Top 10 Things to Do in Melbourne’s Zoos with Under 5s

Zoos Victoria’s three zoos – Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary – cater really well for younger children in terms of their indoor and outdoor play spaces and special programming.

So here are some ideas on things to do with kids, particularly under 5s, at all of the zoos. Most of them are included with general admission.

TOT HOT Lists Things to do at Melbournes Zoos with under 5s 1

Incidentally, we have been Zoos Victoria members since forever. It is great value because it means we can visit whenever we want, for however long we want. We’re not forced to make the most of the entry fee by pushing ourselves to stomp around in cold and wet weather.

1. Melbourne Zoo – Keeper Kids

Keeper Kids Melbourne Zoo

I’ll be honest. Sometimes we don’t even bother visiting the animals when we visit Melbourne Zoo – we just head to Keeper Kids!

The indoor play space has storybooks, dress-ups, games and learning activities. It’s open daily and included in the admission fee.

Keeper Kids is next door to the Meerkat Cafe, just inside the main entrance on the right.

2. Melbourne Zoo – Growing Wild

Growing Wild is a new interactive area designed especially for children aged 3 to 8 years. This exhibit has three zones – ground trees and water. It’s filled with animals, sculptures, tunnels and sounds and hosts two preschool activities on weekdays.

Growing Wild is along the path behind the Meerkats near the main gate towards the Giant Tortoises

Find Hotels and Airbnbs near Melbourne Zoo

3. Melbourne Zoo – Tasmanian Devil Tuesdays

Every Tuesday 10.30am-11.30am head to Growing Wild and learn about the Tasmanian devil. There are stories, craft, games, and face painting (extra cost). The program is included in the admission fee.

Growing Wild is along the path behind the Meerkats near the main gate towards the Giant Tortoises

4. Werribee Zoo – Ranger Kids

ranger kids

Ranger Kids at Werribee Zoo is an adventure-filled indoor space where kids can transform themselves by dressing up as wildlife rangers and vets. It’s open daily from 12:30pm to 2:30pm (10.30am to 2.30pm on weekends) and is included in the admission fee.

Turn left at the main entrance, large building near toilets.

5. Toddler Thursdays

Rhythm of Africa, Werribee Open Range Zoo, K Road, Werribee South

Toddler Thursdays brings the African Village to life from 9.30am to 12.30pm with activities like face painting, crafts, hair braiding, music, and more.

African Village

6. Mini Zoo Keepers

ranger kids

Children aged 2-5 years and their adults can go on an intimate guided tour with a Zookeeper to help look after some of the special animals in the zoo. A Mini Zoo Keepers tour takes a maximum 16 people and runs every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9.15am. It costs $25 per person or $22.50 for non-members (general admission not included).

7. Toddler Weekdays

junior safari werribee zoo

I think Werribee Zoo caters especially well for toddlers with their ‘Toddler Weekdays’ program.  There’s a Junior Safari and Village Dance Party as well as the standard zoo programming.

8. Future Vets

healesville sanctuary

Inside the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary is a small indoor play space for mini vets. Kids can dress up and take care of the sick and injured soft toys. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm and is included in the entry fee.

Australian Wildlife Health Centre is over the bridge after the Robert Eadie Pavillion

9. Pouch House

kangaroo country healesville sanctuary

Pouch House is a small play area inside Kangaroo Country where kids can find out all about what makes kangaroo mums so amazing. It’s open daily from 9am to 5pm and is included in the entry fee.

Kangaroo Country, opposite the wombat exhibit

10. Nature Play Space

nature play healesville sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary’s Nature Play Space is the perfect place for kids to connect with nature and to explore through play. It’s conveniently located next to Pavilion Cafe so you can rest and watch your kids play too!

Nature Play Space is next to Reptile House

Click here for more things to do in Melbourne with babies and toddlers

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About Joyce Watts

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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