Melbourne has consistently been voted as one of the top cities in the world to live in, which is why it’s no surprise that the city has also long been a top vacation destination for families. With an easily walkable center, mild year-round weather, and a wide array of kids’ activities, Melbourne is a magnet for families looking for an unforgettable but practical vacation.
You’ll find plenty of things to do in Melbourne with kids that even parents enjoy. Nature lovers can explore the many animal sanctuaries, botanic gardens, and farms just outside of the city center. If you’re most interested in creative pursuits, head to Melbourne’s top-notch museums, where the focus is on interactive exhibits and fun learning. Meanwhile, sports fans have a number of local teams and stadiums to choose from.
Before you book your next vacation to Australia’s Garden City, see this list of things to do in Melbourne with kids, which includes everything from sky-high sightseeing to shark diving and playing with penguins.
Expand Their Minds At The Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum is one place you won’t have to worry about kids touching and poking things on display, since the exhibitions were made for interaction. Your kids can explore the fun rooms to choose from, including a space dedicated to the world of insects filled with live tarantulas and other multi-legged creatures, an exhibit on the inner workings of the mind and body, and a children’s play gallery for kids five years and under, where they can excavate fossils and dance on the camouflage disco with lights that turn them into striped and spotted animals.
The museum even has autism-friendly programs for kids, including a map detailing high and low sensory spaces inside and special stories that parents can download beforehand, which walk them through what they will encounter at the museum.
Spend The Day At St. Kilda Beach
Just outside of Melbourne’s city center (also known as the CBD) is St. Kilda Beach, a fun seaside neighborhood with tons of activities for families. Aside from typical beach activities, older kids can visit Luna Park Melbourne, a theme park with Ferris wheels, roller coasters, bumper cars, free-falling drop rides, and more.
Head to the St. Kilda Pier and try to spot penguins at dusk or sunset, then grab a meal at one of the eclectic restaurants nearby.
Go Hiking At You Yangs Regional Park
Take a day trip out to You Yangs Regional Park, a natural playground for budding climbers and bike riders located only an hour outside of Melbourne. Climb on top of the large granite rocks found throughout the park, or explore the mountain bike trails for all levels of riders.
Hike up Flinders Peak and enjoy a family picnic while taking in the view at the top of the park. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the animals that are known to live in the area, like koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and echidnas.
Visit Koalas And Kangaroos At Healesville Sanctuary
Visiting the Healesville Sanctuary, a conservation and zoo, is one of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids, where they can see all kinds of animal species native to Australia. Walk around the main track of the sanctuary and spot emu birds, parrots, and reptiles. In Dingo Country, learn all about this threatened species that are somewhat related to wolves. At Kangaroo Island, find out more about this iconic animal and take a photo inside a giant kangaroo pouch.
Admire The Flowers At The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden
Smell the flowers at the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, a gorgeous space home to thousands of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, daffodils, and more. Set up a picnic with the little ones, and once you’re done eating, create a fun scavenger hunt by having them search for flowers and plants of different shapes and colors. But remind them: no picking!
Feel Like You’re On Top Of The World At Eureka Skydeck
Experience the city from a bird’s-eye view with a trip up the towering Eureka Skydeck, the tallest vantage point in all of Melbourne. Standing 285 meters above the ground, the Eureka Skydeck is located on the 88th floor of the building in Melbourne’s Southbank, where panoramic windows allow the entire family to take in 360-degree views of the city. More daring kids will want to try out the heart thrilling Edge Experience, where you board a glass dome that extends out from the tower and leaves you suspended 88 stories above Melbourne.
Munch On Street Food And Snacks At The Queen Victoria Market
One of the best places to visit in Melbourne, the open-air Queen Victoria Market is a wonderful place to enjoy a delicious snack, shop for gifts, and enjoy a fun day outdoors with family. There are over 60 street food stands and almost 100 artisanal and design stalls for parents to discover, while kids can sign up for a one-hour guided tour, where they’ll meet traders, learn more about Melbourne’ fresh produce and history, and be treated to one of the market’s famous hot jam doughnuts at the end.
Learn About Sports Legends At The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Attend a thrilling live sports match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a stadium that dates back to 1853. Aside from being the home to cricket and football matches, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is also Australia’s largest sports stadium and served as the main arena for the 1956 Olympic Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and Papal and royal visits. Even if there isn’t a match scheduled at the G, as locals like to call it, you should still try and squeeze in a tour of the stadium and learn more about its rich history.
Hunt For Ghosts At The Old Melbourne Gaol
Built in the mid-1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol served as a prison for dangerous criminals and the mentally ill. Learn more about this dark chapter of Australia’s history by going on one of the gaol’s creepy night tours, where you can hear about the ghosts who roam the property, visit the original cell block, and listen to scary stories told by a hangman.
For some lighter fun, try and solve a murder mystery by signing up for the Old Melbourne Gaol Cluedo Experience, where you’ll search for clues and examine evidence. Keep in mind, some of the scarier activities have minimum age requirements, so this is an experience best suited for older kids and teenagers.
Nurture Your Green Thumb At The Royal Botanic Gardens
Find peace and quiet at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a green oasis that spans over 38 hectares and features over 50,000 different types of plants. For kids interested in gardening, The Children’s Garden is a great place for them to interact with nature. There’s a Wetland Area, a Bamboo Forest, a Kitchen Garden with a wide variety of vegetables, and a Plant Tunnel that will help deepen their relationship with nature, learn more about conservation, and foster their sense of environmental responsibility.
Play With Marine Animals At The Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium
One of the best things to do in Melbourne with kids is to visit the Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium, where there are unique activities for all ages to enjoy.
Don’t just see penguins—get up close and play with these fun creatures in the icy Penguin Playground. Learn about the importance of coral reefs at the Coral Atoll, where you’ll find hundreds of schools of tropical fish. Toddlers can interact with shells and sea stars at the Discovery Rockpools or play around with the Interactive Wonderwall, a digital projection that simulates water movement.
Teenagers can dive into the water and swim with sharks at the Shark Dive Xtreme, where they’ll spend half an hour with nurse sharks, sawfish, and sandbar whalers. If you’re looking for an activity for the entire family, board a glass-bottom boat, where you can spot sharks, feed stingrays, and see other marine animals.
Let Their Imagination Run Wild At The Interaxcity Museum
Put down the screens and take your kids to Interaxcity, a children’s museum and miniature city, where they can pretend to be grownups and take on any number of jobs and activities. Let their creativity run wild as they dress up and act like doctors, construction workers, and chefs. Watch them go grocery shopping at the supermarket, pilot an airplane, deliver the mail, and exchange money. These entertaining sessions are more than just fun and games, they’re also excellent in fostering development and interpersonal skills in young children.
Sail The Yarra River On An Electric Boat
If you’re spending summer in Australia, the Yarra River should not be missed. It’s considered the heart and soul of Melbourne, where you’ll find the Royal Botanic Gardens, the MCG, and the Arts Centre. Explore the river and the restaurants and stores that line its waters by taking your family on an electric boat ride. This fun boating experience is a great way to tour the city in a kid-friendly way. You can even bring along food and drinks for a waterfront picnic along the way.
Read: Best Cruise Destinations for Kids
The best way to explore this vibrant city is with a luxury cruise to Melbourne. On a guided shore excursion, you’ll be able to choose from the experiences that suit your family.
On a family-friendly cruise to Australia with Celebrity, you’ll discover the best destinations in the country while experiencing world-class dining, thrilling entertainment, and luxurious accommodations on board. Browse cruise itineraries on our website and book your unforgettable vacation today.