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Heading to Melbourne with the family and wondering what the best things to do in Melbourne with kids?  Well, you have come to the right place because I absolutely love spending time in Melbourne and with so many great family things to do in Melbourne, I put them all in this handy guide.

The kid’s activities Melbourne offers are endless, and not just in the CBD but the surrounding areas too.  The best things to do with kids in Melbourne include discovering the colourful murals down Melbourne’s laneways, soaring above the Melbourne skyline on the Star, cruising down the Yarra River and the kids will even be entertained riding the free trams around the city.

This Guide to Visiting Melbourne shows you 35 of the best things to do in Melbourne for kids, including everything you need to know about ticket prices, where to save money booking online and opening times.

As well as all the family activities Melbourne has to offer; this guide will provide tips on getting to the Melbourne CBD from the airport, getting around the CBD and where to stay in Melbourne on a budget.

There are so many great things to do in Melbourne’s surrounding areas that in this post, I am just going to focus on the things to do in Melbourne CBD with kids (plus a few awesome attractions just outside the CBD).  I also have some great tips for St Kilda with kids and all the Phillip Island attractions for families.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.

Best Things to do With Kids in Melbourne Map

Below in this kids activities Melbourne CBD guide, I’ve provided a comprehensive list of the top things to do in Melbourne.   I have tried to provide as much information as possible to make your planning easier, including locations, opening hours and ticket prices.  Please note that all prices mentioned were correct at the time of writing and may fluctuate depending upon changes to currency conversion and rate increases.  To check the rate in your local currency, click here.

To help you plan what to do in Melbourne with kids, I’ve also provided this handy map below, which shows you where all the different attractions are.  Zoom in and out for a better view.


 

Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids

Here all our suggestions on the fun things to do in Melbourne with kids in no particular order.

Museum of Play and Art (MoPA)

Things to do in Melbourne with kids

If you happen to be in town later in the year and looking for fun things to do in Melbourne for kids, then you’re in luck – because the crew behind the famous children’s museum in Geelong “MoPA: Museum of Play and Art” are building a brand new children’s museum in Melbourne, and it’s due to open late in 2021! 

MoPA Melbourne is set to be one of the best Melbourne family activities in the CBD and will be one of the largest children’s museums in the southern hemisphere. All of the 30+ exhibits and the constantly rotating activities are built on the theories of play-based learning and creative exploration. Perhaps most importantly, though, everything at MoPA is wrapped up in a world of fun for the whole family! From painting a real car to climbing inside a gallery full of real art to ‘become the art’, from crafting to drumming and even regular dance parties, MoPA is an absolute must-see. 

Best suited to families with children up to 8 years of age, the Museum is due to open around Christmas 2021 – and will certainly be one of the Melbourne things to do kids will just love. In the meantime, though, to experience the wonder of MoPA before it arrives in Melbourne, you could always head down to MoPA Geelong (about an hour from Melbourne’s east) to visit the critically acclaimed museum that started it all.

Location: Melbourne (exact street location is top secret until launch)

Price: $14 for children | $10 for adults

Opening hours: Daily from 9.30 am until 4.30 pm

The District Docklands

Looking for a one-stop shop for multiple fun things for kids to do in Melbourne?  Then head down to the District Docklands as there are numerous Melbourne family attractions here (keep reading below for more details about these family attractions Melbourne offers). The District Docklands is an outdoor shopping centre that is also a great dining and entertainment precinct.  

Here you will find plenty of great Melbourne attractions for kids, including the Melbourne Star, ArtVo, Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, Chipmunks, O’Brien Icehouse, the Australian Cartoon Museum, Glow Golf and plenty more. There is over 80 specialty retail stores, cafes and various attractions within the District Docklands, so you could easily spend the entire day here.  This is an ideal place to check out if you are wondering what to do with kids in Melbourne.

With many shops and attractions indoors, it’s also a great place to come if you’re wondering what to do in Melbourne with family when the weather is poor.

Location:  440 Docklands Drive, Docklands

Price:  Free to enter and browse the numerous shops and eateries. Check out their website by clicking here.

Opening Hours:  The centre is open daily from 10:00 am to 6.00 pm.  

Ice Skating at Docklands 

Looking for active things to do for kids in Melbourne?  Then head down to the O’Brien Icehouse for some ice skating at Docklands. This is quite literally one of the cool things to do in Melbourne.

I have never been ice skating beforehand, and Myla had only done so once, so I was a bit nervous about how our visit here was going to go.  I was surprised how easy it was to walk with the skates on and while I by no means was any good, I managed to skate (very slowly) a few times around the rink. With the aid of a seal, Myla skated around and around the rink many times.  

Ice skating is an excellent opportunity for some family bonding time, and I love any activity that gets the kids physical.  It was difficult to drag Myla away!  While I recommend bringing warm clothes, once you get going, you warm up, so make sure you wear layers that you can take off.

If you go on a weekend or school holidays, you can join one of the free skate lessons before you get started. Over school holidays, this is undoubtedly one of the fun places to go in Melbourne as the arena has a variety of fun family activities, including games, face paintings, circus performers, skating performances and a craft zone.

