There are many things you could say about our beloved home city of Melbourne and one of them is that you are never going to be bored! This is especially true when it comes to exploring all the fun places to go in Melbourne for kids.
We love getting out and about and exploring the best things to do in Melbourne with kids and feel like experts now that we have discovered so much of the city with our own three kids.
In this article, we promise to deliver to you the absolute best of what to do in Melbourne with kids!
So bookmark this page or take notes because we have SO MANY fun things to do in Melbourne for kids in this article that you are going to want to keep coming back to discover what you should do next!
- 1 The Absolute Best Kids Activities In Melbourne
- 1.1 Awesome Indoor Activities For Kids In Melbourne
- 1.1.1 Melbourne Museum
- 1.1.2 SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
- 1.1.3 Scienceworks
- 1.1.4 RAAF Museum
- 1.1.5 National Sports Museum
- 1.1.6 Immigration Museum
- 1.1.7 ACMI Screen Worlds
- 1.1.8 ArtPlay
- 1.1.9 Bounce Inc/Latitude Melbourne
- 1.1.10 Fire Services Museum
- 1.1.11 ArtVo Trick Art Museum
- 1.1.12 Acland Street Cake Shops
- 1.1.13 IceBar Melbourne
- 1.1.14 BONUS ITEM: Cinema
- 1.2 Awesome Outdoor Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids
- 1.3 Awesome Things To Do With Children in Melbourne Surrounds
- 1.1 Awesome Indoor Activities For Kids In Melbourne
- 2 Best Family Hotels In Melbourne
- 3 Map Of Best Things To Do In Melbourne For Kids
The Absolute Best Kids Activities In Melbourne
Below are our picks of the 24 top things to do in Melbourne with kids. We regularly mix this up as we discover even more Melbourne attractions for kids so make sure you keep coming back!
We have split them up by indoor and outdoor children’s activities in Melbourne thanks to our city’s unpredictable weather! We also have a list of things for kids in Melbourne surrounds. There are some awesome activities just outside of Melbourne which are included here.
Note that available activities, opening hours, everything can vary during the pandemic.
Awesome Indoor Activities For Kids In Melbourne
At the top of our Melbourne things to do with kids list is Melbourne Museum – and it’s a great option. The Museum itself is an interesting place to walk around with kids of all ages. Permanent exhibits include Dinosaur Walk, with many dinosaur bones, Wild, with many stuffed animals, Marine Life and Bugs Alive, with insects, spiders and snakes.
Other exhibits detail evolution with information on DNA and Charles Darwin, there is the legendary Phar Lap or the interactive exhibit on the Mind.
There are sure to be exhibits which will appeal to your kids no matter what their age.
However, if you have younger kids, especially preschoolers (although our slightly older kids love it too), they will especially enjoy the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery. This area is perfect for discovery and playing from climbing up giant nets to looking for dinosaur bones. This one is a huge hit with our kids and you are sure to have kids fun in Melbourne here.
What is especially awesome is that kids enter free. Adults are currently $15.
Being located in the Carlton Gardens right on the CBD’s edge makes this an easy place to visit as well. There are trams along Nicholson Street to get extra close or you can walk from Parliament Station or the free city circle tram. There’s a big playground in the gardens as well.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is one of the popular places for kids in Melbourne. Here, you can discover life under the water with many great experiences.
There is the penguin playground (my favourite) where you can watch penguins play or Coral Caves with colourful tropical fish. There’s a stingray area and crocodiles. Many, many tanks of fish and coral and my kids’ favourite, the touch tanks where you can touch underwater creatures like starfish and sharks’ eggs. We also love the rainforest area, especially in winter, as it’s always humid.
There are informative talks and there is also a 4D cinema. We had lots of fun watching an Ice Age movie when we were there complete with lots of gusts of air and some unpleasant lights.
The only downside is that ticket prices can be expensive (see prices here) and it doesn’t take that long to walk around the aquarium. However, it is one of the fun places for kids in Melbourne which your kids are sure to love – mine did!
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is easy to reach being located in the CBD on the Yarra River. You can walk from Flinders Street station, Southbank or catch any tram along Flinders Street.
