Baby it’s cold outside.. or raining, or windy – or quite likely (if it’s winter in Melbourne) all three! The craft supplies are waning (as is your love of glitter), the enthusiasm for LEGO has departed, world war three has erupted over the kids monopoly set and everyone is bored of Uno, your Stan account has completely drained your monthly download allowance – it’s time to get out of the house. Here is our list of top places to have fun indoors around Melbourne – getting you out of the confines of your own home.
Want to wear the kids out? You may need to put in your noise cancelling ear plugs – but after an hour or four in these venues everyone will be ready for some quiet time.
1. Indoor pool
Yup it might be winter, but water play is still a winner. The heating will be pumping and it will be practically Queensland temps inside. Our top favourites include:
- Watermarc – Greensborough
- GESAC – Bentleigh East
- MSAC – Albert Park
- We are yet to visit, but it looks totally cool, Aqua Pulse in Hoppers Crossing
2. Trampolining park
Our favourite is Bounce Inc as it’s the original and they are the pioneers (but hop on google as there are others around). Bounce can be found in Glen Iris, Blackburn North and Essendon Fields. During school holidays be sure to book in advance. Bounce do a decent coffee and their food offering isn’t bad.
Inflatable World is spreading like wildfire… From Hobart to Darwin you can find Inflatable World’s literally taking over Australia. And there’s a reason why – they are awesome fun. For two solid hours you can bounce, fall, leap and scramble your way through a giant inflatable obstacle course – the kids are bound to be asleep on the drive home (well maybe almost asleep).
4. Play Centre
By about age 8 or 9 indoor play centres stop being a thing… but until then this is a sure way to buy a good 2 hours of mostly hassle free catch up time with a friend or the newspaper – until someone needs the toilet, is hungry, squashes a finger or wants a go on the bicycle thing that some other kid won’t let them have a turn on (or all of those things at once). Pack your hand sanitizer and don’t have high expectations on the coffee. Base Camp Kids (Nunawading), Rabbit Hole Kids (Braybrook) and SuperZu Playcentre (Dingley) are three we’ve reviewed (hit up Google for a centre closer to you).
5. Skate Park
If you have younger kids be sure to hit the indoor skate park early in the day – by afternoon it’s dominated by the big kids which might be intimidating. But the good thing about an indoor skate park is that you need to book and there is a limit as to how many people can be in the space at one time (unlike the outdoor free ones) – so technically it shouldn’t be overcrowded. We love The Bunker Skate Park (Braeside) and have been back many times – as well as Rampfest (Braybrook) which has a great area for smaller kids.
Ice skating and roller skating are also loads of fun for school aged kids.. get into the winter spirit and go ice skating (O’Brien Group Arena at the Docklands).
Why climb the walls at home when you can get the adrenaline pumping and have 10 times the fun at UpUnlimited (Moorabbin). This is a kid-friendly rock climbing centre that allows the kids to climb without too much parental involvement – if your kids are 7+ after a few goes with a bit of help they usually get the knack and you can leave them to it. Or join in the fun too. They have the best coffee out of any of the venues mentioned above.
Maybe your idea of indoor fun is something with some culture, that involves exploring new ideas – somewhere where you can leave the noise cancelling ear plugs at home and instead slow down the pace.
7. Visit a museum
Scienceworks is an absolute favourite of ours – we could spend a whole day there every holidays and never get bored. There is the permanent exhibition, there are the temporary exhibits, outside is a playground and plenty of space to run as well as the Pumping Station and the Lightening Room (which is very exciting – but not great for preschoolers). Be sure to pack your lunch. During school holidays there are regular activities and presentations to add onto your visit.
Melbourne Museum is big enough to require multiple visits to see all the gallery spaces throughout. And when the kids need a breath of fresh air and a run around there are two playgrounds (strategically placed at either end of the museum) that provide a perfect spot for a break. Be sure to check out First Peoples on the ground floor.
The National Sports Museum is part exhibit part sport activity – where you can test your skills out in all sorts of sports.
8. Visit a gallery
We never tire of visiting the NGV. Spread over its two venues you really need to put aside two days to get through these two! NGV International has the fabulous Great Hall for indoor picnics if the weather is bad – or the garden area out the back when the sky is clear. There is always something to see within the three floors of art – and we never tire of visiting the free kids exhibition. At NGV Australia there is the Australian collection to investigate.
ACMI at Fed Square has a fabulous permanent free exhibition but is closed for renovations until mid 2020.
9. Go to a live show
Melbourne is bursting with events and shows – just check out our events section for latest productions!!
10. Go to a movie
Going to the cinema is always a favourite thing to do with friends when we need downtime and a good laugh.
What do you think? What else should we add to our list of things to do in Melbourne when it’s raining?