Melbourne is one of the most iconic locations in the entire country with a vast array of things to do for the whole family to enjoy. Whether your adventure takes you to the pristine attractions in town within the impressive architecture or among the outdoor activities, you'll find no shortage of fun in Victoria's capital city. Given the diversity of things to do, your family can enjoy a satisfying trip no matter where their interests lie. Take a look at the best things to do for kids in Melbourne, and discover everything it can offer for an absolutely unforgettable holiday experience.
Discover Melbourne kids activities outdoors
1. See history and check out events in Federation Square
In Federation Square, your family can get their bearings when starting their holiday to Melbourne. You'll find the visitor centre here that comes complete with brochures of things to do. Additionally, you'll find several impressive architectural sites while the cobblestone square here is impressive in its own right when it comes to design. Special events and cultural celebrations are also frequently held here, and you can attend them all for free, so check the local calendar to see what's one before finalizing your trip plans.
2. See the city with a Circle Tram Tour
The Circle Tram Tour is one of the most iconic ways to get around town. It does a loop around the Central Business District with the guide highlighting all the most important sites you may want to visit. Plus, riding a tram adds a more historical feeling to the city since these methods of transportation are often replaced in other cities. It takes about 50 minutes in total to make the loop, so it doesn't take too much time out of your day. The start of the loop is at the Flinders Station Stop, which is located by Federation Square.
3. Check out the street art of The Laneways
Several Laneways are present throughout Melbourne that offer a fun experience walking through the city. While they were originally built to provide secondary access to storefronts, they now offer attractions of their own. Take Hosier Lane, for example, which is a haven for incredible graffiti and street art. In fact, street artists are often there working on their next pieces, so you can see them in action. Of course, the art here is completely endorsed by the city. Additionally, these Laneways often have several small restaurants set up where you can grab a bite to eat from a variety of different cuisine styles.
4. Explore the greenery and children's area at Royal Botanical Gardens
At the Royal Botanical Gardens, you'll find pristine flora all set up around well-maintained walking spaces designed to show off vibrant greenery. Not only will you find plants native to Australia, but more exotic species have a place here as well. You can always embark on the standard guided tour, but your kids may prefer the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden. This facility is specifically designed for kids to enjoy with a bamboo forest and a water play area. Keep in mind that this children's garden is better suited for children around 8 years of age or younger.
5. Enjoy outdoor children's activities in Melbourne at the Main Yarra Trail
For a more active experience, your family may want to embark on the Main Yarra Trail. Here, you'll find a well-maintained path by the Yarra River that's traversable on foot or by bicycle. You don't have to bring bikes of your own as there are plenty of rentals available nearby. The trail itself is quite long, stretching 33 kilometres and taking about 5 hours to complete, but you don't have to take on the entire trail. You'll find plenty of places to get off before the end, so you can plan your holiday here accordingly keeping your family's capabilities in mind.
6. View the city from atop the Melbourne Star
The Melbourne Star is one of the most iconic aspects of the city's skyline and has a Ferris wheel that offers stunning views. Not only can you enjoy the relaxing ride up around the wheel, but you can also opt for audio commentary that will highlight some of the best sites and major landmarks of the city that you can see from the wheel. The actual seats of this Ferris wheel are situated in round pods that offer plenty of space and have large windows on all sides making it easy to take in the sights from an elevated position.
7. Visit animals from around the world at Melbourne Zoo
A day out at the zoo is one of the most popular family activities in Melbourne. The Melbourne Zoo offers a particularly diverse array of animals for your little ones to see including far more than the Australian native favourites. You'll find large African cats and Antarctic seals in the enclosures here. Don't forget to check out the meerkat area as well that allows your kids to explore their habitat by viewing tunnels similar to how meerkats themselves do. Plus, this zoo features a playground and a carousel if your kids need to run around a bit at any point during your visit.
8. Explore Melbourne kids activities in Chinatown
Melbourne's Chinatown is packed full of exciting offerings that the whole family can enjoy. Simply walking through the streets here will have your family met with fascinating architecture and several shops and restaurants with the latter offering dumpling samples. Be sure to check the local calendar before you visit as well to see if any events are happening in the streets. Parades and celebrations are fairly common, especially if you visit during Chinese New Year. All of it is family-friendly as well, so you don't have to hesitate to take the kids along.
9. Walk Bourke Street to find shopping opportunities and street performers
If your family is looking for a shopping excursion, Bourke Street is one of the best destinations in town. This is a pedestrian shopping street, so there's plenty of room to walk around outside as you're exploring the plethora of shops located here. Additionally, you'll find several street musicians showing off their talents that you can enjoy entirely for free, though any tips are appreciated of course. Keep in mind that this street is also how you'll get to the Myer department store, which is one of the most legendary shopping spots in town.
10. Find fun in family activities in Melbourne's Southbank
The Soutbank of the Yarra River is one of the best spots to enjoy some fun in the sun for visiting families. Most of the towering high rises and skyscrapers in town are in the Central Business District, so the Southbank offers a nice break. Of course, given its proximity, you can enjoy stunning views of the skyline all while in a calmer area of town. There's a walkway at South Bank right by the river that's well-maintained and lined with stunning viewpoints and delicious cafes. Don't be surprised if you see street performers along this road as well.
11. Let kids run around at Royal Park Playground
The Royal Park Playground offers fun activities that all kids can enjoy. While your first thought might be that you have enough playgrounds at home, this one offers a more unique experience than your standard playground does. You'll find a sand and water play area along with an array of slides. What makes it stand out, however, is the plethora of climbing structures. You'll find rope bridges, rope webs, and other obstacles designed to let kids express their inner explorer showing off their abilities at these fun structures. Spending some time at a playground can be good for kids on holiday, as it gives them a chance to play and you a chance to relax.
