family friendly geelong

Geelong is Victoria’s second largest city and it’s so easy to get to from Melbourne being only about 1 hour by freeway or Vline train. The city has lots to offer families, particularly the Geelong Waterfront area, and it makes for a fantastic half or full day destination for families.

Here are my tips for the best 16 places to go in Geelong with kids. 

PLAY:

Geelong Bollards - 1 (1)

The waterfront in Geelong is where most of the must-do action is located. On a sunny day the glistening waters of Corio Bay make it a really appealing spot to while away a day. The area hosts many community festivals, including the annual Festival of Sails.

Festival of Sails, Geelong Waterfront, Geelong

  1. Eastern Beach, Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

Eastern Beach Reserve, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

Eastern Beach is the jewel of the waterfront and the setting reminds me of the Italian Riviera! There is an amazing fenced outdoor public pool, a large playground, a ferris wheel for views of the bay, picnic and barbecue areas and of course a beach (which actually is probably the least interesting part of Eastern Beach, being rather small). FULL REVIEW.

  1. Poppy Kettle Playground, Geelong

poppy kettle playground geelong

On the other side of the waterfront area is Western Beach with the cute and colourful Poppy Kettle playground. Lady AB had a lot of fun on the rainbow slide but the interactive Poppy Kettle water feature wasn’t turned on during our visit.

  1. Geelong Playspace, Eastern Park Circuit, Geelong

Geelong Play Space, Eastern Park Circuit, Geelong

The award-winning playspace is fully fenced from Geelong Botanic Gardens and features a pirate ship, nature play and shaded areas. FULL REVIEW.

  1. Geelong Carousel, Geelong

Geelong Carousel

According to Lady AB, every visit to Geelong requires a trip around the heritage carousel, a Geelong landmark. The glass floor-to-ceiling pavilion in which it’s housed is architecturally spectacular in itself and you can visit just the pavilion for free.

Geelong Carousel

  1. Waterfront Geelong train tours

Festival of Sails, Geelong Waterfront, Geelong

There is a miniature train that takes you from Geelong Carousel to Eastern Beach and back again in 20 minutes for $6 per person. It’s a nice way to see the main sights if you’re not inclined to walk or if you have kids who like trains!

  1. Lara Pool

lara pool

When the temperature is HOT then head to the awesome Lara Pool. It’s more than your average public pool – enjoy the pirate-themed water slide playground, shaded toddler pool and fully fenced kids area with shady spots to sit. Full review. 

7. Fairy Park

fairy park

A bit further out from Geelong is Fairy Park in Anakie. It’s an old-fashioned fairytale theme park with retro puppet tableaus, model trains and a fun fairytale playground. FULL REVIEW.

SEE:

8. Geelong Bollards

Eastern Beach Reserve, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

If you’re on the waterfront you can’t miss Geelong’s Baywalk Bollards. From Rippleside Park, through Waterfront Geelong to the Botanic Gardens, you’ll find 104 huge painted icons of Geelong’s past. Lady AB enjoyed bollard-spotting and play-acting with these painted wooden figures and there’s a self-guided Geelong Bollard Trail Walk if you want to see them all.

9. Geelong Library and Heritage Centre

Geelong Library

The new library includes a whole floor dedicated to kids, with children’s books, puppets, toys and dress-ups. FULL REVIEW.

Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong

  1. Geelong Performing Arts Centre

The arts centre regularly hosts children’s programming and school holiday activities, including shows that would normally be touring Arts Centre Melbourne (at a cheaper price!). 

11. Serendip Sanctuary

serendip sanctuary

A Parks Victoria-run nature reserve where you can go bird-watching and spot native wildlife, all for free. It’s a quiet spot for a picnic and barbecue too.

Serendip Sanctuary, 100 Windermere Rd, Lara

Reader recommendation – National Wool Museum (26 Moorabool Street, Geelong). It’s got a reputation for being a somewhat daggy establishment but in fact the revamp of the old workers cottages means that kids have the opportunity to interact with the artefacts and pretend play. They also have rotating exhibitions in the upstairs gallery – ‘Wildlife of Gondwana’ (26 July 2015 – 23 July 2017) is popular with families.

 

EAT:

12. Freckleduck

freckleduck geelong

A trendy cafe in the heart of the CBD serving inventive food and 5 Senses coffee with an interior that wouldn’t be out of place in inner city Melbourne. 

Freckleduck, 131 Malop St, Geelong

13. Bear and Bean

bear and bean geelong

Cute warehouse-style cafe tucked away in a carpark. The milkshakes are cold, the food is good and there’s a chalkboard at the back that’s popular with kids. 

Bear and Bean, Little Ryrie Street Car Park between Moorabool st and Gheringhap St, Geelong

14. La Madre Bakery

la madre august 11-304_359x540

Artisan bakery located in a suburban shopping strip. It’s a strictly takeaway affair but worth a stop so you can stock up on their breads, pastries and famous hot cross buns and mince pies when in season.

La Madre Bakery, 18 Milton Street, Bell Park

15. The Pickers Union

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

Cute decor, Instagram-worthy food and specialty coffee in North Geelong. FULL REVIEW. 

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St Geelong 0447 531 844

16. Edge

the edge geelong

Edge is a big brassy pub and bistro on the waterfront with the added bonus of a children’s area with toys and books. The food is pretty good too, try their bouillabaisse. We visited as part of the Geelong Christmas Trail.

Edge, 6-8 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong 


HOT Tips:

  • BBQs and picnic facilities available at playground and along foreshore;
  • beach showers/toilets and kiosk at Eastern Beach;
  • train from Melbourne CBD to Geelong approx 60 minutes;
  • drive from Melbourne CBD to Geelong approx 60 minutes;
  • paid parking along the foreshore and in Geelong CBD. Foreshore particularly busy on weekends.

Where are your favourite places to play, see and eat in Geelong?

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