Heading to Melbourne with the family and wondering what are 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 to Visiting Melbourne.
The kid’s activities Melbourne offers are endless, and not just in the CBD but the surrounding areas too. Things to do with kids in Melbourne include discovering the colourful murals down Melbourne’s laneways, soaring above the Melbourne skyline, cruising down the Yarra River and will even being entertained riding the free trams around the city.
This guide shows you 30 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 cover getting to the Melbourne CBD from the airport, getting around the CBD and where to stay in Melbourne on a budget.
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.
There are so many great things to do in the surrounding areas of the Melbourne that in this post, I am just going to focus on the attractions within 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.
- 1 Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
- 1.1 Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
- 1.2 Harbour Town Docklands
- 1.3 Ice Skating at Docklands
- 1.4 ArtVo
- 1.5 Glow Golf
- 1.6 Explore the Laneways
- 1.7 Street Art
- 1.8 Federation Square
- 1.9 The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
- 1.10 Tourist Tram
- 1.11 Yarra River Cruise
- 1.12 SEA LIFE Melbourne
- 1.13 State Library Victoria
- 1.14 Eureka Skydeck
- 1.15 Melbourne Zoo
- 1.16 Melbourne Gaol
- 1.17 Luna Park
- 1.18 IceBar
- 1.19 Melbourne Museum
- 1.20 IMAX Melbourne
- 1.21 National Sports Museum
- 1.22 Immigration Museum
- 1.23 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
- 1.24 Phillip Island Penguin Parade
- 1.25 Scienceworks
- 1.26 Queen Victoria Markets
- 1.27 St Kilda Penguins
- 2 Day Trips from Melbourne
- 3 Where to Stay in Melbourne
- 4 Getting Around
- 5 Attractions Passes
Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
Throughout this section I have provided a comprehensive guide to all 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.
You will note that for many of the Melbourne tourist attractions I often recommend that you purchase your tickets in advance from Klook. Yes, I will receive a small commission if you do purchase from these sites, but as you will see, in most cases, you will save yourself quite a bit of cash in doing so. Other times the price may be the same, but you will save time by not having to line up for tickets. Plus with Klook you earn credit points that you can cash in for even bigger discounts.
I regularly use Klook myself to book tickets for our travels around the world.
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.
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
One of the fun things to do in Melbourne for kids is taking them soaring above the Melbourne skyline on board the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. This 30-minute journey is an excellent introduction to the city and one of the more popular Melbourne family activities.
As well as fantastic views across the entire Melbourne CBD skyline and beyond; you will receive commentary about the various sites around Melbourne. With your ticket, you receive a free map so you can follow along with the commentary identifying the various landmarks. The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel has 21 individual air-conditioned fully enclosed cabins. Each cabin can fit up to 20 people, although the day we were there, there were only a handful of people so pretty much everyone had an entire cabin to themselves. There is plenty of room to walk about and take some fantastic photos of the city skyline. We went during the day, but I would be keen to ride the Wheel during the evening or just on dusk to see the city lights. At night the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel even has a dazzling LED light show.
Price: Prices at the gate are $36 per adult and $22 per child. I recommend you buy online via Scoopon as tickets are $15 per person which is a massive saving – but be quick as the deal is only available until 31 March 2020. Click here to get your discounted tickets.
Opening Hours: During May to August, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is open daily from 11 am to 6.30 pm. During September to April (the warmer months), it is open daily from 11 am to 9.30 pm.
Location: The best way to get to The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is via Tram from anywhere within the Free Tram Zone – at no cost! Board any of the following Trams: The City Circle Tram, Tram 86 (via Bourke Street) or Tram 70 (via Flinders Street. Disembark at The District Docklands (Stop D11) for an easy walk to the Melbourne Star.
Harbour Town Docklands
Looking for a one-stop shop for multiple fun things for kids to do in Melbourne? Then head down to Harbour Town Docklands as there are numerous Melbourne family attractions here (keep reading below for more details about these family attractions Melbourne offers). Harbour Town Docklands is an outdoor shopping centre which is also a great dining and entertainment precinct. Here you will find plenty of great Melbourne attractions for kids including the Melbourne Star, Wonderland Junior, Glow Golf and plenty more. There is over 80 specialty retail stores, cafes and various attractions within Harbour Town, 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.