Location:  105 Pearl River Road, Docklands.  

Price:   Skating is $28 per adult, $24 per student, $14.50 for children under 8 – these prices include skate hire – minus $5 if you bring your own skates.  Spectators are just $4.

Opening Hours:  In general, public skating is daily from 9.00 am.  However, please check out their calendar as events will sometimes block out some calendar days and you don’t want to turn up and not be able to skate.

ArtVo

If you have kids of varying ages and are looking for Melbourne things to do with kids, then you will love ArtVo!  ArtVo is an art gallery with interactive 3D art where you are encouraged to touch and interact with the artworks. The art is painted on both the floor and walls with various other sculptural elements so you can get among the numerous scenes, photographing yourself and becoming part of the artworks.

In each piece of art, there is a photo point marked on the ground; stand here and follow the directions on the best way to take the photograph. There are various gallery zones, including Australiana, Jungle Safari, Aquatic Adventure, and Dimensional Dreams, to name a few.   Definitely one of the fun places to go in Melbourne for kids.

Location:  26 Star Crescent, Level, 1 The District, Docklands

Price:   Entry is $28 per adult, $18 per child (5-15) and under 5s are free.  Family passes (2A + 2C) are available for $78.  Click here to book tickets online.

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Glow Golf 

Glow Golf is another one of the fun things to do in Melbourne for families.  Play 18 holes of golf in the smallest mini golf course in Australia – in the dark!.  Well, it’s not complete darkness; play your way through iconic Australian iconic landmarks under ultraviolet lighting.  It has been specially tailored for children, families, teenagers and all keen golfers alike.  Glow Golf is undoubtedly one of the fun things to do with kids in Melbourne that the entire family will love.   

Location:  The District Docklands – Level 1, Shop 35

Price:  $12 per game and kids under 5 are free. 

Opening Hours:  Sunday to Thursday 11 am to 7 pm, Friday 11 am to 10 pm and Saturday 10 am to 10 pm

Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq

Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq has a range of fun things to do with family in Melbourne, all in one place.  Here you will find loads of arcade games, dodgem cars, VR, ten pin bowling and more!  

All the classic arcade games are here, so parents are also entertained, but of course all the latest games are here too.  With each game you play, you will credits, which can be traded in for cool prizes at the end.

The whole family will enjoy competing against each other in a game of ten pin bowling and bumping and dodging each other in the bumper cars.  Then for something a little different, take the Thrillrider, where you sit back and relax in a cinema style setting, although you’ll need to hang on in this virtual reality thrill ride.

On site, there is also a bar and cafe which sells a range of burgers and sandwiches.

Archie Brothers is also another option if you’re looking for fun kids things to do Melbourne has on a rainy day.

Location: The District Docklands – 440 Docklands Drive, Docklands

Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 10 pm

Price: Games and rides vary in price. Dodgems are $6 per ride, bowling starts at $17 per game and the Thrillrider is $8 per ride.  Click here to purchase a one or two hour unlimited game pass.

Explore the Laneways

One of the best family activities in Melbourne is exploring the murals down the little laneways.  These laneways are home to boutiques, restaurants, and hole in the wall type cafes and bars, not to mention fantastic artwork and oversized murals. I just love finding a cozy cafe in one of these laneways and treating Myla to something sweet while I have a cuppa and watch the Melbourne life pass me by.  Click here for information about the best Melbourne cafes.

LocationClick here to explore and plan your Laneway Adventures.  

Price:  Completely free to wander through all the eye-popping laneways Melbourne has on display.

Opening Hours:  24 hours per day.

Street Art

Melbourne’s impressive street art is internationally renowned and one of my favourite kid-friendly things to do in Melbourne City.  The kids will love the bright colours and huge murals that feature in the hidden laneways. During our recent stay in Melbourne, we went to see a few different streets.  My favourites were:

  • AC/DC Lane and Duckboard Place (large man and tree)
  • Hosier and Rutledge Lanes (Melbourne sign)
  • Presgrave Place (photo frames)

Others that we checked out, which I did not think were much more than graffiti and I wouldn’t bother going to were:

  • Union Lane
  • Russell Place
  • Queen and Franklin Streets
  • Blender Lane

Others that were recommended to me, which I did not get a chance to see were:

  • Centre Place
  • Flinders Court
  • Croft Alley
  • Stevenson and Tattersalls Lanes
  • Drewery and Sniders Lanes
  • Caledonian Lane
  • Corner 361 Little Bourke Street and Rankins Lane
  • Finaly Lane

There is a great interactive map (click here) that you can download to your smartphone where you can click on your desired location and bring up that particular map.  So easy to use and includes maps for popular family destinations, including self-guided walks of the CBD laneways – take note of my comments above.  If you explore any of the streets I haven’t mentioned above, let me know your thoughts so I can update this post.

Location:  Click here for the interactive map.

Price:  There is no cost to walk freely through the busy Melbourne streets.

Opening Hours:  24 hours

Federation Square

Looking for some of the free things to do in Melbourne with family?  Then head down to Federation Square, just opposite Flinders Street Station,  the ultimate meeting place in Melbourne’s CBD.

