Melbourne is a vibrant city, known for its friendly disposition and the fact that you can experience four seasons in one day. What you may not know is that it has a plethora of attractions to see and do, ensuring that you never exhaust your list of things to do in Melbourne with kids today.
The Ultimate List of Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
Table of Contents
- 1 The Ultimate List of Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
- 1.1 Melbourne Zoo
- 1.2 Queen Victoria Market
- 1.3 Chinese Museum
- 1.4 Werribee Open Range Zoo
- 1.5 ArtVo Trick Art Museum
- 1.6 The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria
- 1.7 Eureka Skydeck
- 1.8 Polly Woodside
- 1.9 The Old Melbourne Gaol
- 1.10 Scienceworks
- 1.11 Collingwood Children’s Farm
- 1.12 Melbourne Museum
- 1.13 Melbourne Tram Museum @ Hawthorn Depot
- 1.14 Australian Centre for Moving Images
- 1.15 SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
- 1.16 National Sports Museum
- 1.17 Cook’s Cottage
- 1.18 State Library of Victoria
- 1.19 Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
- 1.20 Immigration Museum
- 1.21 National Gallery of Victoria
- 1.22 Luna Park
- 1.23 Street Art
- 1.24 Federation Square
- 1.25 LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Despite lacking Taronga’s view, it could possibly be my favourite zoos in Australia so no wonder I’ve listed it at the top of my ultimate list of things to do in Melbourne with kids. My earliest memories of Melbourne Zoo revolve around a gorilla named Mzuri. He was born just before we moved to Victoria and made the gorilla’s the most popular exhibit during the 80s. Taking my kids to the Royal Melbourne zoo is always a highlight of our Victorian holiday trips.
With over 300 different species from all over the world, the Melbourne Zoo keeps the kids busy looking for each different one. Our highlights are usually the incredible Butterfly House, which is warmed at 28 degrees and has so many glorious butterflies that often land on you for a rest, and the gorillas. I think the Keeper Kids is also pretty awesome for little kids.
Address: Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC 3052
Open: From 9.00 am to 5.00 pm every day of the year
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 4 kilometres or approximately 11 minutes by car
Kids are free during the school holidays and weekends. Adult tickets will set you back $31.60 each.
Queen Victoria Market
Visiting Melbourne is never complete without a trip to the iconic Queen Victoria Market. Open Tuesday, and Thursday to Sunday, it is my favourite place to shop and I can never go past a tub of pickled octopus! When I was a local I would buy all my veggies here as they were fresh and dirt cheap. Retaining its original marble counters, the Deli Hall is a must stop for its extensive range of local and imported cheeses and preserved meats. If you’re polite and smile a lot, you may even get to sample a treat or too. Depending on the day, you will also spot livestock, fashion finds, and the amazing F Shed Laneway.
Address: Queen St, Melbourne
Open: Closed Monday and Wednesday. Open every other day from 6.00 am. Closing times vary.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 450 metres or approximately 6 minute walk
Melbourne’s Chinatown is a destination we always head to when we are in the city, usually for the food! What you may not realise is that it is the oldest area of continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. Amazing, right? The Chinese Museum is the perfect place to discover a little about Chinese history and culture in Australia. Having visited Hill End earlier in the year and panning for gold, I think my kids are going to enjoy the Finding Gold exhibition which is below ground and will give us a taste of what the 19th century goldfields were like for the Chinese. A visit will also include a viewing of the world’s largest processional dragon, the Millennium Dragon. This place has so much to see!
Address: 22 Cohen Pl, Melbourne
Open: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 750 metre or approximately 9 minute walk
A family ticket for 2 Adults + up to 4 Children is currently $26.00.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Just like Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo is a not-for-profit conservation organisation which always put me at ease when visiting. The set up is quite different with animals free to roam the larger grounds. This is the place to experience and African style adventure right here in Australia. You can even go on a safari! I can’t wait to take the kids and I have been warned to pack swim suits so we can enjoy Hippo Beach.
Address: K Road, Werribee South
Open: open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 33.5 kilometres or approximately 35 minutes by car
Kids are free during the school holidays and weekends. Adult tickets will set you back $31.60 each.
ArtVo Trick Art Museum
Popular in Asia, it’s so exciting to learn that for the very first time Australia has its very own new immersive art gallery or ‘trick art’ gallery. With over 11 themed zones to discover, ArtVo is a 1900 square metre museum where you can put yourself into scene and create some incredible memories for the whole family.
Address: 26 Star Cres, Level 1, Harbour Town, Docklands Vic 3008
Open: Open 7 days a week. Sunday – Thursday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm Friday & Saturday 10.00 am – 11.30 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3 kilometres or approximately 9 minutes by car
Pricing: Family tickets start from $55.00
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria features the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden which is open from 10.00 am to sunset each day of the school holidays. The garden is an interactive marvel and features lots of fun places to explore including a water feature. Make sure you download the ‘50 things to do at the Royal Botanic Gardens… and some more beyond‘ checklist before you go.