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 10:00am to 6.00pm. Check their website for opening hours for Christmas trading hours as some speciality stores have different opening and closing times. Click here to find current open and closing times.
Location: Located at 440 Docklands Drive, Docklands. Catch a tram from the Free Tram Zone – Tram Routes – 70, 86, 35 (City Circle).
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 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. With every round, she became better and better. She absolutely loved it, and I was super impressed how well she did — perhaps being closer to the ground its a bit easier for the little ones. 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.
Price: Prices vary depending on how old the child is, whether you are purchasing a family or single family pass or whether you are going to hire skates, so I recommend checking out their website for all the details. Click here for the prices.
Opening Hours: In general, public skating is open 7 days a week, 364 days a year from 9.00am each day. 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.
Location: O’Brien Icehouse is centrally located only 2km from the CBD at 105 Pearl River Road, Docklands. Take the free City Circle Tram from Flinders Street or La Trobe Street direct to Docklands.
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 a variety of gallery zones including Australiana, Jungle Safari, Aquatic Adventure, and Dimensional Dreams, to name a few. I haven’t been here, but it looks like one of the fun places to go in Melbourne for kids and definitely on my list for next time.
Price: Entry is $28 per adult and $18 per child. Family passes are available for $78.
Opening Hours: ArtVo is open 7 days a week from 10am.
Location: 26 Star Crescent, Level, 1 The District, Docklands. Catch the free City Circle Tram 70 (via Flinders Street) or Tram 86 (via Bourke Street) to the District Tram Stop.
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 especially tailored for children, families, teenagers and all keen golfers alike. Glow Golf is no doubt one of the fun things to do with kids in Melbourne, that the entire family will love.
Price: Adults $15 and $10 for kids. You can also purchase a family pass for 2 adults and 2 children for $45.
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am to 10pm. Friday 11am to 11pm. Saturday 10am to 11pm. Sunday 10am to 7pm.
Location: Glow Golf is located in the Docklands District shopping centre – Level 1, Shop 35 (just near the Melbourne Star Ferris Wheel. Jump on the free City Circle Tram or the #70 or #86 trams.
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.
Price: Completely free to wander through all the eye-popping laneways Melbourne has on display.
Opening Hours: 24 hours per day.
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) and
- Presgrave Place (photo frames).
Others that we checked which I did not think we’re much more than graffiti and I wouldn’t’ bother going to were:
- Union Lane,
- Russell Place;
- Queen and Franklin Streets; and
- Blender Lane.
Others which 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; and
- Finaly Lane.
There is a great interactive map (click here) which you can download on to your Smart Phone where you can click on your desired location and it will 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.
Price: There is no cost to walk freely through the busy Melbourne streets.
Opening Hours: 24 hours
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.
In the square, you will find the Melbourne Visitors Centre, the Edge Theatre, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, SBS headquarters, and various cafes and bars. I recommend you visit Federation Square during lunch hour as this is when you will really see the square come alive. Check out these 8 other places to visit in Victoria.
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.
Location: Federation Square is part of Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone. Grab a free Tram from anywhere in the free tram zone and jump off at Stop 13.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Note: ACMI is currently closed for major re-development, so keep checking their website (click here) to find out when they are expecting to re-open. (It is well worth the wait).
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 be able 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.
Opening Hours: ACMI is currently closed for redevelopment, however click here to be updated on its intended re-opening date. The current re-opening date is mid-2020.
Location: ACMI is located in Federation Square, on the free City Circle Tram line.
I have mentioned a few times in this post how much I loved getting around Melbourne on the trams. It is just so easy, and another one of the great free kids’ activities Melbourne offers. Yep free!
A great way to get your bearing in the CBD is to jump on board the free City Circle Tram (number 35). Along the way, this tram provides audio commentary about the various sights around Melbourne, and you can get off when you see something that interests you, once you are done, get back on and continue the route. 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. 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!
Open: The Tram runs every 20 minutes (in both directions) between 10am and 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Yarra River Cruise
I often hear from friends that one of their favourite things to in Melbourne with family is to take a river cruise down the Yarra River. While enjoying gorgeous views of the Melbourne CBD, you will receive commentary regarding the many city sights. Various cruise types are available such as day time cruises, nighttime cruises, dinner cruises. Tours run every day with multiple departure times throughout the day. Click here to see various cruises on the Yarra River.
