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Are you looking for the best Melbourne attractions for families? Australia is one of the most family-friendly countries in the world and each state offers something special. Victoria is no exception, with loads of family attractions in Melbourne and beyond the city centre.
A visit to the capital city is a must, as there is no shortage of things to do with kids in Melbourne as well as some beautiful beaches not too far from the city! Where you are looking for animal encounters or educational experiences, outdoors fun or adventurous things to do in Melbourne.
Melbourne is a must-visit in Australia, for families, solo travellers and couples, although our favourite trip is the family-friendly kind!!
We’ve put together some of the best kids attractions Melbourne has to offer for your family city break adventure!
Melbourne is a great place to visit with kids of all ages with fun activities and plenty of free things to do as a family.
Whether you are looking for free things to do in Melbourne, an exciting day at a theme park or the perfect place to hide out on a rainy day, these things to do in Melbourne with kids are sure to entertain the whole family.
MELBOURNE ZOO | WILDLIFE
Contributed by Kelly from Wanderlust By Kelley
Experience a fun-filled and educational day out at the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens. The zoo is located within the charming Royal Park in Parkville, approximately 4 km north of the city centre.
Melbourne Zoo is easily accessible via public transport and also has plenty of parking, plus it is open every day of the year!
Melbourne zoo provides a journey through a world of wildlife, with over 300 species to view and a diverse range of ecosystems to explore.
Exhibits showcase the Australian bushland, Asian rainforest, wild sea and more. It is a great way to explore biodiversity for all ages.
The zoo offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults through keeper talks, feeding demonstrations and close up encounters.
Programs specifically aimed at children include:
Keeper Kids – an indoor play space with games, dress ups and books.
Growing Wild – interactive displays with three zones (ground, trees and water) allowing children to explore like an animal.
Tasmanian Devil Tuesday – children will learn about the endangered Tassie devil through stories and crafts
Corroboree frog Fridays – learning about this endangered frog through games and stories.
Melbourne zoo offers a world-class experience and is a leading conservation organisation.
A visit to the world’s first certified carbon-neutral zoo supports conservation and sustainability efforts and provides families with the knowledge to protect our planet for future generations. It also gives children a chance to view and learn about beautiful majestic animals from around the world, and of course, Australian animals too.
Located at Elliott Avenue, Parkville if travelling by car or take Tram route 58 West Coburg to Toorak. Open 9 AM – 5 PM daily. Entry cost for adults is $37. Children 3 and under are free.
This is one of many places to visit in Melbourne CBD with kids, perfect if you are staying in central Melbourne accommodation or want to explore the city centre for a day.
You will get to see penguins, fish, sharks and stingrays, plus loads more with 12 different ecosystem areas within the aquarium. Learn about the different sea creatures with educational talks and watch animal feedings are certain times each day.
Located on the corner of Flinders Street and King Street, opposite the Crown Casino. Open daily from 10 Am with the last entry at 4:30 PM. Opens earlier on weekends and school holidays. Entry is $42 for adults or $22.80 for children.
The Queen Victoria Markets is a favourite place to visit in Melbourne with or without kids, simply because it is always such a lively place to go.
The markets have some of the best street food styles of eats and you can get great bargains too if you are looking to go shopping in Melbourne Australia.
And of course, fresh produce is always a great reason to visit the markets!
Kids will enjoy the chance to spend their pocket money on unique finds, or sweet treats. There is often entertainment at the Queen Victoria Markets too, adding to the fun, with live music, food festivals or pop up exhibits.
Check online for the latest news on What’s On at Queen Vic Markets.
Located in the centre of Peel, Franklin, Victoria & Elizabeth streets and just a short walk from the city centre, or take Tram route 58 West Coburg to Toorak. Parking is available. The market runs on different days of the week and are not open every day, so check for times and special events. Free entry.
If you are looking for a Melbourne amusement park close to the CBD, then Luna Park St Kilda is the place for you. Luna Park is one of the world’s oldest existing amusement parks with it being in operation for over 100 years.
Before entering the amusement park, be sure to stop at the famous giant smiling face entry for the required family selfie. Entry costs $5, however, if you purchase ride passes you don’t need to pay the entry fee.
The park has 20 different rides, including a roller coaster, with various rides aimed at different age groups.
There are slow rides for the little munchkins, crazy rides for the adrenaline junkies, and all kinds of rides in between. As well as the rides, there are various carnival games and places to eat, with plenty of activities for kids in Melbourne.
Whilst Luna Park is not massive like most adventure parks, I actually loved how it is small the historic amusement park is so it is easy to get from ride to ride in a short period of time. There were minimal lineups too, which meant we could go on multiple rides in a short time span.