Buying tickets beforehand is easy and allows you to enter without lining up. Click here to buy tickets now.
There are some great museums in Melbourne which really appeal to kids, but this one is definitely at the top of fun activities for kids in Melbourne.
Scienceworks is a science museum and basically the whole museum will appeal to kids. There are some great exhibits and everything is hands on and educational. We have been to many science museums around the world and this is definitely one of the best.
We particularly enjoy the Sportsworks area where we can race each other, try a wheelchair race, see how high we can jump and much more. It’s not just doing but also learning the science behind movement.
Think Ahead is another fun (and thought provoking exhibit) about how the world might change and how we might live in the future from what we eat to what our cities look like. There is a planetarium as well with regularly changing shows.
There is also a new preschooler area called “Ground Up: Building Big Ideas Together” which is just fabulous. Your young ones can design and fly planes and play with the new “car wash”. There’s even an area just for babies. With our two year old, this is definitely our favourite of the toddler activities Melbourne offers.
Scienceworks is part of Museums Victoria and, like Melbourne Museum, kids enter free. Adults are currently $15. If you are Melbourne residents, I highly recommend a Museums Victoria membership. It’s currently only $59 for an adult or $99 for a household and then you can go to these two museums and the Immigration Museum as much as you want for twelve months.
Scienceworks is in Spotswood. It can be reached on a train to Spotswood or there is plenty of parking around the museum.
The RAAF Museum is housed on what was the first air base in the country and covers the history and development of our nation’s air force. If your kids (or you) love planes then this is a great place to visit.
A lot of the things to do in Melbourne with family are around the city centre or the eastern suburbs. The RAAF Museum is a great option for those in the west of Melbourne. Being not that far from the Princes Highway, it’s easy to get to from the centre of Melbourne as well.
The exhibits are split between a converted hanger and aircraft parked outside. Inside the hanger is a range of displays and exhibits, including two very old bi-planes. Outside is a whole range of old aircraft, some of which you can even sit in!
I say this often (especially on this page) but historical bits and pieces and their captions can be boring to kids who can’t or can’t be bothered to check them out. Luckily, most kids love things that move they don’t get to see every day. Especially when they get to imagine them controlling it. And fighters and jets generate some of the highest level of excitement.
The RAAF Museum is open 10am to 3pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays and is located in Point Cook, approximately 30km from the centre of Melbourne. Entry is free!
See https://www.airforce.gov.au/raaf-museum for more details.
National Sports Museum
Located inside Melbourne’s home of sport, the MCG, is the newly redeveloped National Sports Museum. A visit to the MCG on its own is is arguably one of the most iconic Melbourne things to do with family, visiting the museum means you can visit the great temple of Melbourne without needing to wait for some sort of event.
Even if your kids aren’t much into sport, this museum is designed to be highly interactive and engaging for everyone – especially kids. With a whole stack of multimedia and interactive displays for a range of sports, it’s a fun place to get the kids moving. These exhibits are great for kids of (almost) all ages because they are a lot of fun.
For kids who are into sport, there’s a lot of iconic exhibits to see. Even though my kids weren’t alive when most of these things became icons there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in going through it all and trying to explain it (the videos and interactive stuff can help a lot but explaining why Dennis Lillee’s aluminium bat is a big deal was still hard).
The museum runs tours of the MCG throughout the day. Usually you can even walk on the ground itself. During the footy season you can walk all over the ground. In cricket season, access is more restricted.
The museum is closed during events although for most events it is still open before the event. The museum is open before games of football, for example, and entry is usually discounted on those days.
If you’re off to watch a match with your kids then a visit to the National Sports Museum makes for one of the most classic family events Melbourne does best – sport with a side of sport.
The National Sports Museum is located in Yarra Park, inside the Olympic Stand of the MCG (access is via gate 3). Click here for more details.
Housed in Melbourne’s original Customs House, from back when the Port of Melbourne was still the banks of the Yarra is the Immigration Museum which explores both the history and the resulting issues of Melbourne and Australia being a destination for many immigrants over the decades.
