Free activities to do with kids in Melbourne
Melbourne is always a great city to visit (even though the weather doesn’t always play nice), and while I had visited many times before I had kids, our recent trip my children’s first Melbourne visit. There is no denying that Melbourne is jam packed full with kid friendly attraction, some can be extremely expensive for a family of four or more. We had a great time in Melbourne without blowing the budget, so I have put this list of free activities to do with kids in Melbourne. Whether you live in Melbourne or are just visiting, there is sure to be something on this list your kids will love.
Want free kids meals while you are in Melbourne too? Check out our kids eat free in Melbourne list.
NGV is such a fun place to visit for kids, and while some exhibits require paid entry, general entry is free, and there are always free exhibits to check out. Be sure to also check out any free events in Federation Square on at the time of your visit.
Albert Park Community Playground
This playground is fantastic for all age groups, even adults can get in there, and best of all it’s free. It’s a huge community built playground built almost entirely from wood, and features plenty of tunnels, slides, bridges and swings. It is surrounded by a good amount of seats, picnic tables and also has toilets nearby. It has amazing views of the city to top it all off. My kids absolutely loved this playground, the only downside is that the parking is paid ticker parking, but it can be accessed by public transport as an alternative.
Children obviously can’t enter the casino sections of the complex, but there are plenty of family friendly areas. The Crown Towers atrium hosts a sound and light show hourly that kids love to watch, and in the evening you can watch the hourly Gas Brigade shows, which involves eight towers along the Southbank shooting the world’s largest fireballs into the sky. The fireballs scared my toddler, but for children not scared by loud sounds it’s amazing to watch. Check the Gas Brigades page for starting times, as these change throughout the year.
If you are heading to Melbourne in winter and the weather plays nice you might just be able to find some snow within a few hours drive of Melbourne. If you want snow play without the large resort entry fees, Mount Donna Buang is the place to go. It’s completely free and can be reached by car in under 2 hours.
Take a free tram ride
It’s completely free to catch trams within the Melbourne CBD free tram zone. While Melbourne is an easy city to walk around, it’s always fun to take a ride on the tram, and it’s great for when kids legs start to get a little tired. The signage at CBD tram stops will let you know the boundaries of the free tram zone.
Another free tram ride worth taking is the City Circle Tram. It does a large loop around the city, which takes just under an hour to complete, or you can hop on and off as you like. A pre-recorded tourist guide is also played on board, pointing out some of the landmarks around the city.
Visit the beach
Like many cities around Australia, Melbourne is home to some fantastic beaches. Try St Kilda, with it’s pretty esplanade and Luna Park, or visit Brighton Beach with it’s iconic bathing boxes. Even though we visited in winter, my kids loving walking along the beach pointing out their favourite bathing box colours.
The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, located in the Royal Botanical Gardens, is the perfect free attraction for kids that love to get their hands dirty. It’s a great interactive area filled with activities to keep kids busy, just check that the garden will be open during your visit as it does close for an ‘annual rest’ after the July school holidays.
The RAAF Museum, located in Point Cook, is completely free for all ages to visit, just be sure to bring photo ID for anyone over the age of 16.
Screen World’s at the ACMI
While the cinemas and certain events at the ACMI do require a ticket to enter, the permanent Screen World’s exhibit is completely free., and is open every day except Christmas Day.
The Discovery Centre, located in Melbourne Museum in Carlton, is the perfect hands on place for kids of all ages to view items from the museums collection. There is even an early learning reading room and activity table for the younger kids.