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.
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- 1 Best Things to do With Kids in Melbourne Map
- 2 Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
- 2.1 Museum of Play and Art (MoPA)
- 2.2 The District Docklands
- 2.3 Ice Skating at Docklands
- 2.4 ArtVo
- 2.5 Glow Golf
- 2.6 Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
- 2.7 DreamCity
- 2.8 Explore the Laneways
- 2.9 Street Art
- 2.10 Federation Square
- 2.11 The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
- 2.12 City Circle Tourist Tram
- 2.13 Yarra River Cruise
- 2.14 SEA LIFE Melbourne
- 2.15 Legoland Discovery Centre
- 2.16 State Library Victoria
- 2.17 Eureka Skydeck
- 2.18 Melbourne Zoo
- 2.19 Old Melbourne Gaol
- 2.20 Luna Park
- 2.21 IceBar
- 2.22 Melbourne Museum
- 2.23 IMAX Melbourne
- 2.24 Australian Sports Museum
- 2.25 Immigration Museum
- 2.26 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
- 2.27 Phillip Island Penguin Parade
- 2.28 Scienceworks
- 2.29 Queen Victoria Markets
- 2.30 St Kilda Penguins
- 3 Day Trips from Melbourne
- 4 Melbourne City Attraction Pass
- 5 Where to Stay in Melbourne
- 6 Getting Around Melbourne with Kids
- 7 Melbourne – Our Verdict
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 Australia. 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 are our suggestions on the fun things to do in Melbourne with kids, in no particular order.
Museum of Play and Art (MoPA)
The team behind the most acclaimed Children’s Museums in Australia have done it again, opening their latest Museum in the bayside suburb of Sandringham, just 20 minutes from Melbourne CBD.
MoPA Melbourne is one of the best Melbourne family activities, and 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 certainly one of the Melbourne things to do kids will just love.
All MoPA locations are open 7-days a week, but with a very comfortable capacity limit set on their Museums, MoPA tend to sell out of tickets on most days – so online bookings are absolutely essential.
Location: 247 Bay Road, Sandringham
Opening hours: Daily from 9 am until 5 pm
Price: $16 per adult | $20 per child | 1 and under free
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
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am to 6pm.
Price: Free to enter and browse the numerous shops and eateries. Check out their website by clicking here.
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.
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.
Opening Hours: In general, public skating is daily from 9am. 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.
Price: $28 Adults | $14.50 Kids | $82 Family Pass (2A+2C) – includes skate hire. Discounted rates on Tuesdays.
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
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10am to 4pm | Weekends 10am to 6pm
Price: $28 Adults | $18 Kids (under 5 FREE) | $78 Family Pass (2A+2C) – Click here to book tickets online.
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 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
Opening Hours: Thursday 12pm to 6pm | Friday & Saturday 11am to 9pm | Sunday 11am to 6pm
Price: $12 per game and kids under 5 are free.
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 get 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 café selling a range of burgers and sandwiches.
Archie Brothers is also another option if you’re looking for fun kids things Melbourne has to on a rainy day.
Location: The District Docklands – 440 Docklands Drive, Docklands
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 12pm to 10pm | Friday & Saturday 10am to 12am | Sunday 10am to 10pm
Price: Games and rides vary in price. Dodgems are $6 per ride, bowling starts at $10 per game and the Thrillrider is $8 per ride. Click here to purchase a one or two hour unlimited game pass.
If you’re after things for kids in Melbourne, then look no further than DreamCity, the high-tech city, just for kids.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question all kids get asked. Well now they can experience a taste of their dream job, at DreamCity!
From performing surgeries, operating flight simulators, fighting virtual fires to even learning how to become a podcaster, and more… there are loads of experiences for kids aged 5 to 12 to try out, and be inspired by the possibilities!
Looking for things to do in Melbourne this weekend with family? Well then DreamCity is for you – as its open weekends only.
Location: DFO South Wharf – 20 Convention Centre Place – Level 1, Shop 114/115
Opening Hours: Weekends 10.30am to 4.30pm
Price: $75 Kids aged 5 – 12 | Adults are FREE
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 café in one of these laneways and treating Myla to something sweet while I have a cuppa and watch the Melbourne life pass me by. Definitely one of the best free places to take kids Melbourne has to offer. Click here for information about the best Melbourne cafes.
Opening Hours: 24 hours per day.
Price: Completely free to wander through all the eye-popping laneways Melbourne has on display.
