Are you stuck for inspiration over the summer in Melbourne? Here are our top 4 activities for children of all ages. From interactive workshops, water parks and art classes, Melbourne has a lot to offer beyond the regular day at the movies or trip to the zoo (although our zoo is pretty awesome). Below is a mix of free and fee-for-participation options to suit all budgets.

1. STEM Play

Let’s face it, there’s something fascinating about the technology of the future: robots, supercomputers and space exploration. Encourage these sparks of interest in your children by popping over to Scienceworks. They have great school holiday programs and have recently opened a junior space for ages 0-5. ACMI in Southbank embraces all things digital and filmmaking, so check their online offerings for classes and exhibitions for a variety of ages. For something more applied, try a workshop at Coder Academy where you can learn about virtual reality, wearable technology and game design.

2. Water Play

There are a few water parks in Melbourne. One of the largest is Adventure Park which is located just past Geelong in an area called Wallington. Featuring several slides and thrill rides, you can also rent a cabana and laze by the water’s edge. If Geelong is too far of a trek, the newly refurbished Gumbuya World is another great option with slides, heated rock pools and a lazy river. Spend a whole day here as it also is home to four different worlds, including a wildlife trail and rides for people of all ages. With ample greenery and space to spread out, this is our pick for a full day’s adventure. Regular parks with water play facilities include Seville Water Play, Lion Gorge at Melbourne Zoo, Ian Potter Children’s Garden, Booran Reserve and Plum Garland Playground. Remember your sunscreen and towels!

3. Art Play

Getting messy on someone else’s property is very appealing if you have creative, albeit chaotic, little artists on your hands. The Heide in Heidelberg and National Gallery of Victoria both run dedicated children’s workshops, alongside their general children friendly programming and exhibitions. We also like ArtPlay based at Federation Square. Many of these workshops are low cost or free, but you will need to book ahead as they fill up fast! 

4. Green Play

Let’s not forget good old fashioned greenery and parks to pass the time. Pack a picnic, or put your walking shoes on and explore some of the relaxing outdoor spaces around Melbourne. The Royal Botanical Gardens has it all: expansive grass and gardens, lakes and punts for hire and many tucked away spaces to explore such as the rain garden complete with waterfall. Sherbrooke Forest is a great spot for a day trip where mountain ash, lush ferns and a refreshing rainforest feeling await. It is located just over 10mins drive to Puffing Billy heritage steam train which you can ride through the forest over 25km of mountain track.