Melbourne’s Best Family Outings

Anyone who has ever visited or lived in Melbourne, knows it an amazing city. Going out as a family can be pricey though, plus there’s always that unpredictable weather. I’ve gathered some intel for the budget-minded family and found the two best outings, for rain and shine.

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If you are looking for that one family outing that you can do when it’s pouring outside; you can’t beat The Scienceworks, for entertainment and affordability. Patrons are encouraged to touch, play and interact with the exhibits; spend hours exploring and learning new things. The facility houses several other attractions; including The Planetarium. (It’s defiantly a bucket list experience!) Trust me; even Dad will get into it!

As the name suggests, it’s all about science. There is a section for younger children upstairs and a large outdoor area, with a playground, for those who want to bring their lunch and make a complete day of it. There’s a gift shop and canteen, as well as having some of the most spectacular views of the city, from within its confines.

Car parking is available for a flat rate of $2. The only issue; be prepared for a crowd, because it really is one of Melbourne’s most affordable and entertaining, family outings. Even with a crowd, it’s a top day out.

Here’s the run-down of the most important info:

Address: 2 Booker Street Spotswood, Victoria, Australia

Hours: Open daily, 10am – 4:30pm (Closed Good Friday & Christmas Day)

General entry: Adult $12.00; Child (0 to 16 years) and Concession free

Optional extras (Planetarium show, Lightning Room show, Rescue exhibition): Adult $6.00; Child $4.50; Concession $5.00

Bookings and enquiries: 13 11 02

The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens

For a sunny day outing, the best pick would have to be The Melbourne Zoo. It’s undergoing some extensive renovations to it’s predator enclosure; but don’t let that deter you. It’s excellent value and looks like it’s only going to get better!

There are animals from all over the world, as well as a selection of Australian native inhabitants. The monkeys, tigers and elephants are a real treat and just before closing, the elephants go out to feed. There’s even a baby elephant, who is sure to capture your heart.

There are various food options and plenty of room for everyone to spread out and pull up a piece of grass for a picnic, if you want to keep the cost down. There are gift shops scattered throughout and prices start low enough, to take home a small souvenir or two.

Getting there is relatively easy, either by car or train. Once again, car parking is a flat rate of $2 for 5 hours. For most families, 5 hours of wandering around the zoo is plenty, but it’s so big you’ll probably need to make a second trip. It’s stroller and wheelchair friendly (tip: call and pre-book, if you need one for Nana), but some of the pathways do get muddy in wet weather.

Here’s the most vital info:

Address: Elliott Avenue, Parkville 3052.

Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm every day of the year.

Cost: Adult (Ages 17+) $30.80; Adult concession $23.60; Child 4-15 years (weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian government school holidays) free; Child 4-15 years (Monday to Friday, outside holidays) $13.60; Child (0–3 years) free

Family package deals (Monday to Friday – except school holidays): 2 adults with 1 child $74.60; 2 adults with 2 children $74.60; 2 adults with 3 children $81.60; 2 adults with 4 children  $88.40; 2 adults with 5 children  $95.20

Tickets and bookings: 1300 966 784

Image via zoo.org.au

Melbourne: ‘Not A City To Visit But To Live’

Before coming to Melbourne, I did some research to be sure not to miss anything. I was dazed when I realised all the articles I was reading said the same thing: “Melbourne is not a city to visit but a city to live.” I have tried to understand the meaning of that sentence but it wasn’t until after a couple of months living in the city that I got it. Here’s what I have found:

Melbourne is the coffee capital

It’s said that “the Yarra River runs brown,” which isn’t to say it’s overflowing with sewerage but rather that coffee is the lifeblood that keeps the city’s heart pumping. There are restaurants and cafes everywhere, going out for breakfast everyday or grabbing a coffee before going to work just become part of your habits. You don’t love coffee? You eventually will after living in Melbourne for a while!

Melbourne is multicultural

Melbourne is one of the most multicultural cities I have ever visited. Its population is made up of people from all over the world. Around 140 cultures are represented, from Australia’s original indigenous inhabitants to more recent migrants from Asia and Africa. The community includes people from South Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, Italy, India, Greece, Japan and more. All these different cultures  produce a great fusion of food styles that you’re going to love, not to forget the multitude of festivals that celebrate art, food and culture from around the world.

Melbourne is the city of artists

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You can’t walk through Melbourne without seeing street artists, singers, painters, dancers, actors. Melbourne is also very popular for the legal street art that contributes to a vibrant urban environment and can change continually on a daily basis. Local and international artists use the walls as a temporary canvas for their works, and even without knowing the stories behind the paintings or the artists, the art is very interesting to look at.

Melbourne has the best markets

The markets in Melbourne are another thing that you need to experience. The most popular is The Queen Victoria Market but there are so many others. You get to buy things like fruit or vintage clothes but also original items made by artists and skilled craftspeople that sell their wares direct to the public. Of course you don’t have to go to a market with the intention of buying something. You can just go along to soak up the atmosphere.

I think this is what “living Melbourne” means; You make the city yours and get involved with everything around you. Your habits change in this cosmopolitan city and you can’t help but open your mind to different things and experiences.

By Erika Cucchiara

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