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Why Melbourne Museum Should Be On Your Hit-List These Winter School Holidays (2024)

Question: Where is a great place to go with kids in Melbourne when you’re trying to keep the kids entertained through weeks of school holidays AND the weather’s wet and cold?

Answer: Melbourne Museum!

Trust me, you’ll never hear “I’m boooored’ when your kids get to explore two storeys of curiosity and wonder, plus they always put on an excellent school holiday program.

Even better, general admission to Melbourne Museum is always free for kids 16 and under!

Melbourne Museum Foyer

Playbound is the home of fun these Winter School Holidays

These winter school holidays, Melbourne Museum‘s program of special events and exhibitions is part of Playbound, a dynamic children’s festival taking over Melbourne from 29 June to 14 July 2024.  

The creative children’s festival features over 40 programs spread across 14 city venues, offering interactive experiences grounded in play, nature, science, and imagination.

Playbound is presented by Museums Victoria, in partnership with the City of Melbourne, ArtPlay, Melbourne Recital Centre, Road to Zero and Gowrie Victoria

Here are some of the highlights at Melbourne Museum!

1. Victoria the T. rex Opening Weekend Dinosaur Party

Join the roaring fun at Melbourne Museum’s Dinosaur Party celebrating the opening of the Victoria the T. rex exhibition!

From mask-making to scavenger hunts, kids of all ages can enjoy a prehistoric adventure included with museum entry.

Get creative with 3-D T. rex masks, explore fossils with pop-up activities, and meet a real dinosaur lover for fascinating insights.

Hunt for 100 tiny dinosaurs, dance at the Dino Disco, and even meet a baby Triceratops up close.

It’s a weekend filled with dinosaur excitement and interactive learning that’s sure to delight both young and old palaeontology enthusiasts.

Sat 29 June + Sun 30 June from 10 am to 4.30 pm

Playbound Victoria the T. rex Opening Weekend Dinosaur Party at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Rodney Start ()
Playbound Victoria the T. rex Opening Weekend Dinosaur Party at Melbourne Museum: Photo Rodney Start

2.  Build your own T. rex Masks

Step into the exciting world of dinosaurs at Melbourne Museum and craft your own T. rex mask during the Playbound festival these school holidays.

Discover the incredible strength of the T. rex’s bite while engaging in a hands-on activity that combines creativity and science.

Channel your inner palaeontologist as you colour and construct your very own T. rex mask, creating a unique piece of prehistoric art to take home.

It’s a great before or after stop combined with a visit to Melbourne Museum’s iconic Dinosaur Walk.

Sat 29 Jun until Sun 14 Jul 2024

Playbound T.Rex masks at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland
Playbound T.Rex masks at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland

3. NAIDOC Week Family Day

Melbourne Museum invites you to kick off NAIDOC Week with a special Family Day filled with engaging activities and performances on Sunday 7 July 2024.

The theme “Blak, Loud and Proud” celebrates Indigenous identity through the reclamation of narratives and the amplification of voices.

Witness a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, enjoy performances, and join maker activities like designing your own Kooyang Eel and learning about Dancing Dragonflies.

Explore exhibitions like “Biik Milboo Dhumba” and “Piinpi” showcasing Indigenous art and fashion. Listen, learn, and engage in meaningful dialogue to foster a society where Indigenous wisdom and contributions are valued and respected.

This evocative and beautifully designed space is one of our favourite permanent exhibitions at Melbourne Museum. 

Playbound NAIDOC Week Family Day at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland ()
Playbound NAIDOC Week Family Day at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland

4. Scavenger Hunt and Competition

Embark on an epic quest at Melbourne Museum to find 100 tiny dinosaurs scattered throughout the galleries!

Follow the trail of these miniature creatures as they make their way to welcome Victoria T. rex. Delve into the Dinosaur Walk and Gandel Gondwana Garden to uncover hidden dinosaur stickers and unscramble letters for a special code word.

Discover the shiny Crystal T. rex for a chance to win a grand prize pack worth $500! With each dinosaur found, learn more about these fascinating prehistoric creatures and their world.

Sat 29 Jun until Sun 14 Jul 2024

Playbound Tiny Dinos at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland
Playbound Tiny Dinos at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria Photo Eugene Hyland

5. Join a tiny guided tour

Tiny Tours is where youngsters aged 3 to 5 can discover the enchanting world of museum objects like never before. Led by expert guides, this 45-minute adventure focuses on the significance of small wonders in a world dominated by giants.

From unravelling mysteries of 600 million years ago to uncovering the fate of the dinosaurs, children will be immersed in a captivating learning experience.

Every Friday at 10 am and 11.30 am.

Pxl .Mp Tiny Tours Amy Gardner Images Tiny Tours px
Tiny Tours Melbourne Museum

6. Road to Zero Scavenger Hunt

Gear up for an exciting and informative experience at the Road to Zero Scavenger Hunt.

Visit the interactive Road to Zero gallery and engage in a thrilling scavenger hunt that combines entertainment with learning about pedestrian and cycling safety.

Work together with your family to solve puzzles and uncover the key principles of road safety, making this a memorable and educational experience for all.

Suited to children aged 4 to 13.

Mon 1 Jul to Sat 13 July (excluding Sun 7 July), from 10am to 3pm.

Playbound Road to Zero Scavenger Hunt at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria
Playbound Road to Zero Scavenger Hunt at Melbourne Museum Source Museums Victoria

7. Explore the nature play space.

Gandel Gondwana Garden is an outdoor nature play space, suitable for children aged six to twelve but open to visitors of all ages, that offers a rich exploration of Australia’s natural history and Indigenous culture.

Roam through diverse ecosystems, encounter prehistoric megafauna, and immerse yourself in the stories of Creation as you traverse the garden’s interactive exhibits. 

Gandel Gondwana Garden is included with museum entry.

Gandel Gondwana Garden Melbourne Museum
Gandel Gondwana Garden Melbourne Museum

8. From Little Things…

Make sure you visit the Mini Mega Model Museum!

This quirky exhibition presents intriguing miniatures and small things in unexpectedly huge sizes, with opportunities to press buttons to operate models and interact with exhibits in fun ways.

It’s been one of the most popular temporary exhibitions with my kids, with requests to visit time and time again. 

Mini Mega Model Museum is included with museum entry.

Baby . and joyce interacting with the displays in the Mini Mega Model Museum

9. Get curious with your little ones

The Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery is one of the most popular locations for families at Melbourne Museum, full of sensory experiences and hands-on exhibits.

Inside and outside, there are so many opportunities for fun and delight with your little ones. Dig for dinosaurs, pump the bubbles, colour butterflies and more!

Note that the Children’s Gallery requires a separate entry booking in order to manage capacity, so make sure that you book a timeslot at the same time as booking your Museum ticket so you don’t miss out. 

Baby . and Lady AB interact with the activity at the Childrens Gallery

10. Step into an urban forest

When you need some peace and tranquility, take a deep, cleansing breath of fresh mountain air when you enter the Forest Gallery. 

Located at the heart of Melbourne Museum, this unique natural space abounds with hidden creatures – it’s a wonderful place to play a little game of ‘I Spy’ with the kids. 

Baby . and Joyce stand amongst the giant trees in the forest

This post was published in partnership with Melbourne Museum

About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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