26 Best Ways to Experience Melbourne Without Leaving the House
We ❤️ exploring Melbourne with kids – but if you're stuck at home and can't go out then there are still lots of ways that you can experience our city without getting off the couch!
Here are my favourite ways to experience Melbourne virtually – from behind-the-scenes videos, live stream concerts, Melbourne-themed books, games and toys!
Melbourne virtual experiences
1. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
MSO is working to #KeepTheMusicGoing by streaming weekly performances online for as long as it's safe to do so.
I am a long-time MSO subscriber and I admit that I had my doubts as to whether watching a live stream of an orchestra would be enjoyable. But it's magnificent! And you get to chat with people from all around the world who are tuning in at the same time. I really felt a sense of community and solidarity as we all virtually appreciated this wonderful music.
Tune in to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra YouTube channel every Thursday night at 7:30pm AEST for Thursday Night (in) with the Symphony and you can watch the live stream or a pre-recorded concert. afterwards, you can replay performances at any time.
Related: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Jam for Juniors
2. National Gallery of Victoria
While the NGV is temporarily closed to the public, they are continuing to share art, design and stories on social media for daily content and inspiration with #NGVEveryDay.
On NGV Channel they also offer virtual exhibition tours and talks, videos, essays and interviews. Families can also download free NGV Kids e-books and printables with art activities and games.
KAWS and Acute Art have released a 45cm AR COMPANION for you to use at home with the Acute Art App. You can tag #NGVEveryDay and tag @NGVMelbourne to share your images.
Related: Best Museums in Melbourne for Kids
3. Melbourne Recital Centre
Live from Melbourne Recital Centre offers a series of musical performances digitally broadcast to extend beyond the walls of the Melbourne Recital Centre for your viewing pleasure at home.
4. Museums Victoria
With Melbourne Museum, Immigration Museum and Scienceworks closed temporarily you can still connect, explore and learn more from your favourite museums every day.
Take a virtual tour of Melbourne Museum at Home, get into science technology engineering and maths from your couch with Scienceworks at Home and delve deeper into Victoria's immigration history with Immigration Museum at Home.
You can also listen to a free podcast The Fact Detectives, which brings Museums Victoria’s research and collections to life as the hosts chat to museum experts about the coolest things about their areas of expertise. The kids will also enjoy The Listies tour of Melbourne Museum, or as Matt (one half of the LOLtastic duo) calls it, The Learnadome. They have crammed the tour with facts including the bizarre and hilarious.
Related: Best Non-Fiction Podcasts for Kids
Join Melbourne Cinematheque for Virtual Cinematheque, a weekly movie night at home.
Virtual Cinematheque will continue the weekly calendar format of double bills that showcase classic and contemporary films on specific directors, performers or a thematic.
The films will be chosen by the Melbourne Cinémathèque Committee and ACMI's Film Department and where possible, they'll have accompanying annotations and introductions for screenings.
Related: Best Cinemas in Melbourne for Kids
6. Melbourne Zoo
While visit Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo or Healesville Sanctuary have stopped accepting visitors, behind the gates, the keepers and vets are still caring for the animals.
You can watch the #AnimalsAtHome live stream, including the adorable snow leopard cubs, penguins, lions and giraffes. Zookeeper Adam even decided to give Giraffe Cam viewers on Zoo Victoria's YouTube Channel some much-needed comic relief by busting a few dance moves!
Related: 18 Best Zoo Animal Live Streams and Webcams from around the world
7. Melbourne Aquarium
The aquarists at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium are live streaming on the website and the SEA LIFE Melbourne’s Facebook page to take people at home on a journey of discovery into marine life.
The SEA LIFE Melbourne’s Facebook page will also upload videos and photos of aquarists caring for the amazing sea creatures while the aquarium is temporarily closed.Related: Best Melbourne Memberships for Families
8. State Library of Victoria
State Library Victoria has more ways than ever for the whole family to entertain, educate and connect via its online offering.
- Online learning resource Ergo which is aligned with the Victorian secondary school curriculum to cultivate research skills, develop critical thinking and explore the Library’s historic collection items
- Using the family history research tools anyone can learn more about their family tree;
- Kids can explore unique exhibitions, past and present, including Velvet, Iron, Ashes, with online galleries
- Dive into the Library’s rich treasures and inspiring stories, and meet the kids who co-designed the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter.
9. Arts Centre Melbourne
Arts Centre Melbourne are sharing free digital experiences through their ‘Together with You‘ content hub.
In the digital online hub you'll find full-length performances, artist interviews, family activities, podcasts, curated playlists and more.
10. Bunjil Place
While Bunjil Place is closed you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram and look out for #ArtsInIsolation, a digital project that'll be bringing cool videos, workshops, art and activities right to your desktop, laptop or mobile.
11. Legoland Melbourne
While LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne is closed check out their Facebook page for live LEGO building challenges, Master Model Builder interviews, reviews, workshops and much more!
