I look I see I write what I see. Fortunately that works out just fine because I'm a freelance writer and darned good at that. For more of my writing do visit my blog at melbournefreelancer.blogspot.com.au/; it's desperately seeking readers.
Published December 7th 2012
Where kids of all ages are welcome to roam free
Baby, toddler, tantrum-thrower—folk look askance at this tribe when they enter a café. Oh, there goes my peace and quiet is my first thought when one of those little four-wheel drives trundles to a stop at a table next to mine. I'll be the first to admit how mean-spirited that is which is why I was happy to find that there are many kid-friendly cafes around town where mums can have their coffee and kids can have a great time.
In fact these places come with all amenities such as booster seats, high chairs, kids' menus, pram-access, play areas, toys, some safety precautions, and a very child-centred atmosphere that would scare the bejabbers out of those with no kids.
Happy River Café
On the banks of the Maribyrnong is located a Mum and bub haven that has all the tricks and treats the duo could ask for. A large yard greets you with possibilities for throwing a ball about or riding a bike. For the even younger crowd there are toys of all kinds to stack, push, or stare at. A thoughtfully planned kids' menu ensures they eat as well as they play. Location: 45 Moreland Street, Footscray Open: Tuesday to Sunday 8am – 6pm
Beasley's Teahouse Beasley's began as a nursery for ferns and then grew from tea and scones for visitors to the modern day café that it has now come to be. What is striking about this place is the down to earth homeliness and air of welcome that makes you feel like you've just dropped in on your old relative's home. So it will not come as a surprise that kids and babies are welcome and catered to very warmly. You will find everything from babychinos to change room with all facilities. Location: 195 Warrandyte Road, Doncaster East, Vic 3109 Open: Daily 9am – 5pm Phone: 9844 1777
Café, beauty salon, and kids' playpen come together to give mums a break they so sorely deserve. Get your eyebrows waxed or your hair cut and coloured while the bub gets busy with a whole lot of toys and a stimulating environment. They have kidsafe locks on the doors so you can close your eyes in peace and contentment knowing there won't be any great escapes happening. Pampered Mummies is definitely worth visiting if you'd like to check out the number of activities they have for kids. Of course, the café has a variety of salads, snacks, soups, and great coffee that would just go to complete your day. Location: 92 Somerville Road, Yarraville, Vic 3013 Open: Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm Phone: 03 9314 5069
Ceres Café You've probably heard of the Ceres Environment Park and their organic farm and market. Unless you're a regular there you probably won't know about their lovely café that spills over from indoors to a veranda and the great outdoors under fruit trees and around shrubbery. It's a lovely place for mums and bubs wanting to break free. They are entirely child-friendly with play area, changing rooms, and plenty of space to do donuts with prams. The best part is that they have organic, freshly prepared food. They even cater to pets. Location: 8 Lee Street, Brunswick East, Vic 3057 Open: Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 4 pm; Saturday 8.30am – 5 pm; Sunday 9am – 5pm Phone: 03 9389 0155
Veri Koko Veri Koko is a nice child-friendly café with a splendid menu for the parents and a large backyard with a cubby house full of toys for the children. Amenities are aimed at kids of all ages and include high chairs, kids' menu, play area, pram access, and a lovely outdoor area. They back up the amenities very nicely with friendly service and a desire to please. Location: 333 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Vic 3056 Open: Monday to Wednesday 11am – 4 pm; Thursday 9am – 6 pm; Friday 12 – 7 pm; Saturday & Sunday 9am – 10pm Phone: 03 9388 2226
Cheeky Chinos An upmarket café in the city that welcomes babies and kids? I've got to be joking, right? Café and kids in a sentence with a positive connotation must surely be an oxymoron, or so you might think till you come across Baby Chinos in South Melbourne. You can walk in there with a baby and they'll show you where to park your pram, the manned play area to hand over the bub, and a menu that impresses. The use of the colourful and wildly imaginative play area comes at a price, but then you get to sit down to a nice meal or coffee without having to wipe, shush, or worry about mashed food hitting a nearby patron right between the eyes. Location: 145 Cecil Street, South Melbourne, Vic 3205 Open: Monday to Thursday 9am – 4pm; Friday 9am – 7pm; Sat & Sun 8.30 am – 4pm Phone: 03 9077 6492
Perhaps it's the location amid a tranquil garden setting that makes this place a winner. They have everything a hungry parent towing a child could hope for. Kid-friendly amenities run from high chairs, change table, kids' menu, and easy pram access. The menu for adults comes with a wide variety from Asian and Indian to Greek and Cajun. They are fully licensed and so you can imbibe along with your soups and stir fries. Location: 2 Gladstone Street, Kew Open: Monday to Friday 9am – 4 pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 5pm Phone: 03 9853 5669