18 FREE Things to do in Melbourne with Kids
Heading out every weekend with the kids in Melbourne can get costly. Buying a family ticket to a museum or activity can sometimes cost a small fortune. But Melbourne has so many free things to see and do with kids which don’t cost a cent, and can be just as fun. We have put together a list of free things to do in Melbourne with kids that we love.
Free Things to do in Melbourne with kids
See below for our list of FREE things to do in Melbourne with kids. If you are looking for Christmas specific check out our post below:
1. Royal Botanical Gardens – Children’s Garden
One of the best free things to do in Melbourne with kids is to visit the Ian Potter Foundation, Children’s Garden. Located in the Royal Botanical Gardens near St Kilda, it is a gorgeous spot to bring the whole family for a picnic and play.
With lots of different trees, plants, and flowers, and some fun water play, it is a great spot to let the kids get close to nature.
2. State Library
The State Library in Melbourne has a great kids section called the Pauline Gandel Children’s Quarter perfect for those up to 12 years old (and their parents or carers). There is a two story castle, the lower level catering for young children, and the top level for children from 8-12 years old.
There are plenty of play spaces, reading nooks, and a collection of more than 4000 children’s books, including those in Braille, and in languages other than English.
Make sure to check out their weekly events like Story Time and Baby Bounce, and also their popular school holiday programs. Best of all, it is all FREE!
3. City circle tram
Children are easily amused, and public transport is a big hit. The city circle tram is free so you can jump on and give the kids a ride at no cost at all. The free city circle tram takes you passed some of Melbourne’s amazing tourist attractions and also provides audio commentary about city landmarks and attractions.
4. St Kilda Penguins
Most people who live in or visit Melbourne take a day trip from Melbourne or even a weekend to visit the famous penguin parade in Phillip Island, but did you know that there are penguins in St. Kilda which are completely free?
The penguins can be seen at the end of St Kilda pier almost every night of the year. For the best views, head to the pier around sunset and wait to hear them coming in. Careful not to use flash if taking photos, and don’t try to touch them, they are protected after all.
5. Melbourne Tram Museum, Hawthorn
Have you ever wanted to drive one of Melbourne’s iconic trams? The Melbourne Tram Museum is one of the best museums in Melbourne for families. All ages are free to explore the trams, ring the bell sit in the driver’s seat, and be the conductor.
It is a great place to visit for a morning or afternoon and what’s great about it is that it is virtually free, your entry requires only a gold coin donation.
6. Queen Victoria Market
One of the most iconic places in Melbourne and one that is free to visit is the historical Queen Victoria Market where you can find fresh produce, souvenirs, and other diverse products.
There is always plenty on during the school holidays with special activities for kids. And a great time to visit is from November to April when every Wednesday night you can find live music, and a range of food stalls.
7. Federation Square
Federation Square, one of Melbourne’s city icons has numerous free events on for families during the year. Check out their website to see what’s on. They also have a free guided tour as well.
8. Crown Towers
Crown Melbourne, right in the heart of Melbourne is the perfect place for a day out with the family. There are plenty of free activities throughout the year especially during the Christmas holidays when they host the Crown Christmas Spectacular. Just a walk through the complex and out onto Southbank can fill your morning or afternoon.
9. Follow the sculpture trail
Throughout the city you can see these amazing colourful sculptures, three of which by Deborah Halpern, who studied in Melbourne. You can find many throughout the city, but our favs are on the Southbank Promenade and near the Exhibition centre.
10. RAAF Museum
The RAAF Museum is one of the coolest free things to do in Melbourne for kids who love planes. Learn about the history of Air Force training and military aircraft, and check out the air missiles, mirage jet, and other planes in the museum.
There are plenty of open days with flying displays where you can see the aircraft in flight and learn all about flying. If you get lucky you may even see an aerobatic display.
11. ArtPlay Melbourne
ArtPlay has a range of activities ranging from puppetry to creative writing, music to drawing. These are all developed by artists for a range of ages and interests. Located behind Fed Square, next to the Yarra River it makes a great stop if you are wondering around the city.
12. Serendip Sanctuary, Lara
If you want to get up close to some native animals, one of the best free things to do in Melbourne with kids is to visit Serendip Sanctuary, located in Lara, which is around 40 minutes West of the city.
See wallabies and kangaroos, as well as emus and over 150 species of birds. There is a picnic area near the carpark which has free undercover picnic tables, barbecues and toilets.
13. Seville Water Park
If you are looking for free water play, take a road trip to the Seville Water Park. The water park itself has some of the most powerful jets of water we’ve seen in Melbourne! It’s safe for the little ones to explore, and thrilling for the bigger kids. Sure, it’s not as big as the adventure parks such as Gumbuya Park and Adventure Park, but it is free, and the little ones love it.
14. Junior Ranger Programs
If you have little ones who love to explore, one of the best free activities to do in Melbourne is to participate in the Junior Ranges program. These are special programs organised throughout the year, many during the school holidays.
They offer a range of different ranger-guided activities including, walks and talks to discover different animals and environments such as rockpools and caves. There are environmental craft and games sessions, opportunities to learn about the environment and explore ecosystems.
15. Story Time at Local Library
Most libraries in Melbourne have free activities and events throughout the year, and story time is a popular one. Usually held once or twice a week, it allows parents to meet up and listen to stories, and interact. You will need to check with your local library to see which dates and times they are held.
16. Wildlife spotting
Melbourne has an abundance of wildlife and you don’t have to go too far to get up close to the Australian icons. Apart from the Melbourne Zoo’s (Where children can visit free on weekends and school holidays), check out our list of the best places to see kangaroos and koalas in the wild around Melbourne.
17. National Parks
Melbourne is blessed to be surrounded by national parks such as the Dandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley, the Grampians, and the Otways. There are plenty of walks, hikes, and waterfalls nearby within a couple of hours from the city. If you are looking to get out of the city for the day, check out list of the best waterfalls around Melbourne and our family travel guides to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
18. Picnic or Swim on the Beach
Melbourne has some beautiful beaches which are of course free to visit and great for the whole family all year round. During the Summer pack your bathers and head down for a swim, or in the Autumn and Spring months, bring a picnic rug, have some lunch, and let the kids play in the sand. Check out our list of the Best Beaches in Melbourne.
Things to do in Melbourne with Kids for Free!
There are so many free things to do in Melbourne with kids. Along with the list above you can check out a range of Melbourne’s beaches, playgrounds, and skate parks that won’t cost you a thing. If you know of any other things to do in Melbourne for free let us know!