Throughout the year, Federation Square hosts around 2000 special events; many are free. During our recent visit, there was some kind of pop up games convention going on with kids on stage competing in Just Dance games and various other tables around the square had people playing a variety of board games, including the old favourite connect four.  Anyone could join in, and it was all completely free.  While we didn’t participate, it was still heaps of fun watching the kids dancing on stage.

You will find the Melbourne Visitors Centre, the NGV Australian Collection, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Koorie Heritage Trust, and various cafes and bars in the square. I recommend you visit Federation Square during lunch hour as this is when you will really see the square come alive. 

Location:  Corner of Swanston and Flinders Street Melbourne –  grab a free Tram from anywhere in the free tram zone and jump off at Stop 13.

Price:  Free to enter and enjoy the everyday happenings of each day.

Opening Hours:  Federation Square is open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year; however the large array of shops, bars and cafes keep their own hours.  Click here for more details on individual store opening hours.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

 

Want more free children’s activities Melbourne CBD has?  Then within Federation Square, check out the ACMI.  This is a free museum showcasing Australia’s film, TV, video games, digital culture, and art.  

This is another one of the free and fun things to do in Melbourne CBD with the kids. I found it quite interesting to show Myla how I use to watch TV when I was a kid.  I had to explain to Myla that back in my day, you had to get up off the couch to change the TV channel and yes, TV’s really were that small!  It was cool seeing all the old school video games we use to place and how far technology has come in a relatively short time frame.

Throughout the year, the ACMI hosts various exhibitions.  While we were there, we went to the Wallace and Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman exhibition.  This was a great exhibition learning about how the fantastic Aardman Studios make Claymation.  We got to meet Shaun the Sheep and see the various movie and TV sets.  We even had a go at making our own Claymation film.

The centre is located within Federation Square and is an exciting way to spend an hour or so.  It’s one of the free fun activities for kids Melbourne has to offer.

Location:  Federation Square, on the free City Circle Tramline.

Price:  Free – although you need to still book online here.

Opening Hours: Monday to Tuesday from 12 to 5 pm, Wednesday to Friday from 12 to 7 pm and during school holidays daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

City Circle Tourist Tram

A fun way to get around Melbourne is via the trams (more on this below).  However, the City Circle Tourist Tram is an attraction in itself and it’s another one of the great free kids’ activities Melbourne offers.   Yep free! 

Jump on board the free City Circle Tram (number 35) and along the way, listen to the audio commentary about the various sights around Melbourne.  You can get off when you see something that interests you, once you are done, get back on and continue the route.

You can easily spot the City Circle Tourist Tram as it is serviced by the heritage W class trams which are decorated in maroon and green with yellow and gold trimmings – just gorgeous!   Although there is no need to get on the City Circle Tram unless you want to hear the commentary, as all the trams within the CBD are free too.  Yes, that’s right, completely free!!! 

So jump on any tram and take a ride around the city for some family fun Melbourne time! For the bigger kids, get them a map and let them help you identify the various things to see in Melbourne and figure out the best route to take.  Myla just loved doing this!

Price:  Free

Open:  The tram runs every 20 minutes (in both directions) between 10 am and 6 pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10 am to 9 pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

LocationClick here for the timetable and map for the City Circle Tram Route 35.

Yarra River Cruise

 

One of the most popular things to in Melbourne with family is to take a river cruise down the Yarra River.  The two main cruise operators are the Yarra River Cruises and Melbourne River Cruises.  Both offer a range of cruises including sightseeing tours, twilight cruises and dinner cruises.  For families, the sightseeing cruises are probably best as they will take you up and down the river where you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the Melbourne CBD and can listen to the commentary regarding the city sights.

Tours run every day with multiple departure times throughout the day and are among the great Melbourne activities for families.

Price:  Varies – Click here to book a sightseeing cruise on the Yarra River. 

Opening Hours:  Varies

Location:  Varies

SEA LIFE Melbourne

Another one of the great Melbourne kids attractions is Sea Life.  Sea Life Melbourne is located on the Yarra River banks and showcases more than 10,000 marine creatures over four different levels.  Animals on display include penguins, sharks, fish, rays and one of the biggest saltwater crocodiles in captivity.

Location:  The corner of Flinders Street and King Street on the Yarra River.  There is also a free Shuttle Bus service from the Legoland Discovery Centre.

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.  

Price:  Tickets at the gate on the day are $46 for adults and $32 for children.  Children 0-2 are free.  It is cheaper to booker tickets online here.

Legoland Discovery Centre

For kids who love Lego,  the Legoland Discovery Centre would have to be one of the best kids attractions Melbourne offers.  Here you can explore 13 play areas, including Miniland Melbourne, where kids can spot Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks, Duplo Farm Adventure, an area especially for kids aged 2 – 5, Heartlake City, where you’ll find the Lego Friends and more.  There are also rides such as Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice, a 4D Cinema which plays a range of different movies (watch one or watch them all!) and workshops.