12. Discover family activities in Melbourne at Birrarung Park
If your family is looking for a fun adventure outdoors, Birrarung Park offers everything you need. You'll find plenty of greenery including towering trees and sprawling fields. The trail here is the star of the show, however, as it offers more than 3 kilometres of distance to traverse in a convenient loop. It's well-maintained and easy to travel, so the whole family can make the trip. That includes your pup as well, as this park is dog-friendly. Keep in mind that you don't have to take the trail on foot. Bikes are allowed here if you prefer, and there are bike rentals available nearby.
13. Relax among the Fitzroy Gardens
Fitzroy Gardens is a popular public green space in town that dates back all the way to the mid 19th century. You'll find pristine walking trails encircled by lush gardens complete with 2 cafes. These cafes even offer a drink called a babycino without any caffeine or strong ingredients that let kids feel like one of the adults. Additionally, you'll find a miniature Tudor village here along with the actual Captain Cook's cottage, which was transported to this park in 1934. Keep in mind that while the garden is free, exploring the cottage does have an entry fee.
14. Find thrilling coasters and classic rides at Luna Park
At Luna Park, you and your family can enjoy the classic carnival experience with plenty of rides and games for adults and kids alike. The most iconic feature of this park is the Mr. Moon Face entrance in which you'll walk through the mouth of a massive painted face, but that's just the beginning. Once you're inside, you'll find an old world carnival atmosphere coupled with modern rides like the Scenic Railway roller coaster. You'll additionally find rides that are specifically tailored for young kids, and many of those let the parents tag along with their little ones for free.
15. Check out coastal things to do in Melbourne with kids at St Kilda Beach
If your family is looking to hit up the beach, St Kilda Beach is one of the best options in town. Here, you'll find soft sands and inviting waters that are perfect for swimming. You don't have to worry about any strong currents here, and the waters are remarkably shallow for longer than you'd expect. Kiteboarding is especially popular here thanks to the convenient prominent winds. If you're looking to just relax, however, you can sit on the shore and look out at the various ships in the distance coming in and out of port.
Find fun things to do in Melbourne for kids indoors
16. See the iconic clocks of Flinders Station
No trip to Melbourne would be complete without stopping by Flinders Station. This is one of the most iconic buildings in the entire city with its signature yellow and red brick exterior dating back to the early 20th century. Functionally, it's just a railway station, but there's a lot of history in the building. Your kids will especially enjoy checking out the row of clocks by the main entrance. These clocks display the current time in various places across the world, so they can see how time zones can affect things. Additionally, it's a popular spot for photos if you're looking for a souvenir of the trip.
17. Sample goods from local vendors at Queen Victoria Market
Within Queen Victoria Market, your family will find a wide variety of things to do and places to shop. This market is populated by a plethora of local vendors with most offering delicious fresh food including produce and smoked meats. Of course, that's just a portion of the offerings here with other vendors selling homemade crafts and items you won't find anywhere else. Your kids, however, will likely be focused on all the food, as many of the vendors are more than happy to offer free samples. Plus, it's a great way to get a taste of the best the local community has to offer.
18. See natural and cultural history on display at Melbourne Museum
At the Melbourne Museum, your kids will find fun the second you drive. The building itself sports a postmodern architectural design that's sure to stand out. Once they enter, however, they can find fun children's activities like the Dinosaur Walk that features the remnants of these massive prehistoric creatures hanging from the ceiling. Many of the displays are interactive as well, so your kids will find themselves engaged the whole way through. More recent history is on display here as well including exhibits of the Aboriginal natives and the English colonizers. Younger children even have their own special section called the Children's Gallery, which is designed for kids up to 5 years of age.
19. Learn about the history of film at Australian Centre for the Moving Image
When you visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, you and your family can learn all about the history of film, the film industry and how digital culture has dominated the modern world. This museum features numerous exhibits on film, but the specialty attractions tend to stand out. You'll find 3D and virtual reality exhibits that showcase some of the more unique ways film has evolved over the years. Plus, the films shown here offer valuable insight into Australia's past with much coverage of the aboriginal people and the brief history of nuclear testing in the 1950s.
20. See impressive artwork from around the globe at National Gallery Victoria
National Gallery Victoria is an art museum that showcases Australian and international art with each situated in its own separate building. The permanent collection comprises more than 70,000 unique works with some dating back literally thousands of years. A vast array of styles and mediums are on display here as well. The temporary exhibitions are fascinating as well, as they tend to highlight local and emerging artists. For the most part, these exhibitions focus on the bustling culture of Australia with certain specializations in Melbourne specifically, so it's a good way to immerse yourself in the local people.
21. Discover an array of sea creatures at Sea Life Aquarium
At Sea Life Aquarium, you and your little ones can explore thousands of different marine species on display in fascinating habitats. While you'll find all the classic favourites here like sharks, manta rays and vibrant tropical fish, the primary focus is antarctic marine life. That means your kids can enjoy massive and diverse populations of penguins, who always tend to be popular. Both the King and the Gentoo penguins can be seen waddling and swimming around in their enclosures showcasing their adorable curiosity and unapologetically outgoing attitudes. Don't forget to check out the Interactive Wonder Wall if you have young kids.
22. Have hands-on, educational fun with Melbourne kids activities at Science Works
When you and the kids visit Science Works, you'll find yourself in one of the most impressive science centres in Melbourne. You'll find a variety of interactive activities that your kids can spend hours exploring on their own. The Little Sparks and Test Lab is particularly popular, as it allows kids to experiment and tinker at their own pace while learning a bit about how science works as a process. Additionally, this science centre hosts several different shows, so be sure to check the local calendar before you book your visit here.