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20 Fun Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids

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Melbourne is one of the most vibrant and captivating cities in Australia, and offers a host of wonderful attractions and activities for tiny humans.

From wildlife parks to kid-friendly museums to educational attractions, there are tons of things to do in Melbourne with kids.

Exploring Melbourne

There’s a lot going on all-year-round in Melbourne for kids of all ages, just ask our daughter, Kalyra, who became quite attached to Melbourne during the period we spent there when she was six.

She loves big cities and wants to live there one day, with the only downer being the inconsistent and awful weather, but not much you can do about that!

If you’re wondering what made our child fall in love with Melbourne, and you’re stuck for ideas of what to do, keep reading for the best kid-friendly attractions in Melbourne!

Things to do in Melbourne with kids

1. Hit the kid-friendly bike ride trails

Bike the Bayside Cycle path when visiting Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is made for cyclists. Whilst you do have to watch the die-hard crazies riding like they are in the velodrome, the numerous biking trails are great for kids.

We loved exploring the Yarra River and Bayside foreshore from St Kilda to Brighton on our bikes.

I’ll never forget Kalyra bouncing on the seat of her bike as we rode down Swanston St, through the centre of Melbourne. “This is the best fun ever!” she said.

I, on the other hand, rode behind her having mini-heart attacks as trams passed her by and pedestrians weaved around us. That particular adventure is not for the faint-hearted!

Bike trail along the Yarra River

2. Free art activities

Look out for Art Play on your visit to Melbourne. What an amazing concept for kids!

Just down from Federation Square along the Yarra River, you’ll find this building dedicated to kids exploring their creative talents.

You do have to pay, but they often have free activities.

We met up with a friend and our kids created their own universes made out of materials in the garden.

3. Check out the interactive museums

people looking at museum exhibition
Credit: Tourism Australia

We don’t usually visit museums much, but we enjoyed learning more about the history of moving arts and creating weird video clips at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square.

Melbourne has a thriving arts and science scene, and there are plenty of interactive spaces for your kids to learn and be entertained if this is the sort of thing that gets them excited.

One of the best museums for kids is the Museum of Play, which focuses on play-based learning. Don’t miss Scienceworks for educational exhibits about science and the Melbourne Museum for exhibits related to our natural world.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) also has some exciting art exhibits and workshops for kids

4. Get a hot chocolate and celebrate cafe culture

My girls are devoted to a good hot chocolate or babycino paired with a muffin or chocolate brownie!

little girl holding up marshmallows on a stick

There are plenty of family friendly cafes in Melbourne with inside and outside play areas. (Yeah, you know it Mums, I really put this one in here for you!)

And for a real indulgence and an experience you’ll all love, hit up the High Tea at the Langham Hotel on Southbank.

The Langham serves a top-shelf high tea with different themes, when we were in town it was a child’s ‘Frozen’ high tea based on the movie.

“This is the happiest day of my life,” Kalyra grinned as best as she could as she bit into her marshmallow snowman. And possibly the worst day of yours when the sugar hits!

The girls were devastated when we left Melbourne the day the Barbie High Tea was on.

(Don’t say anything, but Craig was even more devastated).

5. See the views from Melbourne Skydeck

A view of a city

Judging by the number of kids running around the Eureka Skydeck squealing, I’d say the 360 degree views of Melbourne, from the highest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere, is a hit for kids in Melbourne.

I recommend going up just on sun down so you experience Melbourne by day and as it slips into night.

We didn’t go up on the best day, but if the weather is kind, the sunset views are stunning and you get a top view of the city.

And put your thrill pants on while you’re there and stand on the edge of the building. It’s slightly freaky, but well worth it.

6. Visit the calm swimming beaches

people playing in the ocean
Parkdale Beach

I had no idea Melbourne had nice beaches – even beautiful beaches.

Move a little further away from St Kilda and the city and you’ll discover some amazing family friendly beaches with gentle waves.

During the summer the water temperature is decent and calm making it the perfect beach for kids.

Our favourite are Elwood Beach and Parkdale Beaches.

Sunset at St Kilda Beach, Melbourne, Australia
St Kilda Beach, Melbourne

A treat your kids will love is a pizza and ice cream dinner while watching the sunset on St Kilda Beach.

While they play in the sand, you can relax with a glass of vino.

7. Visit the fantastic gardens and picnic places

row of trees in Carlton Gardens,

Melbourne’s gardens took me back to my years living in London where, due to the absence of the ocean, we’d head to the leafy parks and gardens on a hot summer’s day for a sunbake and a picnic.

Fitzroy Gardens, Carlton Gardens and the Botanical Gardens are my favourites in Melbourne. During the summer months, they often have free music and shows that the kids are sure to love.

And the community gardens at St Kilda next to Luna Park run by volunteers is a cool place to visit.

St Kilda Playground is also one of the best in the city, though we try not to take our kids to playgrounds much when we travel.

8. Visit the awesome Werribee Open Range Zoo

giraffes sitting on a dry grass field
Giraffes at Werribee Zoo in Melbourne

I was not expecting much from Werribee Zoo. I love it when a place surprises you!

Hippo at Melbourne Zoo

While it certainly isn’t a patch on a real African safari, it’s probably as good as most kids are going to get without getting on a plane.

I loved how close you could get to the animals and the zoo’s strong focus on conservation of endangered animals.

We could see native Australian animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wombats, as well as exotic animals such as tigers, zebras and elephants.

It was much better than Melbourne Zoo, in my opinion.

9. Watch a sporting event or festival

tennis in melbourne

Melbourne seems to have a new festival or event on every week. While in Melbourne, the girls enjoyed a day of tennis, games and concerts at the Australian Open kids’ day, the Saturday before the Aussie Open began.