Price: varies. depending on your ticket purchase.
Opening Hours: varies. depending on your ticket purchase.
Location: varies. depending on your ticket purchase.
SEA LIFE Melbourne
Another one of the great Melbourne kids attractions is Sea Life. Sea Life Melbourne is located on the banks of the Yarra River 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.
Price: Tickets at the gate on the day are $44 for adults and $30 for children. However, I recommend you grab yourself a combined Legoland Discovery Centre Big Ticket for $47.50 per person. Which is a huge saving of up to $29.50 per adult. Click here to get your bargain tickets.
Opening Hours: Regular opening hours are Monday to Friday 10.00am to 5.30pm (last entry 4.30pm). Check here prior to your visit just in case there are any seasonal changes to their opening hours.
Location: The Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is located on the corner of Flinders Street and King Street on the Yarra River, opposite the Crown Entertainment Complex. The free City Circle Tram stop directly out front. There is also a free Shuttle Bus service from the Legoland Discovery Centre.
State Library Victoria
At the State Library of Victoria, you can take free tours and hear stories about the state of Victoria, and it’s 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.
Price: free entry.
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am to 9am. Friday to Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Location: The State Library is located in a heritage building on the corner of Russell and La Trobe Streets in the Melbourne CBD. Various modes of pubic transport are available to get here.
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.
Price: Entry at the gate per adult is $25 and $16.50 for a child. Click here to purchase online at Klook where tickets are $20.90 per adult and $14.25 per child, with under 4’s free.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10am to 10pm with last entry at 9.30pm.
Location: Located in the heart of Melbourne, public transport options are plentiful. From Flinders Street Train Station, simply walk five-minutes over the bridge to the other side of the Yarra River. Multiple trams also service the Southbank area, particularly along St Kilda Rd, a short walk away from Eureka (check out Public Transport Victoria for detailed route information).
If you are want to see some animals during your visit to Melbourne with kids, then go to the Melbourne Zoo where kids get free entry! 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.
Price: Adults are $38 and children are $19 Monday to Friday and free on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. Click here to book your tickets online and go straight through the gates.
Opening Hours: The zoo is open daily between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Location: Elliott Avenue Parkville. Melbourne City Sightseeing runs a convenient hop-on, hop-off shuttle service that services Melbourne Zoo 10 times a day — no need to book! Convenient stops are located throughout central Melbourne, including Federation Square and Carlton. The shuttle service’s Zoo stop is at the main entrance on Elliott Avenue.
Built in the 1800s, the 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. Just be mindful that the museum is a little dark and may be 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, but I have been before myself and found it really interesting.
Price: Adults are $28 and children are $15. Family passes are available for $65. Click here to purchase your tickets prior to your arrival to beat the queues.
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5pm daily. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Location: 377 Russell Street, between Victoria and La Trobe Streets. Catch the free City Circle tram no.35 to stop 7 on the corner of La Trobe and Russell Streets.
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.
On the day we went we were a little disappointed to see four rides closed for maintenance so it might pay to check out what rides are open and their respective height restrictions before purchasing tickets, to ensure you are buying passes which are right for you. Myla absolutely loved Luna Park so I can highly recommend it as one of the fun things to do in Melbourne kids will love. She was just the right height for all the rides she wanted to go on, which was perfect. She would have easily stayed here all day if we didn’t drag her away. Myla told me Luna Park “was amazeballs because it had really really really fun rides“.
What I love about Luna Park is the free entry into the park. You can come and go as you please. We had an unlimited ride pass which meant we had a wrist band each – so we visited the park twice during the day, and Myla went on her favourite rides over and over throughout the day. While Luna Park is not massive like most theme parks, I loved how it is small, and so it is easy to get from ride to ride in a short period. There were no real line ups either which meant we could go on multiple rides in a short time. If you want to take the kids to Luna Park, be sure to line up your trip with their opening times.
Price: Admission to Luna Park is $5 per person. Individual ride tickets start at $5.00 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. Check the latest prices and conditions here.
Opening Hours: Luna Park is only open on weekends, school holidays and public holidays from 11am to 6pm. There are a variety of ticket options to suit your family, including the unlimited ride pass, which starts at $
Location: 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. Luna Park is one of the most famous St Kilda activities for families, and I have no doubt your kids will love it.