Located at 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda. If travelling by Tram take route 16 and 96 St Kilda or get off at Balaclava train station. Open 11 AM – 6 PM on weekends and school holidays, with extended hours during summer and special events. Entry cost is $5 for ages 4 and up, and this can be taken off the cost of upgraded ride passes. Unlimited ride passes start from $17.50 for under 3, $39.95 for 4-12 and $49.95 for 12+.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS | BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN MELBOURNE
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria are a great option for Melbourne attractions free of charge that are family-friendly. Enjoy some outdoor time and open spaces with the kids, wander through the beautifully landscaped gardens.
There is a Botanic Gardens Melbourne information centre within the gardens where you can find out information about tours and special events. Ride the Explorer for a fun way to tour the gardens and rest your legs, or hire a deck chair and unwind under a shady tree.
Visit the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden (closed for 8 weeks each year following the July school holidays) to discover plants and interactive opportunities for kids to get their hands dirty and learn more about gardening and growing seeds.
The Children’s Garden is only open for school groups on Monday and Tuesday during the school term.
There are several cafes located within the Melbourne Gardens so you can stop for lunch or a light snack on your way to your next things to do in Melbourne with kids.
Located at Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne. Open from 7:30AM until sunset all year. Entry is free. No ball sports, scooters or bikes are allowed in the gardens, to help preserve keep it preserved.
The Eureka Skydeck is the highest point in Melbourne and offers impressive views of the Melbourne CBD.
The Skydeck is 285 meters above ground and you get there by the fastest elevator trip in the Southern Hemisphere – a total of 38 seconds. The speed will impress the kids, along with the views!
It offers 360-degree views of Melbourne, with viewfinders all around the deck to get a closer look at your favourite Melbourne landmarks.
They also have The Edge – a glass cube that projects from the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, suspending visitors almost 300 metres high over Melbourne. Eeek! That one might only be for daredevil kids who aren’t afraid of heights! The same goes for mum and dad… do you dare enter The Edge?
Located at Riverside Quay, Southbank. Open from 10 AM until 10 PM daily. Entry is $23 for adults and $15 for kids 4 and up. The Edge experience is $12 for adults and $8 for children over 4.
A visit to Melbourne wouldn’t be the same without visiting the MCG, often referred to as the Holy Grail, the MCG is the Home of Australian Rules Football (AFL).
MCG stands for the Melbourne Cricket Ground and while it’s a multi-purpose ground it is used only for cricket during the summer and AFL during the winter.
The MCG easily holds 100,000 people, one of the biggest stadiums in the world.
The MCG will see a full capacity crowd at least a few times each year including Boxing Day cricket test match, AFL semi-finals leading up to the ‘one day in September’ depending on which teams are playing, on Grand Final Day which is the last Saturday in September and on the ANZAC Day footy match each year.
‘The G’ as us locals call it, is located in Jolimont, a 15 min walk from Flinders Street Station or a 10 min tram ride will drop you right at the door.
The other option is to get the train to Richmond Station and walk across the lawn. While ‘the G’ accommodates huge crowds, the various transport options enables the crowds to disperse quickly.
The MCG is also located in the Melbourne Sports Precinct which includes the MCG, Melbourne Park where the Australian Open is held each January, AAMI Stadium, home to the Melbourne Storm Rugby team and the Glasshouse, home of the Melbourne Tigers Basketball team.
Located at Brunton Ave, Richmond. Check the MCG website for the best way to get there and for the schedule of events throughout the year.
We visited the Old Melbourne Gaol before our kids came along and it was so much fun. It is a great attraction if you’re looking for unique things to do in Melbourne, all while learning a piece of Melbourne’s history at the same time.
As you can see from the pic below, we had a bit of fun though… and fit right in! HA
Old Melbourne Gaol offers kid-friendly tours with the added fun of code-breaking, while you wander through exploring the inside of the jail. You will have fun discovering some of the infamous past residents and how things worked back in the days when still housing prisoners.
There are several different tour programs, including a few nighttime options that are fine if you are visiting with teenagers 16 and over instead.
Check the website for the latest tours and events, including the seasonal school holiday activities they have coming up.
Located at 377 Russell Street, Melbourne. Catch the train to Melbourne Central Station or the free City Circle Tram to stop 7. Open 9:30AM – 5PM daily. Entry is $28 for adults and $15 for children 5-15.
Learning can be fun and Scienceworks is the perfect way to bring fun into teaching your kids about science!
We haven’t visited with our own kids yet, however, we had a blast at Scienceworks with my niece and nephew on a visit to Melbourne.
Enjoy the interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences with your kids.
They will also love learning about the human body and how it performs at the Sportsworks exhibit, included in your entry ticket. Race against Australian Olympic medalist Cathy Freeman or try your hand at being a soccer goalie, plus loads more active fun.