A day at Legoland Discovery Centre is one of the fun things to do for kids Melbourne has.  It is a true hands on experience where the kids will love doing all things Lego.  There is also a cafe on site.

Location: Level 2 / 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone

Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Price: $34.50 per person – click here to get cheaper tickets online.  Although if you are planning on going to Sea Life as well, it’s best to buy a combined pass which is $80.50 per person – however do yourself a favour a book online here where a combined pass is just $42.60 per person.  

State Library Victoria

At the State Library of Victoria, you can take free tours and hear stories about the state of Victoria, and its people.  You can even see the armour of Australia’s infamous bushranger Ned Kelly and artifacts from the expedition of explorers’ Burke and Wills.

There are guided tours or various free programs and exhibitions all year round.  Jump online to see what’s going on during your visit to Melbourne and what Melbourne kids activities they have on.  Free walking tours of Melbourne start here too.

Location:  328 Swanston Street, Melbourne.  

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Price:  Free

Eureka Skydeck

Another one of the cool activities for kids Melbourne has is the Eureka Skydeck.  Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the southern hemisphere’s highest viewing platform.  Travel up to floor 88 in less than 40 seconds and enjoy fantastic views of Melbourne.  You can see all of Melbourne’s landmarks with viewfinders and binoculars available to help pinpoint attractions. If you are game, you can try the Edge Experience, where you are suspended over 300 metres over the city in a glass box. 

Location:  7 Riverside Quay, Southbank. 

Opening Hours:  Thursday to Monday from 12 pm to 10 pm – closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Price:  Skydeck: $25 per adult, $16.50 per child and $66.50 for a family pass | Combined Skydeck and the Edge Experience: $37 per adult, $24.50 per child and $98.50 for a family pass – under 4s are free.  Get discounted tickets from Klook here – Skydeck: $19 per adult, $15 per child and $50 for a family pass | Combined Tickets: $29.60 per adult, $19.50 per child and $73.89 for a family pass. 

Melbourne Zoo

If you want to see some animals during your visit to Melbourne with kids, then go to the Melbourne Zoo, where kids get free entry on weekends!  Only 10 minutes from the city centre you can see over 320 exotic species from around the world at Melbourne’s Zoo.  Animals include tigers, orangutans, penguins, seals, and elephants as well as Australian animals such as Koalas and Kangaroos.

Location:  Elliott Avenue Parkville.  

Opening Hours:  Daily from 9 am and 5 pm.

Price:  Adults are $38 and children are $19 Monday to Friday but free on weekends, public holidays and school holidays.  Purchase tickets online here.

Old Melbourne Gaol

For older children, one of the interesting activities in Melbourne for families is a visit to the Old Melbourne Gaol.  Built in the 1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol is one of Melbourne’s oldest buildings and a fascinating historical attraction. During its operation as a gaol between 1842 and 1929, it held and executed some of Australia’s most notorious prisoners, including the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly.   The museum displays various information and memorabilia of the prisoners and staff.

The best way to experience the gaol is by downloading the audio guide app.  There is also a new fun thing to try – the Cluedo Experience.  This is designed for kids 12+ and has the whole family working together to solve a murder mystery.  This is one of the fun things to do with family Melbourne has.

Just be mindful that the museum is a little dark and maybe one of the things to do in Melbourne for families with older children.  Although the Melbourne Gaol was right across from our accommodation, I chose not to take Myla there when she was little, but I have been before myself and found it really interesting.

Location:  377 Russell Street, Melbourne.  

Opening Hours:  Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.  Closed Monday and Tuesdays.

Price: $30 for adults, $17 for children (5-15) or $70 for a family pass.  The Cluedo Experience is an additional $5 per ticket.  Click here to book tickets online.

Luna Park

No doubt, one of the fun family things to do in Melbourne is to visit Luna Park.  Luna Park is one of the world’s oldest existing amusement parks, with it being in operation for over 100 years. Of course, one of the more famous Melbourne attractions for the family is the enormous giant smiling face entry for the required family selfie.

The park has 18 different rides, with various rides aimed at different age groups.  There are slow rides for the little munchkins right up to the crazy rides for the adrenaline junkies and all kinds of rides in between.  As well as the rides, there are various games and places to eat. The rides do have height restrictions with some of the rides requiring children to be accompanied by an adult.  The adult also requires a ticket.

Myla absolutely loved Luna Park, so I can highly recommend it as one of the fun things to do in Melbourne kids will love.  

Location:  18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda.  Luna Park is between Jacka Boulevard, Shakespeare Grove and the Esplanade.  If you are coming from outside of St Kilda, you can easily catch a tram from Melbourne CBD, or there is plenty of metred parking around the park. 

Opening Hours:  Friday, Saturdays and Mondays 11 am to 10 pm, Sundays 11 am to 7 pm and Thursdays 11 am to 10 pm.  Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Price:  Entry is $5 per person but individual ride tickets are $5.00 to $11.50 per ride or you can purchase unlimited ride passes starting at $18 for children 0-3, $41.50 for children 4 to 12 and $51.50 for 13 years and old and over.  They also offer a 4 person family pass of $155.00 which can be purchased at the gate. 

