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Kid Friendly Australia Series: A Guide to Food, Entertainment and Fun in Melbourne

At Oz Trampolines we have one goal in mind; for kids to have the most fun possible in a safe environment. Whether it be a weekend outing or a trip during school holidays we all want to give our little ones the best experiences they can get.

We've already covered the best Sydney has to offer, and now it is Melbourne's turn. Often touted as the prime cultural hub of Australia, the Victorian capital is an attractive city for those looking for exciting new adventures.

Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world for food, fun and entertainment. However not all places are kid-friendly. So we’ve taken the guesswork out of the process for you and put together a list, containing the best places to eat out and have fun with kids in Melbourne. Each of these options will leave everyone smiling.

Top 10 Places to Dine With Kids

1. Birdie Num Nums

This delightful café in North Carlton is perfect for children and parents alike. All your café favourites are on the menu, including pancakes, croissants, omelettes and eggs benedict, but our favourite is probably Birdie’s Double Smash, which brings together mashed avocado, feta cheese, pumpkin and tomatoes on multigrain toast. There’s a range of delicious lunch options too, the coffee is fantastic and there is also a useful sandpit out the back so you can sit back and relax and enjoy your meal without having to worry about your children being entertained or not. For a café meal with the kids you can’t do much better than Birdie Num Nums.

2. Mr. Brightside

Located in Caulfield, Mr. Brightside serves up a range of impressive dishes for breakfast, brunch and lunch and makes the perfect option for a morning meal with the family. All your breakfast and lunch favourites can be found here, although a special mention should go to the Brightside Big Breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown and tomato) and the decadent Brightside Rueben (beef brisket, saukraut, Swiss cheese, Russian mayo, pickle, caramelised onion and mustard on toasted rye) which will both leave you very pleased you chose them. Another special mention should go to the kids menu which has a range of options catering to even the pickiest taste buds.

3. Phoenix Park Cafe

As part of the Phoenix Park community centre, Phoenix Park Café is a welcoming place to enjoy breakfast or lunch with the whole family. Set amid the beautiful parklands, Phoenix Park Café is less than a stone throw from an amazing local park that your kids will really enjoy as you grab a cuppa or two! A wide range of sandwiches, organic coffee and hot food like gourmet pies, quiches and focaccias are available so you can be sure that you’ll find something at Phoenix Park Café to suit every taste bud, even those of the somewhat excessively fussy eaters.

4. Cubbyhouse Canteen

Now your kids are really going to love this one. Cubbyhouse Canteen is a sandwich shop, diner, breakfast and brunch restaurant that provides a range of tasty treats for hungry customers in Armadale. They even do early kids dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and are located right in the middle of a park so keeping the little ones entertained while you’re trying some of the delicious items on their menu is going to be no problem at all. All staff at Cubbyhouse Canteen do have prior experience working with children and do everything to create a fun, kid-friendly café.

5. Jellybread Cafe

This retro, family-style café in Footscray is another great option if you’re eating out with the family, and has a range of tasty café-style menu options for breakfast and brunch. Jellybread Café endeavours to create an environment that is fun and entertaining for all members of your family, so you don’t have to worry about your kids not having anything to do at all. The Jellybread Café big breakfast and kale and quinoa porridge are customer favourites, as is the burger nights which will be returning to the Jellybread schedule as soon as they find a full time chef. All in all, Jellybread presents a great option for anyone who is dining out with their family!

6. Carousel Cafe

If you’re after breakfast, lunch or even just a nice coffee and you’ve got the little ones in tow you can’t do much better than Carousel Café, situated just by Melbourne’s iconic Albert Park Lake. With views of the CBD, parkland and waterfront that simply can’t be beat, Carousel Café also encourages patrons to bring along children. Even dogs are welcome, so you can bring along your fur-children as well! All your breakfast favourites are there, but special mention goes to the Chicken Montenegro sausage with poached eggs, leek, fennel, ajvar and toasted quinoa bread. Now how in the world could you say no to that!

7. The Farm Cafe

Now this one’s a little bit special. The Farm Café, which also doubles as a fantastic wedding venue, operates in Collingwood’s Children’s Farm. So while you’re catching up on gossip over a cappuccino and bruschetta, your kids can enjoy getting up close and personal with real farm animals, providing a special experience for people of all ages. The menu options are fresh, delicious and delicately prepared, with special mention going to Swiss Brown Mushrooms, Goat’s Toast and the grilled banana and pecan bread which is served with perfectly baked pears, earl grey tea caramel sauce and yoghurt cream. Delicious!