There are a lot of facets to immigration in Australia, from experiences to attitudes, and the Immigration Museum lays out the stories of those who came and the impact they had on society chronologically, separating the different waves and periods of arrivals yet weaving them into a linear narrative that is fascinating.
When writing up many of the attractions on this list I’m often inclined to say its better for younger kids than older kids. This Immigration Museum is the reverse. In my opinion, the museum doesn’t set out to have lots of stuff that engages with younger kids just starting school and given the topic and the complex issues it throws up some younger kids might struggle.
The older a kid gets the more they can get out of this place – immigration can be complex but it is rich and this museum does a good job in capturing that richness.
That’s not to say there’s nothing in the Immigration museum aimed at younger kids or that everything is dry and boring for them. It may be just more work to get them into this museum than some others.
While the Immigration Museum may not head the kids activities Melbourne city list, especially if your kids are younger, for older kids able to understand the exhibits, it’s a thought provoking and surprisingly interesting attraction.
The Immigration Museum is located on Flinders Street between Market and William Streets, a 10 minute walk from Flinders Street Station. See https://museumsvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum for admission prices and more details.
ACMI Screen Worlds
ACMI Screen Worlds is another of our favourite kid friendly things to do in Melbourne. We tend to visit this fun museum whenever we are in the city, it is so much fun.
The Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) is mostly known for its cinema, but down below you’ll find Screen Worlds which basically tells the history of the moving image. This includes television, film, games, digital art and virtual reality.
It’s incredibly interactive and interesting. There are old game consoles and TVs, you can be your own shadow puppet, you can play Minecraft or even watch bits of TV shows over the years to hear how the Australian accent has changed. The whole family will be able to spend hours playing and learning here.
The best time to visit is in the afternoon as they do get a lot of school groups. Entry is free, although there are often other exhibits which have a fee.
ACMI is located in Federation Square opposite Flinders Street Station.
Located in Birrung Mar River, another of Melbourne city children’s activities is ArtPlay, an art space for kids up to 12. ArtPlay regularly holds kid-focused workshops covering a variety of types of art which all aim to make art fun and engaging.
It is one of the many new things to do in Melbourne that are kid friendly and aimed at the growing number of kids in and around of the city. In addition to to the art workshops there’s a range of other art related displays, such as multimedia exhibits. If you’re after ideas for whats on for kids in Melbourne then ArtPlay is a good place to start.
Events and workshops are held for kids with a range of ages, from toddlers to kids all through primary school. Primary school groups do go through here sometimes, which can make it busy. These groups tend to come in the morning (usually) so the afternoon and weekends are more likely to be school-group free.
Most of the workshops require booking ahead, so check out the website to see what’s coming up.It’s worth the effort as ArtPlay hosts some of the most creative kids events in Melbourne.
In addition to the workshops, ArtPlay also hosts occasional drop-in events where you don’t need to book, especially around and for the school holidays (but again check out their site to see the schedule). The events that do not need booking ahead can get very popular, though, so plan on going early to ensure a spot.
ArtPlay is located near the heart of the city, on the bank of the Yarra just below Federation Square. It’s a five minute walk from Flinders Street Station.
Go to https://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/arts-and-culture/artplay/Pages/ArtPlay.aspx to see upcoming events and for more details.
Bounce Inc/Latitude Melbourne
Melbourne has several trampoline parks which are becoming more and more common. If you’ve not heard of trampoline parks they are literally spaces filled with trampolines – often connected into vast bouncy surfaces.
Remember how fun a singe old trampoline in the back yard was? A trampoline park is like that. Times a thousand.
Of all the available family activities Melbourne has seen more options in trampoline parks become available recently than any other.
Having visited a few, our favourite is Latitude in Heidelberg. We like it so much because it’s huge and there’s a lot to do. Plus, it is great for anyone who’s old enough to walk.
It’s well set up and managed to be both as safe as possible while still being a lot of fun. If your kids don’t enjoy this place then take them to see a doctor. When people ask for recommendations for the best indoor family activities Melbourne has, I often name this as one of the first.