Scienceworks is also home to the Melbourne Planetarium in case you are looking for unique things to do in Melbourne during your visit, to appeal to your little space enthusiasts.
This requires a separate ticket to Scienceworks, or you can attend the Planetarium without visiting the science centre.
Located at 2 Booker St, Spotswood. Open 10 AM – 4:30 PM daily. Entry is $15 for adults and FREE for children under 16. Tickets for Melbourne Planetarium shows are $8 for adults and children.
Melbourne is one of the best places in Australia to visit the theatre and there is always something happening at the East End Theatre District!
From traditional to modern, classical to contemporary productions, you’ll find something for everyone. Here you can enjoy world-class productions from some of Australia’s top theatre companies and touring international productions too.
We recently saw Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre during the extended Melbourne season. It has since finished after running for 3+ years but it was incredible and the kids absolutely loved their theatre experience!
There is fun for all ages, including a dedicated junior Duplo zone for the younger kids and rides the whole family can enjoy.
Here are just a few of the fun things you can do at Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne:
Explore a mini replica of Melbourne made from Lego
Join a Lego Master Model Builder workshop
Watch a 4D Lego movie
Take a Lego factory tour
Get creative in the Lego play zone
Play in the indoor adventure playground
Try to beat the earthquake tables and build the tallest Lego tower
Enjoy the 2 Lego-themed rides
And loads more
Located at Level 2, Chadstone – The Fashion Capital, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone. Catch the free Chadstone shuttle bus from the CBD or get off the train at Caulfield. Open 9:30 AM daily with the last entry at 4 PM daily, or 5 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Entry is $32.50 for adults and children.
ArtVo Immersive Gallery is a unique thing to do in Melbourne that was one of the first of its kind in Australia and offers a fun way to get your kids involved in art. You will want to have your camera ready for this visit though, as there will be loads of photo opportunities!
ArtVo brings optical illusions and massive murals that allow you to walk through and interact with each of the different zones.
The gallery is 1900 square feet, making it a huge space to enjoy art in a new way. Kids will love the fact that they get to touch and interact with the different art zones.
Staff are happy to help you with your photo taking too so the whole family can join in with silly poses and crazy images that your friends and family back home can enjoy. They even have photo points on the ground so you know the best place to stand for perfect shots!
Located at 26 Star Cres, Level 1, The District, Docklands. Use the Free Tram Zone on the City Circle tram to get to Docklands. Open 10 AM daily with the last entry at 5 PM. Admission is $28 for adults and $18 for children 5 to 15. Kids under 5 are free.
The State Library of Victoria holds an impressive collection of print and digital media, open to the public.
They have regular events and exhibits held in the library, to suit different ages, including children’s programs.
The Courtyard offers regular child-focused activities to encourage a passion for learning.
There are also regular school holiday activities for children as well. Or if you are a Melbourne local, encourage a love of reading by borrowing books with your children. They will love discovering something new each time they visit.
Located on the corner of Russell and La Trobe streets, Melbourne. Open 10 AM to 9 PM Monday to Thursday and 10 AM to 6 PM Friday to Sunday. Free entry.
Many people spend years living in Melbourne without realising this amazing park is right on their doorstep.
Situated a short drive or tram ride from the city centre, this 260-hectare park includes walking and biking tracks and two golf courses.
Studley Park is also a favourite destination for families thanks to the hours of family activities on offer. The numerous tracks winding through the park come in varying lengths and difficulties.
These tracks are a great option for introducing your young ones to hiking. Pack adequate supplies and appropriate footwear, choose a short loop track and set off on an adventure into the wilderness.
The park is also home to the famous Studley Boathouse and cafe, where locals stop for post-walk coffee or rent out row-boats to take on the Yarra River.
The river is very slow-flowing, making this a great family outing, particularly during the warmer months of the year. Be sure to also check out the Abbotsford Convent and the Children’s Farm.
This is a great spot for kids to meet different types of animals and for adults to catch up with friends for a coffee or lunch in some beautiful surroundings. It’s also often home to a bustling Sunday farmers market.
If visiting Melbourne with younger children, the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery is a must. This art gallery is focused on creative, open-ended play-based learning for toddlers and very young children.
The gallery is especially suited to children under 5.
Located within the Melbourne Museum, the Children’s Gallery can dance around in the camouflage disco, discover special art objects, and try their hand at excavating fossils in the fun dinosaur dig area.
There is also a climbing net to help develop motor skills, suited to children 5 and under. It is also an Autism-friendly museum.
Located within the Melbourne Museum at 11 Nicholson St, Carlton. Open 9AM to 5PM daily. Entry is free for children and $15 for adults, which includes entry into the Melbourne Museum and the Children’s Gallery.