Address: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne
Open: 7.30 am to sunset every day of the year
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3.2 kilometres or approximately 11 minutes by car
The Royal Botanic Gardens of Victoria is free.
What do you think so far? Is this the ultimate list of things to do in Melbourne for kids?
When I swapper Melbourne for Sydney, the Rialto was still the tallest building. Sometime between then and now, the iconic Eureka Tower has become the tallest. Reaching a nerve-racking 297 metres above the streets below, the Eureka Skydeck is the highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere and I have agreed to visit at some stage of our trip (why I agreed, I have no idea).
Address: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
Open: Daily from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 2.3 kilometres or around 10 minutes by car
The Eureka Skydeck offers family packages. 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $46.00 ($17.00 off the single tickets).
It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I have never stepped foot on Polly Woodside despite having walked past it countless times when I was a Melbourne resident.
Originally built in Belfast and launched way back in 1885, the Polly Woodside is a three-masted, iron-hulled barque which was intended for deep water trade. It has been painstakingly restored and is a fine example of our maritime heritage.
Address: 21 S Wharf Promenade, South Wharf
Open: Normal Trading Saturdays & Sundays 10.00 am-4.00 pm (last entry 3.15 pm) School holidays every day (subject to change) 10.00 am-4.00 pm (last entry 3.15 pm)
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1.7km or approximately 8 minutes by car
A family ticket for 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $43.00
The Old Melbourne Gaol
If you hear “bushranger”, which name comes to mind first? Ned Kelly, right? Australia’s most famous bushranger spent time at Old Melbourne Gaol and you can view his Death mask at the site (a little morbid perhaps, but you can see what he actually looked like).
You can also visit the former City Watch House and Court One of the former Magistrates’ Court which are within the attraction. It’s an incredible experience and appropriate for the whole family (although the live watch house tour could be scary for some kids as you are locked into a cell for a few minutes)
Address: 377 Russell St, Melbourne
Open: Open Daily. 9.30 am – 5.00p m (suggested last entry 3:30 pm) Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1 kilometre or a 7 minute walk
A family ticket for 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $65.00.
Before kids, my first and only visit to Scienceworks was as a supervising teacher some 17+ years ago. I am thrilled to visit with the kids where they enjoyed a huge array of hands on science through the interactive exhibits.
I’m always amazed how well science museums introduce STEAM concepts to kids through play, and Scienceworks was a firm winner with the kids.
Address: 2 Booker St, Spotswood
Open: Daily from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day
Distance from Melbourne CBD: Just under 10 kilometres or approximately 20 minutes by car
Kids receive free entry to Scienceworks all year round. Adult tickets are $14.00 each.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
The Collingwood Children’s Farm has been operating for just under 40 years as a not-for-profit community resource. It’s a wonderful place where kids (and their parents) can milk a cow, help out with farm chores, bottle feed the lambs, hand feed the other animals, look for eggs or just relax under a tree. The farm even boasts vegetable and fruit crops which the kids can tend.
Address: 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford
Open: Open daily, 9.15 am and to 4.30 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 5.5 kilometres or around 15 minutes by car
A Family Ticket is a mere $20.00.
When I was in primary school my dad worked in the Defense building on Swanson Street. Directly across the road was the original site of the Melbourne Museum which I would visit every chance I had. What I most vividly remember is that it housed Phar Lap and his heart, a large collection of dead butterflies and an amazing ‘hands on’ area of kids.
Now situated in the Carlton Gardens, opposite the historic Royal Exhibition Building, I have enjoyed revealing Phar Lap, the complete skeleton of a blue whale and the living rainforest to my kids. There are eight permanent galleries to explore with one just for children.
Address: 11 Nicholson St, Carlton
Open: Daily, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1.6 kilometres or approximately 7 minutes by car
Kids received free entry to the Melbourne Museum all year round. Adult tickets are $14.00 each.
Melbourne Tram Museum @ Hawthorn Depot
Melbourne is famous for its Trams which also make the hook turn quite terrifying for those living interstate. Touted as the most authentic tramway museum in Australia, the Melbourne Tram Museum is heritage listed and houses a 21 historic tramcars, associated objects and the history behind them.
Address: 8 Wallen Rd, Hawthorn
Open: 11.00 am – 5.00 pm. Second and fourth Saturday of every month (except for December, when it is only open on the second Saturday).
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 7.3 kilometres or around 15 minutes by car
Admission is by gold coin donation.
Australian Centre for Moving Images
The Australian Centre for Moving Images is situated on Federation Square and is Australia’s national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art. Come along and immerse yourself in motion pictures.
