What should you do with your kids during the long, hot days of the summer school holidays (December 21 to January 28)? We've found the best children's theatre shows, workshops, outdoor activities, festivals and museum exhibitions to keep them busy and having fun over the summer break.
School holiday activities in Melbourne
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be like Alice and eat something to become huge, or drink something to become tiny? What would the world look like to a giant? What does it look like to a cat? You can find out at Melbourne Museum's Mini Mega Model Museum, which plays with scale in more than 300 objects displayed in tiny and oversized galleries. There are model specimens to examine in the Zoomological Laboratory, hyper-realistic wax food in the life-sized cafeteria to play with and a fully furnished mini-mansion to pore over. The mini-mansion took more than 40 years to create, and museum visitors could spend hours appreciating every tiny detail. Kids can learn about model making and try their hand during the Mini Mega Makers Workshop. And for some very large-scale critters, have a stroll through the museum's Dinosaur Walk.
What do zoo animals get up to when all the daytime visitors have headed back to their cars? Quite a lot, it turns out, with many African animals most active at dusk. That makes Werribee Open Range Zoo's Sunset Safari the perfect time to see giraffes, rhinoceroses, elands, zebras, scimitar-horned oryxes, hippopotamuses and other incredible African animals. Visitors are divided up into two groups, Kipenzi and Lataba (named after two of the zoo's seven rhinos). There are three activities on the night, but the order changes by group. Everyone gets a welcome drink on arrival, after which the groups go their separate ways. One part of the night is an African drumming and dancing performance, which includes a workshop on how to do some of the simpler moves. A second part is an African feast, where visitors can enjoy tagine, couscous, salads and other delights, all topped off with a chocolate fountain, into which you can dip marshmallows, strawberries and meringue pieces. The best part, and the reason for the event, is the safari itself. Visitors pile onto the safari buses and travel out to the 45-hectare open savannah section of the zoo. Sunset is the best time to see the magnificent creatures who live here, and safari guests will get to see all kinds of cool African wildlife at their most active. The luckiest group goes out at the same time as the truck that delivers their food, which is sure to bring the animals running from all corners of the savannah. Proceeds from the ni
Boasting over an acre of indoor aerial activities, Latitude offers a world of aerial entertainment for little kids and big kids alike. There’s over 100 interconnected trampolines, a performance area, a giant airbag, dodgeball courts and basketball lanes in this indoor centre. Take advantage of a good deal with the Super4 Pass; it's $65 and includes admission for four general session tickets for four mates.
Adventure Park is the place to go when you want some waterside fun. There are plenty of waterslides, kids rides or family activities like go-karting or mini-golf. Need a little R and R? Adventure Park also features cabanas you can book plus our all time favourite relaxing attraction: the Lazy River.
This marathon, five-hour spectacle has a plot so dense and sprawling, so wonderfully, unashamedly elaborate, it's a must-see for any Harry Potter fan. While we may have been sworn to secrecy about Cursed Child’s plot, we can reveal that the hype – and rarely has a piece of theatre ever generated such fever-pitched buzz – is entirely deserved.
Melbourne is the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests.
Bringing the country to the city, the Collingwood Children’s Farm gives urban kids a chance to give farming life a go. You can milk the cows, feed the chooks, ride a pony or play with the baby lambs. A farmer’s market takes place every second Saturday of the month, where you can pick up fresh produce. The Farm Café serves up hearty meals with a paddock-to-plate policy: everything is made from scratch and ingredients are sourced locally.
New York artist Kaws (aka Brian Donnelly) is bringing his larger-than-life sculptures and paintings to the NGV this summer for Kaws: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness. Alongside this mega exhibition will be something for the littlest art fans. Kaws: Playtime is a free and immersive exhibition for kids that includes a number of hands-on activities that draw inspiration from Kaws’ work, especially his BFF character which is inspired by popular cartoon characters.