School holiday activities in Melbourne
Some come to the Show for the rides, others come to marvel at award-winning cakes, the incredible woodchoppers, the pavilions filled with baby animals and champion dogs… or maybe we’re all just united in a mutual love of show bags. Running from Saturday, September 21 until Tuesday, October 1, this year’s Royal Melbourne Show is set to take the annual festival to new heights with the promise of dinosaurs, parades and even robots.
The CherryHill orchard in Yarra Valley is opening its farm gates for its annual cherry blossom festival, which is happening just in time for the spring school holidays and the Grand Final long weekend. Visitors will get to see rows and rows of cherry trees in full spring bloom, and it's the perfect place to try the orchard's cherry beverages. There will also be a spring flower crown stall, live music and kids games like face painting and lawn games.
From the outside, the spectacular luminaria created by UK company Architects of Air look a little like retro spaceships landed from an alien planet. But if you venture inside the Katena luminarium, which is popping up in Bunjil Place from September 27, you’ll discover no invading super race. Instead, you’ll find a labyrinth of uniquely curved and beautiful tunnels lit in dazzling colours.
There is something fascinating about seeing a world-famous skyline recreated in tiny Lego bricks. Ryan 'the Brickman' McNaught and his team have built some of the greatest cities in the world out of bespoke Lego for a new exhibition at Scienceworks. The cities are New York, Dubai, Tokyo, Sydney and London, and the exhibition showcases their histories for almost a thousand years, from castles and forts to skyscrapers and instantly recognisable landscapes.
Treat your kids (and yourselves) to a Minnie Mouse-themed high tea at the Langham. Feast your eyes on some delightfully themed goodies including Minnie Mouse shortbread ears, flower-shaped honey joys and chocolate raspberry flavoured soft cookie sandwiches. Classic savoury options such as chicken goujons and sausage rolls will also be served. Advance bookings are highly recommended, and it costs $59 per person.
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.
It’s pretty easy to enjoy yourself at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; you don’t even need a particularly sweet tooth. This is largely because Dahl’s original, like all his work, is as brittle and nutty as it is sweet. The story of poor Charlie Bucket, so impoverished he can only have a single bar of chocolate on his birthday, winning a golden ticket to the magical wonderland that is Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, is a morality tale of the most gruesome and delectable kind.
To celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory landing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin Hotel is recreating its kid-friendly high tea with a little Wonka magic. The Wonkariffic Kids High Tea includes three tiers of sweets crafted by the Westin’s Oompa Loompas… er, I mean pastry chefs. There’s everything from chocolate river cupcakes, honeycomb and chocolate mousse, cucumber finger sandwiches, violet and almond gobstopper cookies and even a golden ticket milk chocolate bar.
When you go to the circus you expect to see some high-flying acrobatics, but even Circus Oz is astounded by the heights they reach in their latest show. Aurora takes guests on a dizzying journey with perilous feats, spectacular projections and harmonious soundscapes. Aurora is truly an out-of-this-world adventure, drawing upon the world’s natural elements as inspiration and creating a space where the performers explore what is, what was and what could be.
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.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival takes over Silvan’s Tulip Farm during September and October and brings almost a million tulips in bloom to 25 acres of farmland in the Dandenong Ranges. Located an hour away from Melbourne, this tulip festival turns regional Victoria into a mini version of the Netherlands with tulip bulbs flowering in the majestic spring sunshine.
Long before Robert Downey Jr donned the Iron Man suit, Marvel Comics was delighting readers with the derring-do of Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men and all their superhero pals and nemeses. In fact, Marvel Comics has been around for 80 years, and in celebration, the company is bringing a free exhibition of Marvel art to Melbourne. The exhibition includes work from every decade of the company, from its start as Timely Comics in 1939 to the buff superheroes we love from modern movies. Entry is free.
Calling all YouTube lovers: this year’s Vidcon is returning to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre between September 19 and 22. The event caters to all fans of the online video streaming platform, with the classic meet and greets, live performances and more informative panels and Q&As on the agenda.
From September 23 to October 6, Eastland Shopping Centre will be the earthly home to Spaceland: an intergalactic event specially made for budding astronomers and astronauts aged four to 12. Strap into your spacesuits and prepare to blast off: Spaceland is filled with lots of fun, kid-friendly activities that will keep little minds occupied (and maybe even teach them a thing or two).
Showtime Attractions and Silver Circus are bringing all the colourful characters of Sesame Street to Melbourne for the Sesame Street Circus Spectacular. This 90-minute spectacular features classic Sesame Street characters like Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, Super Grover and Big Bird. To make it even more special, the show will feature the voices of the original Sesame Street cast with all the music produced locally.
If you've never heard of Laser Beak Man, here's what you need to know: Tim Sharp, a Queensland artist who has autism, created the mystical superhero when he was just 11 years old as a way of sharing his humour and imagination with the world. The character has been adapted into books and a Cartoon Network series, and its success has seen Sharp's work exhibited all around the world and turned into a stage show. Laser Beak Man is recommended for ages eight and up.
Neon artist Carla O'Brien achieved global recognition when pop star Katy Perry 'wore' her Neon Angel Wings in 2015 at Burning Man. Now you can play with her art at an interactive installation at QV. The colourful playground includes a sensory digital game and free rainbow cheese toasties, rainbow hot chocolates and DIY fairy bread (with rainbow icing and rainbow 100s and 1000s of course) at the purpose-built Happy Bakery on site.
The Skyline Terrace at Federation Square (the roof of the Fed Square car park) is home to the Winter Village: a (faux) snow-covered pop-up bar inspired by European winter markets. The pop-up is surrounded by snowy pine trees à la the Black Forest, while inside guests can enjoy an ice skating rink, 21 toasty warm private igloos and a mega igloo where it snows (inside!) every hour.
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.
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.