A reader's question inspired this post – the best things to do and places to go with toddlers, crawlers and babies in Melbourne!
Laura B reminded me of how hard it is to find age-appropriate places in Melbourne to take toddlers and babies. She asked “We’re spending a long weekend in Melbourne this weekend coming with our ten-month-old twins. Any suggestions on things we can do with them – they will be in their pram but very curious about the world around them and love a good crawl around?”
Things to do with toddlers and babies in Melbourne CBD
Artplay is a City of Melbourne funded children’s art studio and they run free and paid workshops and events for children 0-12 years. Lady AB’s first trip to Artplay was at 7 months old. New activities pop up every month so be sure to check their website to see some new fun activities for kids in Melbourne
Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
A trip to Sea Life Melbourne is another thing to add to your list of things to do with a toddler. Babies are fascinated by fish and at Melbourne Aquarium you can get up close to sea life big and small. Under 3s get free entry! Buy discount Melbourne Aquarium tickets here.
If you're a regular visitor then a membership (perhaps a combined membership with Legoland as part of the Merlin Annual Pass) might be worthwhile.
Entry is free for NGV’s two branches at Federation Square and St Kilda Road. Both galleries generally have at least one or two family-friendly exhibitions. There are also monthly art classes for 2-5 year olds called NGV Under 5s.
The Gallery Kitchen and Sculpture Park at NGV International are also great family-friendly hangouts. We'll often grab a picnic and eat on the lawn if we're in the CBD, even if we don't visit the rest of the gallery.
However, please note in order to enter, visitors over 12 years and two months of age must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a valid medical exemption, in line with the Chief Health Officer’s Directions.
Related: Best museums for kids in Melbourne
It’s never too early to introduce kids to books. Library at the Dock’s children’s library has gorgeous curved shelving and seating, interactive tabletops and screens, a digital carpet and some babies’ toys like wire bead threading sculptures.
Outside the library is a soft fall playground with water play.
Related: Melbourne's best libraries for kids
Things to do with babies and toddlers in Melbourne NORTH
Experience a bit of the country in the city and watch the cows being milked, pat the goats and chase chickens. Lady AB’s first visit to Collingwood Children’s Farm while she was still crawling – so don’t dress your baby in his/her best clothes as they’ll be on their knees in dirt, grass and barnyard floors! Other than that, I'm sure this activity is another fun one for kids to do
Replacing the former twice per month Farmer's Market operations are the weekly Farmer's Markets in the St Heliers Street precinct. This Farmer's Market will be composed of three social enterprises – Melbourne Farmers Markets, Collingwood Children’s Farm and Abbotsford Convent and will feature some of Victoria's finest farmers, small scale producers, as well as the Convent's own bakery and creative studios, plus the Collingwood Children's Farms own farm stall.
The Farm Cafe is an excellent family-friendly cafe on-site with pram access, high chairs and kids menu.
Crawlers will love the soft toys and getting up close to the animal enclosure. My kids visit Keeper Kids more than the animals! Surely another great fun place for kids.
BUY tickets to Melbourne Zoo to save time at the ticket office
You can see and pat farm animals, visit the historic Cooper’s Settlement, ride a tractor and crawl about in the adventure playground inside the farm as well as the fully fenced all ages playground adjacent to the cafe (which doesn’t require an entry fee).
Chooks, organic groceries, playspaces and a cafe – what more could you want?
CERES is a green oasis that's a wonderful place in the inner city for a parents group meetup.
CERES, Cnr Roberts & Stewart Sts, Brunswick East
The children’s gallery at Melbourne Museum has so many experiences, both inside and out.
In other parts of the museum, you can crawl along the dinosaur walk, see the various rocks and stones, explore the rainforest gallery or just stare at the tiny (and not so tiny) insects. Be sure to check their website to see what's on for Melbourne kids this week.
Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson St, Carlton
Spectacular nature play playground with a water play area that particularly suits little ones. Royal Park Nature Play review.
Related: Free water play in Melbourne
11. Playshed Cafe
This indoor play centre caters only for under 5s, so you know that your little ones will have fun and be safe.
Everything is soft fall with equipment for little hands. Playshed Cafe review.
Playshed Cafe, 6 Abruzzo Crescent, Thomastown
Things to do with babies and toddlers in Melbourne SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE
The Melbourne children's museum also known as MoPA Melbourne is the largest Children's Museum in Melbourne and one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere.
It's a colourful and exciting location for families who are looking to can have fun and learn together through play-based learning and creative exploration. The indoor play centre also gives kids multiple opportunities to get creative, immerse themselves in art or participate in active play.
Museum of Play and Art Melbourne, 247 Bay Rd, Sandringham, 1800 006 672
This fenced garden is within the Royal Botanic Gardens and provides opportunities for water play and nature play in a popular picnic spot.
You can also take your under 5s on a Punt Tour for free!
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra
14. Murrumbeena Park
Murrumbeena Park is home to a huge playground with different zones for different abilities, including a separate toddler area.
I particularly love the wooden sculptures and nature play elements.
Murrumbeena Park, 37 Kangaroo Road, Murrumbeena
Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Murrumbeena Park
Stunning Australian Garden, which showcases the diversity of Australian flora, plus free water play.
Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, cnr Ballato Rd and Botanic Drive, Cranbourne
A nautical-themed playground in a huge sandpit, right next to the long expanse of sand at calm and safe Carrum Beach. It’s sandpit squared! Your baby will surely have a blast at this playground!
