Melbourne Museum, Melbourne, Victoria © Visit Victoria
Top things to do in Melbourne with kids
The world’s your oyster in the city of Melbourne. Get ready for the ultimate family getaway.
By Amy Fraser
Melbourne’s multifarious activities make family getaways all the more exciting. From award-winning immersive art exhibitions to open air wildlife parks and sky-high experiences, Melbourne has an incredible selection of family activities for all interests and age groups – it’s the ultimate crowd pleaser. Read on to discover our top picks for your family holiday.
Interact with modern-day art
Melbourne’s museums are like a lot of things in this forward-thinking city: fun, arty and eclectic. Explore the vibrant art collections and immersive kids’ experiences at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum, or have some fun becoming part of the art itself at the quirky ArtVo gallery, fitted with over 100 giant 3D artworks to interact and pose with. Immersive art experiences continue at the family favourite ACMI (The Australia Centre for the Moving Image) where illustrated characters come to life in the celebration of film, TV videogames and art.
Spend a day at St Kilda
When to go
Visit on a Saturday to stroll around the Esplanade Market’s arts and crafts stalls. Be sure to stop by the pancake and donut stands for a tasty treat.
The city suburb of St Kilda has everything a family needs for an epic day out. Think playing on the beach, cycling down the promenade, cooling off with an ice cream and whizzing down roller coasters at Luna Park. After the excitement, take a picnic and walk along the coastal path to relax next to the colourful bathing boxes on Brighton Beach.
Reach new heights
If your family has an aptitude for heights, then head to the Eureka Skydeck. Here, you can soak up mind-blowing views of the region from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform while the family daredevils can brave The Edge, a transparent glass cube suspended 285 metres (935 feet) above the city.
Take a trip back in time
What’s a family holiday without a spooky trip back in time? If you like the odd shiver down your spine, the historic Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne’s oldest prison, offers thrills galore for the whole family. Wander through it on a guided ghost tour as you learn about the site's haunting history, or if you’re up for the challenge join the Cluedo Experience. For a historic experience of a cheerier kind, step aboard the decks of the 19th Century Polly Woodside ship for plenty of pirate fun and games.
Surf as a family
Surfs up in the city? That’s right. URBNSURF, Melbourne’s man-made wave park, makes an awesome outing for any family looking to hit the waves. Choose between left and right waves at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The park’s controlled lagoon makes the perfect place for little ones to learn in a safe environment while mum and dad cheer on from the sidelines (or the nearby waves!). Afterwards, be sure to fuel up at the family-friendly Three Blue Ducks located on-site.
Walk where the wild things are
Australia is home to some of the most magnificent (and adorable) animals on the planet, and there’s nothing quite like getting up-close to them. Drive just one hour from Melbourne’s city centre and you’ll be able to lay your eyes on some of the country’s most iconic species. Spot them in the wild along Healesville Sanctuary’s nature trails or, at Ballarat Wildlife Park, hand-feed free roaming kangaroos. To see some of our weirder wildlife species, Moonlit Sanctuary's nocturnal tour is a great way to meet quirky animals including wombats, Tassie Devils and the spot-tailed quoll.
Experience Melbourne’s passion for sport
Melbourne’s AFL sports games rival some of the very best. For Melburnians they are a lot more than just a sports match, and it’ll become clear before the game even begins. Expect hours of entertainment, from the ceremonial march towards the grounds to the pre- and post-match entertainment and the roar of the stadium – it’s difficult not to have a good time. Sports fanatic families should also stop by the Australian Sports Museum where kids can compete via the interactive exhibits ranging from surfing, climbing and cycling.
Play among the plants
Nestled in the heart of the city is the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens; a shaded oasis abundant with walking tracks, native plants and back-to-nature experiences. In the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden kids can learn how to grow plants before cooling off in the child-friendly water fountain. Bring a picnic and enjoy an afternoon amid the pristine plants.