8. Melbourne Museum Cafe

Now here’s a great option for a day out with the kids that won’t cost you a mint. Melbourne Museum Café, located at the captivating Melbourne Museum, has a range of delicious options that will please even the most discerning café visitor. After you’ve watched an IMAX feature and explored all of the interesting exhibits with your little ones, what better way to relax and unwind than by sitting around with your family and enjoy a cup (or two) at Melbourne Museum Café. Staff are friendly, obliging and the food dished up at the café is so delicious you’ll be ordering seconds.

9. Maxxii Moo

If you’re after a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch and you can’t find someone to look after the little ones, you really need look no further than Maxxii Moo. With a range of delicious options to cater for diners of all tastes, Maxxii Moo is a perfect option for pigging out or even just getting a cuppa with the whole family. The menu includes a range of delicious, kid-friendly options and staff have even decked out a kiddie play corner that has a wide range of toys for the children to enjoy. And if they don’t like that there’s a park just across the road.

10. The Boathouse

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, The Boathouse presents itself as a contemporary dining option that’s perfect for all members of the family. You’ll enjoy the delicious fare dished up on the menu, just as your kids will enjoy the interesting surround that will captivate their attention. This one is definitely worth a visit.

Top 10 Entertainment Options for Kids

1. Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Does your child have a keen interest in film? Or perhaps they want to learn more about how their favourite movies are made? The Australian Centre for the Moving Image offers a wonderful variety of programs that are both educational and fun. The highlight has to be the Fairy Tales and Fantasy workshop, which allows kids to act as characters and film with green screens! With a range of interesting exhibits continually changing no two visits to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image are the same and it provides a great educational trip for your children.

2. Woodlands Historic Park

With a 150 year old homestead, canoe tree, native woodlands and all sorts of wildlife, Woodlands Historic Park will take you back to life in Melbourne during the 1800s. A living monument to Australia’s formative years, the park is open to pedestrians 24 hours a day. Enjoy a stroll, cycle or horse ride before settling down for a picnic while enjoying an unparalleled view of the city. The park is also home to retired horse racing champions like Fields of Omagh, Might and Power, Brew, Better Loosen Up, Rogan Josh, Doriemus, and Paris Lane.

3. Eureka Skydeck

Have you ever wanted to fly? If you could Melbourne would be the place to do so. 300 metres above the city, the Eureka Skydeck offers the best view of the MCG, Albert Park Lake, Port Phillip Bay, the Dandenong Ranges and more. Be sure to check out The Edge, the glass floor gives the phrase ‘bird’s eye view’ a new meaning and provides the best photo opportunities. Even if your child are afraid of heights, this experience is the perfect chance to overcome their fears.

4. Beaches

When it comes to great beaches, Australia takes the cake for some of the best in the world. While it may not have as much going on as Sydney or Perth, Melbourne does offer a range of incredible beaches like St Kilda and Brighton that are perfect for an afternoon of fun. Enjoy a swim, building sandcastles and experiencing the unique beach huts Melbourne has to offer with your little ones. And remember, always make sure your family has plenty of sunscreen and hats firmly planted on their noggins.

5. Moomba Festival

Kicking off at the start of March every year, Moomba festival has a range of interesting attractions to cater for all ages, including a kid zone that’s full of fun, stimulating activities for the little ones. Take in the wonders of the Ashton Circus, or they can even attend a workshop to learn fundamental circus skills. There are also opportunities for face painting and kids karaoke, which should more than please all the little Elvis Presley’s and Pablo Picasso’s. There’s even a cooking workshop and a puppetry workshop! After a day at Moomba your child will have stars in their eyes.

6. Portarlington Miniature Railway

Is your child a Thomas the Tank Engine fan? Or perhaps you’re a big kid who has a soft spot for locomotives? This one will unleash your inner child, and give you an experience you will never forget. Located in Rotary Children’s Park, the Portarlington Miniature Railway has 1 kilometre of railway to enjoy. With three operating trains, your child can be the conductor! Children will love exploring Portarlington Miniature Railway and you’ll wonder why you hate your morning commute so much.

7. Westside Circus

Westside Circus endeavours to provide young people with access to healthy and creative activities, creating a brand of circus that is integral in developing children’s awareness and wellbeing. There are school holiday programs on offer, and caters to children with disabilities as well. In their classes kids will learn a variety of circus skills, such as aerials, tumbling, acrobalance, juggling, hula hoops, tight wire, walking globe and rola bola. If your child dreams of being the star in the centre ring, or just loves to show off to a watching crowd, this will be perfect for them.

8. Fire Services Museum

What kid hasn’t grown up dreaming of being a firefighter? At the Fire Services Museum they can learn all about the history and details of the noble profession. The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing Victoria’s firefighting history, featuring one the largest firefighting memorabilia collections in Australia. For a unique insight into one of Australia’s country’s history this is definitely a must-visit!

