Its winter in Melbourne and the icy days are starting to set in. Although its loads of fun to play in the rain and jump in muddy puddles, there are some days when we all just want to get out of the house but remain indoors.
Here is a list of my favourite places to take my children when we just want to be inside.
This amazing play centre is my all-time favourite place to take the children. It caters to all ages, and when I say all I ages I mean all ages. There is a toddler area for children under 2 years where younger babies can lie on a soft floor and watch the world go by, older babies can play with the sensory walls and toddlers can climb on the mini wall, slide down the slide and build a house with big foam blocks.
The playground world is great for children aged 2-8 years but even older children who are still young at heart or younger children who like a good challenge can play in this space all day. It has 4 levels of fun including a mirror maze, ball pit with a twist, (Big exercise balls), spider webs, a 5 metre high volcano slide, loads of other slides, shooting arena, and interactive monkey play system.
Then there is the climbing world. This area includes 40 different themed climbing walls where anyone aged 4 years and above has 1 hour to climb as many walls as they psychically can.
Other than being the most amazing playcentre I have ever been to, Funtopia has an equally amazing café called Mr Spriggins. This café serves loads of yummy snacks and meals and runs as a normal café to the public and the actual playcentre itself.
Special shout out to the staff who have the greatest enthusiasm and are also wonderful at helping children to resolve issues when they arise. They always go above and beyond to make sure that our time at Funtopia is a wonderful experience.
***Although it can be quite expensive if you have multiple children who do the climbing world and playground world, it’s still so worth it.***
The Melbourne Museum is an oldie but a goodie. You could seriously go there every day for a week and still have things to do and see.
The revamped children’s area is jam packed with places to explore and discover. I have actually visited the museum with my children and spent our entire time in the children’s area alone. It’s equipped with a climbing area, loads of nooks to chill out in, puzzles, blocks, books, puppets, disco area and loads more exciting things.
It’s a perfect place for a parents group outing, a meeting place for catch ups or just a place to bring your children for a play. The rest of the museum includes favourites such as the dinosaur exhibit where you can explore the world before our time, the bugs exhibit where you can safely observe spiders from behind glass and learn about all of the other creepy crawlies, and the taxidermy room with every animal you could ever imagine. Other great places to visit are the rain forest walk which leads to the first people exhibit and the Melbourne Story where you can step back in time and see what a house from Melbourne in the old days looked like and meet the spectacular Pharlap.
***I highly recommend purchasing a museum membership for families as this will give you entry to Melbourne Museum, Science works and the migration museum. It will also give you discounts at their cafes, gift shops, events and for car parking at the Melbourne Museum. Children, people on a healthcare card and seniors card receive free entry.***
Scienceworks is always loads of fun with two levels of hands on interactive learning experiences. It is a well known fact that children learn best through play and Scienceworks is the perfect place to do this. The Ground up exhibit includes a large play space where children can develop and further their cognitive skills with loads of cause and effect experiences whilst working on their social and team building skills whilst building a house with other children they have quite often never met. Sports works is the museums oldest exhibit but still so much fun. Families can race along side an interactive video of Cathy Freeman, test their reflexes on the button wall and shoot a hoop or race in a wheel chair race. Other exhibits include think ahead and beyond perception which use technology to help children explore.
Jump on a train, bus or tram (because how fun is it to travel on public transport when you’re a child) and head to Sealife this winter. You can find Nemo in the coral caves, be wowed by the sharks and manta rays in Ray bay, explore the sea life in the rock pools and giggle as the Penguins slide around on the ice and dive in and out of the water.
Check out their website to see what time they do feedings and talks to enhance your time there and be sure to visit the 4D cinema to see Ice Age, it’s loads of fun.
***RACV members receive a discount on entry price***
“Melbourne zoo?” I hear you ask “but that’s outdoors” There are actually quite a few places that you can visit at the zoo that are indoors. At the entrance of the Melbourne zoo hidden between the main walkway and the café next to the meercat playground is the Zoo Keepers play area. This room is well heated and has seating for adults to relax whilst their children explore. It also has toilets so you don’t have to leave the area when nature calls.
This fantastic play space includes dress ups, a vet area to look after the plush animals and construction area to build and create.
When it’s time for lunch you can head over to the seal exhibit and eat your lunch whilst watching the seals dive around from the underground viewing area.
Other great indoor areas at the zoo are the Reptile house, The Orang-utan Sanctuary or you can warm up in the super hot Butterfly house.
***I highly recommend a zoo membership if you are going to attend the zoo more than three times in a year. It gives you free access to The Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, you also get discount to all of their events, and the gift store. You also gain reciprocal entry rights to selected interstate zoos.***
Buried in an industrial estate in Keilor East is one of the original play Centres of the north/west in Melbourne.
The reason I love Kidz City is because it’s not overly busy and you can see your child in almost every area of the play space.
It has a large toddler area which includes a jumping castle, climbing equipment with two small slides, toddler toys and a cubby house. The main play area is like a maze of climbing equipment which includes several slides to challenge different skill levels and a ball shooting arena. The highlight of our visits to Kidz City is the massive jumping pillow situated in front of the table area where many children spend hours jumping, rolling over and lying on for a much needed rest.
Another reason to love Kidz City is that I run my music sessions from there on the last Wednesday of every month and on Wednesdays during the school holidays which is all included in the entry price.
There are plenty more amazing indoor places to take your children such as Crocs play centres and Lollypops Playland which are situated around Melbourne. Other places to visit are bounce for those who have loads of energy to burn and you also can’t go past a visit to Bunnings and a play in their playground. Other wonderful places to visit are Inflatable world, Bowling, Team adrenalines $5 free play on Wednesdays, Artvo and National Gallery of Victoria.
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