IceBar

How about some fun family activities in Melbourne, where everything is made from ice?  At the IceBar, everything is made from ice, including the walls, tables, chairs and bar. No need to bring your warm clothes, IceBar provide you with everything you need including a snow cape and gloves to keep you toasty.

Location:  The Atrium in Federation Square

Opening hours:  Thursdays to Sundays from 12 pm to 8 pm.  Children are only allowed in the venue from 11 am to 7 pm.  

Price:  $39 for adults and $19 for children.  The entry price includes which includes snow gear and a cocktail for the adults and mocktails for the kids. A family pass $99.  Click here to book online.

Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum is a great attraction if you are looking for educational things to do with kids Melbourne has.  At the Melbourne Museum, they can learn about Victoria’s natural environment, cultures and history through various displays and interactive technology. The little ones (0-5) will love the Pauline Children’s Gallery, where they can become archeologists digging for fossils or become stripey or spotty in the ‘camouflage disco’.

Other highlights include the stories from Victoria’s first peoples at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, get to know the city in the Melbourne Story and the rainforest in the Forest Gallery.

The museum also has an IMAX theatre that shows 3D documentaries (see below) and the Museum hosts various exhibitions and workshops throughout the year, so be sure to check out what’s on during your visit to Melbourne.  Click here for more information.

Location:  11 Nicholson Street, Carlton

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Price:  Adult entry is $15 and children are free.

IMAX Melbourne

Another one of the Melbourne attractions kids will love is the IMAX, which is located inside the Melbourne Museum.  This is the world’s second-biggest IMAX, featuring IMAX laser, the world’s most advanced cinema technology where you can see various documentaries or the latest movies. The IMAX cinema is within the Melbourne Museum Complex.

Location:  The IMAX cinema is located within the Melbourne Museum – 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton.  

Opening HoursCheck their website out here for individual session times for opening hours.

Price:  If you visit both the IMAX and the Melbourne Museum you can get discounted tickets; otherwise, $18 for adults and $15 for children. 

Australian Sports Museum

Wondering what to do in Melbourne for kids who are sports mad?  Then take them to the Australian Sports Museum located inside Gate 3 of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as the MCG. The sporty family will love the National Sports Museum with it is interactive displays and Australia’s most extensive collection of sporting memorabilia.  On display, you will find items associated with Australian football, cricket, Olympics, horse racing.  Cricket fans can even face a spinning delivery from a 3D hologram of Warnie. 

While you’re here, you should definitely take the opportunity to have a guided tour of perhaps the most famous cricket ground in Australia – the MCG!

For sports mad families – the Australian Sports Museum is definitely one of the best things for kids to do Melbourne has.

Location:  Melbourne Cricket Ground – Brunton Ave, Melbourne.  

Opening Hours:  Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday – 10 am to 5 pm – closed the rest of the week.

Price:  Entry to the museum is $30 per adult, $15 per child (5-15) and family passes are $75.  Guided tours of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds are $30 per adult, $15 per child (5-15) and family passes are $75.  If you plan on doing both then purchase a combined ticket which is $40 per adult, $20 per child (5-15) and family passes are $95

Immigration Museum

Another one of the educational things to do for families in Melbourne is a visit to the Immigration Museum.  The Immigration Museum is in the Old Customs House, which was the former administrative centre for Melbourne’s immigration and customs.

Over two floors, the museum documents the history of immigration in Australia, the various policies in place over time and the multiple reasons certain people have immigrated to Australia. While I found the museum very interesting, it may not be overly interesting activities in Melbourne for kids that are young. However, they will probably like visiting the replica boat cabins showing how families travelled to Australia many years ago. There is a range of interactive exhibits that school age children may find appealing. 

The museum also has a range of special workshops and exhibits on display throughout the year, so be sure to check what’s on during your visit.

Location:  400 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Price:  Entry for adults is $15 and children are free.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Another one of the nice places to go with kids Melbourne offers is the Royal Botanic Gardens.  Located in Melbourne CBD is the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria which spans over 94 acres and is home to over 10,000 species of native and exotic plants.

Various activities are available within the gardens, including a guided tour of the Wurundjeri people’s land where you taste Indigenous food straight from the garden on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk.  You can experience a traditional punt on the Ornamental Lake or take a scenic drive on the Garden Explorer bus.  The kids will also love the Children’s Gardens which have plant tunnels to crawl through, rocks to climb over and a bamboo forest for hiding in.

During the Summer months, a trip to the Moonlight Cinema is great for families, where you can watch a movie under the stars. There are numerous activities for young and old at the gardens.

Within the gardens are also two cafes, so it’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee or have some morning tea.

Location:  Birdwood Avenue –  approximately two kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre.

Opening Hours:  Daily from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm.

Price:  Entry to the gardens is free, although the various tours have an associated fee.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade

 

OK, this activity is not actually one of the things to do with kids in Melbourne CBD, but it is possible to do a day trip from the city to see the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.

Phillip Island is terrific for families, and I highly recommend it as offering some of the best kids activities in Melbourne. I recommend you spend a few days in Phillip Island to see the Penguin Parade; you can read my tips here, but keep reading below if you want to make a day trip from Melbourne.

