Melbourne may be well known as Australia’s most cosmopolitan capital; with the city boasting more shopping and fine dining opportunities one could ever hope to indulge in, yet this does not mean that holidaying here with kids in tow would be a challenge. The bustling city also boasts a healthy amount of fun, entertaining and educative things to see and do for kids of all ages, so if you are planning a family holiday on your next Melbourne jaunt then rest assured that they (and you) will find plenty of enthralling things to do.
Here’s our pick of the very best family-friendly attractions if your flying into Melbourne airport.
There aren’t many children who would ever complain about spending a whole day admiring beautiful wildlife in very natural surroundings. There always seems to be some magical and unexplainable connection between animals and kids, doesn’t there? It’s no surprise then that Melbourne’s most beloved family-day outing is to the city’s zoo, home to over 300 different species of wildlife from almost every corner of the globe. The state of the art enclosures were surely designed with kids in mind as there are numerous raised platforms to allow even the littlest tykes to get a good look at all the beasts without the need to be lifted up by mum or dad. Highlights here include Australian native animals (excellent for overseas visitors) as well as Sumatran tigers, Orang-utans and Mountain Gorillas. Your kids will also have the chance to see what it’s like to work in a zoo with the addition of a fantastic Keeper Kids play section.
Although this is not the largest zoo in the world, that actually works in its favour as even after spending an entire day visiting every single exhibit, neither kids nor grown-ups ever leave feeling exhausted. Do note that children between the ages of 4 and 15 get in free on week-ends and public holidays, whilst those under 4 get in free every single day of the year.
If the kids have not had enough of animals by the time you’ve visited the zoo, then you may want to consider spending another day getting up close and personal with the incredible underwater wildlife which call the Melbourne zoo home. The absolute highlights here are the penguin enclosure and the underwater tunnels which allow you a sometime too-close-for-comfort glimpse of sharks and rays. Plenty of play-tunnels for the kids to muck around in, as well as tanks where kids are encouraged to be hands on with the sea life inhabitants. Although you’ll need only about 3 hours to visit this attraction do ensure your visit coincides with at least one or two animal presentations, to gift your children an even greater understanding of our world down underwater. Book and print your tickets directly from the website to receive a 20% discount.
Kids have been learning with Legos since time immemorial, or so it seems. Melbourne’s most advanced learning centre is an absolute hype of activity, both during and in-between school seasons. Plan your visit over a week-end and you can take the kids on a ‘Sunday Funday’ hour of stimulating and educative play. Entry fees are just $5 per adult and $3 per child, with the centre requiring one adult supervisor per 3 kids. This particular, state-of the-art facility combines modern technology and robotics along with good old fashioned building blocks, giving your kids a particularly mesmerizing experience. This is a phenomenal play-learn option in Melbourne and particularly apt if you happen to suffer a rainy day during your stay.
You’ll find this centre in the Docklands complex (adjacent to the city’s CBD), where you’ll also find a super fun glow-in-the-dark mini golf course!
Melbourne is home to one of the largest observation wheels in the world and it is right here where we recommend you take those hard-to-impress teenagers! The affordable 30-minute ride offers superlative views of greater Melbourne (up to 40km radius) and its beautiful bay, yet it’s the sunset and early evening rides which gift the most breathtaking views of all. Take advantage of the excellent value-for-money Encore Ticket which will give you the chance to take the ride twice; this way you will really get the very best of Melbourne in two great sweeps, one during the day and one at night.