Melbourne is a city in Australia and also the capital of the state of Victoria. You will find this town by the southern coast of Port Phillip Bay and it is one of the most extensive metropolitan areas in the country. This city is unique and has a fascinating history that makes it an interesting place to travel to. There are beautiful greenspaces scattered around the city streets and in general, the climate is warm and rarely goes below freezing, so you can enjoy the great outdoors all year round.
This town is fun with numerous amusement parks and entertainment centers for travelers of all ages making it an exciting place to take a family vacation. Movie enthusiasts can stop by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and sports lovers can visit the Australian Sports Museum. If you are visiting Melbourne with kids and want to fill your itinerary with fun family activities then you have come to the right place, and we will help you find the best things to do together. To make sure you and the kids don't lose anything, stow away your backpacks and bags at a suitcase storage facility in Melbourne before stopping at these terrific attractions.
Walk Through the Children's Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens
One of Australia's great wonders is Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, located in Melbourne. This is the perfect thing to do with the family since grown-ups can enjoy the gorgeous scenery but the park is impressive enough to amaze the kids too. Of course, the best area to take the little ones is at the Children's Garden center.
Some of the things that you will find here include fountains with statues, waterfalls, beautiful plants, a bamboo forest, and several fun pathways to discover. There is also a water play area available in the summertime which is perfect for cooling the kids off in the heat, so make sure to pack bathing suits.
Take a Trip to the Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol dates back to 1842 and stands as the first permanent jail in the city. It has not been used as a jail since 1929 but is still an interesting place to visit today. The gaol is found in Melbourne's CBD towards the northern edge and can probably teach you something that you didn't know about the city.
Entry to the Melbourne Gaol will give you access to the Old City Watchhouse as well, and you even get a quick tour of the building. During the tour, you will get to see what it was like to be a prisoner of that time, and even get locked up in a dark cell for a couple of minutes. Don't worry, they let you out eventually! Fun fact: this prison is famous since it is where Ned Kelly was tried and hanged. You can learn all about him and the history of the gaol by reading the signs and displays inside the jail cells and around the property.
See the Australian Animals at Melbourne Zoo
It is hard to find kids who don't want to spend the day at the zoo, and it is an activity that the whole family can enjoy. Other than native Australian animals this local zoo has elephants, lions, tigers, penguins and more. There is even a reptile center and butterfly exhibit for those who are interested in seeing snakes, lizards and insects.
In total there are at least 300 species in the Melbourne Zoo and lots of activities and areas for the kids to explore. If you are visiting during any school holidays or weekends, you can take advantage of the free entrance for kids under 16 years old. Another great activity that is similar and better suited to toddlers and younger children is the Werribee Open Range Zoo since it is smaller and easier to navigate, especially with the bus tours that they offer.
Watch a Show at a Melbourne Theatre
What better way to spend an evening as a family than seeing a live show? Melbourne has a great performing arts scene and there are several theatres around the city that put on regular shows. Other than comedy shows and adult programs you will find some plays specifically targeted toward kids.
Check out the Princess Theatre, the State Theatre, or the Southbank Theatre to see what is going on while you are in town. Dancing performances, musicals, or concerts can be great for kids!
Play Around at Wonderland Fun Park
This is a fabulous theme park in Melbourne that is popular among families. You will find it at the Docklands near the Melbourne Star, a fun Ferris wheel that offers great views of the Melbourne skyline and is also worth checking out. Wonderland Fun Park is small but inviting which makes it great for young visitors.
All of the rides are designed with the kids' imagination in mind and they will have a blast spinning around on pirate ships and other themed attractions. Many rides are calm and suitable for young visitors and toddlers but there are also a couple of rides for kids who are a bit older. It is a nice activity for families, so keep it in mind if you happen to have a free afternoon in Melbourne.
Visit the Melbourne Museum
Seeing museums with the family is always enjoyable. The Melbourne Museum stands as one of the best activities for families and should definitely be on your list of things to do in Melbourne. It has some cool exhibits as well as a Children's Gallery that is sure to keep your kids entertained for a few hours at least. The displays are interactive so kids can touch and feel all while learning about the world and how things work.
Outside of the museum is a play area where the young ones can have fun playing with toys and letting their imagination roam. Legos, hula-hoops, skipping ropes, and puppets are available on site for kids to enjoy. Other areas inside the museum include information on dinosaurs, insects, animals, forests and seas. Finally, there is also an Imax cinema in the museum.
