Melbourne for Children - great places to take children (by experience)...
1. Melbourne Aquarium
Melbourne Aquarium, along the banks of the Yarra River, is one of the best loved destinations in Melbourne! It is a world class aquarium!
Not just for kids, but kids love this place! It’s easy to spend several hours here!
A striking exhibit is the penguin display – including large King Penguins and the Gentoo Penguins. To see these animals swimming is fantastic. To watch events at feeding time is breathtaking! Other highlights include displays such as River to Reff, Rockpool, Mangrove and Billabong. Some displays are interactive, and creatively put together!
The upstairs Deck Café is a pleasant way to enjoy refreshments along the way! The main exhibit is the large oceanarium which features sharks including the Grey Nurse! It is a magnificent exhibit and bound to enthral!
2. Melbourne Museum
A world class Museum that is also a favourite of children! Located in the Carlton Gardens opposite the Royal Exhibition Building! It’s easy to spend hours here without being bored. I know people who aren’t keen on Museums but love this one! The permanent displays are first class over 8 galleries (including one for children) and there’s new displays regularly. Kids love it in the sand pit! Highlights include a complete skeleton of a blue whale, the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, a living rainforest, and the racehorse Phar Lap! Major international exhibitions are in the Touring Hall! Also next door is the IMAX so you can combine the two visits. The cost of visiting the Museum is reasonable for families.
A favourite place for children in Melbourne! Learning about science and technology! Scienceworks is only 5km from Melbourne in Spotswood! Hands on participation is the order of the day! Live demonstrations, shows, guided tours and special activities! Speak to kids all over Melbourne and they love coming here! It’s fun! It’s educational! It’s clever! It’s interactive! Scienceworks itself is great but there’s always added exhibitions next door. Plus the Planetarium is a big hit! There’s also shows and events in the round outdoor theatre.
Great catering at the venue but personally I love to go to nearby great cafes like Duchess of Spotswood and The Cornershop in Yarraville.
4. Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo is a world class Zoo and an exciting place to visit! It’s also Australia’s oldest zoo. It's easy to spend several hours there wandering around the various precincts. Upon arrival grab a map of the zoo then plan your visit. There are regular feeding times and other attractions.
You can appreciate 320 species at the Melbourne Zoo and enjoy several hours of fascination and excitement! A highlight is the Butterfly House – a tropical enclosure full of butterflies that fly all around you and some may settle on you! There has been a move for kids for free on weekends.
5. St Kilda '
St Kilda is an eclectic place with many attractions! Check out the Esplanade (while taking in the markets on a Sunday). Stroll along the Pier and grab an ice cream.
Take in Acland Street and the fine European cake establishments. In fact many of Melbourne’s finest restaurants are in St Kilda, with many in Fitzroy and Acland Streets. Enjoy fine dining at great restaurants like Circa The Prince, Donovan's and The Stokehouse. Sit outside and take in the ambience at Cicciolina on Acland St.
Travel nearby to Chapel St with amazing shopping, op shops and restaurants and cafes. Chapel St is one of the hottest food and fashion precincts in Melbourne. It is also a popular spot for op shoppers! You can shop for about 3 km! Check out great designers here including Allanah Hill and Collette Dinnigan, not to mention Ksubi.
Another attraction is the Prahran Market open Tues - Sunday except Wednesday. Here you can grab a great coffee at Market Lane Coffee.
6. Werribee Open Zoo
Another great favourite of children in Melbourne! This zoo is African themed as is located about 32 km out of Melbourne in Werribee. You can take a safari bus tour in the Open Range Zoo. The tour takes about 45 minutes. The safari tour includes hippo, animals of the grassland such as zebra and waterbuck, giraffe, ostrich, and rhinoceros, as well as the camel and the oryx. Also lions, meerkats and much more! There is also a simulated African Village.
7. Wombat Bend Park
Children love this place! About 20 minutes out of Melbourne. Wombat Bend Park is a great park for adults and children alike. It is an enclosed park which is excellent - so the kids can't run off too far!There is a flying fox which is incredibly popular! According to Manningham City Council Wombat Bend is a sanctuary for creative play, decorated with community art that inspires and captures the imagination of people of all ages and all abilities. Children and people young at heart will love exploring Wombat Bend, with sensory play activities, accessible path networks, an ampitheatre and native forest walk.
Wombat Bend’s highlights include a large mosaic titled ‘The Circle of Friends’, running feet tiles and the maze panels.
8. Eureka Skydeck 88
This place has the wow factor! On a good day this incredible 360 degree view on the 88th floor is incredible! See if you can point out various landmarks around the city! Eureka Skydeck 88 has the best views of Melbourne, by day and by night. During the day you can see all the way out to the Dandenong Ranges. There is also “The Edge”, an experience of being in a glass cube 3 metres out from the building and 300 metres suspended above the ground.
You can also step out onto “The Terrace” exposing yourself to the elements. There are 30 viewfinders around the Skydeck floor so you can point out landmarks! See how you go! There a kid friendly heights with the viewfinders to assist kids. It gives kids (and adults of course) a great perspective of Melbourne!
Opening hours are 10am to 10pm, with Christmas Day and New Years Eve close at 5.30pm (last entry at 5pm).
9. Warrandyte and Warrandyte State Park
Great place to take children and for all to enjoy! A short drive out of Melbourne out to Warrandyte is worth the trip. Great cafes with playgrounds near the river, is popular with families. Check out the Warrandyte Bakery in Yarra Street and surrounding precinct by the river. Take your lunch to a nearby table or go down to the river and visit the ducks. There's a popular walk along the river here and it can get busy on a Sunday afternoon. Children seem to really enjoy this precinct. The park itself is the closest state park to the Melbourne CBD. It's fun to even stroll around Warrandyte town and visit some unique shops.
10. City Circle Tram
What a service! Free trams running in a circular route in the CBD through many tourist attractions – with trams running in both directions every 12 minutes! Sensational! Great for tourists and locals alike! The beauty is to get on an off when you please as the service runs so regularly. A great part of the service is the tourist presentation as you travel! On some occasions there will be a guide who dispenses with the recorded service and goes freestyle!
11. Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm is on the edge of the city in Collingwood. You can combine the visit with a trip to the sensational Abbotsford Convent. The Collingwood Children's Farm is a large property with several animal enclosures. Children love the ability to get up close with animals with some enclosures allowing children to interact with the animals.