9. Escape Room

Put your wits to the test in this escape room experience which will have you and your children bonding as you attempt to solve a range of puzzles and ultimately escape the room. There are plenty of themed rooms to choose from, including a safari, vampires, an art museum, an Egyptian tomb, a prison and the very spooky ‘murder house’. If you’re looking for the ultimate family bonding activity, or just love to tackle a big challenge as a group, the Escape Room.

10. Old Melbourne Gaol

Home to some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, Old Melbourne Gaol is a must-visit for anyone headed to Melbourne and provides a fascinating look at an interesting period of Australian history. For those kids who are 12 years and older, or just for those who have thicker skin than most, take a ghost tour and learn more about the gaol’s grim history. You can even take a tour with a hangman, who will regale you with spooky stories.

Top 10 Activities for Kids

1. Enchanted Maze Garden

Just a short trip from the city centre in the Mornington Peninsula, Enchanted Maze Garden offers amazing gardens and mazes, incredible obstacles courses and a spooky indoor 3D maze. For anyone who loves to lose themselves in another world, or for the avid puzzle solver, the expansive hedge maze will be a delight. You can also enjoy tree surfing, the big zip line, climbing walls and swings. The facilities cater for those of all abilities, allowing for a fun, action packed day for little and big kids alike.

2. St Kilda Adventure Playground

Providing a neighbourhood backyard experience, St Kilda Adventure Playground has given local children the chance to experience thrilling activities in a playground wonderland. A part of the local council’s commitment to providing maximum value to the community, this expansive playground is every child’s dream play area come to life. With an abundance of features to utilise, the sky's the limit, allowing your kids to have fun for hours on end.

3. Bounce Inc

We love our trampolines, so what better way to spend time in Melbourne than one of the best indoor trampolining facilities in the country. Bounce provides a spring-loaded urban playground for kids to explore creating an infectious energy and the opportunity to enjoy some fun, thrilling activities in what is ultimately a safe environment. Kids can bounce off the wall (literally), slam dunk like a basketball superstar, enjoy some dodgeball and a giant inflatable bag to provide a safe landing spot for the aerial daredevils.

4. Melbourne Aquarium

A visit to Melbourne Aquarium is one to savour, home to over 10,000 animals including one of the world’s largest saltwater crocodiles in captivity. This one’s definitely a must-visit. You can take your time exploring the many displays, or take part in some amazing experiences. You can glimpse sea life in a glass bottom boat, get up close with some very cuddly penguins, or go diving with the sharks and put your nerves of steel to the test.

5. Artplay

Encouraging your child to express themselves artistically is essential to any little one’s development. With more than 300 workshops, events and performance for children every year, Artplay provides a safe space where children can explore their creativity and expand their artistic horizons. Artplay has a range of workshops for children to take part in to create their masterpiece using music and visual arts.

6. Bigslide

Located in Knoxfield, Big Slide is one of Australia’s most exciting family play centres, perfect for birthdays, get-togethers or just a fun day. And best of all it’s home to Australia’s highest indoor three lane slide. If your child isn’t so artistically inclined but isn’t old enough to for the high octane adventure of zip lines then Big Slide is the best place for them to put their excess to work. Perfect for birthdays, reunions or a fun day out for the family, the jumping castles, ball pits and 8 metre slide will offer plenty of entertainment.

7. Darkzone

Perfect for birthday parties and functions, Darkzone is one of the biggest and best multi-level laser tag experiences in Melbourne and provides a range of options for players of all levels. If your child dreams of being in their own sci-fi action movie, this is their chance to run wild. Darkzone offers fun for players of all ages, and is a great destination for birthday parties.

8. Melbourne Zoo

With a wide range of attractions, Melbourne Zoo is one of Australia’s premier animal parks with highlights including the fairy penguins, butterfly house and close encounter experiences. The best part of all is that kids under 16 get free entry on the weekend! There are plenty of chances to get up close with some of your favourite critters, go behind the scenes, take a painting class with the elephants or camp overnight and wake up with the animals.

9. Frankston Skate Park

If you’re looking for a safe, friendly place to encourage your children in their new hobby of skateboarding, you can’t do much better than the state of the art Frankston Skate Park. There are opportunities for novices to try their hand and learnt the basics, or watch the pros strut their stuff in a demonstration. With a strong focus on community, there are plenty of competitions hosted throughout the year, making it the perfect place for any aspiring skate star to show off their skills.

10. Animal Land

For more than 30 years Animal Land has provided Melbourne’s premier farm experience, offering the city’s only truly authentic, first-hand experience in terms of what a working farm is. You can get up close and personal with Billy the Goat, Oscar the Pig, Goldy the Pony, Lucy the Cow and Gracie the Chicken for some very special animal experiences. If you want to extend you experience, you can always spend the weekend with your family for the ultimate farm experience.

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