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 and it makes for a fantastic half-day, full-day or short break destination for families.
Here are my tips for the best places to go and things to do with kids in Geelong.
For accommodation options in Geelong, I recommend checking out what's available on Airbnb.
Things to do Geelong with kids
The waterfront in Geelong is where a lot of the Geelong kids activities and 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.
Eastern Beach is the jewel of the waterfront and the setting reminds me of the Italian Riviera!
It's full of things to see in Geelong that are not to be missed; 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). Eastern Beach review.
Eastern Beach, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong
Related: Best Beaches in Melbourne for Kids
We always stop off at this playground when we visit the Geelong waterfront area – that rainbow slide is so fun! There is an interactive Poppy Kettle water feature too which unfortunately isn't often turned on when we our visit.
Poppy Kettle Playground, The Esplanade, Geelong
Museum of Play and Art is Geelong's first Children's Museum and a space for families to learn and play. It's one of the great things to do in Geelong for families, particularly when the weather's cold, wet or too hot, but the bright light-filled space and indoor/outdoor areas means it's good for any time of year!
It's based on the popular children's museums found all over the USA and is an amazing, inspiring space! Museum of Play and Art Review.
MoPA: Museum of Play and Art, 51 McKillop St, Geelong 1800 00 66 72
Geelong Playspace, Eastern Park Circuit, Geelong
According to Lady AB, any time we're enjoying activities in Geelong, we must include 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 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong Waterfront
6. Waterfront Geelong train tours
It’s a nice way to see attractions in Geelong if you’re not inclined to walk or if you have kids who like trains!
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. It's one of the free things to do in Geelong where you'll see a number of attractions through the city!
There’s a self-guided Geelong Bollard Trail Walk if you want to see them all (and visit multiple Geelong attractions) but I recommend focusing on six of the bollard sites as they have been activated via augmented reality! Just download the free Active Geelong app in the App Store or Google Play on your smartphone then visit the activated bollards situated between Eastern Beach and Cunningham’s Pier. Geelong Bollards Augmented Reality review
Geelong Gallery is one of Australia's oldest regional galleries and entry is free.
They have permanent and temporary exhibitions on a regular basis.
Geelong Gallery, Little Malop Street, Geelong +61 3 5229 3645
The library is magnificent from the outside and inside there's a whole floor dedicated to kids, with children’s books, puppets, toys and dress-ups – kids stuff Geelong locals and visitors can enjoy. Geelong Library review
Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, 51 Little Malop St, Geelong
Related: Best Libraries in Melbourne
If you're looking for things to do with kids Geelong 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!).
Get more info on Geelong Art Centre's children and family programming.
Geelong Arts Centre, 50 Malop St, Geelong 1300 251 200
We Rock the Spectrum is an indoor play centre and sensory gym that's geared towards kids with special needs – though it welcomes everyone!
It provides Bellarine kids with a fun and motivational environment to help them with strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills.
We Rock the Spectrum, 170 Marshalltown Road, Geelong 1300 268 045
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.
Check out what's on at the National Wool Museum's Events section for fun things to do in Geelong for kids, especially during school holidays.
National Wool Museum 26 Moorabool Street, Geelong, 03 5272 4701
Serendip Sanctuary is one of the things to do around Geelong if you want to get out in nature. It's 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
14. Lara Pool
When the temperature is HOT and you're looking for things to do in Geelong region, 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. Lara Pool review
Lara Pool, 2 Bank St, Lara, 03 5282 1563
Just 15 minutes outside Geelong is Victoria's biggest theme Park; Adventure Park Geelong. It's a popular Geelong attraction for families: home to water slides and dry rides, and there are splash pads and water playgrounds. You can book a (shaded) sunbed or cabana for the day at an additional cost. Read my full review.
Adventure Park Geelong, 1249 Bellarine Highway, Wallington, 03 5250 7200
Armstrong is a residential estate at Waurn Ponds and its centrepiece and community hub is the amazing Armstrong District Park.
It's one of the places to visit in Geelong with all the right facilities for a day out; especially as there is so much room for kids of all ages.
