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Melbourne with kids

Natarsha Brown discovers that the streets of Melbourne are serving up a smorgasbord of family-friendly fun in 2016.

Melbourne. The city of street art and museums, live music and sports, trendy eateries and great coffee. But Australia’s cultural capital isn’t just a hotspot for hipsters, it’s jam-packed with family-friendly attractions and fun events for all ages to enjoy.

Melbourne International Animation Festival

If you want a change-up from the standard cinema and popcorn combo, why not give yourself a break from Queen Elsa’s ‘Let It Go’ and book a ticket to the Melbourne International Animation Festival. Running from the 21 to 28 June, the festival will screen over 400 films over the eleven days. And the best part? There is a kid’s programme showcasing titles like The Story of Percival Pitts – a whimsical narrative of a boy who declares he will never let his feet touch the ground, and Rosso Pappavero – a behind-the-scenes look at what happens behind the flaps of a circus tent at night.

Sports, sports and more... Sports

Sports are practically a religion in Melbourne and it is said you haven’t truly experienced the city until you watch a live game of cricket or Aussie Rules at the MCG with a meat pie in hand. And there’s no other museum in Australia which celebrates our sporting history like the National Sports Museum. Offering something for everyone with school holiday activities including the Game On! Interactive gallery, MCG Olympic-themed tours and the nation’s largest collection of sporting memorabilia. The museums latest exhibition ‘Drawing a Laugh: Australian Sport Cartoons’ takes a look at the lighter side of sport from crazy rules to goofy fans.

Disney on Ice

From 1 to 5 July, whisk the entire family away to the magical kingdoms of Disney on Ice’s ‘Magical Ice Festival’. Join royal sisters Anna and Elsa and cheeky snowman Olaf in the wintery wonderland of Arendelle ; make waves with Ariel and Sebastian ‘under the sea’; get tangled in Rapunzel and Flynn’s never-ending shenanigans; and get swept away in a tale as old as time with Beauty and the Beast and their enchanted castle friends.

High tea at The Langham

Parent and little ones alike will be enchanted with The Langham, Melbourne’s renowned kids-themed high tea. With an array of decadent delights – from fluffy cakes to delicate ribbon sandwiches - the whole family will be left feeling like royalty. Yes, the kids will leave on a bit of a sugar high, but the scrumptious scones are totally worth it! For fans of the childrens high teas that may have outgrown the experience – a high tea for teens is now available. The ever-so-chic ‘Designer Teen High Tea’ includes a pastel rose meringue, a pretty in pink blush macaroon, a handcrafted gold donut, a choc-top mousse waffle cone and take home Langham nail polish.

Children's Farm Life

For a taste of rural life without actually leaving the city, Collingwood Children’s Farm is nestled just five kilometres from the city on the banks of the Yarra River and covers seven hectares of paddocks and gardens. The first Sunday of each month is Family Day and includes free pony rides, guinea pig cuddles, cow milking lessons and animal feeding, a BBQ lunch and even a joyride on the tractor!

Melbourne Zoo

In a new addition to the popular ‘Keeper Kids’, kids can dress up as a field researcher, jump aboard the jeep and go exploring for endangered wildlife with the ‘Become a Wild Child’ programme at Melbourne Zoo. Spotting bandicoot tracks, listening for the ‘rippet’ of the Corroboree Frog and searching for the Helmeted Honeyeater and learning the ins and outs of being a zookeeper are just some of the interactive activities on the menu. Kids under 16 are free every weekend.

Alice in Wonderland

Jump down the rabbit hole into the magical – and somewhat bizarre – world of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Museum Victoria, open now until 1 November. Children can let their curiosity guide their way through the interactive exhibit based on the Lewis Carroll classic which introduces optics and illusions, word play, physics and maths to three to eight year olds. Don’t miss the Hall of Doors, the Mad Hatter’s tea Party and competing against the Queen of Hearts in a game of croquet! Access to Alice’s Wonderland is included in museum entry and the exhibit opens daily.

Lost in LEGO land

INSIDE the BRICK is returning to Melbourne from 25 to 26 June for a magical display of LEGO models and a construction play zone. To be held at the Melbourne Meat Market, little ones can let their imaginations run wild with the hands-on building zones. Create your very own Minion character from scratch; drive the LEGO creation car down the race ramp or compete in building competitions against other mini-makers. Little ones aren’t forgotten either, with a Duplo construction zone for toddlers!

Happy feet

Waddle into SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium to meet the new King Penguin chicks, Derrick and Arthur, who are keeping everyone on their toes while they find their feet. To celebrate their delightful arrival, everyday over the school holidays the Penguin Playground will be hosting penguin-themed activities such as presentations, an interactive discovery table, activity booklets, a Dive Log Trail exploring the 12 zones of discovery and a brand-new Ice Age: No Time For Nuts 4D experience.

Art Play

For those who haven’t yet discovered the Melbourne’s family-friendly art studio, ArtPlay, prepare to let your imaginations run wild! Workshop programmes range from ceramics to performance, mosaics to puppetry, circus to indigenous art, singing to sculpture – so there is bound to be something for everyone. With the help of children ages five to 12, ArtPlay’s latest exhibition – The Fictional Factory – turns plates of unwanted vegetables into ‘fun stuff’ – who knew carrots could be turned into coloured pencils?

Glow in the dark golf

For an exciting new take on mini golf, Glow Golf at the Docklands has installed UV lighting into their playground to create a surreal, glow-in-the-dark dreamland for families. The first of its kind in Australia, the 18-hole golf course is indoors and air-conditioned making it a suitable fun day out come rain or shine.

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Learn how to prowl, pounce and roar like Simba at Werribee Open Range Zoo. Little ones will delight in meeting the zoo’s resident cubs and learning about their different stages of development; watching ‘How the Lion Got its Roar’, an African folklore tale brought to life by musician by Shabba Eshun; enjoying the lion-themed games on the lawn and meeting the keepers. And what’s more? Entry is free for kids under 16 during the school holidays.

Sky High

The 360 degree, floor-to-ceiling views of Melbourne at Eureka Skydeck 88 are bound to have the jaws dropping of even the most hard-to-impress teen. By day, enjoy panoramas stretching as far as the Dandenong ranges, and by night, get lost in the bright lights of the skyline nightscape. Even the lifts are a thrill, rocketing passengers to Level 88 in just 40 seconds... so be prepared to leave your stomach behind! The Edge Experience takes ‘daredevil’ to the next level – a three-metre by three-metre transparent cube suspending those inside 285 metres above the ground.

Crafty cafes

Putting the quirk back in quirkilicious, Ma.Me General Store & Craft Cafe is a whimsical blend of milk bar and art workshop. The creative corner is filled to the brim with pom poms, feathers, felts and colours for ages three and older to fill their trays with and get crafty... there’s even an edible craft range with build your own waffles and milkshakes! Don’t miss the Happy Bites Ma.Me menu, designed for kids, delightful treats include taco bun sliders and soft-boiled eggs cooked in the Super Egg Tower.

***Melbourne Report Card***


Getting there
Qantas flies daily to Melbourne from all Australian capital cities.

Holiday Inn Melbourne On Flinders

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