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Top 5 School Holiday Activities at Royal Botanic Gardens for Families

Remember just how thrilling it was to build cubbies when you were a kid? Recreate the joy with your little ones with an afternoon at Botanica: A Village Among the Oak Trees, at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Melbourne Gardens this summer.

As well as Botanica, the Gardens are hosting all sorts of new walks, workshops and nature play activities for families these school holidays, with different things on at both Melbourne and Cranbourne Gardens. They’re an easy way to have fun outside, without a tonne of preparation.

Here are five not to be missed activities at the Gardens this summer!

  1. Botanica: A Village Among the Oak Trees

Help create a village of cubbies using materials gathered from Melbourne Gardens. There’ll be clay creature making and naming, leaf and log rubbings, a weaving wall and a mud kitchen with sensory play. When it’s time to take a break, enter the chill out zone for free lemon myrtle tea, bean bags and books.

Botanica: A Village Among the Oak Trees

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Melbourne Gardens
Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne

Wednesday 16 to Saturday 19 January 11am to 3pm, drop in anytime

For all ages


Enquiries: 9252 2429

Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s Cranbourne Gardens

2. Outdoor Escapades

This is a chance for bigger kids and their parents to get hands-on experiences with nature. Join an adventure that traipses through the Southern China Collection in Melbourne Gardens and ventures onto Long Island (where it feels like you’re completely immersed in the bush!). You’ll also learn how to use simple hand tools to create your own woodworking project.

Outdoor Escapades
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Melbourne Gardens
Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne

Monday 21 & Tuesday 22 January 2019 11am to 1pm

For ages 8–12, with an adult

$16 per person, bookings essential

Contact: 9252 2429

3. Manna Walk Discovery

Take a guided walk and learn about the secrets of the bushland at Cranbourne Gardens. You’ll keep your eyes peeled for signs of all the native critters that live in the bush, and hear stories about the plants and animals that thrive there. There’s nature play activities included as well.

Manna Walk Discovery
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Cranbourne Gardens
Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne

Wednesday 16 January & Saturday 16 February 10.30am (90 mins)

For ages 5–12, with an adult

$5 per person

Contact: 5990 2200

4. Fire & Seed

Learn about how plants and animals take refuge during bushfires, and how fires form part of the natural Australian ecosystem. You’ll explore the bushland in Cranbourne with one of the Gardens’ experienced learning facilitators and then your little one will use what you’ve all learned to create wombat burrows with tools from the sandpit.

Fire & Seed
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Cranbourne Gardens
Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne

Wednesday 8 & Thursday 9 January
11am (2 hrs)

For ages 5–10, with an adult

$10 per child (accompanying adult free)

Contact: 5990 2200

5. Welcome to Birderap

Delve into the Australian Garden in this new activity designed to engage all of your kid’s senses. Touch: Feel the cool, refreshing water on your feet as you paddle in the Rockpool Waterway.

Taste: Chill out with a cup of tasty lemon myrtle tea. Sight: See the beauty of the Gardens as you learn about Biderap, the dry season in the seven seasons of the local Aboriginal people. Smell: Enjoy the scent of the Eucalyptus, mingling with other native plants. Plus you’ll also pot up your own river mint to take home.

Welcome to Biderap
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Cranbourne Gardens
Cnr Ballarto Road and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne

Wednesday 8 & Thursday 9 January 11am (2 hrs)

All ages

$8 per person

Contact: 5990 2200

Children's Garden Royal Botanic Gardens

When you’re done building your own world at Botanica, the rest of Melbourne Gardens is well worth exploring. Fountains bubbling up from the ground in the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden are bliss on a hot day, and there’s an organic Kitchen Garden, bamboo forest and wetlands that kids adore. Down by Ornamental Lake you’ll also find lawns where kids can play (and spot interesting birds and eels) and it’s right by The Terrace cafe, where you can get drinks and meals.

Australian Garden Botanic Gardens Cranbourne

For something a bit different, the incredible Cranbourne Gardens are about a 45-minute drive from the CBD. Here, there’s a kids’ play area inside the award-winning Australian Garden, a summer pop up picnic area with lawn games like Giant Jenga and Hoop Toss, and the bushland has more picnic areas and barbecues, along with plenty of amenities. You’re almost guaranteed to see a wallaby, and often lizards and cute little marsupials dart about, too.

Best of all, the Gardens are free to enter!

school holiday activities botanic gardens

This post has been produced in collaboration with Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits 1000 X 667

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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