School’s out and there are loads of activities on in Melbourne throughout the holidays to keep families entertained. From museums to galleries, zoos to parks and stadiums, there is something new and exciting on every day over summer – so much so that kids (and parents) will need a holiday from their holiday after a summer in Melbourne.
For two weeks in January, Melbourne Park is the home of family fun, when it hosts the Grand Slam of the Pan-Pacific, the Australian Open (16- 29 Jan 2017). Parents will be the real winners of the tournament with all-day entertainment for kids along with $5 ground passes for children 3 – 14yrs old. For the first time ever there will be a mini theme park ‘The Ballpark‘ that will include LEGO World, a NERF battlezone, Hot Shots Fan Zone and Adventure Park. There will also be $5 food options in The Ballpark along with $5 family carparks. Kids Tennis Day will return on Saturday, 14th January offering more entertainment than ever before, with free entry for kids under 15 years.
Arts Centre Melbourne
Kids and parents will see witches take the sky in the adaption of Room on the Broom (4-15 January) and the clowning Acrobuffs duo creating air sculptures in Air Play ( 18-22 Jan). Those keen on interactive adventures can get lost in an exciting new game In A Deep Dark Forest (11 – 15 January) or have fun with Les Moutons (The Sheep) who will take up residence on the Arts Centre lawn (19 – 22 January). Older kids will enjoy a bloody version of Mcdeath (19-21 January) that tells a funny, cautionary tale with a healthy does of invention and idiocy. 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, 1300 182 183
As part of the Viktor&Rolf: Fashion Artists exhibition, NGV Kids presents Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids, an interactive space designed especially for children and families. The Dutch fashion designers share their experimental approach to fashion and design through displays, multimedia experiences and hands-on activities. NGV Kids Summer Festival 2017 (16 – 26 January) will offer free creative workshops and activities led by contemporary artists. Kids can enjoy screen-printing with Home-Work studios; colourful collage making with Laura Blythman; illustration workshops with Kat Chadwick, and much more. 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, +61 3 8620 2222
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will offer a suite of brand new Creative Workshops for kids that will cover everything from superheroes and zombies to virtual reality and coding; and the Creative Producers Hub is a two week residency program that will allow young creative producers, developers and performers to be mentored in ACMI X’s co-working space. There will also be free, drop-in activities and $7 ‘kids’ flicks’ cinema tickets for movies including the Golden Globe winning The Adventures of Tintin, an ACMI exclusive season of A Town Called Panic: Double Fun, and ACMI’s annual screening of the Brian Henson’s festive classic The Muppet Christmas Carol. Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne, +61 3 8663 2200
The feel-good, multi award-winning musical Kinky Boots made its Australian debut at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne (from 23 October 2016). Featuring music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and directed and choreographed by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots is a family-friendly musical renowned for having audiences dancing in the aisles by the end of the show.
Kids under 16 years old will receive free entry every day of the Victorian summer holidays (20 December 2016 – 30 January 2017. At 9am and 11am every day visitors can hear from the keepers how to wash the largest land mammal in the world, and see Asian Elephant Mali and her friends cool off in the waterhole. Or families can come in the afternoon to stay on beyond dusk when every Friday and Saturday, Zoo Twilights (27 January – 11 March 2016) welcomes a selection of local and international artists to play as the stars begin to come out. Acts include Australian legends Peter Garrett, Paul Dempsey, Killing Heidi and The Living End. Elliott Ave, Parkville, +61 39285 9300
Kids and parents are invited to make a splash in the Sanctuary’s very own Badger Creek these summer holidays. All summer long, families can bring along a picnic, don their swimming attire, and cool off in the swimming hole. Entry for kids under 16 are free during the Victorian school holidays. There will also be an additional Tales from Platypus Creek presentation each day where visitors can see the keepers in the platypus exhibit and learn about the creatures who share the waterhole. Badger Creek Rd, Healesville, +61 3 5957 2800
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Set in the lush surrounds of Werribee Open Range Zoo, Rhythm of Africa returns for its twentieth year or live African music and kids’ activities. Bringing together African beats, drumming workshops, hair-braiding, face painting and picnics on the grass, the concert series will run every Saturday night (7 January – 25 February) over the summer holidays, with kids under 16 free. K Rd, Werribee South, +61 3 9731 9600
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
Kids can dive in this summer and explore the all-new attraction, Finding Dory and Friends: The Experience. Created with Disney-Pixar, the immersive movie-themed experience will allow visitors to actively participate in Dory’s journey as they adventure across the ocean to learn all about the amazing underwater world. Families can also experience fun activities including, Ridin’ the EAC, where participants get their arms pumping to race their very own paper turtle fly around the exhibit. There will also be a special VIP stopping in at the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium the week before Christmas. SCUBA SANTA will be diving into the stunning 2.2 million litre Oceanarium tank twice daily from 17th December till 25th December and try for a selfie with Santa and a shark. SEA LIFE will also be open for extended hours during the Victorian school holidays Monday to Friday 9:30pm to 7pm (Last admission 6pm). King Street and Flinders St, Melbourne, +61 3 9923 5925
This summer the museum is celebrating fresh water and the animals that live in our Victorian rivers and streams. Using museum specimens as inspiration, kids (and adults) can join Fresh Water Drawing Classes (Saturdays in January) and learn drawing techniques to capture the animals who live in our local streams and rivers – with all kinds of pencils – lead, colour and water colour. Families can also help create a long cool freshwater painting along the upstairs walkway of the museum in the Water Colour Wonderland (26 Dec – 30 Jan 2017), using water colour pencils to add splashes of colour to fish, eel, platypus, yabby or turtles. 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton, +61 3 8341 7777
Families can discover special museum objects and stories around the Immigration Museum in a treasure-hunt activity for visitors of all ages ‘What’s in My Backpack?’. Visitors can grab a “My Backpack” booklet and fill it up with special stamps along the journey through amazing spaces as they track down clues and collect objects. Tickets are included in the entry price and children are free. 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
Kids of all ages can enjoy a summer program of free events and workshops at the handmade pavilion designed by Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai. Bringing together an array of international and local Melbourne artists, designers and creatives, MPavilion’s free summer activities includes Polyglot Theatre’s week-long series of events, Scienceworks robotics workshops, Tree Telling with Caitlin Franzmann, the return of MRelay the popular marathon day of conversation and full moon celebration M*Sync.
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne’s stunning inner city garden oasis provides the perfect setting for a picnic all year round, and this summer, the RBG offers school holiday fun for the whole family. The Australian Shakespeare Company presents Tinkerbell and Dream Fairies and Wind in the Willows (28 December – 28 January 2017). Or kids can make a buzz in the gardens this summer and discover the miraculous world of Busy Bees (17 – 19 January). As the sun sets, the Moonlight Cinema ( 8 December 2016 – 2 April 2017) gets under way and families and older children can roll out the picnic rug while waiting for their favourite film to roll against the city skyline. Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, +61 3 9252 2300
Just a 45min drive from the city, Cranbourne Gardens has a variety of fun activities for children and family outings this summer. Through the magic of storytelling, discover the magic of Desert Fairies and Elves (January 2017) in the Australian Garden or explore the bushland in Twilight Highlights (11 January 2017) to see the native animals that emerge at night. Bring the whole family along for the Family Fun Day (18 January) filled with activities, games, entertainment and storytelling.