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The best activities for kids in Melbourne

These fun activities in and around Melbourne are sure to keep your younger family members entertained

Nicola Dowse
Adena Maier
Written by
Nicola Dowse
&
Adena Maier
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Melbourne is well known for having dozens of events, exhibitions and attractions to enjoy every single day of the year. No matter you age, our fine city has something fun and fascinating for you – and that includes our under-18 residents. Whether your family has lived in Melbourne your whole life or you're here on holiday, we've scoped out some of the best activities around the city (and the state) to keep your kids occupied and engaged. 

Like to take the family for a picnic? Try one of Melbourne's best parks or venture further afield and discover one of Victoria's best lakes

The best activities for children in Melbourne and Victoria

  • Museums
  • Parkville

We could go on and on about the lions, lemurs, meerkats, butterflies and native animals that you’ll encounter, but we’ll let you discover it all for yourself. For children and adults alike, a trip to Melbourne Zoo is a way to reconnect with our animal friends and gain a closer understanding of the delicate ecosystems of the world.

Children aged 0-15 get in for free on weekends and public holidays. All tickets (including free tickets where applicable) must be pre-booked online.

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Southbank

The NGV usually has a kid's exhibition running alongside a current major temporary exhibit. These exhibitions explain art in a child-friendly manner and often include activities or interactive elements. The NGV also has a huge number of additional activities and events for kids of all ages that run throughout the year (as well as lots of online content). Even better, the NGV's kids content is often low-cost or even free.

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Luna Park
  • Kids
  • Play spaces
  • St Kilda

No childhood is complete without a walk through that famous giant mouth at Luna Park. From the moment you walk through you're exposed to a world full of carnival flair; older kids will love The Power Surge and Enterprise, while the family-friendly Happy Swing and Arabian Merry are best for the little ones. But nothing beats the classic Scenic Railway Roller Coaster for a whirlwind adventure around the entire park. Classic carnival treats are on offer, and tickets are best booked online to avoid missing out at the gate. 

Collingwood Children's Farm
  • Kids
  • Abbotsford

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. The Farm Café serves up hearty meals with a paddock-to-plate policy: everything is made from scratch and ingredients are sourced locally. Check the website to make bookings for children's parties.

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  • Museums
  • Spotswood

Young Melburnians have fond memories of Scienceworks. It's not surprising – the interactive science and technology museum is geared towards getting children excited about science through first-hand experiences. There are guided tours, changing exhibitions, demonstrations and special activities daily. The Planetarium, with its huge domed ceiling replicating the night sky, is always a huge hit, too.

  • Kids
  • Malvern East

Located in Chadstone Shopping Centre, the brick-filled Legoland Discovery Centre will delight little and big Lego fans. The space is packed with more than two million Lego bricks and features attractions including Miniland Melbourne where the city's best-known landmarks has been recreated out of thousands of Lego bricks. There are also play zones for the kids and Lego-themed rides called Kingdom Quest and the Lego 4D Cinema.

 

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  • Kids
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

Melbourne Museum's children's gallery is designed for very young children from babies to five-year-olds, setting a new standard in early childhood learning. Walk in the shoes of a palaeontologist at the Dinosaur Dig or dance the morning away at the Camouflage Disco, complete with a mirror wall, light projections and unique soundscapes. Tired tots can then rest their weary legs at the ‘nothing nook’ – a quiet space to recharge in between adventures. 

Due to capacity limits, visitors must pre-book a free, timed 50-minute session to the Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery in addition to your Melbourne Museum general entry tickets.

  • Things to do
  • Belgrave

Take a ride on this historical steam train Puffing Billy through the hills of the Dandenongs from Belgrave through to Emerald lake. It may not be speedy (once a year you can actually race the train 13 kilometres by foot – and win), but ol' Billy will take you through the trees in style. Even better, the time-honoured tradition of "sitting on the sills" (that is, sitting on the window sills of the open carriages and dangling your legs out) has returned to the train. 

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  • Attractions
  • Zoos
  • Badger Creek

Been on a wildlife adventure lately? Just over an hour from Melbourne, located in Victoria's green Yarra Valley, is Healesville Sanctuary – home to a host of Australian animals living in their native environment. Arguably the most thrilling experience at Healesville Sanctuary is the Spirits of the Sky show. Free with the cost of admission, the show is a spectacular demonstration of the beauty and power of Australia's birds of prey and parrots. Or get up close and meet one of the sanctuary's resident koalas. 