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, plus it is another great free kids activity Melbourne offers. 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 we checked out, which I didn’t 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 and I didn’t 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) you can download on your smartphone where you can click on your desired location and bring up that particular map. So easy to use and includes maps for fun family activities Melbourne has, 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.
Opening Hours: 24 hours per day.
Price: There is no cost to walk freely through the busy Melbourne streets.
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 and one of the many eclectic places to visit in Melbourne.
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.
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.
Price: Free to enter and enjoy the everyday happenings of each day.
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 play 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, the epicentre for what’s on Melbourne, 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.
Opening Hours: Weekdays 12pm to 5pm | Weekends 10am to 5pm
Price: FREE – although you need to still book online here.
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! Who would have though one of the fun things to do with kids Melbourne offers would be public transport?!
Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 10am to 6pm | Thursday – Saturday 10am to 9pm | The tram runs every 15 minutes (in both directions)
Yarra River Cruise
One of the most popular things to do 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 family outings Melbourne river cruises are a great option with 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. On a side note, as there are not many family things to do in Melbourne at night, a cruise is a great option!
Opening Hours: Varies
Price: Varies – Click here to book a sightseeing cruise on the Yarra River.
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.
Sea Life is one of the great fun family things for kids to do Melbourne offers!
Location: The corner of Flinders Street and King Street on the Yarra River. The FREE City Circle Tram stops on Flinders Street, directly out front.
Opening Hours: Thursday – Monday 9am to 5pm | Tuesday & Wednesday Closed
During Victorian School Holidays Sea Life Aquarium is open 7 days a week.
Price: Weekdays $37.60 Adults | $25.60 Kids | $111.20 Family (2A+2C) – Kids under 2 FREE
Weekends $46 Adults | $32 Kids | $139 Family (2A+2C) – Kids under 2 FREE
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 café on site.
Location: Level 2 / 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Opening Hours: Monday, Thursday & Friday 10am to 5pm | Weekends 9.30am – 5.30pm | Tuesday & Wednesday Closed
During Victorian School Holidays Legoland is open 7 days a week.
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 and book online here where a combined pass is just $42.60 per person.
State Library Victoria
If you’re after kid friendly things to do in Melbourne, you wouldn’t normally think of a library… however, at the State Library of Victoria, you can see the armour of Australia’s infamous bushranger Ned Kelly and artifacts from the expedition of explorers’ Burke and Wills. There are also free tours where you can hear stories about the state of Victoria, and its people.
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 10am to 6pm.
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’re game, you can try the Edge Experience, where you are suspended 300 metres over the city in a glass box.
Location: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank.
Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday 12pm to 10pm | Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Price: Skydeck: $28 Adult | $18 Kids | $78 Family Pass (2A+2C) | Kids under 4 FREE
Combined Skydeck & Edge Experience: $40 Adult | $27 Child | $116 Family Pass (2A+2C) | Kids under 4 FREE
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. So if you’re looking for activities with kids Melbourne has on offer, that you know they’ll love, head to the zoo!
Location: Elliott Avenue, Parkville.
Opening Hours: Daily from 9am and 5pm.
Price: $40 Adults | $20 Kids Monday to Friday but FREE on weekends, public holidays and school holidays – Kids under 4 FREE
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 – Sunday 10am to 5pm | Closed Monday & Tuesdays.
Price: $30 Adults | $17 Kids | $70 Family Pass (2A+2C) – Kids under 5 FREE
The Cluedo Experience is an additional $5 per ticket.
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 6pm to 10pm | Saturday 11am to 10pm | Sunday 11am to 7pm
During Victorian School Holidays Luna Park is open 7 days a week.
Price: $51.50 Adult | $41.50 Kids (4 – 12yrs) | $18 Infants (0 – 3 yrs) | $155 Family Pass (2A+2C)
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.
The IceBar is not only great for adults, it’s also great fun for kids Melbourne has on offer.
Location: The Atrium in Federation Square
Opening hours: Thursdays – Sundays 12pm to 8pm | Children are only allowed in the venue from 11am to 7pm.
Price: $39 Adults | $19 Kids | Includes entry, snow gear, a cocktail for the adults and a mocktail for the kids.
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’ – loads of kids entertainment Melbourne Museum has on offer.
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 9am to 5pm.
Price: $15 Adult | Kids are FREE – Click here to book tickets online.
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 Hours: Check their website out here for individual session times for opening hours.
Price: $18 Adults | $10 Kids | Kids under 3 FREE
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, and of course pay their respects at the Shane Warne sculpture located outside Gate 2.
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: Gate 3, Melbourne Cricket Ground – Brunton Ave, Melbourne.