While it is not cheap (even compared to other trampoline parks), it is incredibly well set up. I reviewed our last visit if you want to know more.
Bounce is another good choice, with centres in Essendon Fields and Glen Iris. While we did like Latitude a bit more, Bounce is also a lot of fun (and a little cheaper).
With the rapid growth of trampoline parks there are safety concerns, however Latitude and Bounce are both members of the industry association that has an industry standard and both have built their centres to comply.
Latitude Melbourne is located at 590 Waterdale Road, Heidelberg. It’s best to drive here.
Fire Services Museum
What kid doesn’t love fire engines? None of them, surely. At Melbourne’s first purpose built fire station, you get to see some of Melbourne’s original engines as part of Australia’s largest collection of fire brigade artifacts and memorabilia. It’s one of the fun things for kids to do in Melbourne.
The museum has 10,000 pieces and photos and covers the history of fire fighting in Melbourne, fleshing it out with stories of some of the big fires in the city since its founding.
From time to time, there are fire fighting demonstrations although you may need to book ahead to see these.
In many ways, this is an old-school museum. There are pictures and old equipment which is generally off-limits for little hands (or big). The displays are static rather than interactive.
To get the most out of the displays, you need to read the captions and the texts. That means younger kids might get bored or need some help to explain what they’re seeing and what it means.
That said, most kids get excited about firefighters and fire engines. There’s just something fundamentally exciting about them. Being able to explain how some piece of equipment was used in “the olden days” to fight fires or rescue people was a lot more fun than I anticipated.
It’s not terribly well known as Melbourne family attractions go but this small museum is another great option if you’re in the city with kids.
The Fire Services Museum is located just outside the Melbourne CBD, on the corner of Gisborne and Albert Streets, near Parliament Station. Tram #11 (to West Preston from the CBD) goes right past the museum with the nearest stop.
Click here for more information.
ArtVo Trick Art Museum
There are a lot of trick art museums around, especially in East Asia. This city has has acquired some of its own to add to the roster of fun family activities in Melbourne. The best of these is ArtVo in the Docklands.
If you’re not familiar with a Trick Art gallery/museum, they are a collection of isometrically drawn pictures or murals that allow you to take some crazy pictures that look all 3D if you stand in the right place (see the website linked below for some examples).
The pictures don’t have any unifying theme like some exhibitions but instead jump around, adding to the zany feel of the place.
As simple as it sounds, it’s a lot of fun – especially for younger kids (primary school age or younger). Older kids and adults can get over the novelty quickly, but my kids get a real blast out of posing in the right spot and seeing what they look like, especially in photos.
ArtVo’s gallery has some of the best trick art murals going around and, if you’re in the Docklands, it’s worth considering a visit. It easily justifies being on the list of indoor activities Melbourne kids can really enjoy.
See ArtVo’s website for more information.
Acland Street Cake Shops
Not up for one of the big children’s attractions Melbourne offers but want to do something fun with your kids? The Acland Street cake shops are the perfect choice!
Acland Street in St Kila is known for its cake shops and they are delicious. There are quite a few cake shops like the one pictured below with many cakes in the windows and it’s a nice special treat to pick one each. Most have limited tables and chairs inside and out. If it’s good weather, you could take it down to eat at the beach. Our favourite is Monarch Cakes.
Tram 96 will take you straight down Acland Street from East Brunswick, Nicholson Street or Bourke Street in the city.
You may not normally think visiting a bar would be on a list of what’s on for kids in Melbourne, but this isn’t just any bar!
The IceBar in Fitzroy is a bar with a difference that everyone will find fun. It’s quite literally “the coolest place in town” with the bar situated in a room with walls and most furniture made from ice. There are also ice sculptures and you can even have your drink in a glass made of ice. There are games and, of course, drinks including mocktails.
It’s -10 degrees Celcius inside so you are given a warm poncho, socks, ugg boots and gloves. The kids also got beanies and scarves. It’s still a good idea to wear warm clothes and it’s not really recommended for small toddlers as they may not have gear to fit them.