  • Kids
  • Play spaces
  • Melbourne

Funfields, located in Whittlesea, opened in 1985 and has since become one of Melbourne's best-loved attractions. Your entry ticket gets you access to rides, plus a water play area for kids and barbecue area. Little children are well catered for, with mini go karts, Ferris wheels and carousels tailored just to them.

From there, things get more adventurous: take the journey to the top of the hill and zoom back down the Alpine Toboggan Slide, feel that flutter in your stomach on the Blackbeard's Fury pirate ship and challenge your friends to a race on the go karts, for a start. 

Make sure you bring your bathers, because the waterslides are always a highlight. Keep in mind Funfields is open seasonally, usually from November to April.

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  • Kids
  • South Wharf

Do you have an overly ambitious kid? One that obsesses over what they want to be when they're older? Take them to DreamCity in Docklands and nurture their ambitions while they learn the ins and outs of their dream job. Kids aged six to 13 will get the chance to test drive a number of roles such as pilots, robotics, neonatal nurses, firefighters, VR, surgeons, podcasters, TV producers and electrical engineers. There's even a dream zone that involves free-play creative construction.

 

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Tullamarine

Kids aged eight and up can begin their surfing journey in a safe and controlled environment under the close supervision of coaches and lifeguards. Urbnsurf offers full-day "grom camps" that'll get your kids learning the basics of surfing. Plus kids aged six and up can swim in the gentle waves of the artifical bay with their parents, too.

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  • Kids
  • Play spaces
  • Geelong

MoPA is a children’s museum, a place where kids can engage with fun, immersive exhibits created in line with childhood education guidelines. The museum was conceived by Billie Georgieff and Tim Mahon, a husband and wife team who took inspiration for MoPA from some of the world’s best children’s museums. While all children develop at different rates, the exhibits at MoPA are designed for tots aged one to nine. There's a café on site, plus infants under 12 months get free entry. 

Kryal Castle
  • Kids
  • Ballarat

Are you kids currently obsessed with all things castles, knights, wizards, princesses and dragons? Make a trip to Kryal Castle, a medieval fantasy wonderland just outside of Ballarat. Watch a live jousting tournament, escape from the twisting Dragon's Labryinth, sign up for Knight School or an axe-throwing session, or learn the art of archery. Kryal Castle also offers overnight stays and kids birthday parties. 

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  • Things to do
  • Docklands

ArtVo describes itself as an immersive art gallery where guests are actively encouraged to ham it up in front of the camera lens. Every room at ArtVo features life-sized, hand-painted murals that use perspective to come alive. Want to pretend you’re tiding a giant swan? Or dashing across icebergs in the Artic? How do you fancy meeting King Kong on the side of a cliff? ArtVo’s murals put you front and centre in a bunch of wacky situations and are a whole bunch of fun for all ages.

 

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
  • Museums
  • Melbourne

Plunge head first into the aquatic world of Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium. There are multiple themed zones filled with aquatic animals and plenty of educational and interactive exhibits for all ages, including the Penguin Playground, Coral Atoll (tropical fish) and Ocean Invaders (jellyfish). Be sure to say hi to Pinjarra, the five-metre, 750kg, 55-year-old saltwater crocodile while you're there!

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  • Attractions
  • Libraries

Melbourne's libraries are kitted out well for young readers. For example, Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library has regular children's storytime sessions, Bunjil Place Library has a dedicated children's area and the State Library of Victoria has a huge list of regular kids events and workshops. Most children's library activities are free too, making a trip to one of Melbourne's best libraries a budget-friendly (and educational) day out.

Animal Land Children's Farm
  • Kids
  • Diggers Rest

Animal Land gives city slicker kids a real hands-on farming experience. Expect the usual suspects: cows, sheep, goats, pigs and ducks, plus a few surprise additions thrown in. Kids get to pat, feed and ride the animal residents with the entry price including pony rides, duck feeding and egg collecting. The farm is open Friday to Monday, with extended hours usually during school holidays. Guests are asked to book online in advance to avoid missing out.

