There is a seemingly endless supply of architectural beauty in Melbourne. Yet, of all the eye-popping grandeur around the CBD,
The Arts Centre is a great favourite. This is largely due to the fact that the top looks like the Eiffel Tower and the bottom is representative of the twirling skirt of a ballerina. This might be the best idea ever conceived for an arts building, and it is certainly the most appropriate considering the selection of events offered inside. Click here for details about what's on.
At night, it lights up with an array of beautiful multicolour, multi-patterned LEDs designed to make the skirt appear to be actually swirling around, or at intervals, to highlight various elements of the structure, The result is brilliant. In this observer's opinion, it is best enjoyed from above. Reserve a nearby room with a 10- to 15-story view, and it is a nightly visual feast.
There are occasional fireworks in Federation Square at night during festival days and hot air balloons at dawn along the horizon behind the Arts Centre at regular intervals. These views make my day every time!
Inside, the building is lush and warm in velvety reds and gold trimmings. There's currently a small display of costumes from famous ballets downstairs which is quite lovely.
Take the elevator upstairs by the cafe, and you'll find a small museum with a nice sized display of puppets used in various theatrical venues, including film. Kids aged 7 and up might enjoy this, though it would be tough on the 6 and under crowd, what with all the hands off signs on everything. The entrance/exit is adjacent to the information desk. This is where to book your guided tour of the building.
Take a family-friendly tour of the Centre's front of the house offered daily at 11am for $15 per adult, $30 for a family (of 2 Adults and 2 Children) or go deeper with a backstage tour for $20 pp. offered Sundays at 12:15pm. For more information about guided tours, click on the above link and look on the left of the page for a box marked 'Guided Tours."
Enjoy getting to know this iconic structure in the heart of Melbourne!