Learn at the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
If anyone in the family has a fascination with water or the ocean then this is one of the best activities for you on your trip to Melbourne. There are some strange looking fish that you can see up close as well as sea horses, turtles, crocodiles, penguins and more.
This establishment has everything that your usual aquarium would have, although it is said to be a bit small. If you have a free afternoon and are looking for something quick and fun to do then you should definitely consider stopping by.
Take a Day Trip to Phillip Island
Phillip Island is a lovely place to visit while you are in Melbourne and you can definitely stay for a few days and still have things to do. The island is home to a community of penguins and if you stay for the evening you can go to the St Kilda Pier to watch them do their daily parade onto the local beach. This is something that both adults and children can enjoy!
But the fun doesn't stop there, Phillip Island also has a farm and a koala sanctuary so you can spend the day looking at cute animals. There is also a maze and other activities fit for young visitors, making this one of the best places to go with kids in Melbourne.
Go to Sovereign Hill
While you are in Melbourne you might as well get invested in its history! Sovereign Hill is the recreation of an 1850s Gold Rush mining town that was built on the actual site of an old mining area. Lots of families choose to take a day trip here and it is always a hit among young kids and older ones as well. You can get here within an hour by traveling westward from Melbourne.
This place is not only fun but educational and you can take part in exciting mine tours and demonstrations. Kids can participate in arts and crafts or even try panning for gold as they did during the Gold Rush! There are shows and performances put on in Sovereign Hill that are also entertaining for adults.
Take a Boat Tour on the Yarra River
An exciting activity for people of all ages is to take a trip on the Yarra River cruise ships that will bring you around the waterways surrounded by Yarra Valley. They offer a couple of types of boat tours like twilight cruises, sightseeing tours and dinner cruises. if you are visiting with kids, the sightseeing cruise is probably best and will be the one that they enjoy the most.
On your cruise, you will get to see incredible views of the Melbourne CBD and surrounding area. After the cruise, you can take an easy hike around the gorgeous Yarra Bend Park to let the kids run around and get rid of some energy. Pack or buy a picnic lunch for a fun family outing in Melbourne!
What are the Best Family Activities in Melbourne?
Fun Things to do in Melbourne with Younger Kids
Younger children always love seeing animals, and the ones at Melbourne Zoo are sure to entertain them. There are lots of interesting creatures to see here both native to Australia or from around the world so chances are you will be able to see new animals up close.
Wonderland Fun Park
The Wonderland Fun Park is a great theme park in the city and one of the best for small kids. For more exciting rides suitable for older kids you should visit Adventure Park, Luna Park or the Oasis Springs Water Park. The Fairy Park is also great for youngsters who want to explore rather than be thrilled by roller coaster rides.
Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
Another one of the fun activities for children is to visit the best aquarium in Melbourne city. You will get to see some pretty cool underwater creatures and it is a great opportunity for the kids to learn something new.
Fun Things to do in Melbourne with Older Kids
Old Melbourne Gaol
The gaol is definitely a unique experience and all families are welcome here. However, some of the younger kids might get scared by being locked up during the tours, or get bored. Older kids, however, seem to love it.
Yarra River Boat Tour
Taking a boat tour along the Yarra River is a great way to see the city and very exciting, but might not be as memorable for small kids who don't have anything to keep them occupied on the boat.
Melbourne Theatre Shows
Young kids are sure to love seeing the shows in a local theatre, but if they aren't used to sitting still or can get fidgety, it might not be the best activity for them.
Free Things to do in Melbourne With Kids
The Children's Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria are beautiful and perfect for families to explore, and a bonus is that entry is free!
There are lots of fun things to do at the Melbourne Museum making it a great spot for a family activity. You will have to buy tickets to get in, although kids under the age of 16 are allowed in free of charge.
You can visit Phillip Island and see the coast in south Melbourne for free. However, keep in mind that you will need to buy tickets for many of the individual activities offered here.
Visit Melbourne as a Family
There are so many Melbourne attractions and lots of them can be enjoyed with children, making this city the perfect place for a family vacation. There are often festivals or special events going on, and even without planning anything, you can find something fun to do. Kids can be amazed by just seeing the street art painted on the buildings in the city center or walking through a local park, but if you want to visit a specific place then we recommend all of the activities listed above!