Each night at the Penguin parade, tourists come to watch the gorgeous little penguins return home after a big day of catching fish at sea. Tourists take their seats along the beach and just after sunset, the little guys start returning home.  It is a beautiful site watching these little guys waddle up the beach towards their burrows.

While you are waiting for the penguins, the local rangers provide information about the penguins, including educating the tourists on how to care for our environment, which the penguins’ well-being relies on.  As well as watching the penguins return home, the centre contains various interactive displays about penguins, so either get there early or hang about later to check this out.

If you are not staying locally, you can join a Phillip Island tour from Melbourne to see the Phillip Island penguins.    This does work out to be a long day, particularly if you are travelling with children and I highly recommend you spend at least one night at Phillip Island but ideally 2 to 3 nights.

Location:  1019 Ventnor Road, Phillip Island – about a 2 and a half hour drive from the Melbourne CBD.

Opening Hours:  The Penguin Parade opening hours change throughout the year but usually opens daily from 5 or 6 pm until 10 pm.

Price: $27.75 per adult and $13.50 per child.  The family pass is $68.  You can book discounted tickets online here.  Or join a tour from Melbourne here or if you have time, I’d recommend the full day tour at Phillip Island from Melbourne here.

Scienceworks

One of the fun things for kids to do Melbourne has is Scienceworks.  The kids will love Scienceworks with its hands-on experiments, demonstrations, and tours.  Another one of the tremendous educational things to do with children in Melbourne. Visit the lightning room and watch a demonstration about electricity, visit the planetarium and learn about constellations, stars and the sun or test your sporting skills out against various Australian sportspeople such as Cathy Freeman.

There are various areas to visit, and Scienceworks also hosts numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year.  Click here for more information.

Location:  2 Booker Street, Spotswood.  

Opening Hours:  Daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm

Price:  $15 per adult, children are free.  If you want to enter the Planetarium or Lightning Room, each costs an additional $8 per person.

Queen Victoria Markets

Melbourne is known as Australia’s foodie capital and one of the best places to get tasting some of this amazing food is at the Queen Victoria Markets.  The Queen Victoria Markets are the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere.  Here you will find various fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, cheese, and various small goods.

Besides fresh produce, the market also has various handmade crafts from local artisans and designers and a range of other items such as clothing, jewellery, footwear, and leather goods for sale.

This is a great place in Melbourne families will love.  The kids will love all the treats on offer, Myla loved watching the doughnuts being freshly made right before her eyes.  She loved eating them even more!  I’d recommend planning a visit to the markets around a mealtime, so you have an excellent excuse to try out the various good on offer.

For the ultimate foodies, join a Foodie Tour where during the course of 90 minutes, you will be taken on a guided tour of the various food halls, meet stallholders, try fresh produce and learn about the history of the market.  Click here for more information about food tours.

Click here for tips on where to eat in Melbourne and if you want to know where kids can eat free in Melbourne – click here.

Location: The markets are surrounded by Queen and Franklin Streets, Melbourne.

Opening Hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 am and Sundays from 9 am.  The markets are open until around 3 to 4 pm.  

Price:  Entry is free

Interaxcity

If you’re looking for things to do in Melbourne with toddlers or younger school aged children, then you must visit Interaxcity.  Interaxcity is a new children’s museum where your kids get to take on a role in a 200 square meter mini city.  Within the mini city, kids can take on roles such as a pilot, construction worker, forest, doctor, mechanic and more.  Each role takes place in a life like setting where the kids will interact with the other kids in their roles.  There are plenty of hands on interactive displays to help with their development in a fun way.  Adults are also encouraged to play with their child.

Interaxcity works by having multiple sessions throughout the day, with each session lastly 75 minutes.  Bookings are essential.

Location: 1A Cawkwell Street, Malvern – just east of St Kilda

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9.15 am with the last session commencing at 12.45 pm Monday to Friday and 2.30 pm on Saturdays.

Price: $18 per child – this includes one supervising adult.  If additional adults wish to attend they will also require a ticket.  Kids under 1 are free.

St Kilda Penguins

 

Our last tip for things to do in Melbourne with children is to see the little St Kilda Penguins return each night. Located at the very end of the St Kilda pier past the pavilion, you will find the St Kilda beach penguins returning home each night just after sunset. Parents and kids alike will love watching these adorable little animals as they come home from a busy day at sea.

Once we arrived, it did not take long to see the little guys coming home.  We were fortunate in that there were many chicks around, and we were privileged enough to see one of the penguins feeding its feisty baby.  These little dudes are full on, pretty much the same size as their parents and full on hassling them for food – just like human babies!!

Earthcare volunteers are on hand to provide information about the penguins at St Kilda and are available to answer any of your questions.  Not only is this a great way to get up close to the penguins, but it is also an excellent opportunity for adults and kids alike to learn about the importance of looking after our environment so the animals that live around us can flourish.

We saw the penguins in early September, which meant they came ashore around 6 pm.  The weather was freezing and windy.  For ideal weather conditions, it is best to see the penguins in April when the weather is warmer and daylight saving has finished meaning it is not too late for the kids.