The kids will love all the opportunities to climb (including a huge tree), the flying fox, in-ground trampolines and swings. Younger kids will enjoy the sandpit area and the smaller equipment surrounding the sandpit.
Facilities include water taps, public toilets, barbecues and picnic table shelters and an expansive cafe.
Armstrong District Park, Sovereign Drive, Mt Duneed
17. Fairy Park
A bit further out from Geelong is Fairy Park in Anakie, the oldest theme park in Victoria.
One of the delightful places to visit near Geelong that inspires plenty of imaginative play; Fairy Park is an old-fashioned fairytale theme park with retro puppet tableaus, model trains and a fun fairytale playground. Fairy Park review
Fairy Park, 2388 Geelong-Ballan Rd, Anakie, 03 5284 1262
Looking for things to do in Geelong this weekend? Visit the most in-tact 19th Century prison in Victoria, that closed in 1991 in the conditions seen at The Geelong Gaol Museum today.
Open weekends, school holidays and public holidays, you'll see displays telling the history of the prison and it's prisoners, exhibitions on Colonial Prisons, the Hulks, Rogues and Vagabonds and Saga Behind the Armour.
Geelong Gaol Museum, 202 Myers St, Geelong, 1300 865 800
Best Places to Eat in Geelong with Kids
Following a major refurbishment of the heritage-listed Eastern Beach House pavilion, the renowned Mulberry Group (Top Paddock, Higher Ground and Three Bags Full) is running a slick cafe and takeaway kiosk as The Beach House Geelong.
The cafe and kiosk are open daily, with the kiosk open until 9pm over summer. The first level is a function space for private events, catered by Pot and Pan, the folks behind Footscray cafe THERE. They even hold yoga and meditation classes there.
The Beach House, Eastern Beach, Geelong 03 4214 2000
20. Dribbles Burgers
A must-try in Geelong for anyone after a good burger, Dribbles Burgers Geelong serves tasty food from their store, which is laden with (very cool) basketball themed interiors.
The Dribbles Burgers menu includes burgers (of course), hot dogs, sides and a kids menu that includes a burger or fried chicken bites, fries and a drink.
If you think you've heard the name before, there's also Dribbles Burgers Essendon, sporting the same menu.
Dribbles Burgers, 4-6 Shorts Pl, Geelong, 03 5223 3797
21. Bear and Bean
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, 03 5200 2727
22. La Madre Bakery
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
Cute decor, Instagram-worthy food and specialty coffee in North Geelong. Full review.
The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St Geelong 0447 531 844
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, 03 5222 2666
25. Little Creatures
Little Creatures is originally a Western Australian beer company and their set up in Geelong enables them to serve the east coast of Australia with the freshest beer.
The huge site in Geelong is a ‘brewery village experience', with a bustling Canteen, White Rabbit Barrel Hall and the colourful Mystery Lane. The food is fantastic, with lots of sharing plates and of course beers on tap and you can choose to sit inside or outside. For kids entertainment there's a sandpit outside or ask to borrow some board games behind the bar (note that these facilities may not be available, call to check).
During the year they're famous for hosting events such as the Furphy Cinemas and Hops n Beats in the laneway during Summer, a Winter Wonderland festival in July, as well as beer launches and markets throughout the year.
Little Creatures, 221 Swanston St, Geelong, 03 5202 4009
26. Wah Wah Gee
The views don't get any better than at Wah Wah Gee, located at the end of Cunningham's Pier by the Geelong waterfront.
The restaurant doesn't rest on its laurels though – it's not a tourist trap. The on-trend Asian food and fancy drinks list means that it's a hotspot for locals looking for a good time and a good feed.
Eat early before the crowds turn it into a fun and loud party venue!
Wah Wah Gee, Cunningham Pier, 10 Western Beach Foreshore Road, Geelong, 03 5222 6377
This expansive dining hall has booths for families, high chairs, loads of pram room, a kids menu and a small area out the back. It offers coffee, bakery treats, gourmet burgers and innovative menu.
King of the Castle, 24 Pakington St, Geelong West, 0418 227 366
For accommodation options in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, I recommend checking out what's available on Airbnb.
I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!