ACMI stands for the Australian Centre for Moving Image and it’s Australia’s national museum for film, television, video games, digital culture and art. The free Screen Worlds exhibition is a fantastic destination for families.
I had always assumed that Screen Worlds was a historical display and thus aimed at older kids who could read exhibition plaques. In reality it’s a lot more interactive than that and there is a fantastic Kids Space area that’s great for under 5s (as well as older kids).
Lady AB skips past all of the displays and zooms straight into the Kids Space. It features four mounted ipads filled with fun and educational games and two TV screens with a selection of cute short films. Lady AB plays tic tac toe with The Gruffalo, reads storybooks and helps a toy rabbit get dressed and fed!
In this i-generation even the youngest baby seems to know how to swipe and click and by the time they’re Lady AB’s age (5) they can pretty much manage the iPad games and TV touch screens without much adult supervision. As such, the Kids Space area a very relaxing place to hang out if you need to have some zone out time with electronic babysitters!
Baby 2.0’s favourite area is the Games Lab, with a semi-circle of TV screens and a selection of iconic video games. He tries to play Mario Kart a couple of times, never gets the hang of the joystick, but seems to enjoy trying and watching the other kids play. As you can imagine it’s a particularly popular area with kids so it’s worth visiting at opening time 10am so you can grab a console.
The Games Lab has a dedicated Minecraft area too which is hot demand.
The kids are so absorbed by the Kids Space and Games Lab that I am able to spend some time wandering through the exhibits.
You’ll find Dexter, the Perfect Match Robot…
…. the car from Mad Max…
….and other Australian cinema paraphernalia and interactive works. If you have more time you can deep dive into different cinematic themes and watch lots of content. We just scratch the surface of all that’s available!
There is a free ‘Kids Trail’ self-guided activity booklet to help younger visitors navigate the exhibition but to be honest the games and iPads hold much more attraction!
In January 2017 younger kids can make a flip book and thaumatrope at drop in sessions of Flip It and Spin It. Most of the other sessions are for children 8+ years. More info on school holiday programs here.
Note if you’re a frequent visitor to ACMI it’s worth taking up ACMI’s household membership. It provides discounted rates for ACMI programs and activities, $12 parking at Federation Square, discounts at the ACMI shop and cafe and free member-only screenings. On joining you receive 2 x Member Exhibition Pass for a paid exhibition and 4 x Member Cinema Pass, which basically covers the cost of your membership fee of $90. Click here for other must-have memberships for Melbourne families.
- Free entry into Screen Worlds;
- Arrive at 10am for better access to the most popular areas for kids – the Kids Space and Games Lab. Gets busy by 11am, especially during school holidays;
- Meet daily in front of Screen Worlds at 11am or 2:30pm for a guided tour;
- There is a free ‘Kids Trail’ self-guided activity booklet to help younger visitors navigate the exhibition;
- Kids’ Flicks films for kids and families screen regularly. All sessions are ticketed at the ACMI Kids’ Flick rate of $8;
- For snacks and food visit the ACMI Cafe and Bar;
- Within ACMI you’ll find disabled toilets;
- Join ACMI’s household membership for discounts; and
- Access via public transport (Flinders St station) or on weekdays park for up to 3 hours and only pay for 1 hour by using Book A Bay at Wilson Parking at Federation Square.