The school holidays are here, and there’s lots of fun ways to keep the kids entertained over the two week stretch. Luckily Melbourne has a variety of kid-friendly activities available during the school holidays. From springtime floral festivals to blockbuster events, here’s our list of fun activities to try during the school holidays that the kids will love!
The iconic Melbourne Royal Show back in town for another season of family fun. Look forward to over 100 free experiences, explore new animal precincts, enjoy live entertainment and feast on delicious food. Find it at Melbourne Showgrounds from Thursday September 21 to Sunday October 1.
For the first time ever, Maho Magic Bar has set up shop in Melbourne’s Chinatown. Inspired by the magic bars in Japan’s nightlife districts, you will be transported to a neon-lit Tokyo night of mischief, amazement, and laughter. This bespoke traveling bar includes 8 of Japan’s leading close-up magicians and sleight-of-hand specialists. The group of magic masters promise to keep you in a state of disbelief throughout your stay.
All ages are welcome, but shows from 5 pm onwards are recommended for ages 12 and older, while shows prior to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays are more family-friendly and suitable for ages 6 and older. Leave your beliefs of reality at the door, and prepare to be amazed.
3. Art Club at The Lume
Over the school holidays, children are invited to attend Art Club at The Lume. they will check out Connection and learn about the iconography, ceremonies and songlines of First Nations cultures. They will create their own artworks to take home during the session. There’s also free activities during the school holidays, like a booklet full of information and inspiration, a section to spot Australian animals and constellations and an interactive installation. Read more here.
4. Melbourne Museum
5. Chaos Lab
Located in Wharf Street Melbourne, Chaos Lab is a lab-themed playground that offers a variety of activities that are tailored towards children between the ages of 4-9 years old.
The experience is filled with fun activities that will keep your kids entertained while also teaching them about science. These activities are designed to engage participants in creative thinking, problem-solving, and sensory play. Kids can look forward to a giant ball pit, a mirror maze and making their own ooey-gooey slime at the slime station. What more could a kid want?
Head to The District Docklands and go on a space adventure at Saboteurs. Set inside converted shipping containers, this Among Us-style game is perfect for school holiday activities in Melbourne. Kids can run around in this immersive environment, complete fun tasks and eject any suspicious imposters. Learn more here.
7. Carnival of the Animals
Watch acrobats from Circa leap, tumble and spin their way through the worlds of the animal kingdom. This thrilling show will captivate and enchant audiences with tales of creatures from the land and sea. Carnival of the Animals is showing at Playhouse in Arts Centre Melbourne from September 16 to 23. Learn more here.
Transport your kids to the Hundred Acre Wood and meet all of your favourite characters, like Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet and more! This musical stage adaptation is playing at the Comedy Theatre from September 20 to 24. Learn more here.
Metartworld is a metal art gallery showcasing unique artworks from international artists. The massive 2,500-square-meter space is filled with incredible metal art statues, each handmade from scrap metal and recycled material. You will be able to view over 200 metal sculptures ranging from metal tankard mugs to larger-than-life dinosaurs and superhero sculptures.
Get lost in beautifully themed areas featuring everything from anime and movies to animals, the military, cars, motorcycles, and even royalty! There is also a a “starry sky” exhibition on the second floor which displays a perfect combination of advanced technology with the world of light and shadows. This is an incredible experience that is great for groups of all ages and sizes.
Foodie paradise Grazeland has opened a new Jungle Hangout, just in time for the school holidays. This interactive kids zone features Funky Monkey Bars, Giant Jenga and Connect 4. Grazeland also has a school holiday program, with roving entertainers, face painting and live music. While the kids have fun, enjoy a bite to eat from over 50 vendors.
If your kids enjoy computer or video games, they will love this virtual reality experience in Melbourne. This award winning VR experience at Virtual Room Melbourne blends elements of an escape room with a 3D cinematic experience. Played in groups of 2, 3 or 4 the game allows players to fully immerse themselves in a virtual world, where they will be able to talk to each other, walk around, bend, throw objects
Players can choose between one of 4 themed games, ranging from alien invasions to a zombie apocalypse, and will have to work together with their teammates in order to complete their missions.
12. Pentridge Prison
Try out the new Prison Break Explorers Family Tour at Pentridge Prison. In this tour for all ages, children are invited to become young detectives and thwart a prison escape. Along the way, your tour guide will visit key spots around the prison, share stories about some notable characters, and teach you about what life was like on the inside. This tour will run every day from now until October 1. Learn more here.
