With the school holidays for term three approaching, we thought about all the things we will need to be doing to keep our kids occupied and happy. Of course there are plenty of downtime days as well, but they do like to be entertained!
As we started researching ideas, we found that there are plenty of things to do that don't cost a fortune and in many cases they are free. Not everything will be to everyone's taste but it may just be enough to stop the familiar complaint of "I'm bored" !
These are written around what's on in Melbourne, Victoria, but we strongly encourage you to add your own in the comments section. Will keep updating this as we find more :)
Melbourne Airport takeoff and landing viewing areas – FREE.
We have been doing this for years! Not too noisy (aside from the rumbling when overhead) but plenty of action with aircraft movements. You can even identify the aircraft using the FlightRadar24 app to see where they are heading. Sunbury Rd/Oaklands Rd is one end of the airport and the other is Operations Rd (Where the maintenance hangars are) During Summer, the Sunbury Rd area often has an Ice Cream Truck parked there.
Crown Promenade – Fire Towers – FREE
Something to do on a Friday or Saturday night. Starting at around 6pm and every hour there is a spectacular display along the promenade with the towers shooting different amounts of fire into the sky. It may be a little scary for the younger children, but my two always believed they were water dragons and loved them! Often there are other displays along the walk, and be sure to also look into the Crown Atrium where there are often amazing displays of light, colour, and water, with special displays during Chinese New Year and Christmas.
Gardens and Parks
So many gardens and parks offer a wonderful sensory experience. Sometimes both are blended into the one area. A selection of ones we have visited include :
Hays Paddock – East Kew
Ruffy Lake Park – Doncaster
Frankston Foreshore Park
Wattle Park – the one with the trams!
Royal Botanic Gardens – Make sure you check out the Ian Potter Foundation Childrens Garden
Royal Park Nature Play
Or for a fantastic list covering all of Melbourne – check out https://www.facebook.com/MelbournePlaygrounds/
Zoos – During the school holidays, the zoo is free entry for kids – what are you waiting for !
City Circle Tram – FREE
Moving through the city and past many attractions, you don’t need to be on your feet for this one !
NGV – There are often free exhibitions for the kids in the National Gallery of Victoria – here is a link to the page, the current exhibition looks awesome, we are going to go!
ACMI at Federation Square – There are free exhibitions in here but be careful as it may be a sensory overload for some. The exhibition of TV and film and all technology is incredible and there is even a gamers corner, but there is a lot of movement, light and vision so for some people it may not be suitable.
Air Museums – Pt Cook – FREE – National Australian Aviation Museum, Moorabbin, $20 family
Two museums dedicated to flight. The Pt Cook Museum is on the old RAAF base and has a large collection of aircraft on display along with plenty of historical information and artefacts.
The Museum at Moorabbin, while requiring an entry fee, is one of the very few places around where it is decidedly hands on – ie you can sit in an actual 737 cockpit, a DC-9 simulator and many more aircraft. Being located at Moorabbin Airport (the 3rd busiest airport in Australia) means there is always something going on. And you can then decamp to DFO for a coffee.
Minitrains – Some excellent Minitrain rides are available at Eltham, Box Hill, Altona and even Pt Edwards (near Portarlington) Very cheap and a lot of fun.
The Dandenongs – So many beautiful walks through the bush to waterfalls and other places of interest. Check the weather beforehand !
Ice Skating – Being wintertime, there are a few Ice Skating places around. There is one at Eastland in Ringwood, but the best one always is the Ice Rink at Docklands. You can always hang onto a penguin and push it around for support if you are worried about balance. Make sure you rug up though, it’s cold !