School is out for the summer and that means kids are going to be entertained or they’re going to be bored. Thankfully, there are plenty of family-friendly activities and events popping up, from free to low-cost to some that although a little more pricey will definitely amuse, delight and hold their attention until it’s all over.
1. Step into the Funderdome
Packed with nostalgic attractions including arcade and other games, a Coney Island-inspired mini-golf and karaoke, Funderdome is a one-stop fun house for kids. These school holidays, the crew at Funderdome have managed to wrangle in some specials. The best bang for your buck to have hours upon hours of fun is the $50 school holiday special that sees visitors play up to 18 holes of mini golf and receive four hours of arcade games. That will certainly wear the children out.
2. Visit the Museum of Play and Art
Whether you’re out west in Geelong or down bayside in Sandringham, your little ones are going to be entertained and educated (but they won’t know that) at the Museum of Play and Art. All of the venue’s activities and installations have been created in line with childhood education guidelines, from putting their fine motor skills to hard work to getting creative and crafty with what’s in front of them. MoPA has been designed with kids aged one to seven. Booking is essential during the school holidays.
3. Go for a ride on Puffing Billy
Sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring joy and one of those simple things is taking a ride on the time-honoured steam train, Puffing Billy. For over 100 years, passengers have been able to sit on the sill of Puffing Billy’s open-side carriages, with their legs happily hanging out and the tradition made a return this year.
4. Go bonkers at Chaos Lab
5. NGV Kids Summer Festival
The NGV is one of Melbourne’s favourite places. Not only does it cover entertainment for adults with its NGV Friday Nights throughout the Alexander McQueen exhibition, but the gallery takes care of the little ones as well. With NGV Kids Summer Festival, we’re getting nine days of free activities for kids and families. From activities inspired by the fashion icon to ancient Greece, Asian and Indigenous art, there’s plenty of educational and enlightening things to do.
Entry is free for the NGV Kids Summer Festival, taking place from 14-22 January at NGV International and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square.
Also on at NGV International is Julian Opie: Studio for Kids, an interactive exhibition for children and families developed in collaboration with Julian Opie.
6. Summer of Play at Melbourne Museum
The Plaza outside of Melbourne Museum is stacked with a heap of fun events for the young and young-at-heart.
Melbourne art and technology studio ENESS are bringing their neon I Believe Swings and Light Seesaws while board games and games of ping pong and handball will be on offer as well from the Plaza Play Concierge (12-5pm).
7. Pirate Treasure Hunt at SEA LIFE
Yo-ho-ho, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium has a pirate in their ranks but Captain Careless has lost his booty and needs your help to find it all again before another matey sails by. On now until the end of January, visitors to SEA LIFE can also pose in front of the treasure chest for their chance to win prizes, but there’s no prize as great as learning all about the treasures of the ocean, from the penguins to the turtles, sharks, stingrays, seahorses and more.
Find out all you need to know about SEA LIFE’s treasure hunt here.
8. Pirates AHOY! at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Arghhhh the pirate fun continues at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Chadstone with pirate tales and other activities to fuel the imagination. From creating your own LEGO Pirate movie with stop motion to building your own pirate ship, these school holidays are going to be a heap of fun for scallywags.
Say ahoy to pirate fun at LEGOLAND.
9. Tyama at Melbourne Museum
Tyama (CHAH-MUH) is the Keerray Woorroong language verb ‘to know’, and the exhibition at Melbourne Museum is all about knowing Victoria’s nocturnal worlds. Through large-scale multimedia projections, stunning imagery, soundscapes and more, the immersive exhibition grounded by First Peoples practices of embodied learning takes visitors on a journey and uncovers stories from the perspectives of animals.
10. Freehand Street Art Workshop
Melbourne and street art go hand in hand, but spray painting ain’t easy. At the famous Blender Studios, a renowned street artist will lead workshops for youngens on a street art demonstration that includes can skills, techniques and an artist talk. After designing and sketching their own creation, the kids will get to go outside and paint a 90x90cm wooden board.
The holiday workshop takes place on select dates in January. Find out everything you need to know from Melbourne Street Tours.
11. Bricktionary at Melbourne Museum
LEGO fans are able to have fun in six interactive build zones, check out over 150 models, and see incredible life-sized animals and other fantastical creations at Melbourne Museum’s Bricktionary: The Interactive LEGO brick Exhibition.
Featuring over 1 million LEGO bricks and plenty of hands-on challenges, Bricktionary is open now until the end of January.
12. Hit up DreamCity
Some say it’s never too early to learn but South Wharf’s DreamCity reckons it’s important to have fun at the same time, which is why they have Melbourne’s newest edutainment destination for kids aged five to 12. Science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths come together under the one roof through a series of interactive activities, from operating flight simulators to performing surgery to producing podcasts, young children are in for an inspiring time these summer school holidays.
13. Monet & Friends at The Lume
Young and old are able to immerse themselves and get lost in the impressionist projections of Monet and his friends Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, Georges Seurat among others. From taking a picture on Monet’s Bridge over a Pond to dancing with Degas’ ballerinas and plunging into a world of waterlilies, you’ll be feeling as if you’re in another world.
14. ArtVo Immersive Gallery
Australia’s first immersive, trick-art gallery has been covered with over 1000 litres of paint by fifteen artists who have spent 800 hours producing 80 artworks. The end result is a journey through 1400 square metres where visitors can interact with the art and capture the spectacular illusions created with just the right perspective.
15. Immersive Playspace Imaginaria
Imaginaria has reopenred with new installations, including visuals of the cosmos and the natural world, a multi-dimensional sound bath and a swirly-wirly day bed situated beneath a ceiling projection.