Every Tuesday at 11am for a live LEGO workshop with Kieran where he will take you through a LEGO challenge while you build along at home. Plus keep an eye out for other bricktastic live streams and activities throughout the week!
12. The Australian Ballet
Melbourne is home to The Australian Ballet and at the moment all of its staff, dancers and musicians are working from home until it’s safe to return to the studios.
During this time, you can watch a host of online content that showcases the artistry of The Australian Ballet. Watch high-quality production recordings on Ballet TV and even take a ballet class with Artistic Director David McAllister AM on ‘Dancing with David‘.
13. Heide Museum of Modern Art
The doors of the Heide Museum of Modern Art may be closed but art, architecture and landscape are still very much alive at Heide.
Until the museum reopens, they are sharing stories about gardens, exhibitions, including new shows Joy Hester: Remember Me and Agnieszka Polska: The New Sun, and the collection.
Follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to experience #heideathome.
14. Royal Botanic Gardens
Enjoy the Royal Botanic Gardens' gorgeous greenery online in the Virtual Garden.
Explore the virtual garden when you need a bit of peace with wellness tips, pics of their endless living collection, updates from staff working on-site and more.
15. Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Comedy Festival hasn’t stopped laughing. And now neither will you, because every day for the duration of what would have been the festival, they’ll be sharing throwbacks to festivals gone by.
16. High Tea Delivery Melbourne
Melbourne has some of the best high tea venues you can find in Australia, but if you can't leave your house then the next best thing is to get high tea delivered to you! Here are the high tea delivery in Melbourne.
Melbourne books for kids
17. Found in Melbourne
Found in Melbourne is a picture book by Joanne O'Callaghan and illustrated by Kori Song. It is a counting book and a story of friendship with iconic Melbourne scenes as its backdrop.
There is also a simplified Chinese version of Found in Melbourne as Joanna Callaghan lived in Hong Kong for many years.
18. All the Buildings in Melbourne:…That I've Drawn So Far
All the Buildings in Melbourne is part of an illustrated series by James Gulliver Hancock, who has travelled the world making meticulous drawings of world cities.
In this gorgeous hardcover book, kids can explore the city's architectural cityscape organised by neighbourhoods. James' illustrations are colourful and packed with fun and offbeat details – it's the like the ultimate Melbourne search and find!
19. When You Go to Melbourne
Maree Coote has created a delightful rhyming picture book that asks kids to look for the details of Melbourne's treasures. “When you go to Melbourne, see if you can see…” Can you find the golden whale? Can you work out how many gryphons? How many Bridges? Can you find the Giants?
And when the story is finished, there are hidden motifs on every page for extra fun and engagement.
20. Letters From Melbourne
This is a great introduction to typography for kids learning to spell. It's a clever illustrated book where the letters are constructed in a way to spell the object or location's name!
Make a game of finding all the letters; Letters From Melbourne improves letter recognition, observation, spelling and design skills.
21. Alphabet City Melbourne
To round out the Maree Coote trilogy is the board book ‘Alphabet City Melbourne‘.
See if you can recognise the letters of the alphabet and the Melbourne landmarks and locations that make up these letter forms. Alphabet City is fun, educational and lovingly local.
22. Melbourne Word by Word
Take a meander through Melbourne’s iconic landmarks and hidden gems, and soak up the distinct Melbourne atmosphere, letter by letter and word by word.
Melbourne Word by Word is a fun celebration of the city, created by a Melbourne-based illustrator. There's a board book version of Melbourne Word for Word for little ones too.
23. Hello, Melbourne!
Hello, Melbourne! is a picture book by Australian author-illustrator Megan McKean.
Her recognisably bright drawing style takes you on a tour of Melbourne's laneways, icons and attractions with the help of your tour guides – a charm of magpies. There's a Chinese edition of Hello, Melbourne! as well.
Melbourne games and toys for kids
24. Melbourne Monopoly
Monopoly is a classic family board game and there's a Melbourne edition featuring all your favourite locations!
Move around the board with cool game tokens that capture Melbourne's essence (such as a Sherrin, a spray can, coffee cup and tram) and buy up the Shrine of Remembrance, Brighton Bathing Boxes and Melbourne Zoo!
Related: Best Toys, Games & Activities to Keep Kids Busy & Learning
25. Melbourne Tram Toy
Make Me Iconic make wonderful Australian-themed toys and one of our favourites is the classic wooden Melbourne Tram toy.
Another fun Melbourne-themed toy we own (which can be easily posted to overseas friends and family) is the Melbourne Magnets.
26. Melbourne Map Jigsaw Puzzle
Discover all of Melbourne’s nooks and crannies from the couch and put together the Melbourne Map jigsaw puzzle.
This 1000-piece puzzle is a brain busting family activity – and it’ll save your sanity when you just need something to keep everyone occupied. Order from the Melbourne Map website, and get it delivered to your door.
More books toys and games to keep kids entertained indoors at home
Best kids non fiction podcasts
Best shows for kids on ABC Kids and ABC Me
Best kids educational shows on Netflix, Stan and Disney+
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