HOT: The Cell by Brook Andrew, The Substation, 1 Market St, Newport

the cell brook andrew

There’s a jumping castle (of sorts) at The Substation Newport!

Australian contemporary artist Brook Andrew is known for playfully reinterpreting colonial and modern history. His work includes video, sculpture, photography and installations. 

The Substation is presenting the Melbourne premiere of Andrew’s major installation ‘The Cell‘. Wiradjuri patterns decorate the immersive inflatable installation and visitors dress up in a onesie decorated with the same pattern.

the cell brook andrew

the cell brook andrew

Four people at a time are then invited to climb inside.

the cell brook andrew

The roomy inflatable structure is dark with small light sources. It’s quiet and womb-like and aims to blur the lines between sanctuary and detention. Kids in particular will enjoy jumping, walking, crawling and rolling.

the cell brook andrew

You can join NGV Senior Curator, Susan Van Wyk, for a free conversation with Brook Andrew on Sat 3 June 2pm. Incidentally, Brook Andrew is also currently exhibiting at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.Brook Andrew: The Right to Offend is Sacred includes more than 100 works spanning the artist’s 25-year career, including his signature neon light works, ‘Wiradjuri Op’ paintings, screen-printed portraits and large-scale installation worksThe exhibition is open until Sun 4 June and entry is free.

HOT Tips:

  • entry is free;
  • only four people inside the installation at a time;
  • all participants must dress up in the onesie;
  • it’s quite dark inside, some children may not like it;
  • there’s an emergency exit and first aid assistance if required;
  • free artist talk Sat 3 June 2pm;
  • Free limited parking nearby; and
  • head to Leroys or The Backyard for a post-visit coffee.

The Cell by Brook Andrew, The Substation, 1 Market St, Newport

Fri 25 May – Sat 10 June

Tue-Sat 11-5pm

Free entry



HOT: Mister Fox, Ringwood Golf Club, 352 Canterbury Road, Ringwood

Mister Fox cafe

Mister Fox is the resident cafe at the Ringwood Golf Club which means it boasts glorious views of the green from its wall to ceiling windows.

Mister Fox cafe

Inside the cafe is decor is hipster chic in the burbs and the menu also reflects Melbourne’s cafe standards at suburban prices.

For instance, a very pretty granola stacked with fresh fruit and yoghurt is only $10. The ‘Wet Behind the Ears’ breakfast is a large plate filled with cold smoked Yarra Valley , hummus, zucchini polenta cake, grilled mushrooms and beetroot pickle ($18). The serves are generous.

mister fox cafe

Babycinos with TWO bonus marshmallows are free!

Mister Fox cafe

Mister Fox cafe

For families the cafe offers pram access (though indoors can get a bit squashy, so head to the astroturfed deck for more room), high chairs, colouring-in activities, a kids menu and even a spot of putt putt golf. There’s no change table and the toilets are a bit tight.

mister fox cafe

mister fox cafe

Mister Fox is a popular hangout for Ringwood locals and with its lush views, reasonably priced food and golfing fun it can get busy on the weekends. Drop in if you’re in the area, such as if you’re shopping at Eastland or playing at Bayswater Park.

Click here for more cafes with outdoor play.

HOT Tips:

  • Pram access;;
  • High chairs;
  • Colouring pencils and paper on request;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Children’s menu;
  • Toy golf clubs and balls for putting green; and
  • Free parking.

Mister Fox, Ringwood Golf Club, 352 Canterbury Road, Ringwood 03 8822 4174

Daily 7-6pm

Mister Fox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s On – Friday 26 May to Thursday 1 June 2017

Last official week of Autumn as we start bunkering down for Melbourne’s winter!


  • Craft Hatch (Sat 27 May) – enjoy the best in handmade, ethical, original and Melbourne-made craft.
  • Kids Flicks ACMI (Sat 27 May – Sun 28 May) – smart films for smart kids. 
  • Animal Extravaganza Harbour Town (Sat 27 May – Sun 28 May) – free family activities every weekend until 12 June.
  • Queen Street Plaza (Sat 27 May – Sun 28 May) – A place to sit, eat, have a drink and enjoy free family entertainment right in the heart of the city.
  • Sunday Family Funday Munich Brauhaus (Sun 28 May) – mobile farm experience, face painter, kids’ entertainer and yummy food at Munich Brauhaus.
  • Snow Travel Expo (Sun 28 May) – There is a real snowplay zone for the kids, presentations in the Snow Lounge and helpful people from dream snow destinations.
  • Slide, Skate and Chill (Thu 1 Jun – 31 Aug) – undercover riverside ice rink and toboggan slide.
  • Aladdin the Musical (Fri 26 May – Sun 22 Oct) – Disney film turned into lavish musical. Read the review.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 26 May – Wed 31 May) – Play Pod is the SLV’s program for children aged under 8 years with activities to read, create and play. There’s a new theme every season for Autumn 2017 it’s inspired by Where is the Green SheepREAD THE REVIEW
  • Fiona Hall: Uneasy Seasons NGV (Fri 26 May – Sun 6 Jun) – new interactive and immersive exhibition for children at NGV International. Full review.