We were also in the city when the Moomba Festival was on by the Yarra River and there were plenty of things for the kids to do there.

Savannah still looks at the picture of the Fun House on my phone, and asks if she can sit on my lap again and go down the slide together.

We were also there during the Spring Horse Racing Carnival. The Saturday after the Melbourne Cup is family day (Steaks Day) and they have a great section set up to keep the kids entertained.

Although next time mummy and daddy are bringing in the babysitters!

10. Wander around Federation Square

Federation Square
Federation Square

Federation Square occupies a whole urban block right on the banks of the Yarra River and sits directly opposite Flinders Street Train Station and St Paul’s Cathedral.

It’s a great family friendly environment at Fed Square with lots of cool stuff going on: you get free Wi-Fi, free daily health and wellness classes, museums and galleries, rooftop honey bees and gardens, restaurants and bars that have deals, and free sports on the BIG TV screen. .

But our fave was the Fed Square Live, which celebrates Melbourne’s top acoustic acts in a series of free outdoor concerts on Thursdays through the summer.

Savannah & Kalyra dancing to the music
Savannah and Kalyra dancing to the music

Oh, and it comes complete with free beach chairs spread out in front of the stage and room for the kids to jump around.

11. Explore the Queen Victoria Markets

people outside Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne
Melbourne’s Queen Victoria night market

Who doesn’t love a good open air market? Your kids will love shopping at the Queen Vic Markets which has something for everyone.

But the highlight for us was the Wednesday Night Market which serves up a global street food extravaganza with offerings from all over the world.

crepe covered in chocolate syrup and ice cream

It was like any night food market you’d find in Asia, buzzing with atmosphere and cheap (for Melbourne) street food. The kids tucked into a crepe, Caz had a goat curry and I demolished a kangaroo burger.

The night market runs every Wednesday from November – March and is an awesome thing to do in Melbourne with kids.

12. Play with animals at Collingwood Children’s Farm

Located just 4km from Melbourne CBD is Colingwood Children’s Farm, a not-for-profit organisation connecting children to nature and animals.

They have daily activities for kids to enjoy, plus they can play with the friendly farm animals and learn about where our food comes from.

If you’re kids love animals and children’s farms, put this on your list!

13. Learn about plants at The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden

house with garden at melbourne botanic gardens children' section
Credit: Visit Victoria

Another great educational place for kids in Melbourne is the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which is a stunning botanical garden that combines nature with play.

The garden has been designed for children, specifically to intrigue their minds and get them learning about plants in a fun way.

They can climb, jump, crawl and explore through the natural world and learn about flora and fauna in an immersive way.

It also has a kitchen garden where they can learn about agriculture and the growing cycle of food.

14. See the St Kilda Penguins

A personal favourite thing to do in Melbourne with our kids is to visit St Kilda Pier at sunset, when the fairy penguins come in to shore. The little penguins are so cute!

Why go to Phillip Island for the penguin parade when there is a free one right in the city?

15. See the animals at Healesville Sanctuary

healesville sanctuary

Located just outside Melbourne is Healesville, a sleepy town surrounded by beautiful nature.

The number one reason to visit Healesville though is for the Healesville Sanctuary.

The zoo is dedicated to Australian wildlife, and is the best place to see native species to Aus such as Koalas, Kangaroos, Wombats, Wallabees, Dingos and Platypuses.

It’s a small zoo and will only take 2-3 hours to see it all, but it’s wonderful!

16. Explore the underwater world at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

people looking at manta ray in aquarium
Credit: Tourism Australia

Another great place to take the kids to ignite their curiosity and learn about our natural world is at the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.

Meet the King Penguins, walk under manta rays and see sharks up close.

There is no better place to learn about our ocean and all the wonderful creatures who live in it.

17. Play at Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery

If you have babies or toddlers, take the to The Children’s Gallery where they can explore, play and learn all about our natural world.

They can excavate fossils like archeologists, learn about plants like botanists, and engage in hands-on exhibits through play and immersion.

You need to reserve a timed entry slot to the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, which allows you entry for 50 minutes.

18. See the Polly Woodside Tall Ships

Setting sail back in the 19th century from Belfast, Polly Woodside has travelled more than 1.5 million miles around the world.

This former coal ship is still in service, and is one of the best-kept examples of square-rigged deep-water commercial sailing ships that still floats in Australia.

Climb about the ship and take a tour and learn about what life was like sailing the tall ships.

19. Spend the day at Legoland Discovery Centre

More than just a theme park, Legoland Discovery Centre is a place of fun and wonder.

Be amazed by the scale models, including a mini Melbourne cityscape!

The museum exhibits have been built using two million LEGO® bricks, and is the only Legoland in Australia.

Legoland is all about creativity and allows kids to get hands-on building, playing, and discovering what their imagination desire.

20. Check out the street art in Hozier Lane

girls walking through an alleyway covered in graffiti

You’ve probably heard that Melbourne has a spirited street art scene, which is arguably best found down Hosier Lane, a highly decorated and celebrated street in the city.

Ever since the 1970s, graffiti artists have been decorating the city’s backstreets with vibrant and striking pieces of urban artwork, coloring the city in floor-to-wall displays of artistic expression.

Although its roots began with stenciling artwork, today you can see a variety of different styles, from NYC-inspired 3D lettering to humorous cartoons and realism paintings. Each piece tells a different story, either of political and cultural issues to events in Melbourne’s history. Some are just plain whacky!

Our young girls were entranced by the colorful designs and loved posing for photos with some dance moves. There are lots of cool cafes and restaurants around to enjoy after.

Read our full guide to Hosier Lane Street Art in Melbourne

Tours of Melbourne

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Need more inspiration for things to do in Melbourne? Here are some other guides to help you out!

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What things are you most excited to do in Melbourne with kids? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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