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 snow cape and gloves to keep you toasty.
Price: Adult entry includes snow gear and a cocktail at $39. Children’s entry including snow gear and a mocktail is $19. They also offer a family pass for 2 adults and 2 kids at $99.
Opening hours: Children are only allowed in the venue from 11am to 7pm. The venue is open until late if no children.
Location: Ice Bar is located inside The Atrium in Federation Square. Public transport options are endless.
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 kids will love the Children’s Gallery where kids 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 hosts various exhibitions throughout the year so be sure to check out what’s on during your visit to Melbourne. Click here for more information.
Price: Adult entry is $15 and children are free.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Location: The Museum is located at 11 Nicholson and Gertrude Streets. Take the free City Circle Tram to Victoria Parade.
Another one of the Melbourne attractions kids will love is the IMAX. 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.
Price: If you are visiting both the IMAX and the Melbourne Museum you can get half-price tickets. Otherwise, adult tickets are $18 and children are $12. A family pass if $55. Click here for daily session times.
Opening Hours: Check their website out here for individual session times for opening hours.
Location: The IMAX cinema is located within the Melbourne Museum. Take the free City CIrcle Tram to Victoria Street and take a nice stroll through the gardens.
National Sports Museum
Wondering what to do in Melbourne for kids who are sports mad? Then take them to the National 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. The National Sports Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
Price: Entry is $25 per adult and $14 per child. Family passes are $60. For an additional fee, you can also join a guided tour of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Click here to book the guided tour.
Opening Hours: Currently closed for redevelopment until February 2020
Location: Melbourne Cricket Ground. There are many public transport options to get to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Click here for all the details.
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 for younger children although they will probably like visiting the replica boat cabins showing how families travelled to Australia many years ago. The Immigration Museum is open daily between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Entry for adults is $14 and children are free.
Price: Entry for adults is $15 and children are free.
Opening Hours: Open daily (except Christmas Day and Good Friday) from 10am to 5pm.
Location: The Museum is located in the Old Customs House at 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne. Take the free City Circle Tram to the corner of Flinders Street and Market Street.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Located in the heart of the 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 land of the Wurundjeri people 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. 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, click here for more details.
Price: Free to enter.
Opening Hours: The Royal Botanic Gardens is open daily from 7.30am to sunset.
Location: Located at Birdwood Avenue, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Melbourne Gardens is approximately two kilometres from Melbourne’s city centre.
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
OK, this activity is not actually in the Melbourne CBD, but it is possible to do in 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 if you want to make a day trip from Melbourne keep reading below.
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 in turn ensures the wellbeing of not just the penguins but all sea life. As well as watching the penguins return home, the centre contains various interactive displays about penguins, so either get their 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
Opening Hours: This really depends on the tour you select.
Location: Phillip Island is about a 2 and a half hour drive from the Melbourne CBD.
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 Melbourne and learn about constellations, stars and the sun or test your sporting skills out against various Australian sports people such as Cathy Freeman. There are various areas to visit, and Scienceworks also hosts numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Scienceworks is open daily between the hours of 10 am and 4.30 pm. Entry for adults is $14 and children are free. Click here for more information.
Price: Entry for an Adult into the Scienceworks Museum is $15. Children are free. If you want to enter the Planetarium or Lightning Room, the cost is $8 per person.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 10am to 4.30pm. (Except Christmas Day and Good Friday)
Location: Scienceworks is located at 2 Booker Street, Spotswood. There are many public transport options so check your trip with the public transport journey planner here.
Queen Victoria Markets
Melbourne is known as the foodie capital of Australia and one of the best places to get tasting some of this amazing food is at the Queen Victorian Markets. The Queen Victorian Markets are the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you will find a variety of fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat seafood, cheese, and various small goods.
As well as fresh produce, the market also has a variety of handmade crafts from local artisans and designers as well as a range of other items such as clothing, jewellery, footwear and leather goods for sale.
This is a great place in Melbourne families. The kids will love all the treats on offer, Myla loved watching the donuts being freshly made right before her eyes. She loved eating them even more! I’d recommend planning a visit to the markets around a meal time, 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 stall holders, 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.
Price: The markets are free to enter.
