26 Mar



My name is Sarah Jane and I am the proud mamma bear to one BUSY little lady. Oh, and we are an Activities Family. Keen as mustard is a severe understatement. Almost every Sunday without fail (after a large coffee, of course), our little fam-bam head off exploring all the pre-schooler goodness, greater Melbourne has to offer. We do tend to sway towards any animal related destinations, as MG is a mad animal lover. We didn’t hit the activities circuit hard until Jan 2017, soon after we lost Charlotte. MG was 18 months and I also needed external stimulation and distraction, in the months that followed. Each to their own, but we found this to be the right age for half-day trips, and optimum concentration and excitement levels. Below I’ve included our favourite weekend pre-schooler activities that are located around greater Melbourne. I’ve been pretty honest with my feedback and recommendations, based on OUR experiences as a family. 

Enjoy, SJ x

CHESTERFIELD FARM: Without a doubt, our FAVE children’s farm in greater Melbourne. I think we’ve been there now 487 times, and it NEVER disappoints. The staff are super friendly and there’s an animal nursery where the children can hold a few of the baby animals. The milking of the cow is also fantastic, as are the tractor rides around the farm. I think they’ve got the biggest variety of animals to see and feed, and we’ve done allllll the children’s farms! Chesterfield Farm is located in Scoresby, only a few hundred metres from Eastlink (ideal for any eastern/south eastern suburbs). They are open 10 – 5pm weekends & public holidays, and 10 – 3pm on weekdays { WEBSITE – CLICK HERE }

MELBOURNE ZOO: If you don’t already have a Victoria Zoos Membership, stop what you’re doing and get one! It’s $108 per adult per year (FREE for kids!), and it grants you UNLIMITED entry to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. You also get reciprocal entry into other zoos around the country, like Taronga Zoo – which we went to when we were in Sydney last time. There’s not much else I can say? IT’S FANTASTIC! { WEBSITE – CLICK HERE }

WERRIBEE ZOO: Also part of the Zoos Victoria membership, Werribee is a WINNER! We have been about 600 times over the last 15 months – I kid you not. We keep saying we will book one of the smaller car tours, as opposed to the big buses. However, then #mumlife gets in the way and I seem to forget every single time (they seem to book out a few days in advance). Alas, out of these 600 visits, we’ve only had one disappointing bus ride (animals were no where near us). This is not really a wet-weather activity, but the buses do have shelter – just rug-up! If you are interested in booking the Family Friendly Off Road Safari { CLICK HERE }. This is at an extra cost, but a good one-off experience I would think. There’s also always a bajillion things on, including: Toddler Weekends, Mother’s Day events, Yoga and a whole lot more. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE

werribee zoo, sarah jane young


MELBOURNE MUSEUM: We’ve only been here once, and it was that horrendously hot 40-something degree day we had in Jan (one of the few…). As you can imagine, half of Melbourne had the same idea. MG is OBSESSED with animals, so she was FASCINATED with the ‘WILD’ exhibition and the ‘DINOSAUR WALK’. There is also a HUGE kids area which was going off like 161 a decade ago! HA, am I showing my age now?! There are separate zones for the tiny crawlers, but also several more interactive zones for kids of all ages – including an indoor playground. The MM is open every single day except Christmas Day and Good Friday, and it’s located in Carlton, Melbourne. There is lots of easy and secure parking underneath. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

SCIENCEWORKS: Meh, we weren’t blown away – although MG did love racing us along the Cathy Freeman sprint track! However, it’s really more a destination for primary school aged kids. It would be great to see a concentrated area for the pre-schoolers, as there really aren’t that many options for wet-weather days at this age (PLEASE NOTE: 99.9% of play centres make me want to curl-up in a ball and cry!). { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

PONY RIDES, ST KILDA FORESHORE: There are pony rides that operate out of the Catani Gardens in St Kilda every Sunday (St Kilda foreshore – near Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron). The ponies are gentle and suitable for the younger kiddies. There is also a playground, BBQ facilities and open gardens. A weather permitting activity, of course. The exact address is: Catani Gardens, Beaconsfield Parade, St Kilda.


MELBOURNE AQUARIUM: Another meh, but I think we need to give it another go. We’ve since watched Happy Feet and The Little Mermaid about 700 times, so maybe it will all make a little more sense next time?! A great wet weather activity and lots of parking close by. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

MORDIALLOC BEACH: I LOVE Melbourne, don’t get me wrong. However… Our beaches aren’t much chop, especially when your cousins live in the sunny Palm Beach on the Gold Coast, where they have some of the best beaches in the world. I say this with egg on my face though, because we er-um, live bayside! So I guess that qualifies me as an expert, right?! RIGHT. If you head to the right of the Brighton Bathing Boxes, there’s a great space of beach, but we prefer to jump in the car and head down to Mordialloc Beach (Mentone is also beautiful!). There’s a large car park, food, BBQs, toilets and a playground. It’s a huge stretch of beach and deep – so no sitting on top of the people next to you. The water is beautiful and it’s SO quiet first thing in the morning during summer – ideal for toddlers who are up before the sun has even risen! { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

THE BIG GOOSE: My second favourite children’s animal farm in greater Melbourne. It’s a bit of a drive and probably better suited for those who live in the eastern and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. There’s lots to look at, and they have a very interactive nursery – which of course, the kids LOVE! There are also several playgrounds and birthday party bookings/rooms available. I’ll be honest, we’ve had a few misses with the staff (being not-so-friendly), but on other occasions they have been outstanding. But hey, that’s customer service, right?! They are located at: 233 Mornington-Tyabb Road, Moorooduc. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE


BILLY LIDS PLAY CENTRE: Although I’ve declared play centres are a NO-GO ZONE (due to several pretty average experiences!) for our family, Billy Lids would be my only exception – BUT, the weather would have to be off the Richter scale! It’s been around forever and they have a completely separate zone (different room!) for the little, little ones (BIG TICK!). There is a café (tick), parties available (tick), very reasonably priced and friendly staff (tick, tick), BUT… The WINNER is the Billy Bugs ride – I swear MG almost lost her tiny mind, in the best possibly way. My problem isn’t the play centres, it’s some (a lot) of the parents we have/haven’t come into contact with, that has turned us off. Big kids mucking around in the baby area, rough kids, kids not sharing and parents not watching! This certainly isn’t about me thinking my style of parenting is any better than the next person, but I have ZERO tolerance for parents who let their kids run rampant and behave dangerously/inappropriately when there are small kids around. We TOTES all need some time out, and we’re allowed to enjoy a quiet coffee and a few memes. However, sweet baby cheeses, glance-up at your kids every now and again and ensure they are doing the right thing – SIMPLE! #RANTOVER. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

PUFFING BILLY: Puffing Billy is a rite of passage if you grew-up in Melbourne, so don’t deprive your kiddies the experience! We had a great time, although it was bloody freezing – so from now on, RUG UP! It’s a long trip, we did Belgrave to Lakeside (3 hours). The first train doesn’t leave until just after 10am from memory, so day nappers may start to lose their SUGAR HONEY ICE TEA on the way back – I may or may not be speaking from experience! For all the timetable info, head over to their website. { WEBSITE: CLICK HERE }

Oh.. There’s always a BUNNINGS visit too – *sausage sizzle is a must!