Entry isn’t cheap (currently $99 for a family of 4) but does include borrowing the clothing and usually a drink as well. Despite being a bar, I think it’s more fun for kids than adults who especially love the novelty of all the ice, but everyone can enjoy this.
IceBar is located at 319 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and is best reached on tram 11 which runs up Collins Street in the city. Kids are only allowed to enter until 7pm.
BONUS ITEM: Cinema
There’s also some great cinemas in Melbourne which make for the perfect indoor activity. This article shares the latest kids movies on offer.
Awesome Outdoor Things To Do In Melbourne With Kids
Melbourne Zoo is an obvious choice when it comes to what’s on in Melbourne today for kids. It’s a great choice of attractions in Melbourne with high quality enclosures, a huge range of variety in animals and it’s just fun.
There are many circular routes within the zoo and you can chose which ones to take depending on what animals you want to see. If it’s your first visit, definitely make sure you pick up a map and prioritise which loops have the animals you want to see most.
This place is BIG and little legs won’t be able to see it all on one visit. It’s also easy to walk around for awhile and see barely anything as most enclosures are somewhat hidden. You need to know where you are going.
Our favourite loops are the Trail of the Elephants with a Thailand theme, tigers and really cool elephants. We also love the lion gorge with the big cats. The lemur enclosures and penguins are particularly enjoyable and the kids always love the reptiles!
If you are coming from overseas, there’s a good Australian animal section although Healesville Sanctuary is a better option if you want to see tons of Australian wildlife. Some of the enclosures are really big and it can be hard for little ones (and adults sometimes too) to see the animals.
There’s also a carousel, playground and plenty of space for kids to run around and go crazy.
Melbourne Zoo is located not far from Melbourne’s CBD. There is a lot of paid parking or you can catch a train to Royal Park or tram 58 along William Street in the city.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Werribee Open Range Zoo is our favourite zoo in Melbourne for young kids and definitely one of the best kids activities in Melbourne today.
It’s a well laid out zoo with a good variety of animals in enclosures which make you feel like you can get much closer than at the Melbourne Zoo. We love how the lions’ enclosure, for example, has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall to view the lions. Many times when we have been there, the lions have been just on the other side too!
They have different paths to see different animals. For example, the lions are on an African one with African animals. If you want to see Australian ones, there is an Australian animal path too. Another reason I prefer this zoo is that there isn’t as much walking and that does work so much better with preschoolers.
However the best part about this zoo, and why I think it’s some of the best kids entertainment Melbourne offers, is because of the safari drives, especially on weekday mornings during school terms.
There are special safari vehicles which drive you around paddocks where you can get quite close to the animals. It feels like a much more intimate experience than seeing them in enclosures.
It gets even better though as the drive at 10am is specifically for toddlers with lots of songs. My older kids haven’t been on the toddler drive in many years but they still sing all the songs and speak fondly of it. It’s just perfect.
There are also other activities like digging for fossils, dance parties and a water play area in summer. You really can’t go wrong here when you are looking for things to do in Melbourne today with kids.
Werribee Open Range Zoo is located about 34 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD. It’s best to drive here.
Once London kicked off the craze it seems like every major city needs a giant ferris wheel. Melbourne has the Melbourne Star – a 120 metre high wheel that is one of the world’s tallest. It easily makes most lists of fun things for kids in Melbourne…because it is pretty fun!
While it took ages to build, the wheel has been operating successfully for a few years now.
The trip is half an hour in duration and, thanks to the cleverly designed gondolas, you get an awesome view of the city and the Docklands as you slowly glide in a circle. The wheel doesn’t stop to let people on or off, it moves slow enough to allow you to walk on and off without it needing it to.
Kids love ferris wheels at the best of times and our kids loved their trip on the Melbourne Star. Our kids got a bit bored but the gondolas are large and often you can get one to yourself so they happily ran around looking at different things without it being an issue. With the fantastic views, we all had a great time.
We went in the afternoon but with the wheel open into the night it might be worth thinking about doing at night. The city lights would make for a very different – and maybe even better – experience. Either way it should provide awesome family fun Melbourne views and a unique Melbourne experience.