While Andy and I loved watching the St Kilda pier penguins come home, Myla did get bored.  There is a little bit of waiting around, and you do need to spot the penguins in the dark, which can be tricky unless you are lucky enough to have a penguin walk by you.  I think given the poor weather on the night we went we were lucky as there were not too many people there (although there were still quite a lot). 

Location:  St Kilda Pier, past the pavilion – Pier Road, St Kilda.

Opening Hours:  There are three sessions per night, starting from sunset.  

Price:  Free – but you need to book a spot here.

Day Trips from Melbourne

Of course, there are plenty more great activities and attractions in the surrounding area of the Melbourne CBD.  See below a few more tips for things to do with the kids while you are in Melbourne.

Great Ocean Road Day Trip

A few days is the perfect amount of time to explore the Great Ocean Road; if you only have a day, then jump on this day tour.  You will see the 12 Apostles, enjoy stunning views from Mutton Bird Island and Razzorback lookouts, visit the pristine beach of Loch Ard Gorge, take a guided walk through the Great Otway National Park and more. 

Click here for more information and to check the tour price.

Location: The Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay and ends in Allansford

Sovereign Hill

Go back to the 1850s during the Gold Rush era.  At this authentically recreated town, you will see craftsmen work, various demonstrations such as musket firing, boiled lollies being made, and other goods being made the old fashion way.  You can even pan for real gold!  

Location: Bradshaw Street, Golden Point

Opening Hours: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Price: $39 per adult, $20 per child (5-15), under 5 years are free and a family pass is $99 – which includes up to 4 kids!  You can book online here and get an included mine tour.

Healesville Sanctuary and Puffing Billy Tour

Take a historic steam train ride on Puffing Billy to the Healesville Sanctuary, where you can see platypus, koalas, kangaroos and more. Tours only depart Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays. Click here for more information and to check the tour price.

Alternatively, make your own way to Healesville Sanctuary to see all the animals.

Location: The Healesville Sanctuary is at Glen Eadie Ave, Healesville

Opening Hours: Opening hours for the Healesville Sanctuary is Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

Price: Entry to the Healesville Sanctuary only is $38 per adult and $19 per child, although children are free on weekends.  Click here to book tickets online.

Mt Buller Snow Day Trip  

If you visit Melbourne from June to September, why not take the opportunity to visit the snow on this Mt Buller day trip.  Spend the day skiing or snowboarding on various terrains suitable for beginners through to advance levels.  Even if skiing isn’t your thing, the kids can play in the snow, and then you can browse the gorgeous alpine village of Mt Buller.

Click here to book a trip from Melbourne.

Gumbuya World

For a day of fun, the whole family will enjoy, head over to Gumbuya World.  This is the only place in Victoria where you get a water park, wildlife and theme park in one place.  At Gumbuya World, you have Oasis Springs Water Park, the Wildlife Trail and the Oz Adventure and Outback Explorers theme park for the one ticket price.

Location: 2705 Princess Highway, Tynong North

Opening Hours: Depends on the time of year – but generally, most things are only open on the weekends.  Check here before going.

Price: $57 for adults and $51 for children – with under 3s free. 

For even more things to do in Melbourne with kids, click here or find other places to visit in Victoria click here.

Melbourne City Attraction Pass

Now depending on how what attractions you plan to visit it may well be beneficial.  I’m not always a fan of these attraction passes because sure if you were to go with all of the attractions you’ll have saved money – in most cases, you won’t have time to visit them all and so, in the long run, you won’t save any cash.

However, I do think the Melbourne City card could save some families some cash – IF they were going to go to a few of these attractions anyway.  The card offers free admission to attractions and includes discounts on activities, restaurants and bars around Melbourne.

The attractions the card covers free entry for are:

  • Eureka Skydeck
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
  • Melbourne River Cruise
  • Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus for 72 hours
  • IceBar
  • Walking Tour
  • Bowling at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
  • Hidden Laneway Bar Tour
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG) tour
  • Werribee Open Range Zoo
  • Healesville Sanctuary
  • Arthurs Seat Eagle flight
  • Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
  • Cooks Cottage
  • A Maze N Things
  • Creswick Woollen Mills

A 3-day pass for an adult costs $249 and a child pass is $149.  The 2 day pass is $189 for adults and $109 for kids.  Although Klook is currently offering a great discounted price where the 3-day pass is $224.10 for adults and $134.10 for kids or the 2-day pass is $170.10 for adults and $98.10 for kids.  Click here to get this discounted rate.

So I recommend you look at the above attractions and the ones you want to go to – make a note of the entry fee.  Add all the fees up and if they come out more than the card’s cost, the card is worth getting.  Just be realistic with how many attractions you can see in the 2 or 3 days – there is no way you can visit all of these attractions – I’d probably allow no more than 2 or 3 a day.

Where to Stay in Melbourne 

No matter what your budget, there is a great range of family accommodation in Melbourne.  Below I’ve listed three great budget options. 