Address: Federation Square, Flinders St,
Open: Daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 900 metres or a 9 minute walk
Entry to ACMI is FREE. Ticket prices apply to our cinema programs, special exhibitions and some other events.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Having visited quite a number of aquariums around Australia and America, I was unsure if I should included the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium on our Melbourne Bucket List until I noted that they have both King and Gentoo Penguins on exhibition. That made the decision for me!
Address: 1-5 Wheat Rd, Sydney
Open: Daily, 9.00 am to 6.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1.6 kilometres or around 6 minutes by car
If purchased online, a family ticket for 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $112.00
National Sports Museum
Situated at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the National Sports Museum showcases some of Australia’s most loved sports and sporting events including Australian football, cricket, Olympic Games, soccer and many other sports. You can even incorporate a tour of the MCG into your visit!
Address: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunton Ave, Melbourne
Open: Daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 2.5 kilometres or approximately 10 minutes by car
A tour of the National Sports Museum and MCG for 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $73.00.
Way back in 1755 in the little English village of Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, a cottage was built by James and Grace Cook – the parents of Captain James Cook. In 1933, Australian Russell Grimwade purchased the cottage for £800 and deconstructed it brick by brick. Loaded into 253 cases and 40 barrel, the cottage was shipped to Melbourne where Grimwade donated it to the people in celebration of the centenary anniversary of white settlement in Melbourne. It was reconstructed in Fitzroy Gardens where it can now be toured.
Address: Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
Open: Open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Website: Via the City of Melbourne Website
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3 kilometres or 8 minutes by car.
A family ticket to tour Cook’s Cottage for 2 Adults + 2 Children is currently $18.00.
State Library of Victoria
I’m unsure if the kids are going to love visiting the State Library of Victoria but if I was to write an autobiography it would heavily feature in the chapter dedicated to my university days. For that reason, it is a place I want to take the kids. For kids under 8 there is a Play Pod where they can join a wild rumpus, don monster claws and explore Where the wild things are!
Address: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne
Open: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm daily
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 550 metres or around 7 minutes by foot
The State Library of Victoria has no entrance fee.
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
When talking about London, almost every traveller I know mentions their visit to the London Eye. Now Melbourne has its own version – the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Featuring 21 spacious, air-conditioned cabins, each provides an unparalleled, 360-degree view of the city.
Address: 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands
Open: open daily from 11.00 am to 9.15 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 3 kilometres or around 10 minutes by car
A single flight for 2 Adults + 2 Children currently starts at $90.00.
Through a medley of moving images, personal and community voices, memories and memorabilia, the Immigration Museum explores the stories of migrant Australians. Located in the Old Customs House, I think the kids will enjoy adding their story to the Share a Story database in the Immigration Discovery Centre.
Address: 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
Open: Daily, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 905m or around a 9 minute walk
Kids receive free entry to the Immigration Museum all year round. Adult tickets are $14.00 each.
National Gallery of Victoria
Every visit to a new city should include an exploration of at least one art gallery. It always amazes me the different ways kids can be engaged with art and I’m looking forward to see how the range of interactive and hands on activities that have been built around the artworks of the artists to engage the kids. Victoria boasts the oldest and largest art gallery in Australia, with the NGV founded in 1861.
Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Open: Daily 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 1.3 km or 18 minutes by foot
General entry is free.
Back in 2012 Melbourne’s Luna Park celebrated its 100th birthday making it the oldest operational Luna Park in the world. I was always terrified of the old wooden Scenic Railway Roller Coaster (the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world) which I know, much to my horror, will be Miss N’s favourite ride. The park promises to have a ride for all ages – I’m not sure that I’m convinced!
Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Open: Open Friday to Sunday at various times. Extended hours during school holidays
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 7.7 km or 20 minutes by car
Family Pass Tickets are $149.95 which provides unlimited rides and entry for a full day.
These days Melbourne has grown a reputation as one of the street art capitals of the world. I’ve noticed that whenever my favourite instagramers head off to Melbourne they almost never fail to get an image or two in Hosier Lane. Exploring street are is one of those ultimate things to do in Melbourne with kids
Address: Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Open: All hours.
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 900 metres or 11 minutes by foot
Opened in 2002, Federation Square was recently named the 6th Best Public Square of the World which makes it a must see destination. Throughout the year, on any given week, the site hosts a number of activities which are perfect for families.
Address: Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 900 metres or 9 minutes by foot
Vary depending on the current event.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Australia finally has its own LEGO home with the recent unveiling of the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Chadstone. Whilst not as big as LEGOLAND in the USA or Asia, this version boasts an ultimate indoor LEGO playground with two rides, five LEGO build & play zones, a 4D cinema.
Address: Level 2, • Chadstone, Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
Open: daily from 9.30 am
Distance from Melbourne CBD: 25.2 km or approximately 40 minutes by car
Are there any other places you thing we should explore in Melbourne? Let us know by leaving a comment.