13. Melbourne Zoo
Visit the the oldest zoo in Australia and spend a day marvelling at all the incredible wildlife. From lush tropical rainforests to vast African grasslands, you’ll be transported to different habitats all over the world.
The Melbourne Zoo is a world-leading zoo-based conservation organisation and aims to fight wildlife extinction through work they do. By visiting the enclosures you are helping them achieve this goal! You can also learn more about the animals and their environments at the daily keeper talks and presentations. Another great perk of Melbourne Zoo is that kiddies aged 0-15 get in free on weekends and Victorian public holidays!
The first in Australia of its kind, ArtVo is an immersive art or ‘trick art’ gallery. Journey through 1400 square meters of illusionary art pieces, and have fun taking pictures in weird and wonderful situations! There are nine themed zones to explore with over eighty hand-painted immersive installations. Explore the ocean, polar ice caps, space, and the forest throughout the various themed rooms.
This is a great activity to do as a family, and you’ll be able to create many fun family photos that will provide you with lasting memories.
15. Dreamweaver at Chadstone
Chadstone has plenty of school holiday activities to keep your children occupied, thanks to their Dreamweaver program. Interact and play with the 3.5 metre Dream Wall, float into Bubble World and watch talented bubble magicians, then get lost inside Mirror Land. Dreamweaver is on at Chadstone until Sunday October 1. Learn more here.
16. Como House
Step back in time at Como House and Garden over the school holidays. Children are welcome to play old-fashioned games, have tea parties on the lawn and go on scavenger hunts through the grounds. There’s a simulated archaeological site for them to dig into, as well as costumed facilitators to tell them about life back in the 19th and 20th centuries. Learn more here.
17. Footy HQ at Eastland
Cheer on your kids as they go on a self-guided journey, exploring the world of footy with school holiday activities like handball target practice and a time trialled obstacle course. Find Footy HQ at Level 1, Central Mall from September 18 to October 1.
Meanwhile, the celebrations will continue with Footy Fest in Ringwood Town Square. This event on September 29 will have footy stars, a handball competition, footy-themed crafts, prizes and much more. See more here.
Get ready for summer by riding the waves at URBNSURF. This surf park near Melbourne Airport has family-friendly options, so that your child can safely explore the water and learn to surf. There’s sessions like bodyboarding or learning to surf in The Bays, a gentle environment with rolling waves close to shore. Explore their website here.
Drive out to the Dandenong Ranges and feel delighted by the visual splendour of the Tesselaar Tulip Festival. Back for its 68th year, there’s over a million spring flowering bulbs to discover, including over 900,000 tulips. On top of the flowers, there will be food, drinks and entertainment to keep you and the kids happy. They also have Children’s Weeks from September 18-21 and 25-28, with fun interactive experiences and more to enjoy over the school holidays. The festival is on from now until Sunday October 15.
20. Cherry Blossom Festival at CherryHill Orchards
Admire rows of blossoming cherry trees at the CherryHill Orchards Blossom Festival. Cool down with cherry ice cream, enjoy cherry-inspired drinks, and enjoy a picnic among the rows. On the weekends, there are additional experiences like market stalls and live music. You can also take part in activities and workshops for an additional cost. The festival will run from now until Sunday October 1.
21. T’Gallant Vineyard
Driving out to the Mornington Peninsula? Stop for lunch at T’Gallant Vineyard, where kids can eat free on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This free deal is available when adults order a main, from now until September 28. Learn more about T’Gallant here.
22. Kryal Castle
Dragons are descending on Kryal Castle. Come face-to-face with the fearsome creatures in a meet and greet, take part in dragon-related activities like Dragon Spell Casting and Dragon Warrior Training, and watch knights battle it out for the Dragon Cup. Stick around after sunset for the Feast of the Dragon dinner. The dragons will stick around from September 16 to October 1, with an encore on October 7 and 8. See more here.
Take a trip to Bendigo and admire 53,000 tulips at the Bendigo Annual Tulip Display. For the September school holidays, between September 15 and October 1, go on a BendiGnome Hunt. Children are encouraged to follow a trail of 12 gnomes, scattered across the city’s four main gardens. Take photos with the gnomes, and go in the draw to win prizes.
After admiring the magnificent blooms during the day, come back after sunset for Bloom After Dark. See the tulip beds illuminated, and enjoy interactive blooming flower displays and interactive paths. Walk along the trail and see Paul Fletcher’s visual installation, The Symbiotic Pulse, at Bendigo Visitor Centre. Bloom After Dark will run nightly in Rosalind Park, from 6:45pm to 9:30pm, and from September 15 to October 1.
Additional words by Monro Grier.