For even more options on where to stay in Melbourne with the kids, click here for our guide on the best family accommodation Melbourne has to offer.  This guide covers 12 recommendations in great locations, which will accommodate the entire family and won’t break the bank.

If you prefer a little more luxury than budget, click to see the top Boutique Hotels in Melbourne.  

Space Hotel Where to stay in Melbourne

When looking for where to stay in Melbourne, make sure you consider the Space Hotel.  We stayed here during a trip to Melbourne and seriously this would have to be the best place to stay in Melbourne if you are on a budget.  The Space Hotel is both a hostel and a great Melbourne budget hotel with a variety of family rooms. The Space Hotel is only a few minutes to the nearest tram stop (which is in the free tram zone) and within minutes, you are in the heart of the city.

The family rooms are massive, which is excellent when you are travelling with a few kids.  The room contains one double bed and a set of bunk beds.  Also in the room is a TV, tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge and a large storage cupboard.  The bathroom was nice and modern, although the shower was pretty tiny.

Although the Space Hotel is a budget hotel, it has plenty of impressive facilities, including a cinema, gym, lounge, kitchen for preparing meals, laundry and an excellent rooftop area.  From the rooftop, you get a great view of the Melbourne skyline, plus there is a spa and BBQ facilities here.

There are even a few attractions within walking distance; for example, the Melbourne Gaol is right across the road, and the Queen Victoria Markets are a 5-minute walk away.

Click here for more information and to check current pricing.

Winston Apartments Docklands

For those families that want plenty of space while in town, you really can’t beat the Winston Apartments in Docklands – they are so cheap too!  Also, in the free tram zone, from here you are within easy reach of all the Melbourne attractions.  It’s the perfect place if your heading to Marvel Stadium, which is a 10 minute walk away, plus it’s just a 30 minute walk to the centre of town or a short tram ride.

Winston Apartments offer families huge two bedroom apartments – with a large bed in each room.  They have a full kitchen, so perfect for preparing meals for the family and also come with a washing machine and dryer.  Plus, you even get river views from your own private balcony!

The apartments also have an indoor swimming pool, gym, free parking and wifi.

Click here for more information and to check current pricing.

The Travelodge Hotel

While located in the South Bank Precinct, the Travelodge Hotel is probably the most central hotel out of all listed in this guide.  It’s also the most expensive – but still great value at less than $200 per night.  This hotel is not located in the free tram zone; however it’s only 500 metres to the nearest zone stop.  From here, it’s also an easy walk to various laneways, street art and other attractions such as Sea Life, Immigration Museum and the Yarra River Cruises.

The Travelodge offers family size hotel rooms which come with two large beds in a single room.  Each room has a small dining table, microwave, fridge and tea and coffee making facilities, so it is possible to prepare some basic meals.

The Travelodge has a restaurant on site that serves a buffet breakfast each morning, free wifi and discounted parking if available at the nearby Eureka Car Park.

Click here for more information and to check current pricing.

Getting Around Melbourne with Kids

Below we’ve provided some tips on how best to get between the airport and the city and tips on how to get around the city and between various attractions.

Melbourne Airport to Melbourne City

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get from the Melbourne Airport to Melbourne City is via Skybus.  Skybus operates between 4.30 am to midnight, 7 days a week with a bus leaving the airport every 15 minutes directly to the Southern Cross Station.

At the airport, there is a Skybus desk and drop off point at Terminal 4 (Jetstar and Tigerair domestic), whereas in Terminal 1 (Qantas domestic) and Terminal 3 (Virgin domestic and international flights), there are both pick up and drop off locations. 

Tickets are $19.75 per adult and just $5 per child – although up to 4 children can travel free with an adult.  Tickets can be purchased onboard the Skybus or click here to purchase online in advance and at a discounted rate.

If you’re planning on taking a taxi or rideshare to or from Southern Cross Station – you may find it just as easy to get these directly between your accommodation and the airport.  By the time you add the cost of the ride to your Skybus ticket and given the convenience, this may be the better option.

Getting around the CBD

The best thing about visiting Melbourne with kids is the Free Tram Zone.  Jump aboard one of the City Circle Trams as many times as you want every day and visit all that the CBD has to offer.  Click here for the Free Tram City Circle Map. 

I just love how easy it is to get around Melbourne on the city trams.  With their frequent services and multiple stops, there is no need for a timetable or a map; just turn up to the nearest tram stop, read the colour coded map to work out which tram number you need to get and your tram will be along in no time at all.

You may have to change trams to reach your destinations, but trams come so often that you will most likely jump off one tram and the next will be no more than 5-10 minutes away. Don’t even worry if like us, you occasionally jump on the wrong tram, as I said above, jump off at the next stop, and the correct tram will be close behind.

If you are planning on travelling outside of the free zone, you’ll need to get a myki Explorer card so you can top it up with cash to catch public transport around town.  You can even purchase a physical card at places such as Public Transport Victoria hubs which are at most train stations or just download the app onto your smartphone and you use it just the same as you would an actual card.

 

Roadtripping it?  Check out this super detailed guide on the Perth to Melbourne drive.

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Things to do in Melbourne with Kids

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