Opening Hours: The markets are open every day except Mondays, Wednesdays and most public holidays. Click here for more details regarding full opening hours.
Location: A short walk from the City centre, Queen Victoria Market is bounded by Peel, Franklin, Victoria & Elizabeth Streets.
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. Find out what time sunset is on the day you intend to visit and arrive just beforehand. Then sit tight and keep your eyes peeled for 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, Neil suggested 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). However, it’s worth noting that during the summer months when the weather is perfect, the place is packed with people and viewing the penguins at St Kilda beach is rather tricky through the masses of people.
My tip if visiting with kids is not going too early, people start leaving after spotting a few penguins despite more penguins still coming in. So if you go while the penguins are coming in you won’t have to wait around for too long with the kids. Click here for a few more things to do to in Melbourne.
Opening Hours: Check what time sunset is and head down to the pier a little earlier to get a good viewing spot.
Location: See the St Kilda Penguins at the very end of the St Kilda pier, past the pavilion.
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: while 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 pass through the coastal towns of Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell, see the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and drive through the Otway Rainforest. Click here for more information and to check the tour price.
- Sovereign Hill: Go back to the 1850s during the Gold Rush era. At this authentically recreated town you will see craftsmen work, a variety of demonstrations such as musket firing, boiled lollies being made as well as a variety of other goods being made the old fashion way. You can even pan for real gold! Click here for more information and to check the tour price.
- 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.
- Mt Buller Snow Day Trip: If you are visiting 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.
Where to Stay in Melbourne
When looking for where to stay in Melbourne, make sure you consider the Space Hotel. We stayed here during our recent 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.
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. 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, small fridge and 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, incuding a cinema, gym, lounge, kitchen for preparing meals, laundry and an excellent roof top area. From the roof top you get a great view of the Melbourne skyline, plus there is a spa and BBQ facilitites here too
At the time of publishing the best rate for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids was $165 on Booking.com. Click here for the latest prices and availability for the Space Hotel.
Want more more options on where to stay in Melbourne with the kids, click here for our guide on the best family accommodation Mebourne has to offer. In this guide we list 12 recommendations which are in great locations, will accommodae 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. Airbnb also has some great family apartments available on Airbnb. Click here if you are new to Airbnb and wish to receive an AUD 55 credit when you take your first trip over AUD 100.
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 24 hours 7 days a week with a bus leaving the airport every 10 minutes directly to the Southern Cross Station. Tickets start from $19.75 per adult Click here for futher details.
What I love about Skybus is that up to 4 children travel free with each adult. Tickets can be purchased online or on board the Skybus. There is a Skybus desk and drop off point at Terminal 4 at the airport, whereas in Terminal 1 and 3 there are both pick up and drop off locations. From the Southern Cross Station, you can take a free shuttle to your Melbourne CBD, Docklands or Southbank hotel
It is worth noting that while the Skybus runs 24 hours a day, the hotel shuttle only runs between 6 am to 10.30 pm weekdays, and 6 am to 7 pm on the weekends. So in my view for a family reaching the airport after this time, you are better off taking a taxi directly from the airport as you will have to get a cab from the Southern Cross Station anyway unless your hotel is closer enough to walk. A taxi from the airport to the city will cost around $60 Click here to purchase your Skybus tickets in advance.
Getting around the CBD
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. The best news is that trams within the Melbourne CBD are free. Yes completely free, so no need to purchase a tram card, just jump on.
Melbourne City Card
The Melbourne City Card is a convenience and money saving option if you don’t have the time to spend reading through articles and articles of things to do in Melbourne with kids.
The Melbourne City Card offers free admission to attractions and includes special savings on premium activites to discounts on restaurants and bars around Melbourne.
Some of the attractions the card covers are:
- Eureka Skydeck
- Melbourne Star
- Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Melbourne River Cruise
- Melbourne Zoo
- Carlton Brewery
- Werribee Open Range Zoo
- Ice Bar
A 3-day pass for an adult costs $210 – usually $249 and a child pass for 3-days is $125 – usually $149. That is a HUGE saving. Prices are cheaper if you buy a 1-day or 2-day pass.
Roadtripping it? Check out this super detailed guide on the Perth to Melbourne drive.
Roadtripping it? Check out this super detailed guide on the Perth to Melbourne drive.
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