  • Dance X Lilydale (Fri 26 May – 30 July) – Chose your own dance adventure in this enthralling exhibition. Travel to unique places within the shire through captivating virtual play spaces.
  • Melbourne Tram Museum (Sat 27 May) – Visit a Melbourne icon at this quirky museum. FULL REVIEW.
  • Yarra Valley Railway (Sun 28 May) – take a trip on the historic Walker RM22 Railmotor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill. Full review.
  • Rocky Road Festival (Fri 26 May – Wed 31 May) – 31 different flavours, a host of Rocky Road infused temptations plus a world record beating block that every visitor can try for free!


HOT: ACMI Family Sundays, ACMI, Federation Square, Melbourne

On the first Sunday of every month, ACMI, Australia’s museum of film, television, video games and digital culture, offers a day of free family-friendly events and interactive activities called ‘ACMI Family Sundays‘.

ACMI Family Sundays give families the opportunity to interact with screen culture in all its forms, with activities mainly designed for 5 – 12 year olds. There’s a different theme in month with different workshops and experiences, so you can return again and again.

The two previous events have been hugely popular so far. Families have been really getting into the spirit of each theme, with impressive dress ups and getting enthusiastic about photo ops.


We are invited to visit the Star Wars themed ACMI Family Sunday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.

We learn how to wield a lightsaber at the Padawan Academy…

…. build a Millennium Falcon-inspired ship at the Lego building station…

….and direct our own space adventure using stop-motion animation.

There are more activities that we would like to do (virtual reality tour, learn to code) but the queues are starting to get long so we take a rest break at the ACMI Cafe

As the events are busy be prepared to wait in line for some of the more popular activities. If you are able to split up your group I suggest arriving at 10am when ACMI opens, with one adult taking the kids to Screen Worlds exhibition while the other adult lines up for whichever activity that the kids want to do most. You’ll probably find yourself tag-teaming like this if you want to experience all the activities.

Future ACMI Family Sundays themes include:

  • Get into Gameplay (Sun 4 Jun);
  • Stop! Motion Animation! (Sun 2 Jul) to coincide with the opening weekend of Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The magic of Aardman;
  • Winter Fantasy and Fables (Sun 6 Aug);
  • Smart Stories (Sun 3 Sep);
  • Journey to Outer Space (Sun 1 Oct); and
  • Superheroes and Villains (Sun 5 Nov).

If you need a break grab a bite at the family-friendly ACMI Cafe. In my experience the food service is pretty quick but seating is limited so I recommend arriving for an early or late lunch eg 11:30am or 2pm. It serves huge meals, including a kids menu, in a relaxed environment and there is plenty of pram space and high chairs.

ACMI’s Family Sundays, ACMI, Federation Square (03) 8663 2200

First Sunday of every month from 11am to 4pm

ACMI open daily 10-5pm

Free entry

The HOT List: Best cafe and playground combinations in Melbourne

The holy grail of parenting = a great cafe combined with a great park (also a kid who sleeps through the night, isn’t a fussy eater etc etc but that’s all for another time).

Of course it’s possible to BYO snacks to a playground or BYO toys to a cafe. But the perfect cafe and playground combo means there’s something for them and something for you, right?

Here’s a list of my Top 18 cafe and playground destinations, where (a) the cafe is within sight of the playground or no further than across the road and (b) the food is worth recommending and the playground is at least passable.

Note this list excludes cafes that provide their own indoor or outdoor play areas.


1. Go West Tuck Shop + Woodlea playground

A large, thrilling and interesting playground that’s worth a special trip. Combine it with Go West a fantastic, light-filled eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in the hip inner city and Woodlea’s got my vote.

Go West, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank


2. Serotonin + Golden Square Bicentennial Park

serotonin burnley

Serotonin is a health-conscious cafe where everything on the menu is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. Across the road is a park and small playground with train-spotting opportunities

Bonus points – you can collect a picnic basket and rug from Serotonin, order from the takeaway window and they’ll bring your food out to you in the park!

Serotonin, 52 Madden Grove, Burnley


3. Curator’s Collective + Queens Park playground

olivers garden

Curator’s Collective is a sweet lake-side cafe within sight of a popular playground in Queens Park. The playground could do with an update to be honest but it’ll still keep the kids amused while you sip your latte. Just beware of the pigeons – step away from your food and BAM it’ll be gone.

Curator’s Collective, 778 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds


4. Cowderoy’s Dairy + Jacoby Reserve

cowderoy's dairy

Cowderoy’s Dairy is an old-style milk bar cafe within sight of a small playground.

Cowderoy’s Dairy, 14 Cowderoy St, St Kilda West


5. Little Captain + Hewison Reserve

Little Captain St Kilda East

Little Captain is a sweet but slightly ramshackle cafe which wouldn’t be particularly remarkable on it’s own – but it has a back entrance that leads straight to the fenced playground at Hewison Reserve. 

Little Captain, 353 Inkerman St, St Kilda East


6. The Boathouse + Maribyrnong Park

maribyrnong park

Along the shores of the Maribyrnong River you’ll find a large marine-themed playground, a coffee kiosk and The Boathouse restaurant. Depending on how busy the kitchen is sometimes you can order from The Boathouse menu and get it take away from the coffee kiosk.

