Updated post - Melbourne has been home for over 20 years now, so it seems only appropriate to share my favourite things to do/visit while in Melbourne with kids in tow....(in no particular order)
In summer the Zoo hosts a series of open air concerts, performances which are well worth it. This year over winter, there is a High Tea option on selected sundays.
The Zoo has easy to access by train or tram from the city centre. Wear comfortable clothing as there is a lot of ground to cover. Take a picnic or snacks (cheaper that buying at the Zoo itself)
The cost of entry:
Adults - $30.80 AUD
Child 4 - 15 years $14 AUD (Free on weekends, Victorian School Holidays)
Child 0-3 years Free
2. Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum is great, especially for younger kids 2-8 years of age. There is a play and touch section which is perfect for the very young. A sections which covers Dinosaurs which is amazing along with the complete skeleton of a blue Whale. A living rainforest to walk through. The Museum is the ideal venue on a on a wet or cold Melbourne day.
There are regular special exhibitions featured so well worth checking their website prior to your visit.
If you have slightly older kids as well, located next door to the Museum is the IMAX theatre.
There is a cafe that serves food, however you can bring a pre packed snack and lunch and there are a few outdoor spots to enjoy it.
General entry prices:
Adults $12 AUD
Kids under 16 years are Free
3. Eureka Skydeck
Eureka Skydeck located along the banks of the Yarra River, currently has the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. The Skydeck gives you a 360 degree view of Melbourne and its surrounds. It is a great way of getting an orientation of Melbourne. The kids love being up so high and taking the elevator to the top!
You can pay extra to go on the 'Edge' which is a glass box which juts out of the building by about 3 metres and you then become suspended in the air, 300m above ground. Not for the faint hearted.
There is a small coffee/snack shop along with souvenirs , so you can take your time enjoying the views, Free WiFi when I was there last.
Entry Fees to the Skydeck:
Child 4-16 years $11 AUD
Family pass 2 adults + 2 kids $44 AUD
*There is an extra cost to do the Edge Experience.
4. The Melbourne Botanical Gardens
This will depend on the time of year you are visiting Melbourne, however it a great location to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and let the kids run around. It is also Free entry. The best way to visit is to pack a picnic (or grab take away food in the city) and enjoy the Gardens at leisure. Don't miss the Children's Garden (check website for timings).
5. Luna Park
Luna Park may not be Disneyland but it is an iconic amusement park situated in the Bayside suburb of St. Kilda. An area well-known for its eateries and pubs. Palm fringed boardwalk along the beach is also a must.
Luna Park has it all for the kids, a wooden scenic railway roller-coaster and rides.
see website for details as there are a few options to choose from
6. Melbourne Sporting Events
Depending on the time of year you visit Melbourne there is usually at least one sporting event on that you may wish to attend. With a little advance planning, this is a great way to experience Melbourne and our sporting culture. We love our sports and AFL is probably our favourite sport here in Melbourne which is great family outing.
See the links below for some suggestions:
7. Collingwood Children's farm:
A visit a to the Collingwood Children's farm is a must. A working farm set along the banks of the Yarra River in inner Melbourne is perfect for young kids. See horses, rabbits and goats, you might even have the chance to milk a cow (at 10am and 4pm) and collect fresh eggs. The farm now has a cafe which is another incentive for the parents.
The farm is located in the suburb of Abbotsford which is accessible via train and a walk/bus from the city.
Every 2nd Saturday of the month the farm hosts the farmers market.
Finish off by visiting the Abbotsford Convent next door, which has a great bakery and regular events.
On market days $2 AUD per person before 1pm. (Child is Free)
8. The Dandenong Ranges;
The Dandenong ranges are great, you will however need a car to get around to visit all that it has to offer. The area can be visited with walks through amazing Australian bush landscape. However there are also plenty of tourist activities that you may wish to partake in, I've listed a few of the more popular ones.
Melbourne is set on the beautiful Port Phillip Bay, which has easy access for beach goers. Be it a stroll along the coast, a bike ride or take a dip in the bay you have plenty of choice.
St Kilda Beach - the closest to the City Centre has not only the beach, but also restaurants amusement park etc.. to keep you occupied.
Brighton Beach is a little further out of the city centre however the beach is nicer and is famous for its colourful bathing boxes.
10. The Queen Victoria Market
The Queen Victoria Market is located in the city of Melbourne and is ideal not just to pick up some fresh food and ingredients but it is also a great spot to pick up some Australian Souvenirs. Head to the market to stock up on produce for a picnic and head out to visit Melbourne's top attractions.
In Summer the market holds a weekly hawker style food market, a great way to savour some of the blend of international cuisine that Melbourne is known for.
Do you have a favourite spot in Melbourne ? Please feel free to suggest your own list or to comment on one of the above.