Carrum Beach, Cnr Johnson ave and Old Post Office Ln, Carrum
Related: Melbourne's best beaches for kids
VJunior at Village Cinemas is a cinema designed by and for kids, with a play zone before the film, a slide, dim lighting, quieter sound and a more relaxed atmosphere. It's a great place for kids to relax, watch and enjoy a great fun movie.
VJunior at Village Cinemas Plenty Valley, Sunshine, Knox, Southland & Fountain Gate
Related: Best cinemas in Melbourne for kids
An indoor play centre for the ultimate LEGO fan! While it is mostly geared towards kids 3+ years there are some spaces which are suitable for toddlers.
Buy LEGOLAND tickets online prior to your visit.
Tip: Buy the Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium & Legoland Discovery Centre Attraction Pass and visit both parks for less. The attraction pass is valid for admission within 90 days.
19. String and Bow
String & Bow is a program of music classes that are fun, fresh and will have you and your little one banging out a glockenspiel accompaniment to everyone’s favourite Gotye track! It's truly a great kids activity that'll encourage your child to be their true selves!
String and Bow Music, 460 Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick
20. My Puzzle House
My Puzzle House is a sensory play gym in Pakenham that only allows 15 children at a time and always with at least one session host. Some of the active play equipment may be too advanced for little ones but they will love the quieter play equipment and a sensory room that’s dark and calming.
My Puzzle House, 5 Embry Court, Pakenham
Things to do with babies and toddlers in Melbourne EAST
21. Hays Paddock
A huge sprawling fully fenced playground with a good assortment of equipment for little ones such as numerous swings with safety belts, a large shaded sandpit, springers, seesaws and coloured panels to look through.
Hays Paddock, Enter via Lister St or Leason St, Kew East
Another fully fenced playground with nature play and water play opportunities. There’s also a big sandpit, musical bridge and spinners.
Wombat Bend Play Space, Finns Reserve, Templestowe Road & Union Street, Templestowe Lower
Ride Box Hill Miniature Railway‘s miniature steam and diesel engines around Elgar Park and play at the train-themed playground next to the track.
Box Hill Miniature Steam Railway, Cnr Belmore Rd and Elgar Rd, Mont Albert North
Related: Miniature railways in Melbourne
Playdays is an indoor play centre built just for under 5s! It's huge and clean with great sightlines to all the equipment.
Playdays, 350 Blackburn Rd, East Doncaster
Sign up to the free mini & me kids club at Eastland (for kids 4 and under) and receive exclusive offers, invites to free events and $5 valet parking!
mini & me, Eastland Shopping Centre, Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood
This award-winning, science-based indoor play centre aims to help you and your children to be curious, to create, and most importantly to connect.
The facility's Tangerine room is a cosy no big kids zone specially designed for pre-school children under 5. Within the Tangerine zone, there is also another separate area for babies and toddlers that are 2 and under.
TwistED Science, 36 Bulli St Moorabbin
Things to do with babies and toddlers in Melbourne WEST
Head straight to Ground Up, a STEM learning and play area for younger kids. It’s full of fantastic hands-on fun and suitable for crawlers.
However, as advised by the Victorian Government they are currently closed to the public from 5pm, 27 May 2021 but will reopen once restrictions are lifted.
Scienceworks 2 Booker St Spotswood
Ranger Kids is an indoor play space with three play areas for imaginative play – an African village, the savannah and a field hospital.
The Village Kids playground is next door but the climbing and ropes means it’s not as suitable for crawlers.
Ranger Kids Werribee Zoo, K Rd, Werribee South
A pirate ship playground set amongst a huge sandpit!
The ramps means that you can wheel a pram right inside the boat and then let kids out to crawl around the deck.
Pirate Ship Playground, Riverside Park, 118 The Boulevard, Aberfeldie
Funtopia is a clean, spacious and huge indoor play centre with a dedicated fenced and padded area for under 2s.
Under 4s can also go on the climbing walls at specific times during the week.
Funtopia, 98 Hampstead Rd, Maribyrnong, also Carrum Downs
Footscray Community Arts Centre is Australia’s longest running community arts centre and during school term it runs drop-in babies and toddler classes from music to circus.
Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street, Footscray
Craftercise offer drop in or term classes combining physical play, music, art, craft and messy play!
Craftercise, 52A Hawker Street, Airport West
Preschoolers are also catered for in their regular Arty Tales program.
Incy Wincy Babies Incinerator Gallery, 180 Holmes Rd, Aberfeldie
Things to do in Melbourne with babies and toddlers – Various locations
Baby Sensory classes are regular classes for babies under 18 months based on scientific and educational research with activities promoting visual, social and physical development.
Classes currently run in Richmond, Port Melbourne, Brunswick, Blackburn, Mount Waverley, Kensington and Thornbury.
Baby Sensory Classes , Variuous locations
35. Intergenerational Music Playgroups
Hey Dee Ho holds free Intergenerational Musical Playgroups within various aged care facilities, inviting families with young children to attend to join in singing, dancing and playing percussion instruments with the elderly residents.
The children benefit from interacting with different generations, the residents love seeing children having fun and both experience the amazing benefits of music. Music gets their entire brain going – memories, emotions, rhythm and beat – and is especially beneficial for residents with dementia. Something fun for the whole family!
36. Your Local Library
Every council library has a schedule of free drop-in storytime for babies 0-18 months and toddlers 2-5 years. If you’re in the city then the State Library, City Library, Library at the Dock and Southbank Library all run regular storytime events.
Click here for 100 best things to do in Melbourne with kids
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