and engaging activities.
The NGV houses an impressive array of art spanning various periods and genres. From classical masterpieces to contemporary installations, there is something to captivate art enthusiasts of all ages. Explore the European art collection, which features renowned works by artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh. Marvel at the Indigenous art collection, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Australia's First Nations peoples. Delve into the contemporary art exhibits, where you can encounter innovative and thought-provoking works by local and international artists.
To enhance the visit for families, the NGV offers a range of family-friendly workshops and activities. These interactive programs provide opportunities for kids and parents to engage with art in fun and creative ways. From hands-on art-making workshops to storytelling sessions inspired by artworks, these activities encourage imagination, self-expression, and appreciation for art. The NGV also hosts special events and exhibitions designed specifically for children, ensuring that young visitors can have an immersive and enjoyable experience.
B. Explore the Melbourne Museum of Immigration and Culture
Discover the rich tapestry of Australia's multicultural heritage by exploring the Melbourne Museum of Immigration and Culture. Located in vibrant Carlton Gardens, this museum offers fascinating exhibits that delve into the stories of migration, cultural diversity, and the contributions of various communities to the fabric of Australian society.
The exhibits at the Melbourne Museum of Immigration and Culture provide a compelling insight into the history of migration to Australia. Explore the personal narratives of individuals and families who have made Australia their home, and learn about the challenges, triumphs, and cultural celebrations that shape their experiences. Through photographs, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, the museum brings to life the stories of immigrants and refugees from different time periods and cultural backgrounds.
One of the highlights of the museum is its interactive displays, which engage visitors of all ages. Step into a recreated migrant ship cabin and gain a sense of the journey that many people undertook to reach Australia. Explore a vibrant marketplace that showcases the diverse cuisines, textiles, and traditions of different cultures. Participate in hands-on activities that allow you to learn about different cultural practices, music, and language.
The Melbourne Museum of Immigration and Culture also offers storytelling sessions where visitors can hear firsthand accounts of migration experiences. Through these personal narratives, visitors gain a deeper understanding of the human stories behind the statistics, fostering empathy and appreciation for the cultural diversity that enriches Australia.
VI. Unwind in Parks and Playgrounds
A. Enjoy Fitzroy Gardens
When it comes to unwinding and enjoying the outdoors, Fitzroy Gardens is a gem in the heart of Melbourne. Spanning 26 hectares, these beautiful gardens provide a tranquil escape from the bustling city. With their lush landscapes, historic features, and family-friendly amenities, Fitzroy Gardens offer a perfect setting for relaxation and play.
As you wander through the gardens, you'll be enchanted by the stunning flora and meticulously manicured lawns. Admire the vibrant flowerbeds, fragrant rose gardens, and towering trees that provide shade and serenity. The gardens' layout incorporates both formal and natural elements, creating a harmonious balance between structured design and organic beauty.
Fitzroy Gardens also boast several historic features that add to their charm. One of the highlights is Captain Cook's Cottage, a quaint cottage that dates back to the 18th century. Originally located in England, the cottage was dismantled and shipped to Melbourne, where it was reconstructed in the gardens. Visitors can explore the cottage and learn about the life of Captain James Cook, the famous British explorer.
For families with children, Fitzroy Gardens offer a range of exciting activities. Kids can unleash their energy and imagination in the children's playgrounds, which feature swings, slides, and climbing structures. The playgrounds are designed with safety in mind and provide a fun and engaging space for children to enjoy outdoor play.
In addition to the playgrounds, Fitzroy Gardens provide ample picnic spots where families can relax and enjoy a meal together. Spread out a blanket on the well-manicured lawns, find a shady spot under a tree, and savor a picnic while surrounded by the beauty of nature. The gardens also offer BBQ facilities, allowing you to cook up a delicious outdoor feast and make lasting memories with your loved ones.