STREET ART WALK | MELBOURNE CULTURE
Melbourne is becoming increasingly known as a street art hub with loads of impressive murals and wall art popping up all around the city.
Your kids will appreciate a chance to explore the Melbourne city centre and check out some abstract creations by local artists along the way.
This one is near the Yarra River, next to the Melbourne Convention Centre.
There are walking tours that take you around the best street art in Melbourne with a guide, who can give you the history behind the art and the area.
Sure, a trip to the movies doesn’t sound that exciting, but what if it’s the largest cinema screen in the world? IMAX Melbourne is exactly that!
32 metres wide and 23 metres high, there’s no way you will miss a thing on a screen this big!
The Melbourne IMAX cinema screens the latest Hollywood blockbusters plus unique IMAX documentaries and 3D films as part of its viewing schedule.
There is no cooler way to watch a movie in Melbourne and it’s a great way to chill out for a couple of hours between Melbourne sightseeing!
Located at Rathdowne Street, Carlton within the Melbourne Museum complex. Take the City Loop train or Tram routes 86 or 96. Open daily with session times running from around 10 AM until 9:30 pm daily. Ticket prices vary depending on the type of session and ticket type – choose from standard or premium seating.
PHILLIP ISLAND | MELBOURNE DAY TRIP
While it may not be right in the city centre, if you have the chance to visit Phillip Island during your stay, it is well worth it. Located under an hour from the city centre, Phillip Island is known for its incredible wildlife and scenery.
The Phillip Island penguins will delight all ages. There are several ways to see the penguins at Phillip Island, with the penguin parade viewing area for their sunset wander up the beach. There is also a viewing platform, underground viewing and VIP tours to give you different opportunities to see the penguins.
Take a Phillip Island day tour to see the penguins or make your own way there. The penguin parade is one of the best things to do in Melbourne at night.
Penguins aren’t the only wildlife on Phillip Island!
There is a Koala Conservation Centre and the Maru Koala and Animal Park, where kids can hold a koala or feed kangaroos and wallabies. There is even a mini-golf zone for more family fun.
If your kids love Marvel superheroes and the Avengers, they will love the chance to visit Marvel Stadium, even if they aren’t big AFL fans!
I know I did as a Marvel fanatic and Simon just loved the chance to watch a life AFL match in the state it originated! There are plenty of Marvel-themed exhibits scattered throughout the stadium plus a play area for younger kids.
If it is outside of football season, they do have other events on throughout the calendar year so keep an eye out for what’s happening when you’re visiting.
MELBOURNE DAY TRIPS WITH KIDS
If you’ve got more time to explore beyond the Melbourne attractions for families, there are also plenty of great day trip options that are within 2 hours of Melbourne city.
Here are some popular options for day trips from Melbourne with kids:
With so many things to do in Melbourne with family, you are going to need somewhere to stay!
There are a load of family friendly accommodation in Melbourne, either in the city centre or on the outskirts. Melbourne has a great public transport system connecting you quite easily, no matter where you are staying in the city.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Melbourne for families:
Victoria is known for having four seasons in one day so if rainy weather has come to wash out your plans for a day out in Melbourne, check out these Melbourne indoor activitiesfor loads of family fun!
HOW TO GET AROUND MELBOURNE
Melbourne is a really easy city to get around, with a great public transport system. You have the option of using buses, trains or trams, as well as taxi and Uber services within Melbourne.
The Melbourne CBD is around 25-30 minutes from Tullamarine Melbourne Airport.
If you are staying in the city centre, you will be able to get around easily using public transport in Melbourne.
You can plan your public transport routes and find out about the ticketing system used in Melbourne – a MYKI card, which allows you to tap and go on public transport and recharge as you need.
There is a free city loop tram that runs daily – Tram line 35.
If you are staying out of the city or plan to travel beyond the Melbourne CBD, you may want to consider getting a hire car.
MELBOURNE CITY CARD | SAVE MONEY IN MELBOURNE
If you are planning to visit a lot of different tourist attractions in Melbourne during your stay, and want to cut down on some of the costs, it may be worthwhile investing in a Melbourne City Card.
The card gives you entry to some of the best attractions in Melbourne for a 3 day period, giving you plenty of time to see all the best Melbourne sightseeing hot spots with your family.
Here are some of the attractions included with the Melbourne City Card:
Hop-on Hop-off Tour for 72 hours
Melbourne River Cruise – 1 Hour River Cruise
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
Moonraker 90 minutes Adventure Cruise
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) Tour
Carlton Brewery Tour
Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
A Maze N Things
Arthurs Seat Eagle – Return flight
The Melbourne City Card also includes loads of great deals on food and drink plus tours around Melbourne and its surrounds, saving you hundreds of dollars if you were to pay full price for each of these attractions and experiences.