Melbourne for little kids this week.
February 28, 2010 2:44 AM   Subscribe

Things to do with quite small children in Melbourne during this week... with no car. Got any good suggestions?

Hey there. We're going to Melbourne for MrTaff's conferencey thingo and myself, toddlertaff and babytaff will be footloose and fancy free on Thursday and Friday with nothing to do. Can you suggest some local (we're staying at the Swanston on Bourke and Swanston) entertainment for someone with two littlies and no car?

Budget is not a concern... it's our first ever family holiday with babytaff (who is now 14 months old) so we want to make it special... Toddlertaff is 3.5years and I'm very, very old.

I'm open to buying fun things for the kids too, so shopping is not completely out.... but kids don't tend to enjoy that fabulously much. And we'll need very local food joints too.

Basically, I think I need central Melbourne for young parents... and bonus points for tips to getting to and from the airport on public transport. (I don't do the no-carseat thing, so taxis are out.)

And extra bonus points for tips on what to pack in terms of the weather. I'm a sweltering Sydney chick... who has only ever spent a few days in Melbourne, so know nothing about it. (Oh the shame.)
posted by taff to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (12 answers total)
The only non-taxi option from the airport is Skybus

Melbourne Zoo is pretty accessible by train (and Melbourne's trains, while a long way from perfect, are generally more reliable than Sydney's). There's a new baby elephant at the zoo, but not sure how often it's on show yet.

People say good things about the aquarium - I've never been, so can't comment on age-appropriateness. It's in the CBD.

The light-and-water show at the casino (just over the river from the CBD) would appeal to a toddler, I think.

I loved tram rides as a kid. The city circle tram (the brown one) is an old-fashioned tram that runs loops of the CBD. If you sit in the seat behind the driver, kids can kneel up and watch him/her use the old levers etc.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 3:29 AM on February 28, 2010

The Immigration Museum has some interesting, can-touch exhibits for kids. And a walk through Victoria Market can be fun - both tram accessible. The Melbourne Museum has some cool antipodean animals -- some now extinct - to gape at. I'd also wander through Federation Square and see if something is on there -- I was surprised to find live events and music a number of times.
posted by mozhet at 4:17 AM on February 28, 2010

The trams would probably have entertained me for hours when I was little. They're pretty entertaining now that I'm all grown up. Avoid peak hour though.

Melbourne also has a lot of cupcake shops. They have little ones for small mouths and those or us who want to sample more than one. I remember one in Degraves st and one near the entrance to the Intercontinental.
posted by kjs4 at 5:10 AM on February 28, 2010

Definitely the aquarium! I was there five years ago but it stands out in my memory as one of the best ever! Enjoy your visit to Melbourne. I was there with my husband when he was doing a conferencey thingo and I really REALLY loved it! What a cool city!
posted by rhartong at 6:50 AM on February 28, 2010

We were in Melbourne with our 10 month old. The tram was fun. The old gaol was fun and had a huge lawn that was perfect for running on.
posted by k8t at 7:17 AM on February 28, 2010

I've heard a lot of praise for the Collingwood Children's Farm
posted by geek anachronism at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2010

Jump on a tram going north on swanston St, get off at lygon St and eat cakes. The it'll just be a short walk to the museum, which is set in a park with playgrounds.
posted by pompomtom at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2010

I've heard that the Pompeii exhibition (in the ugly new museum behind the Exhibition building in Carlton Gardens) is good for kids - but Toddlertaff might be too young for that.

Pompeii scared the living hell out of me as a kid; but I just couldn't help rubbernecking at those plaster casts of people trapped in the ash...eeek.

I think that brown city circle tram is a freebie, too. It's one of the old-school ones, nice & nostalgic, rattly and kinda funny smelling.

Weather...the main thing I've learned is that you can have all four seasons in one day in Melbourne. Carry plenty of layers & a brolly in your day bag.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:00 PM on February 28, 2010

PS - stock up on coins if you plan to buy tickets on the trams - the machines don't accept notes.

Better yet is to buy a metcard (available at most 7-11s, newsagencies etc) & just validate it at the start of your trip & you get 2 hours or more to hop on & off trams, buses & trains to your heart's content. Very enlightened; it's as if they never had a Labor government in Victoria or something.

You should only need a Zone 1 metcard or ticket if you're staying central - it'll cover trips at least as far as St Kilda, and there isn't much reason to be going any further.

There's a Luna Park in St Kilda, btw...never been in so I can't say if it's any good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:05 PM on February 28, 2010

Go to the Botanic Gardens and look at the ducks. Don't take a bag of breadcrumbs to feed them; a sign says not to, because it's bad for the lakes. There's a wonderful children's garden there with a fountain kids can splash in, and a little stream (about a foot wide) they can follow. Pack a swimming outfit for them if it's a warm day. Honestly, you can spend several mornings or afternoons with them there and they won't get bored with it.

The easiest way to get there, other than a taxi, is by taking the the No. 8 tram from Swanston St to the Domain Rd / Domain St intersection. It's only a few kilometers and the ride should take about fifteen minutes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:11 AM on March 1, 2010

I've heard a lot of praise for the Collingwood Children's Farm

Not too far from the city ans well worth it. You can get a commuter bus along Johnston Street, catch it in Lonsdale Street in the city. When you've finished catch the bus back and stop off in Lygon street for ice cream and a look at the shops.

Zoo with two little ones can be exhausting. Catch the 55 tram there, not the train - that's dull, and will most probably be delayed or cancelled.

The arts centre across the river from the city has an OK playground rope thingy that my two little ones like to play on, and lets me relax with an OK coffee. The gardens across the road are nice.

Catch the tram down St Kilda Rd to Luna Park - lots of fun for toddlers, and fairly cheap.

The City Museum has a display of old toys, that's sorta fun nice old building too. The playground at the exhibition building is fun for kids, keeps them amused for a good hour or so.
posted by mattoxic at 3:01 AM on March 1, 2010

hey, there's a Ron Mueck exhibition at the NGV - National (sic) Gallery of Victoria.

He's the guy who creates giant hyper-real sculptures of people; mentioned on the blue at least once or twice [previously].

Possibly the kind of thing that'll give toddletaff nightmares for just about ever, but at least you'll get to see the sculptures, which everybody in the world says are outstanding.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:30 PM on March 2, 2010

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