B. Visit St. Kilda Adventure Playground
For a more adventurous outdoor experience, head to the St. Kilda Adventure Playground. Located in the lively beachside suburb of St. Kilda, this expansive playground is a haven for kids seeking excitement and exploration. With its large outdoor play area, obstacle courses, and unique features, it promises a day filled with active play and imaginative adventures.
The St. Kilda Adventure Playground offers a wide variety of play equipment and structures that cater to children of all ages. From towering climbing structures and slides to swings, flying foxes, and balance beams, there's no shortage of activities to keep kids entertained and engaged. The playground's design encourages physical activity, problem-solving, and social interaction, fostering both physical and cognitive development.
One of the standout features of the St. Kilda Adventure Playground is its obstacle courses. Kids can navigate through challenging ropes courses, climb over nets, and conquer thrilling obstacles, all while developing their coordination and agility. The playground provides a safe environment for kids to push their boundaries and challenge themselves.
The St. Kilda Adventure Playground also offers picnic areas, providing a place to rest and refuel amidst the excitement. Enjoy a picnic lunch or afternoon snacks with your family while watching your kids explore and play. The playground's spacious layout and natural surroundings create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for family gatherings and leisurely outdoor meals.
Vl. Discover Thrilling Adventures
A. Visit the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre
For families seeking thrilling adventures in the realm of sports and fitness, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) is the perfect destination. Situated in Albert Park, MSAC is a state-of-the-art facility that caters to a wide range of athletic pursuits, offering an exciting environment for both active participation and spectating.
At MSAC, sports enthusiasts can indulge in various activities, including swimming, basketball, tennis, squash, and indoor sports like netball and badminton. The center boasts multiple swimming pools, including a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, a warm-water therapy pool, and a dedicated kids' play pool complete with water slides and splash zones. The pools cater to swimmers of all levels, from beginners to competitive athletes, making it an ideal location for families to cool off, exercise, and have fun together.
For basketball enthusiasts, MSAC's world-class basketball courts offer a space to shoot hoops and engage in friendly matches. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting, the courts provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for families to enjoy some active playtime together.
MSAC also hosts various family-friendly activities and classes, such as group fitness sessions, aqua aerobics, and family-oriented sports programs. These activities not only promote physical health but also foster a sense of camaraderie and shared enjoyment among family members. The center's knowledgeable staff is always on hand to offer guidance and assistance, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
In conclusion, Melbourne's thrilling adventures provide families with exciting opportunities to explore the city's beauty and engage in active pursuits together. The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel offers awe-inspiring panoramic views of the city skyline from the comfort of enclosed cabins. Meanwhile, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre caters to sports enthusiasts with various facilities and family-friendly activities, promoting physical fitness and togetherness. Embrace the thrill of discovery and adventure with your loved ones in Melbourne, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
IX. Enjoy Festivals and Events
A. Attend the Moomba Festival
The Moomba Festival is an iconic annual event that brings together Melburnians and visitors from all walks of life for a lively and colorful celebration. Held on the Labour Day long weekend, this festival has been a beloved tradition since 1955, drawing crowds to the banks of the Yarra River for four days of fun and entertainment.
At the heart of the Moomba Festival is the Moomba Parade, a vibrant procession featuring elaborate floats, cultural performances, and marching bands. Families can line the streets and witness the spectacle of creativity and talent as the parade passes by, showcasing the diverse cultures and communities that make up the fabric of Melbourne.
Live music is a major highlight of the festival, with various stages hosting performances by local and international artists. From rock and pop to jazz and world music, there's something to suit every musical taste. Families can relax on the grassy banks of the Yarra and enjoy the free concerts, soaking in the festive atmosphere.
As the day draws to a close, the skies light up with the Moomba Festival's famous fireworks display. The dazzling pyrotechnic show lights up the night and is a spectacular sight for both kids and adults alike. The fireworks provide a fitting finale to a day filled with joy and excitement.
