It's Going to be an Abnormally Hot Summer in Melbourne this Year - Here's Where and How to Stay Cool And Dry
- All Ages
We know - you step one foot outside in Melbourne and it's like stepping into a furnace. The temperature is topping 40+ degrees, the air is like the inside of an oven, and you're melting into the footpath. Candles are drooping, plants are wilting in the heat... the last thing you want to do is hear hot children squabbling crankily within your four walls.
Never fear, we've got a fantastic list of suggestions of places to go to cool off when the weather is unbearable - take your pick!
Best Indoor Play Centres
Lucky for us, Melbourne has some cracking play centres, and we have rounded up six of the best here, including Lollipops Play Centre, Planet Kids, and Play Central. Take advantage of the aircon and cafe while the kids run around and stretch their legs in any one of the climbing frames, ball pits, baby play areas, slides, twists and tunnels.
We also love Playhut Party and Play Centre in Altona North where you can bring your own food (a rarity in indoor play centres!), Tumbles Playhouse for its extreme cuteness and healthy food options, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre for hours of bricktacular fun (and rides! Real rides!), old favourite Dizzy's Playland and new favourite Funtopia in Maribyrnong.
The Temperature-Controlled NGV
Why is it always so cool in the National Gallery of Victoria, regardless of the temperature outside? Because they keep the buildings inner rooms between 18 - 22 celsius to protect the precious artworks housed within its walls - and perfect for a quick respite from Melbourne's temperature extremes.
The best bit is there is always a kid-friendly exhibition and other areas of the gallery to occupy the youngsters. The main aim of the NGV is to "provide creative experiences for young people and their families", and the fact that they do it in comfortable surrounds only makes it an even more obvious choice to beat the heat.
Check out the exhibition program here for what's on when you plan to visit. January 2018's offerings include EVERYBODY PLAY, EVERYBODY MAKE, EVERYBODY DRAW NONSENSE, and more as part of its Kids' Summer Festival.
Your Local Library - They're not Just Books!
Gone are the days when the Golden Rule reigned supreme in libraries, with patrons being told to "ssh!" every time they spoke above a whisper - which is every time a child speaks, usually!
They're full of books, activities, board games, craft, toys, workshops, meetings, readings, computers, kid-friendly play areas full of kid-sized furniture, and best of all - they're air-conditioned! Some of our favourite spots are even situated next to coffee shops for that all-important school holiday caffeination.
For our list of top libraries that are seriously next-level when it comes to children's entertainment, head over here. Kathleen Syme in Carlton is a popular choice for parents, and Craigieburn Library has been named International Public Library of the Year.
O'Brien Group Arena for Ice Skating
You're hot? Why not hang out in a place filled with ice? Makes sense, right? You'll barely even register it's only 16 degrees at the O'Brien Group Arena ice skating rink, as you'll be having too much fun.
Join a lesson for figure skating, speed skating, ice hockey or even curling (never a better time than now, eh?!), go for a disco skate on Friday and Saturday nights, or hire a cute seal to help newbie skaters take to the ice with ease.
the Igloo cafe serves up treats all day long, and you can book online for skating sessions (with or without skate hire) online.
The rink too far for you? The Olympic Ice Skating Centre in Oakleigh South is a fantastic choice and slightly cheaper, too.
Best Playgrounds Inside Shopping Centres
Ah shopping centres. You've come a long way from dusty statues of scary shop mascots and broken-down mechanical pony rides. These days they're filled with fancy parents rooms, parent car parking and lolly-free checkout lanes.
If it's the shops your'e after, then check out our favourite places with excellent indoor play spaces for kiddos to expend some energy (for free!) while you sit by with a cup of something good. You can get the bread and milk and the kids get a play and everybody's happy - and cool!
Indoor Pools Safe from the Sun
Where better to cool off when the mercury goes nuts than a gigantic body of water? Pools are great as they are fully patrolled with lifeguards, offer several swim options for various ages and abilities, and are usually pretty good value for money.
If you don't want to be in the direct blazing glare of the burning hot sun, then head to one of the wonderful aquatic centres across Melbourne that are fully enclosed, leaving you the absolute most protected from the elements. Often they have play equipment too, including waterslides, dump buckets and inflatables. Even better!
Try any one of our recommendations for kid-friendly indoor pools in the city, including the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park, Bentleigh East's Glen Eira Aquatic Centre, and Richmond Recreation Centre.
Where do you go when it's just too hot to stay home? We'd love to hear!