The price of tickets was quite steep when the Star first opened (especially for 30 minutes) but they’ve not increased much and with discounts available for booking online through their website the Melbourne Star is now much better value.
The Melbourne Start is located in the Docklands precinct. Trams #70 (to the Docklands) and #86 (to the Docklands, not RMIT Bundoora) as well as the City Circle tram (#35) stop a couple minutes walk away. There’s plenty of (paid) car parking close by also. The Melbourne Star is open every day. See their website for prices and opening hours.
When thinking about the best kid friendly activities Melbourne offers, it’s easy to forget the obvious – like going to the beach! If you are a family that doesn’t live that close to one, it may be off your radar, but there are plenty of beaches in Melbourne that you can all love.
When you are picking a beach, the most important factor is probably location – Melbourne is huge and there’s really no need to drive to the opposite side of the city for a beach (unless you are in the far north anyway).
Out west, Williamstown, Altona and South Werribee are great options.
Out east, Dendy Street Beach (this is also where you’ll find the famous, brightly coloured bathing boxes as pictured below), Hampton or Edithvale are great options.
St Kilda is a fun option and you can combine it with the Acland Street cake shops above. This is also an easy one to get to if you don’t have a car – just catch a tram straight here from the city.
Collingwood Childrens Farm
Located in a bend of the Yarra River, on the grounds of the old Abbostford Convent is a surprisingly large small farm designed to let your kids see, get close to and even touch the usual suspects of farmland (like sheep, cows, chickens, pigs, etc.).
While a lot of family things to do in Melbourne are designed to be engaging or attention grabbing (for good reason) the Collingwood Childrens Farm has kept things wonderfully simple.
The aim is to reproduce a traditional working farm of old before machinery became such a big thing and the scale of farms grew. They’ve done a great job in doing it.
Not only can you get up close to a whole bunch of animals, the farm regularly has events and activities that kids can participate in that help show what it takes to make a farm run. Check out their website for the schedule.
The location itself is lovely and there’s plenty of open spaces to spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the openness. It’s hard to believe that this place is only 5 kilometres from the centre of the city. If a picnic isn’t your thing then there’s some great eating options in the nearby building that was the Abbotsford Convent.
The Collingwood Childrens Farm may seem a bit too simple of older kids, like anyone beyond primary school years. That said, it is a lot of fun and for kids who have’t grown out of the thrill of getting up close to animals. It’s a great outdoor activity that we love going to and easily deserving of being on the list of the best fun things for kids in Melbourne.
See their website for more details.
Royal Park Nature Playground
Melbourne has some great adventure playgrounds and they are some of the best family friendly things to do in Melbourne. Perhaps the greatest of them all is the Nature Playground in Royal Park which is easily accessible from the CBD.
It’s a huge park and playground with lots of little sections and things to do.
One of the best bits is the water activities and water fountain that in hot weather is great for kids to cool down in. Even if the weather is cool, there is still a lot of things to climb up, slide down, run around or swing on.
There are lots of grass and some seats and BBQs so it’s a great place to come for a picnic or even the better part of a day.
Our kids love going there – it is literally hours of fun. The only problem is finding them and getting them to leave. If you are looking for things to do in Melbourne this weekend with kids then the Royal Park Nature Playground is an awesome choice.
One tip: in warmer weather think about bringing a towel or a change of clothes to be able to enjoy the water.
The Royal Park Nature Playground is located next to the Royal Children’s Hospital on Flemington Road, Parkville. The #58 tram (heading to West Coburg if coming from the city) stops close by.
Take A Tram
Taking a tram is just about as Melbourne as it gets. Sure, other Australian cities have trams now but ours are the best. Or at least the mostest.
For a family day out, Melbourne has a lot of options, especially in the city. For my kids, a day out in the city is even better with a ride on a tram. I don’t know why but the novelty of trams exceeds that of trains and far outstrips that of buses (which are boring apparently).
My kids love getting a seat and looking out the window or pressing a button or pulling a cord to request the tram to stop. Our youngest kid loves going on a tram so much he asks to do it as much as going to a playground.
