10 Free Things To Do With Kids In Melbourne

  • Family
    All Ages

Entertaining little ones can be an expensive pursuit. The activities they love – everything from watching movies to skating and bowling – all cost money and, if you’ve got a large family, it can add up quickly.

In between those special treat outings, it’s great to know that the fabulous city of Melbourne also offers a range of free things to do with kids. Here are some of our favourites:

Ride The City Circle Tram

Melbourne City Circle Tram

When was the last time you had a good look around your own city? On the free City Circle Tram, it’s easy - and the guided tour commentary fills you in on some highlights of history. Check out the route to see the amazing tourist attractions it takes you past and how it can link you up with other tram and transport routes.

The Heritage W class trams that ride this journey are just like the ones from 1923, with wooden seats, brass fittings and leather hand straps.

See St Kilda's Little Penguins

Yes, there are Little Penguins at Phillip Island, but that’s an epic trip that could set you back quite a bit. Down at St Kilda however, the resident penguins are doing similar things and it’s free to watch, although making a donation to the St. Kilda Penguins will help protect these wonderful little creatures. There is a spot to donate on site).

To protect this precious colony, visitors do need to think about the impact their visit might have, so please be mindful and encourage those around you to respect the habitat as well. Flash photography can be frightening, and following penguins back to their nests to get a closer look at their babies by poking a selfie stick down their burrow is definitely not on!

Discover Sailing Days

If your kids have ever dreamed of sailing the seven seas, learning how to do it properly is a good start. Even before that happens, it’s handy to know if seasickness is something that might put a stop to their big plans. Sure, there are plenty of sailing courses you can pay for but several times a year there are free Discover Sailing Days that take you out on the water without taking out your wallet. It's a fun day out on the open sea and a chance to learn the ropes!

Storytime At Your Local Library

If you're the parent of a young child, finding things to do during the week is a great way to keep your little one stimulated and get out of the house - better still if they're free! Storytime at your local library is a perfect choice! It combines stories, songs and even some movement for interactive fun that helps nurture a love of books – and libraries. You can sing along too!

Because they are weekday events, Storytime caters for the pre-school set and there are often multiple events for different age groups. Check what other events they might have coming up also, particularly during school holidays. Libraries often have really interesting, and generally free, workshop activities for older kids.

RAAF Museum

RAAF Museum Melbourne

Do your children know that Australia is home to the second oldest air force in the world? This little piece of history is explained here at the RAAF Museum, with a variety of planes on display to help illustrate how aircraft design has changed over the years. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays an interactive flying display kicks off at 1pm. It's a fantastic way to see some vintage planes in action.

Free guided tours are available, but it’s important to book first. Hearing trained volunteer host officers provide a unique insight into Australian aviation history, the Air Force, and RAAF Base Point Cook will add a whole new level to the experience – especially if your children have a real interest in flying. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Fitzroy Gardens

If you’ve got a day in the city planned with your children, take some time out for a trip to Fitzroy Gardens. Safe, wide-open spaces for kids to explore in the CBD are a rarity, so this sprawling park is a winner! There’s an English-style garden, as well as avenues lined with impressive mature trees that your kids will be in awe of. A small playground, a model Tudor village, the Fairies Tree, Cook’s Cottage and the stunning conservatory are all wonderful to visit and will leave a great impression.

Going into Cook’s Cottage will cost you, but looking at it from the outside is good too! 

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Of course, it won’t be free if you shop for anything but just browsing is great fun at the famous Queen Victoria Market. If the only thing you fork out for is a serving of the amazing churros from the food truck out the front, you can buy yourself some looking time while the kids enjoy dipping the deep-fried treats in the delicious chocolate sauce.

The historic site stretches across two city blocks and is packed with colourful characters, hawking everything from broccoli to bratwurst. they also host special events including a book market, night markets and free school holiday activities.

Riverslide Skate Park

This inner-city skate park has a reputation as one of Melbourne’s best – and it’s free. Beware! The action can get pretty dangerous at Riverslide Skate Park when it’s crowded, as everyone from beginners to highly skilled daredevils tries their skills on scooters, skateboards and BMX bikes.

When you are ready to invest dollars and time into ramping up your little one’s skills, weekend classes and school holiday clinics are all on offer.

NGV Ian Potter Centre

NGV Ian Potter Centre Melbourne

The striking building in Federation Square is in itself a sight to behold! Walking through the doors of The Ian Potter Centre gallery and exploring the diverse range of Aboriginal and modern Australian artworks is also a fun and fascinating experience that can inspire little minds and help develop their artistic appreciation.

General entry is free, but there are some additional costs for special events.

Picnic In The Royal Botanic Gardens

Entry to the Royal Botanic Gardens is free and having a picnic there is a lovely way to spend time with your kids. It can be even more delightful when you can get them involved in the planning - if they’re old enough to help prepare food! Baking banana bread, or making a cake, will give them a delicious treat to look forward to. Your favourite fruit and sandwiches, plus dips, crackers and cheese are all easy, low-cost snacks you can take for a beautiful day in serene natural surroundings.

Don't forget a picnic rug, a bag to put rubbish in and your sense of adventure. No sporty games are allowed in the Gardens to protect the precious plants.

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