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21 Best Places to go in a Melbourne Heatwave with Kids

Looking for places to go to beat the heat?

If you’re stuck for ideas, check out my list of the 13 best places to go with kids in a Melbourne heatwave!

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Things to do in a Melbourne heat wave

1. Hit the beach

Melbourne is blessed with shallow, gentle and safe bay beaches. Here are the best beaches in Melbourne for kids.

Our favourites include Altona Beach, Ricketts Point and Carrum Beach, all of which are great destinations because of their proximity to playgrounds and cafes.

Further afield check out Frankston Beach, Eastern Beach Geelong, Lorne and the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula.

Eastern Beach Reserve, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

2. Outdoor pool

Melbourne has lots of outdoor pools if you know where to look, and many of them are only open in the warmer weather so make the most of them.

My two favourite outdoor pools for kids is Lara Pool and North Melbourne.  Both are only open in summer.

I’m not a huge of indoor pools when it’s hot but if you want to get away from the sun then Glen Eira has an awesome pirate ship facility and Aquapulse has some awesome water slides.

lara pool

3. Free water play

Melbourne and surroundings have loads of free water play playgrounds where you can cool down.

Our favourites include Royal Park, Riverwalk Water Play Park, Ron Barassi Snr Park, the Children’s Garden at Royal Botanic Gardens and Australian Garden.

Click here for the ultimate list of free water play in Melbourne

Australian Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, cnr Ballato Rd and Botanic Drive Cranbourne

4. Paid water play

Lion Gorge at Melbourne Zoo, Hippo Beach at Werribee Zoo and Badger Creek at Healesville Sanctuary all have great water play areas.

For older kids try Adventure Park in Geelong, Gumbuya World and Funfields Whittlesea.

Buy tickets to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo or Healesville Sanctuary

adventure park geelong

5. Visit the library

Libraries are a free resource of cool entertainment. The State Library of Victoria is the most central and has an amazing Children’s Quarter with toys, games and of course books to browse (but not borrow). 

Notable local libraries with great spaces for kids include Library at the Dock in Docklands, Kathleen Syme Library in Carlton and Melton Library.

Click here for the best libraries in Melbourne for kids

Melton Library

6. See a movie

VJunior at Village Cinemas Southland and VJunior at Village Cinemas Sunshine are cinemas designed by and for kids, with a play zone before the film, a slide, dim lighting, quieter sound and a more relaxed atmosphere. 

During school terms, cinemas offer babes-in-arms sessions where you can watch the latest new releases with your baby. Hoyts, Palace, and independent cinemas such as the Sun Theatre all have babes-in-arms sessions.

See movies on the world’s second-largest IMAX screen in Carlton and you can drop into Melbourne Museum afterwards.

Best Melbourne cinemas for kids

vjunior southland

The National Gallery of Victoria always has an incredible children’s gallery installation. Previously, it was all about learning to make art like KAWS.

Kaws Ngv Melbourne 6

Artplay is a City of Melbourne children’s art and creative studio. They have paid workshops but also free drop-in events and exhibitions.

Heide Museum of Modern Art often have child-friendly exhibitions and they run regular creative workshops for kids during term time.

If you like to touch the art then head to ArtVo where the 80 interactive installations are there to be photographed for the ultimate selfie! Buy Artvo tickets

Artvo Melbourne 13

Find Accommodation near National Gallery of Victoria

8. Head to the museum

Melbourne Museum children’s gallery provides hours of entertainment both indoors and outdoors.

Melbourne Museum Children's Gallery

Scienceworks has a dedicated children’s STEM area mainly for under 5s called Ground Up, a permanent exhibition for teens Beyond Perception plus many interactive temporary and permanent exhibits.

There are also two specialist children’s museums  – Museum of Play and Art in Geelong and the Melbourne Museum of Play and Art is opening soon.

Buyy Melbourne Museum tickets

Melbourne Tram Museum at Hawthorn Depot, 8 Wallen Rd, Hawthorn

9. Go to the zoo

In addition to water play Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary all have indoor play areas and undercover exhibits such as the reptile house or penguin area.

Buy tickets to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo or Healesville Sanctuary

Keeper Kids Melbourne Zoo

10. Indoor play centres

There are loads of Melbourne play centres to choose from and many offer air conditioning.

