What do you recall the most from your childhood? Do you remember what holidays with your parents were like? Was it the weekend beach getaways, visiting the zoo or theme parks? Some holidays must have been more exciting than others.
Now that you have children of your own, you want to take them places that enrich their childhood. But where do you start? We’ve helped narrow down the search and come up with a list of five must-see Melbourne attractions to visit with the kids on holidays.
From petting animals at the Melbourne Zoo to riding the historic Luna Park roller coaster. Don’t worry, there is enough entertainment for the parents too!
If you are looking to take your experience to another level, you must make a stop at Melbourne Skydeck. At 300 metres high, this magnificent skyscraper is known as the tallest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. Apart from 360-degree views of the city, your kids will have tons of fun here, including high-tech and educational experiences, suitable for all ages.
The best ways to excite the kids on Melbourne Skydeck include:
Take your kids on an 11-minute journey of discovery in high definition 8K video with 6D sensory immersion. Is there any better way to make your kids love you more? The Voyager Theatre is the largest virtual reality in the world and there is none other like it in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Walking” along a narrow plank with a VR headset on may not be for the fainthearted, but if your kids like the adrenaline rush, Walk the Plank is one way to experience it. To make it even better, the virtual walk ends with a zipline ride.
If “walking” the plank didn’t do much for your hyped-up kids, then live life on The Edge. This transparent glass cube jets out at 88 floors high, 285 metres above the city streets, your kids (and you) must be really brave to walk in and take those crazy Instagram photos everyone would be jealous of.
Nothing like a challenge to keep kids entertained for hours. The Melbourne Skydeck App sends your kids on a discovery journey to find 31 markers scattered across the observation deck. The idea is to search, scan and try to find landmarks in 3-D. Once your kids have collected all 31 markers, head down to the retail shop to pick up your prize – a Melbourne Skydeck branded gift to ensure that the experience sticks in their memory forever.
When all that fun and entertainment wear your kids out and hunger strikes, head to Bar 88 for a variety of drinks and snacks.
Opening hours: Wed, Thu & Sun 12pm-9pm; Fri & Sat 12pm-10pm
Entry fee: Adults $28, Children $18;
Note: Experiences have different prices and it’s best to purchase a package.
Museums may not be the first thing to come to mind when planning a holiday with kids, but Melbourne’s Museum will not disappoint. Tons of events and interactive exhibitions, all spread across two floors, will keep your kids eager to explore and learn.
If your kids are 5 or younger, the best place for them would be Pauline Gendel Children’s Gallery. Here your kids can learn with multiple hands-on exhibitions, explore unique museum objects and more! Although free, you have to reserve your spot online. Each session is 50 minutes long, and it’s advised you only book one per visit to allow other kids the chance to play too.
After the Pauline Gendel Children’s Gallery, your kids can go on a dinosaur count, spot the camouflaged frogs in the Forest Gallery, get a close-up view of the green ant’s colony or explore the Mind Gallery. From here, find your way to Ames Room where small things look big and big things look small.
Your kids and those young at heart will enjoy the Brickman’s newest LEGO® Brick exhibition, featuring 150 models from their latest book. Here you get the chance to build your LEGO in four new interactive build zones.
When your kids get the munchies you can grab a bite to eat at the Mercury Restaurant, the Museum Market Cafe or the Museum Station Cafe.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm
Entry fee: Adults $15; Children up to 16 years free.
Note: Different exhibitions like the LEGO® Brick exhibition, vary in price. It’s best to check prices on the website when booking your tickets.
Zoos are the ultimate kids’ adventure and Melbourne Zoo is no different. In fact, with 300 different species of animals, including Australian natives including koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils, it is better than most!
Melbourne Zoo is located within Royal Park in Parkville, just minutes from The Sebel Melbourne Moonee Ponds. It offers an excellent refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Known for its natural beauty, walking into Melbourne Zoo feels like you’ve been whisked away to a rainforest.
Your kids will love jumping from habitat to habitat learning about and exploring African elephants, tigers and lions. The animal toys they grew up with will now be alive in front of them to see. All kids love the meerkat enclosures where they can get up close with the cute mammals.
Besides the various habitats to discover, you can take your kids to Keeper Kids, the kids’ activity centre where they get to dress up as zoo keepers or vets. Even more, they can read storybooks, play games and learn activities like treating an animal.
When your adventure is over, you can take your kids to one of the many cafes or kiosks at the Zoo for a snack and a drink, and grab a coffee for yourself.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm
Entry fee: Adults $36; Kids during the week $18; Kids under 16 free every weekend, school holidays, and public holidays
Old Melbourne Gaol
Old Melbourne Gaol is a former jail and a museum with chilling stories from the past. Melbourne’s oldest prison (opened in 1845) kept notorious criminals like Ned Kelly and Squizzy Taylor locked in its cells for years.
You may be thinking that a dark and scary jail may not be an option when planning a family vacation. And though it’s not appropriate for younger children under 6 as they won’t understand the history behind it, bring your older kids for a thrill-seeking experience.
There may be more to the Old Gaol than you think. Events, including day and night tours and tons of kids’ activities throughout school holidays, keep families entertained for hours. One such activity is the Escape the Gaol, a scavenger hunt where children (aged 6 and up) can decipher riddles and look for clues using a UV light torch. The aim is to help the “prisoner” escape the Old Gaol without being seen by the prison wardens.
Though most of the tours are self-guided, it’s best to pay the extra price for a guided tour. This way you get to hear the eerie stories and see Ned Kelly’s death mask and the place he was hung.
Opening hours: Wed-sun 10am-5pm
Entry fee: Adult $30; Children (5-15 years) $17; Family (2 adults + 2 children) $70
Melbourne’s Luna Park has been entertaining tourists and locals for a hundred years. With so many different rides and attractions, it is one of the best ways to spend a fun day out with the entire family.
Located in St Kilda, directly across the beach, Luna Park makes for an easy day out, especially during the holidays. Come in the morning, or in the evening, there is always something to do in the amusement park. But expect to spend at least 5 hours here and plan your day accordingly.
There are tons of rides and you won’t know where to start. Some of them are restricted based on height, and some allow little lunies to ride with an adult. If your kids are under 110cm they can enjoy rides like the Happy Swing, Mirror Maze, Carousel, Ghost Train, Red Barron, Moon Balloons and many more. If your kids are 1 metre or over, they can ride the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster with an adult.
When you’ve all worked up an appetite, there are plenty of places to buy lunch, drinks and coffee. The best part is that you can bring your own food.
Entry fee: Adults $15; Children (4-12) $15; Children (0-4) $5; Check the official website for more ticket information and annual passes.
Note: For the kids who won’t be satisfied with 5 rides, you can get unlimited Luna Park ride tickets. Otherwise, you can just purchase single-ride tickets.
Melbourne Holiday Fun
Melbourne is a vibrant city with lots to offer locals and tourists looking to spend a fun time with their kids. But when holidays are drawing near, this amazing city is packed with all sorts of events to entertain kids of all ages and their adults too.