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  • Restaurants
  • Yarra Glen

Want to treat your kids? The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is set on 40 acres in Yarra Glen and is a dream destination for any sweet tooth, no matter their age. Come for an ice cream or chocolate treat from the café, or book your kids in for one of the venue's regular junior chocolatier classes designed for kids aged six to 12. Afterwards, young ones can expend all that extra energy by running around the expansive lawns and gardens.

  • Kids
  • Active events

Gumbuya World comprises four discrete areas: Oasis Springs, Gumbuya Wildlife Park, Oz Adventure and Outback Explorers. The Oasis Springs water park features fast slides with steep drops and exciting twists and turns. For a walk on the wilder side, there is the Wildlife Park, with more than 50 animal species to see.

Oz Adventure is a rides section for everyone, and Outback Explorers comprises rides for smaller visitors. Gumbuya World is open every single day except Christmas Day.

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  • Things to do
  • Sports
  • Essendon Fields

Imagine a specially designed wind tunnel that’s been turned upright so that the air travels upwards. Now picture yourself caught in that powerful updraft. This is indoor skydiving and kids aged three and up can try it out for themselves at iFly, located near Essendon Airport. It’s loud, as you can imagine, but also extremely safe, because you’re never more than a few metres from the ground.

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • Lorne

Live Wire Park is passionate about two things: adrenaline rushes and sustainability. The high-flying elevated adventure park is the first of its kind in Australia to go completely off the grid: the park runs on solar power, collects and treats its own rainwater, and has worked hard to reduce its environmental impact during construction.

Kids from 110cm and up can try out the Short Circuit ropes course where they'll be swinging through the trees like Tarzan. There's also the Shockwave Zip Coaster (kids must be 30kg or heavier) and the Super Circuit (kids must be 135cm or taller). 

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  • Things to do
  • Ballarat

Sovereign Hill is where history comes to life. The ten-hectare outdoor museum is sort of an antipodean version of Westworld, sans the homicidal robots and hedonistic atmosphere. Sovereign Hill genuinely makes learning about Victoria’s gold rush history fun, whether you’re panning for gold in the creek or dipping your own candle. It's almost a right of passage for Victorian kids to visit Sovereign Hill – make sure you get a jar of raspberry drops as a souvenir. 

  • Attractions
  • Theme parks

Adventure Park is the place to go when you want some waterside fun. There are plenty of waterslides, kids rides or family activities such as go-karting or mini-golf. Up for a scare? Try the Wild West Canyon, where the water slide takes you through a dark tunnel and you perform two, 360 degrees spins. Feel like chilling out? Get onto the Lazy River where you simply sit back in an inflatable ring and idly float down the tropical themed river. There are also a number of non-water rides, too.

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  • Kids
  • Playgrounds

We've all got fond childhood memories of visiting the playground, and luckily Melbourne is chockers with some really great ones. Across the city there are plenty of sites for kids to run amok, with everything from swings to sandpits on offer. Plus many also feature barbecue facilities if you want to make a day of it. 

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Fairy Park
  • Kids
  • Anakie

The one school excursion that all Victorian primary school kids look forward to. Fairy Park is a collection of castles, cottages and caves with over 22 mechanical scenes featuring princes, dwarves, wolves, piggies and ogres, that come to life at the push of a button. Giant toadstools pave the way to the castle and back down to the playground, complete with stocks and dungeons.

Created in 1959 by a German family, it’s still going strong. Please note: Fairy Park closes for a few weeks in winter each year and mobile reception can be spotty – so it is recommended that you either print or save a copy of your vaccination certificate to your phone if required.

Enchanted Adventure Garden
  • Things to do
  • Arthurs Seat

Like a fairy-tale book come to life, the Enchanted Adventure Garden is a magical bush land adorned with giant wood sculptures, wrought iron work, manicured hedges, breathtaking blooms and giant puzzles. Your tackers will want to leg it straight to the mazes, though. There are two hedge mazes, a Children’s Maze with fairies, a Spring Maze and a Tyre Maze, plus every other unimaginable, garden-y delight. There are also tube slides, tree surfing and a lolly shop.

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A Maze'N Things
  • Things to do
  • Cowes

Phillip Island is home to a lot of amazing things, including the adventure park that is aptly named A Maze’N Things. Full of family fun, there is maxi-golf, mazes and playgrounds. Puzzle Island is where you want to head if you’re up for getting lost in the mirror maze or taking a spin in the rotating room, while the Magic Manor is designed to confuse you, with clever optical illusions that look like magic. 

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