My favourite air-conditioned play centres include LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, DreamCity and Funtopia Carrum Downs.

Click here for the best indoor play centres in Melbourne

Latitude Heidelberg 14

11. Go ice-skating

Rooms filled with ice are essential hot weather activities! Try ice-skating at ice rinks all over Melbourne, with the biggest being at O’Brien Group Arena in Docklands.

Buy O’Brien Ice Skating tickets

Eastland Ice Rink

12. Bowling and arcade games

Get your daggy bowling shoes on or challenge yourself on arcade games at places like Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq.

Find some fun places to go on hot days with our list of the Best Ten Pin Bowling spots in Melbourne.

archie brothers

13. We all scream for ice cream

In summer, ice cream seems to be a separate food group for our family! It’s definitely become one of the most fun things to do on a hot day.

Here’s a list of the best ice cream and gelato in Melbourne. Bon appetite!

Miinot gelato

14. Get the High Score at Fortress, Melbourne

Fortress Melbourne is the largest ultimate game entertainment venue in Australia and spans over two gigantic levels inside Emporium Melbourne.

It holds 160 premium Alienware PCs, two licensed bars, private party spaces, a huge themed basement Tavern restaurant with VIP video game booths and board game areas, and much more.

The venue offers broad appeal to adults and kids and it’s a great place for kids to play games to their heart’s content. 

Fortress Melbourne, 23 Caledonian Lane, Melbourne, +61 3 9606 8800

Fortress Melbourne px

15. Visit an escape room

Beat the heat with a cerebral challenge! Dive into the air-conditioned world of Melbourne’s escape rooms, where your family can enjoy a thrilling and mind-bending experience while staying refreshingly cool.

Here’s our list of the best escape rooms in Melbourne. It’s the perfect escape offering both mental stimulation and a break from the sun.

Trapt Melbourne Underground Bar Escape Rooms

16. Challenge your friends to laser tag

Dive into an action-packed escape from the heat at Melbourne’s laser tag arenas. Engage in high-energy battles under the cool glow of neon lights, providing a thrilling respite for the whole family.

Read our list of top Melbourne Laser Tag experiences.

Bowling Zone

17. Find a tranquil garden

Find solace in Melbourne’s lush gardens, where towering trees and shaded paths offer a serene escape. One of the most rejuvenating warm weather activities.

Take a leisurely stroll through the cool, green surroundings, providing a peaceful respite for families seeking both natural beauty and relief from the hot Melbourne weather.

Find somewhere tranquil with our post on the Best Melbourne Gardens.

Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens

18. Head to an outdoor cinema

Embrace the heat with a twist by enjoying an open-air movie experience at Melbourne’s outdoor cinemas.

As the sun sets, the warm breeze and starlit skies create the perfect backdrop for a family-friendly film night, offering a refreshing alternative to indoor entertainment during the balmy evenings. It’s one of those delightful things to do on a hot day.

Read our post with 19 outdoor cinemas in Melbourne to choose from.

garden cinema

19. Chill out on Puffing Billy Railway

Looking for cool outdoor activities when it’s hot? Hop aboard the Puffing Billy Railway!

Take a scenic ride through the Dandenong Ranges, where the cool breeze and stunning landscapes provide a refreshing escape from the heat.

Kids and grown-ups alike will love the vintage steam train experience.

Puffing Billy Railway, 1 Monbulk Rd Belgrave VIC 3160, (03) 9757 0700

Puffing Billy Railway Belgrave px

20. Cool down with the fishies at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Plunge into an underwater oasis at Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.

Explore mesmerizing marine life in air-conditioned comfort, providing an educational and refreshing escape for families looking for places to go when its hot.

It’s an aquatic adventure that ensures both entertainment and relief from the soaring temperatures.

Buy tickets to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, King St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Sealife Melbourne Amy Gardner ()

21. Spoil the kids at a toy store

For fun things to do on a hot day, these air-conditioned wonderlands are not only a paradise for young minds but also provide a delightful escape from the summer heat.

At Melbourne Central you can find the largest LEGO® Certified Store in the Southern Hemisphere, offering a treasure trove of hot day activities.

Explore our list of the Best Melbourne Toy Stores.

Lego Store Doncaster Melbourne 10

Best TV shows on ABC Kids and ABC Me

Click here for more outdoor play ideas

Best kids water bottles

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cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

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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