The Boathouse, 7 The Boulevard, Maribyrnong Park, Moonee Ponds


7. Farm cafe + Collingwood Children’s Farm

The Farm Cafe, Collingwood Children’s Farm, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford

The Farm Cafe is a brilliant little cafe focusing on local and seasonal produce (with one of Melbourne’s best milkshakes) on the site of Collingwood Children’s Farm. On the second Saturday of every month there’s a popular Farmer’s Market too and you can enter the farm for only $2 adult and kids free.

The Farm Cafe, 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford


8. Green Park Dining + playground

Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North

Green Park Dining offers sophisticated brunch fare in North Carlton with a back area that spills out into bike racks and a small playground.

Green Park, 815 Nicholson Street, Carlton North


9. Federation Square and riverside eateries + Artplay playground

Artplay playground melbourne

Federation Square and Birrarung Marr offers many places where you can get a feed (including ACMI Bar & Cafe, Pilgrim and Riverland). Then enjoy the sprawling Artplay playground at Birrarung Marr. Bonus points for excellent ice cream at Popstic by the river.

Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, Melbourne


10. Saluministi + Buluk Park

Saluministi Melbourne

Saluministi serves rustic Italian-style panini, coffee and sweets. The unusual playground at Buluk Park and the beautiful Library at the Dock makes this playground + cafe combo one of our favourite stops in Docklands.

Saluministi, 892 Bourke St, Docklands


11. Hanhdorf Fine Chocolates + Montrose Community Playground

montrose playground

Possibly the only playground in Melbourne with an adjoining chocolate shop!

Hahndorf’s Fine Chocolates, 960-962 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Montrose


12. The Foodrinkery + playground

The Foodrinkery, 22 Banksia Street, Burwood

The Foodrinkery is a small cafe that not only provides its own play area but opens its back gate into a large local reserve with playground.

The Foodrinkery, 22 Banksia St, Burwood


13. Cubbyhouse Canteen + playground

cubbyhouse canteen

Cute child-friendly cafe next to a local park and playground. A more ‘grown up’ and upmarket option is nearby Gardiner and Field who also offer takeaway lunch packs (sandwich, salad and treat) that you can take to the playground. 

Cubbyhouse Canteen, 43A Union St, Armadale


14. Square and Compass + Fitzroy Gardens

square and compass cafe

Square and Compass boasts a light-filled interior with courtyard just a stone’s throw from the small dragon playground inside picturesque Fitzroy Gardens. At the bottom end of Fitzroy Gardens (near Wellington Parade) there’s also child-friendly Kere Kere cafe.

Square and Compass, 222 Clarendon St, East Melbourne


15. Leroys +Paine Reserve

Leroys Newport

If you STILL need entertainment after the cubbyhouse and toys at Leroys then there’s a small playground in front the Newport Community Hub at Paine Reserve. Another alternative cafe for the same playground is The Backyard.


16. Hank Marvin Market + Alma Park East

Alma Park East playground, Alma Rd, St Kilda East

If you visit Alma Park East on a Saturday morning then the food trucks and produce stalls are there for the Hank Marvin Market.

17. Yarraville Gardens food trucks + Yarraville Gardens playground

Yarraville Gardens

Every Friday night and weekend lunch/dinner a rotation of food trucks line Yarraville Gardens. The playground within the park is large and suits all ages.


18. Coburg Farmers Market + Harmony Park

Harmony Park, 187-195 Gaffney St, Coburg North

Every Saturday Coburg North Primary School holds a farmer’s market and the school grounds are just behind the awesome Harmony Park.

Where are your favourite cafe + park combos in Melbourne?

AFL Sunday Funday – Giveaway!

AFL Sunday Funday is an AFL initiative that provides free general admission tickets to kids under 15 every Sunday, along with various other family-friendly activities at the grounds.

The free tickets can be purchased in advance (and will be subject to the ticket agent transaction fee), or are available on match day at the box office where no additional fees will be incurred (excluding Adelaide Oval).

Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media

Game day entertainment includes the Woolworth’s AFL Playground, with activities including the Woolworths Specky, Climb and Slide, prizes, free apple sampling and new AFL Evolution game (MCG only).  

Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media

The Woolworth’s AFL Playground is located:

  • MCG – Outside Gate 6
  • Etihad – Gate 7
  • Metricon – Gate 7
  • Spotless – Giants Scoreboard

Other free kids activities include making a backdrop for your stop motion replays and designing your ultimate footy fan (you can download here).

To purchase AFL Sunday Funday tickets in advance, click here for the MCG, Adelaide Oval, SCG, Metricon Stadium & Manuka Oval. Click here for Etihad Stadium, the Gabba, Simonds Stadium & Spotless Stadium.


Thanks to the AFL I have 1 x Footy Fan Prize Pack to giveaway to celebrate AFL Sunday Funday. The pack includes 1 x Sherrin Football (valued at $190), 1 x team jersey of choice and 1 x team scarf of choice.

To win just following the instructions below. The competition ends midnight Monday 5 June and the random winner contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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