If you are in or around the city centre then it’s easy to work in a ride on a tram or even take a tram to where you need to go.
If you just want to ride in a big circuit then the the City Circle tram (#35) goes around the CBD and Docklands in a big loop, taking around 40 minutes to do it. The City Circle trams are the iconic W class trams that have been going around since before the war.
While this gives them a bit of extra novelty their age means you need to step up into the trams which is hard for little kids. They are small, too, and aren’t vary pram friendly especially when they are crowded.
If you can live without needing to do a loop then there are plenty of low floor trams that you can roll right on to from the raised “super stops”. Collins Street and Bourke Street are the best bests for getting a low floor tram but they are increasingly taking over on all the routes (except the City Circle).
Tram journeys on all trams inside the Hoddle grid of the CBD and the Docklands are free provided you start and stop your journey within the free tram zone. You don’t even need to own a Myki.
Trams can get crowded, especially between noon and 2pm and during the morning and afternoon peaks. These times are not so fun for kids. Outside of these times things are better and even in the busy times, there are routes like the #70 or the ones going up Swanston Street where you have a good chance of finding a quieter tram.
So the next time you’re in the city with your kids, jump on a tram for a bit of extra (free!) fun.
Altona Miniature Railway
The Altona Miniature Railway is another simple transport related attraction that’s another of the fun family things to do in Melbourne.
The miniature railway is run by a private club who have built 1.5km loops of 5 inch and 7.5 inch tracks to run their own engines. The club opens its gates to the public once a month (currently the 3rd Sunday of every month).
On its open days, it’s possible to get rides on the many small trains that run around the multi-looped track. The miniature engines all tow miniature carriages which are like big padded benches on wheels.
The trains don’t go too fast so even little kids can sit and ride safely. Rides go for 10 to 15 minutes and you can buy tickets for a ride or a multi-ride pass.
Although it’s not the most exciting ride, it is very fun. Maybe for some older kids it’ll be a bit boring, but for a lot of kids (and adults) it’s a fun day out.
There are a few other minute railways around Melbourne, the Diamond Valley Railways being one of the best ones – but in my experiences the Altona Miniature Railway is one of the largest and is closest to the city which makes it one of the best options for kids rides in Melbourne.
The Altona Miniature Railway is located in Altona North and is approximately 15km from the city centre and 2km south of the West Gate/Princess Freeway, which is the quickest way to get there by car.
The Railway is also 2km from Newport Station and can be reached from there by foot in 25 to 30 minutes (at an average walking speed). Newport Station is on the Werribee and Williamstown lines whose trains depart Flinders Street and go through Southern Cross and West Melbourne stations.
See the Altona Minature Railway club website for for information including the dates for open days and prices.
Awesome Things To Do With Children in Melbourne Surrounds
Phillip Island can’t be beat for its crazy amount of places to visit in Melbourne for kids. We have spent a few long weekends down there and I don’t think we have gone to all the kids attractions yet.
Phillip Island is famous for its Penguin Parade which is a must-visit attraction. Every evening, you can watch the penguins walk up the beach at sunset. You can then watch them overhead from a boardwalk as they go into their burrows. It’s awesome for all ages.
Another attraction is Churchill Island Heritage Farm where you can milk cows, learn to crack a whip and learn about working dogs and sheep shearing. It was great for our city kids!
There’s also the Koala Conservation Centre where you can walk along boardwalks high in the trees looking for koalas.
These three attractions form part of the Phillip Islands Nature Park Attractions Pass. It makes for the perfect day trip from Melbourne with kids. See the latest prices and buy tickets here.
We also have enjoyed many other attractions in Phillip Island like Amaze’n Things pictured below. There’s also a chocolate factory, seal watching, a trout farm (the kids learned to fish there), Antarctic journey and much much more. You are going to want to keep coming back like us!
Phillip Island is about 1.75 hours drive from Melbourne as long as you don’t drive in peak hour. It’s well worth a visit! You can also get here on public transport but attractions are spread out and you’ll have much more fun in your own car.
