10 great ways to keep the kids, and adults, amused in Melbourne
1. Take the tram: a trip to Melbourne isn't complete without a ride on a Melbourne icon the tram. And the best way to get around the city is on the free City Circle Tram. The circuit takes about 30 minutes but you can get on and off as many times as you want. The trams run every 10 minutes in both directions between 10am and 6pm every day. City Circle Trams are burgundy and gold in colour and the stops are specially marked.
2. Melbourne Aquarium: wander through transparent tunnels surrounded by sharks, stingrays and sea turtles. Kids can see how fish view life underwater or dissect a fish via a computer screen. There’s also the ‘Blue Zoo’, which takes a very hands-on approach to marine conservation. Corner of Flinders Street and King Street Melbourne. Adults $24, kids $14. Open daily 9.30am-6pm. www.melbourneaquarium.com.au
3. Melbourne Observation Deck: give the kids a bird’s eye view of the Melbourne from the top of the 253-metre-high Rialto Towers Building, the tallest office building in the southern hemisphere. Admission price includes a 20-minute sight and sound extravaganza, 'Melbourne the Living City,' shown in the RialtoVision Theatre and free use of high-powered binoculars. Corner of King and Collins Street. Open every day, 10am until late. Adult $13.50, kids $7.80.
4. Melbourne Museum: the largest museum in the southern hemisphere. Highlights include the Science and Life Gallery; Bunjilaka, a living cultural centre for the Koori community of south-eastern Australia; and the Australia Gallery, focusing on the vibrant history of Melbourne and Victoria – including the kitchen set from the Neighbours TV show. 11 Nicholson St, Carlton. Open daily, 10am-5pm. Adults $6, kids free. www.melbourne.museum.vic.gov.au
5. Melbourne Zoo: Australia’s oldest zoo has more than 350 animal species from around the world on display. Highlights include the steamy Butterfly House, the Wonderful New World of Bugs, the Trail of the Elephants and regular meet-the-keeper opportunities throughout the day. Elliot Avenue, Parkville. Open daily, 9am-5pm. Adults $22, kids $11. www.zoo.org.au
6. Scienceworks Museum combines science and technology through a variety of ‘hands on’ exhibits and activities. Kids love the high-tech Planetarium, where you take a simulated 3D journey through space and time, and the Lightning Room. Long time favourite is Sportsworks with 20 hands-on and body-in experiences providing the ultimate sporting challenge.2 Booker St, Spotswood. Open daily 10am-4.30pm. Adults $6, kids free. www.scienceworks.museum.vic.gov.au
7. Phillip Island Penguin Parade: one of Australia’s most popular wildlife attractions is just 90 minutes drive from Melbourne. The three main tourist attractions managed by Phillip Island Nature Park are the Penguin Parade, Churchill Island and the Koala Conservation Centre. Penguin Parade occurs every night at sunset. Adults $17.40, kids $8.70. www.penguins.org.au
8. Gulf Station: the most complete 19th-century farm complex in Victoria. Operated by the National Trust of Australia. Melba Highway, Yarra Glen. Open Wed-Sun and public holidays 10am-4pm. Adults $8, kids $5.
9. Healesville Sanctuary: more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles, displayed in a beautiful bushland setting. Badger Creek Road, Healesville. Open daily, 9am-5pm. Adults $22, kids $11. www.zoo.org.au
10. Puffing Billy: century-old steam train running on its original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook in the Dandenong Ranges. Trains operate daily. Fares vary. www.puffingbilly.com.au
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