By Kimberly Gillan

After two years of cancelled plans and disappointed children, let’s clean the slate with a ripper summer of Victorian kid-friendly activities and events.

Pack the sunscreen and snacks and get ready for aching cheeks as you try to wipe the smile off your faces. It’s yet unclear what the Omicron variant has in store for us this summer, but while we can and authorities deem it’s still safe to do so, let’s try to give our kids the kinds of memories they deserve these summer holidays. And of course, we’ve got a heap of outdoor options to enjoy.


Jurassic World by Brickman
Dinosaur and LEGO-lovers alike will lose their little minds at the Jurassic World exhibition, where Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught and his team have used more than 6 million LEGO bricks to create large-scale dinosaurs, props, scenes and activities for a journey through Jurassic World like no other. Cap off the prehistoric adventure with a play using some of the 2.5 million bricks there to build with.
When: Until end of January
Where: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Tickets: From $25, via Ticketek

TwistED Science
A play centre for curious kids – TwistED Science opened in Moorabbin in November, offering a hands-on STEM-powered experience for inquisitive minds. With areas designed for all ages, kids can compete in reaction speed tests, race balls around tracks and tubes, have fun in the bubble-making room or create their own paper flying machines. There’s also a café on site and gift shop stocking brain boosting Christmas gifts. And if you happen to be holidaying on the Murray, the original TwistED is in Echuca for some science-y fun amongst the river play.
Where: 36 Bulli Street, Moorabbin

NGV’s pink pond
Get a feel for Australia’s famous inland salt lakes without the epic road trip, via a little wade in NGV’s pond[er]. While you ponder your relationship with the environment, kids can indulge their universal obsession with water splashing and balancing on platforms and walkways.
Where: NGV, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
When: Until April 2022
Entry: Free

Firefly Zipline
See the city from a whole new perspective with a 130-metre zipline ride from Fed Square to Alexandra Gardens. Reaching speeds of 40km/h, there are two parallel ziplines so you and your youngster can go side-by-side. The minimum weight is 35 kilograms, so this is an activity for older kids and a willing accompanying (waiver-signing) adult.
When: Until December 28
Where: Take the steps at the back of Fed Square toward the river and find Firefly on your left.
Tickets: $49

Christmas Festival of Lights
As if a ride at Geelong’s Adventure Park wasn’t enough to have your kids whooping with joy, now you can also wander through the Christmas Festival of Lights for next-level nighttime fun. With 2.7 million lights making up incredible installations, such as a 12-metre smoking dragon and eight-metre caterpillars, plus a visit with Santa and a chance to pen a Christmas letter, it’s sure to be a night to remember.
When: Until January 9 (closed Christmas Day)
Where: 1249 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington, Geelong 3222
Tickets: From $29.50

Follow the Gruffalo Trail
Download the Gruffalo Spotter 2 Aus app and take your pint-sized readers to Rippon Lea Estate to journey through the “deep dark wood” to find your favourite Gruffalo characters. The augmented reality app has face and body recognition and if you roar, the Gruffalo roars back. You can take selfies with your favourite characters and create mini movies too.
Where: Rippon Lea House and Gardens, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick
When: 10am-4pm daily

Gelato Unou
Just 45 minutes out of the city lies Seaford, a sweet little village boasting some of Melbourne’s whitest sand and generally calm waves, complete with a beachfront café and mouth-watering gelato just across the road. Master gelato chef Piero hails from Sicily and combines Victorian produce with Italian artisan pastes to create truly scrumptious cones for the perfect holiday treat.
Where: 125A Nepean Highway, Seaford
When: Open 7 days, 11.30am-10.30pm

Picnic at Organ Pipes National Park
Your little volcano (and nature) enthusiasts will love a chance to check out the incredible rock formations left from an ancient volcano eruption 1 million years ago. A short (but steep) walk will take you to the majestic Organ Pipes that tower over the pretty Jackson Creek, and a little further to Rosette Rock, which looks like a giant wheel. Throw down your picnic rug and keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas … and if you’re really lucky, an elusive platypus.
Where: Organ Pipes Road, Keilor North


