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Melbourne keeps visitors pouring in with its array of kid-friendly cultural activities and events. Gemma Shipley shares some 2017 highlights.

1. Become a Pirate for the day!

Climb aboard the tall ship Polly Woodside and be a real pirate for a day. On the first Sunday of every month, kids can unleash their inner marauder and discover what life could be like sailing on the high seas. Your little buccaneers can head on their very own pirate treasure hunt, scrub the deck, ring the bell and engage in interactive pirate-themed games and crafts. The Polly Woodside also offers other visitor activities including a fascinating history museum and picnic area.

2. Learn Important Computer Skills

If you already envy your child’s computer skills then be prepared to become a little more jealous, with CoderDojo for kids and teens aged seven to 17. The volunteer-run centre allows young people to understand computer programming and coding in a way specifically catering for their interests, and entry is free! CoderDojo provides a fun and interactive learning experience for tech-savvy kids and teens, giving them a creative introduction into a field with endless opportunities. CoderDojo has multiple locations around Melbourne and all kids need to bring is a laptop.

3. Find your Inner Drama Queen/King

Got a budding rock star or magician in the house? Arts Centre Melbourne provides drama workshops for kids of all ages, and is a great starting point for them to learn about and participate in the arts. Courses throughout 2017 include ‘Now Hear This’, a fun programme where they can create live sound effects with everyday objects. ‘The Magic Workshop’ is designed for those children with a conjurer’s touch. Another popular workshop will teach them how to become the next greatest rock star. The creative course teaches kids how to create and make digital music and even produce and star in their very own music video. The workshops run until May, giving kids plenty of time to try out each one.


4. Be A Part Of The LEGO Squad

Enthusiasts of the beloved bricks can gather together every Thursday and be a part of the LEGO Squad run by East Melbourne Library. Challenges are set up at the start of each month for builders of all ages and skills. Kids can make stop-motion films, puzzles and incorporate other types of craft to show off their best ideas and LEGO creations. The LEGO Squad is one of many events run across Melbourne’s libraries, including coding courses, toddler story time and songbirds.

5. Explore Sea Life

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is a perfect way to spend a rainy day, and now with the extra bonus of a screening of ‘Ice Age: No Time For Nuts’, kids can feel like they’re a part of the Ice Age! The giant 3D screen is combined with extra effects for an exciting 4D experience, a perfect end to a day spent at the aquarium next to the Yarra River. The aquarium also offers a range of ocean experiences for kids, including Penguin Passport, Aquarist Programmes (both for teens) and Ocean Rangers for younger kids.

6. Take Part in the CBD Treasure Hunt

Combining urban life and treasure hunting, Cityseekers adventures are designed for small groups of children to actively teach them about engaging with the city. Volunteer leaders teach little hunters to read maps and catch public transport safely, while clues challenge their minds and allow an appreciation of the cultural and historical areas of the city. The hunt takes place around the arts precinct of the CBD, starting in Federation Square on the last Saturday of every month.


7. Experience The Latest Gaming Equipment

Get the family together or invite a couple of friends to the VR Plus Studio to experience the latest in gaming technology. VR allows up to four people to play games together in whatever virtual world you choose! The HTC Vive gear allows for room-scale technology that is capable of fooling you into believing that you are somewhere else!

8. Explore 3D Art

ArtVo is the first immersive gallery in Australia, allowing visitors to become a part of the 3D art. The kids are encouraged to touch and interact with artwork, breathing new life into their gallery experience. The venue features 11 areas with over 100 giant floor-to-ceiling artworks to explore.

9. Spend A Day in St Kilda

The seaside suburb of St Kilda has so much to offer families, from historic Luna Park to visiting the local penguin colony found on St Kilda Pier. Take a stroll down Acland Street, home to many continental cake shops that will delight tiny taste buds. Nearby Alma Park hosts the Hank Marvin food market on Saturdays for families looking to spend their day tasting delicious street foods and tempting treats.


Where To Stay

Oaks Hotels & Resorts
Bed down after your day of fun in one of the Oaks Hotels & Resorts' properties dotted throughout the CBD. The serviced apartment accommodation makes it easy to experience the city at your own pace. Select properties also offer a babysitting service, should parents wish to enjoy dinner a deux. Choose from urban sanctuaries along Collins, Lonsdale, Market and William Street, or in leafy South Yarra or in the growing entertainment hub of Southbank.

Pegasus Apart'Hotel
Just down the road from Flagstaff Gardens Playground and Queen Victoria Market, Pegasus Apart'Hotel offers long-stay apartments for families planning to see every Melbourne attraction. Stay in one of the two-bedroom family suites - the kids will just love the themed bedrooms!

This article appeared in volume 51 of Holidays with Kids magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.

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