One of Melbourne’s three zoos, the Healesville Sanctuary focuses on native Australian animals. Lying some 70km from the centre of Melbourne, it is a constant feature in “Kids day out Melbourne” type lists and it makes this one for good reason. It’s a great option when you’re looking at what’s on in Melboune for kids.
While it has a smaller spread of animals than Melbourne Zoo (although it has a lot!), you can get closer to many of the animals at the Healesville Sanctuary. There are several animals you can pat (usually with a keeper helping) and the kangaroos are not really confined and roam free in their area.
The last time we were at Healesville Sanctuary there was even a dingo (on a leash, with two keepers) roaming around and available for a pat!
There are also several sessions at different animal enclosures where a keeper will show off some animal or feed a group of them. It’s hard to get to all of them because as one ends it’s not long until another starts somewhere else in the Sanctuary.
There’s no shortage of things to see and do at Healesville Sanctuary and we spent three hours on our last visit before it got too cold for us and we struggled to see half of everything.
More spread out than the Melbourne Zoo, the Healesvile Sanctuary is a lovely spot for a picnic. If you don’t want to bring your own food there’s a restaurant there as well as a few other take out options (although not all are open in the colder months). There’s also two playgrounds (one quite big) for when you or your kids need a break.
If you’re interested then you can read our review to get more info.
Healesville Sanctuary is located to the east of Melbourne in Healesville, just past Lilydale. It is open every day. For opening hours, schedule of events and prices see their website.
Lake Mountain Alpine Park
There are two options for day trip family outings from Melbourne to see some snow: Mount Donna Buang and Lake Mountain. While Mount Donna Buang is closer to Melbourne and is free to enter, Lake Mountain is the place if you want a guarantee of snow.
Lake Mountain has two snow makers in operation on its toboggan runs so you’ll always get some snow during the snow season. Mount Donna Buang’s snow is completely natural and can come and go quickly.
Lake Mountain possesses two fun toboggan runs as well as cross country skiing runs. While they can get busy, it is still a huge amount of fun in the way only sliding down a snowy slope can be.
The cost of entry to Lake Mountain is easily worth it given not only the fact there is always some snow but there are excellent facilities there. There’s food available as well as a place to rent all the snow equipment, from toboggans to ski-boots, you need. It makes Lake Mountain an easy day trip for the snow.
We had a great visit to the snow at Lake Mountain and it’s a great option for where to take kids in Melbourne (or around Melbourne) during winter.
Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is located just outside of Marysville, around two hours from the centre of Melbourne. Read my full review here.
Best Family Hotels In Melbourne
If you are a visitor to Melbourne, you’ll also need some awesome accommodation to complement your fantastic family holiday. Here are some top choices or you can read our full list of the best Melbourne family accommodation here.
This is our favourite hotel for a family stay in Melbourne and we have had many staycations here.
This boutique hotel has a range of apartment style accommodation perfect for families at the top end of Little Bourke Street close to Parliament Station and the city circle tram. Its surrounded by restaurants and near the theatres.
The rooms themselves are functional and fun. Where this hotel really stands out is all the included extras – there is a free minibar and snack bar on arrival, free breakfast, free happy hour and (what we found very handy) a free lolly bar. We let the kids grab a couple of lollies on our return from sightseeing if they have behaved and it works beautifully.
For a cool, family-focused apartment in a hotel with a range of facilities including an indoor pool and restaurant, Pegasus Apart’Hotel is where we head.
The fully self contained apartments make life easy and we love splashing in the heated pool. Some of the two bedroom apartments have a kids room with a theme and games console. They are a big hit with our kids!
This hotel is located near the big Flagstaff Gardens which also has a playground and is just a short walk into the city.
Map Of Best Things To Do In Melbourne For Kids
So, what did you think? Did these attractions all deserve to be on this what to do with children in Melbourne list? I would love to hear your thoughts below!
Staying in Melbourne? Read our list of the best family accommodation in Melbourne here and kid-friendly cafes here. Remember, we also have many more options for Melbourne family fun here. If your family enjoys camping why not read my guide on how to choose the best sleeping bag for your next family camping trip.