This week, we continue to look at family friendly activities around Australia by visiting Melbourne. Nicole, a mum of 5, who blogs at Planning With Kids, has kindly written about her home, Melbourne. At her blog she regularly writes about parenting and organising (some might even say planning) your life with children.
It is a very parochial statement, but given that I wasn't born in Melbourne and I have adopted it as my home city, I don't feel so biased in saying that Melbourne is a fabulous city. There is always so much to do and the pace of the city is not one which makes it family unfriendly. I regularly write a monthly highlights post on children's activities in Melbourne on my blog, but below I have listed my favourites, that I would recommend visiting if you are holidaying with kids in Melbourne:
Federation SquareI love Federation Square. It is the type of place that you can visit with no plans and always find something interesting to do with the kids, without it costing a fortune! Federation Square is located on the corner of Flinders and Swanson Streets in Melbourne. As such it super easy to take public transport there, with Flinders Street Station just across the road and trams running along both Flinders and Swanson Streets. Highlights at Federation Square include:
The NGV is open 10am–5pm (closed Mondays). It is free to see the permanent collections, but there are fees for some of the visiting collections. The NGV have just recently opened Kids Corner which can be accessed from corner of Flinders and Russell Streets. Kids Corner is a specially designed space for children and their families to enjoy creative installations and activities designed just for them. Access is free and while you are there you can:
- Sit on the horse, elephant or rug and immerse yourself in Hiraki Sawa’s Going places sitting down video
- Explore and encounter art from around the world with ‘Share and discover’ activity cards
- Touch, smell and see different things next to the mirror and curtain
- Find, count and describe all the animals and objects on the walls
- Play in cubbies, tunnels and slide
- Have fun with building blocks, animal shapes and aeroplanes
ACMI explores the world of film, television and digital culture. It has both permanent and touring exhibitions. The new Screen Worlds permanent exhibition is free and kids can get involved with interactive exhibits and play classic and contemporary video games. Each Sunday ACMI has Kids Flick's with tickets only $5 each. They screen an eclectic range of films, from the Classics like Wizard of Oz, to Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are. Kids Flicks are also screened week days at 11am during the school holidays and are generally free. There is also an accompanying free kids activity during the school holidays which runs from 12pm - 3pm. No bookings are required and you can just drop in and the kids can make their own animation. The type of animation varies, this coming holidays in March/April they can make a claymation based on Where The Wild Things Are. The video below shows a claymation that my kids have produced at ACMI a little while ago.
Once you have seen a movie and made your animation you can head out to have some fresh air and fun at the lovely Birrarung Marr. The park and playground is located on the north bank of the Yarra River just next to Federation Square. Its name comes from the language of the Wurundjeri people who originally inhabited this area, 'Birrarung' means 'river of mists' while ‘Marr’ refers to the side of the river. A great thing about this park is that it caters for children across a wide age group. All my children (aged 1 - 11 y.o) have a great time here. Sometimes it is doing just simple things like climbing the massive boulders or rolling down the green hills, but they never have trouble finding something fun to do.
St Kilda Precinct
St Kilda is 6km south of the Melbourne CBD and can be easily reached by a number of trams. St Kilda is a vibrant and fun part of Melbourne and you could easily spend a whole day with the kids around this area, investigating places like:
The St Kilda Adventure Playground is no ordinary playground. It like a neighbourhood backyard, complete with chickens wandering through the ground. Open from Monday to Friday 3.30 to 5.30pmand Saturday & Sunday 10.00am to 5.00pm the playground is staffed and filled with climbing structures, trampoline, cubbies and natural play spaces. This space allows children to roam freely, explore and to take risks in an environment of safety. Image by City Of Port Phillip
St Kilda Pier is a gorgeous stroll for the family. The wooden pier dates back to the 1850s and it provides great views of the city and the bay. Near the pier is the breakwater which is home up to one hundred little penguins. The pier offers panoramic views of the city, a great spot for fishing and beautiful kiosk to visit. Image by Parks Victoria .
The St Kilda Busking Festival is a great snapshot of what St Kilda is all about - a wonderful mish mash of people, interests and abilities! Buskers play live on the streets varying from performers, exhibitionists and general entertainers. Performances are from 1pm and 4pm on Sundays until May. You may even find the king of rock himself performing -Elvis. Image by St Kilda Busking Festival Other highlights to visit in the St Kilda area are: Luna Park and the Esplanade Markets.
Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm describes itself as Country Life for City Folk. It is only 5km from the Melbourne CBD and cover seven beautiful hectares of land by the Yarra River. The farm is open every day of the year from 9am to 5pm. Entry prices are:
- Family $16
- Adult $8
- Children $4
- Family = 2 adults and up to 4 kids
- Children under 2 are free.
The Royal Botanical Gardens - The Children's Garden
So much thought has gone into creating this beautiful Children's Garden. It is part of the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens which comprises over 36 hectares of land and displays more than 50,000 plants.
The Children's Garden is opens from 10am until sunset, but they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays and also for an 8 week period in winter. Entry is free. The garden allows children the opportunity to dig, create, roam and explore. Our family's highlights of the garden are the Tree Tower, The Isle and the Kitchen Garden. When visiting the Children's it is best to enter from the main entrance to the Gardens in the Observatory Precinct, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra. This is almost directly opposite the Shrine Of Remembrance which you could visit as well!
Whatever you may choose to do in Melbourne, have fun!
What are you favourite things to do with children in Melbourne?