The BEST of Melbourne’s fun family holidays include meeting a giant tortoise, taking a deep dive into film, TV & gaming & riding the gigantic Melbourne Star ferris wheel.
1. Melbourne Zoo
Set within the leafy surrounds of Royal Park, the Melbourne Zoo is home to more than 300 species of animal from Australia and beyond. After getting up close to Asian elephants, playful lemurs and big cats, you can venture underwater at the Wild Sea exhibit. The kids will have a ball at Growing Wild, an interactive play area where giant tortoise talks are held each day.
2. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
On the south side of the Yarra River, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria offers 38ha of landscaped gardens, lakes and lawns. If there’s one area that families shouldn’t miss, it’s the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, an award-winning space where kids can immerse themselves in the world of plants while running, scrambling and exploring.
Formerly The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, ACMI is one of Melbourne’s best-loved museums, offering a deep dive into the world of film, television and gaming. Aside from its family-friendly film screenings, activity days and school holiday programs, ACMI also boasts an exciting array of hands-on and interactive exhibitions that will appeal to kids of all ages.
4. Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
For 360-degree views across Melbourne’s CBD, Port Phillip Bay and the Dandenong Ranges, book a ride on the Melbourne Star. Step aboard one of the fully enclosed cabins of this giant ferris wheel to journey 120m above the Docklands, while listening to commentary about the history of the city and the sights below.
5. Melbourne Museum
Located next to the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens, this large museum has something for everyone. You could easily spend a few days exploring its natural and cultural history displays, with life-sized dinosaur skeletons and a centre dedicated to Victoria’s Indigenous people. For young kids, a highlight is the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, a hands-on learning space where they can dig for fossils and dance at the “camouflage disco”.
6. Werribee Open Range Zoo
Just 30km southwest of Melbourne is this African-themed wildlife park where you can embark on a thrilling safari. Aboard the guided bus tour, you’ll get up close to hippos, rhinos, giraffes and camels before learning how to track lions in the recreated African village. The Pula Reserve Walking Trail allows you to explore the zoo on foot while coming face-to-face with vervet monkeys and meerkats.
7. Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
On the banks of the Yarra River, this state-of-the-art aquarium is dedicated to Southern Ocean and Antarctic species and is known for its shark-filled Mermaid Garden. The self-guided tour takes you past the Crocodile’s Lair, the Penguin Playground and the Bay of Rays, and to the interactive Discovery Rockpools. Don’t miss the newly opened Ocean Invaders, a sensory experience featuring otherworldly jellyfish.
8. Luna Park Melbourne
Opened in 1912, this amusement park is packed with both thrilling and gentle rides that will appeal to all ages and adrenalin levels. You can brave the House of Horrors, explore the park on the Betty Choo Choo train or soak up the spectacular views across Melbourne from the Great Scenic Railway. A highlight of visiting Luna Park for families is riding the beautifully illuminated Carousel after dark.
This scaled-down city, designed specifically for children, has been created to encourage creativity and curiosity. In the hands-on exhibits, kids can learn how to be a chef, a construction worker or a mechanic while completing a variety of tasks. Interaxcity is all about learning through imaginative play and discovering what it takes to be a community hero.
10. Collingwood Children’s Farm
Spread across seven hectares on a bend of the Yarra River, the Collingwood Children’s Farm encompasses livestock-filled paddocks, gardens and orchards where families can experience rural life. Learn how to milk the resident cows and bottle feed the lambs or see if you can find the chickens’ eggs. A farmer’s market takes place each fortnight and family days are regularly held, complete with tractor and pony rides.