In addition to parades and live entertainment, the Moomba Festival offers an array of family-friendly activities and carnival rides. The Birdman Rally, a hilarious and thrilling event, sees participants attempting to fly across the Yarra River in homemade contraptions, often leading to hilarious and memorable moments. The carnival rides provide a perfect blend of adrenaline-pumping excitement and child-friendly fun, making the festival an enjoyable experience for all ages.
B. Visit the Royal Melbourne Show
For a quintessential Australian agricultural experience combined with family entertainment, the Royal Melbourne Show is a must-visit event. Held annually at the Melbourne Showgrounds, this renowned show has a history that dates back to 1848 and continues to draw enthusiastic crowds from across the country.
At the Royal Melbourne Show, families can get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals through livestock displays and petting zoos. Kids can interact with cows, sheep, pigs, and even cuddly rabbits, providing an educational and heartwarming experience that fosters a connection with nature and the importance of agriculture.
The show's carnival area is a hub of excitement, with thrilling rides that cater to adrenaline junkies and gentle attractions suitable for younger children. From towering roller coasters to classic Ferris wheels, the carnival rides offer something for everyone, guaranteeing a day filled with laughter and adventure.
The Royal Melbourne Show is also known for its diverse competitions and exhibitions. From baking and handicraft competitions to dog shows and equestrian events, there's no shortage of talents on display. Families can marvel at the creativity and skills of participants and gain insights into traditional crafts and rural traditions.
The entertainment doesn't stop there; the Royal Melbourne Show hosts a wide range of live performances, including stunt shows, circus acts, and cultural performances. These captivating shows add a vibrant and dynamic element to the event, ensuring that families are entertained at every turn.
X. Enjoy Family-Friendly Beach Time at Brighton Beach
No visit to Melbourne would be complete without enjoying some beach time, and Brighton Beach is the perfect destination for families seeking sun, sand, and sea. Located just a short drive from the city center, this iconic beach is famous for its colorful bathing boxes, which line the shore and add a touch of charm to the coastal landscape.
Brighton Beach offers a safe and family-friendly environment for kids to play and splash in the waves. The shallow waters make it ideal for younger children to paddle and build sandcastles, while older kids and adults can enjoy swimming in the refreshing sea. Lifeguards patrol the beach during peak times, providing an additional level of safety for families.
One of the highlights of Brighton Beach is the bathing boxes, which are a symbol of Melbourne's coastal lifestyle. These vibrant and intricately designed huts have become an iconic feature of the beach and make for fantastic photo opportunities. Kids will love exploring the different colors and patterns of the bathing boxes, making it a fun and Instagram-worthy experience for the whole family.
For families looking to relax and unwind, Brighton Beach offers grassy picnic areas and BBQ facilities. Pack a delicious picnic lunch and enjoy a meal with your toes in the sand or on the grassy foreshore while overlooking the stunning bay. The picturesque views of the city skyline and the calming sound of the waves create a tranquil and memorable setting for a family outing.
Additionally, the beachside promenade at Brighton offers a perfect pathway for leisurely strolls or cycling, allowing families to take in the breathtaking scenery and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. The wide-open spaces and abundant natural beauty of Brighton Beach make it an excellent location for outdoor games, flying kites, and other beachside activities.
With its inviting waters, iconic bathing boxes, and beautiful surroundings, Brighton Beach is an excellent spot for families to soak up the sun, bond with each other, and create cherished memories by the sea. Whether you're building sandcastles, splashing in the waves, or simply enjoying the coastal ambiance, Brighton Beach promises a day of relaxation and enjoyment for the whole family.
So, whether you're a local or a visitor, we encourage you to embrace the spirit of adventure and explore Melbourne's family-friendly attractions. Dive into the wonders of nature, ignite curiosity with educational experiences, and indulge in moments of excitement and relaxation. Melbourne offers a world of exploration and joy for families, ensuring that your journey together will be filled with laughter, discovery, and love. Don't miss the chance to create cherished memories with your loved ones in this vibrant and welcoming city.
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