Rye Carnival
Channel simpler times with some fun carnival rides on the Rye foreshore. Whether you want to get dizzy in the tea cups, overlook the Bay from the top of the ferris wheel or have a crack at an arcade game, get into holiday mode on a balmy summer night down the Peninsula.
When: December 26 to 30 January 30 (closed NYE)
Where: Rye foreshore

Forget fickle conditions and facing the ocean elements and head inland for a family day or night at URBNSURF. This man-made surfing haven has two main areas – The Bays for gentle waves for swimmers and softboarders (aged over six), and The Point for more experienced surfers seeking a bigger ride. When skin turns wrinkly, kids can take over the playground while grown-ups re-fuel at Three Blue Ducks.
Where: 309 Melrose Drive, Tullamarine
Price: From $15 for a two-hour swim in The Bays

Learn to fly without the nerve-wracking jumping-out-of-a-plane bit at Melbourne’s only indoor skydiving centre. Soaring on a “cushion of controlled air”, a one-hour session includes an instructional brief and two “flights”, promising to spread grins on the faces of anyone aged over three.
Where: 2 Burns Street, Essendon Fields
Price: From $79.95

The Big Bounce
With obstacle courses, sports arenas, racing slides and inflatable playgrounds, the Guinness World Record-holding Big Bounce Australia is back. Expect games, dance competitions, DJs and separate sessions for different age groups, promising you some very weary kids at the end of an energetic session.
When: January 28 to February 6
Where: Flemington Racecourse
Price: $48 per person

Augmented Reality Animals
Exploring the universal intrigue of camouflage, this 1.5-hour workshop will see kids aged six to 12 (and an accompanying adult) learn about the power of camouflage in animals like snow leopards, geckos and grasshoppers, before creating their own augmented reality face paint using digital art technologies.
Where: Melbourne Museum, Learning Lab
When: January 4-25
Price: $35 per person ($30 for museum members), not including museum entry

Disney: The magic of animation
Take your kids behind the scenes of their favourite Disney movies, in this special exhibition featuring original paintings, sketches and concept art. Giant projections, immersive scenes from The Lion King and Pocahontas and the opportunity to be part of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs scene are all part of the day.
When: Until January 23
Where: ACMI, Fed Square
Tickets: Adults $26, kids $17, under-4 free

Hippo Beach at Werribee Open Range Zoo
As if a safari bus ride to visit the new zebra foal and Scimitar-horned oryx calves isn’t exciting enough, a splash at the hippo water play space or a frolick amongst animal misters on days above 24 degrees is sure to set this thrilling memory in stone.
Where: K Road, Werribee
Tickets: Must be purchased in advance.

Cactus Country
An exotic holiday to Mexico might remain in the “too hard” basket for many of us right now, but the family can still get some of those mariachi feels in Strathmerton on the Murray at the remarkable Cactus Country. Stroll through 12 acres of flowering cactus gardens, pick up some succulents or cacti to take home then perch in the café for a feed of homemade nachos, cactus cake and even cactus ice-cream.
Where: 4986 Murray Valley Highway Strathmerton

Summer Sundays in Ballarat
Get set for a Sunday “fun-day” for the whole family in Ballarat this summer, with live music happening every week featuring big name artists.
When: January 9, 16, 23 and 30
Where: Ballarat Botanical Gardens

Puffing Billy
Riding Victoria’s favourite steam train through the forest has always been the very definition of childhood adventure, and now it arrives at the stunning new Lakeside Visitor Centre where you can learn about steam engines, grab a café lunch or picnic pack then explore the beautiful Emerald Lake Park surrounds. Whether you take to the forest walking trails, ride a paddle boat in Lake Treganowan or take a dip in the wading pool on hot days, kids will be nothing short of stoked.
Where: Puffing Billy departs Belgrave Station at 10am, 11am and 12.30pm daily.
Tickets: Belgrave-Lakeside return, $31.50 children, $61 adults

Make the most of your health, relationships, fitness and nutrition with our Live Well newsletter. Get it in your inbox every Monday.

Most Viewed in Lifestyle

Source: Read Full Article