Opening Hours: The Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm and MCG Tours operate from 10am to 3pm. However, due to sporting games and events these opening hours vary greatly and tours are cancelled when the MCG is in use. To avoid disappointment, check the events calendar here.
Price: Museum = $30 Adult | $15 Kids | $75 Family Passes (2A+2C).
Guided tours of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds = $30 Adult | $15 Kids | $75 Family Passes (2A+2C).
If you plan on doing both, purchase a combined ticket = $40 Adult | $20 Kids | $95 Family Passes (2A+2C).
Kids under 5 FREE for all entry.
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 10am to 5pm.
Price: $15 Adult | Kids are FREE – Click here to book tickets online.
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 8,500 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 7.30am to 7.30pm.
Price: Entry to the gardens is FREE, although the various tours have an associated fee.
Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Okay, 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’ wellbeing 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 6pm until 10pm.
Price: Penguin Parade Viewing Ticket = $27.75 Adult | $13.50 Kids | Kids under 3 FREE – Click here to book tickets online.
Penguin Parade Viewing Ticket and Tour from Melbourne = $145 Adult | $90 Kids – Click here to book tickets online.
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 10am to 4.30pm
Price: $15 Adult | Kids are FREE – Click here to book tickets online.
If you want to enter the Planetarium or Lightning Room, each costs an additional $9 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: Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 6am to 3pm | Saturday 6am to 4pm | Sunday 9am to 4pm | Wednesday (seasonal) 5pm to 10pm
Price: Entry is 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!
We saw the penguins in early September, which meant they came ashore around 6pm. 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. A viewing platform is accessible at the head of the pier.
Opening Hours: Just before dusk is the best time to view the colony coming ashore. It can get busy at times, so it is recommended to visit during weeknights.
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 stop by several attractions including the 12 Apostles, Great Otway National Park, stunning views from Razzorback lookout, pristine beach of Loch Ard Gorge and more.
Location: The Great Ocean Road starts in Torquay and ends in Allansford.
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: Tuesday – Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Price: $39 Adult | $20 Kids – under 5 FREE | $99 Family Pass (2A+4C) – Click here to purchase discounted tickets online.
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 depart Sundays. 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 9am to 5pm.
Price: Entry to the Healesville Sanctuary only is $40 Adult | $20 Kids – on weeekends and Victorian school holidays Kids under 16 are FREE – 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.
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 as to which parks are open and at which time – Check here before going.
Price: $57 Adults | $53 Kids – with under 90cm tall FREE – Click here to book tickets to Gumuya World Wildlife Park + Rides.
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 River Cruise
- Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus for 72 hours
- Walking Tour
- Bowling at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq
- Hidden Laneway Bar Tour
- Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG) tour
- Werribee Open Range Zoo
- Healesville Sanctuary
- Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
- Cooks Cottage
- Creswick Woollen Mills
- Moonraker Dolphin Swims
- VR Escape Room
- Arthurs Seat Eagle – Return Flight
- Carlton Brewery & Beer Tasting Tour
Location: Numerous (see above)
Opening Hours: Various
Price: 2 DAY PASS: $179 Adult | $99 Kids | 3 DAY PASS: $239 Adult | $139 Kids – Book discounted tickets online here.
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.
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 queen bed and a set of bunk beds. Also in the room is a TV, desk 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, shared 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.
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 and spa, sauna, gym, parking (paid) and WiFi.
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 (pending dates). 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 parking (paid) is available at the nearby Eureka Car Park.
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 4.30am to midnight, 7 days a week with a bus leaving the airport every 15 minutes directly to the Southern Cross Station.
Location: Melbourne Tullamarine Airport = Terminal 1 (Qantas domestic) – Skybus pick up and drop off | Terminal 3 (Virgin domestic and international flights) Skybus pick up and drop off | Terminal 4 (Jetstar and Tigerair domestic) Skybus pick up only.
Price: One-way = $19.75 Adults | $4 Kids – Click here to purchase tickets online.
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.
Roadtripping it? Check out this super detailed guide on the Perth to Melbourne drive.
Melbourne – Our Verdict
As you can see, Melbourne is not only for grown ups to wine and dine… there are loads of kid friendly activities suitable for all ages… with some being FREE, which will help in stretching the travel budget – so you can experience more of the vibrant Melbourne!
Hopefully you found this guide on the Best Things to do in Melbourne with Kids helpful. I also have some great tips on St Kilda with kids and all the Phillip Island attractions for families. And if you’re after a caffeine hit, don’t miss our Best Coffee in Melbourne article.