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5 Family Friendly Tours in Open House Melbourne

Home > Melbourne > Lists | Fun for Children | Free | Family | Architecture
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
Fun for kids big and small
The organisers of Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019, which takes place on 28-29th July, haven't forgotten about the kids in this year's program. With over 30 buildings hosting special activities for children, it won't be too difficult to plan a program the whole family can enjoy.

Here are a few of the available options. All tours and activities are FREE.


Housed in what was originally a lecture hall in owned by the Victorian Railways Department, in which train drivers were educated about electric trains, faults and how to correct them, this historically significant red-brick building has been retained and refurbished by the City of Melbourne as a unique, child-focused arts space. Inspired by The Ark, a children's cultural centre in Dublin, ArtPlay was created as a place where children and their families could engage in artistic and cultural experiences.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019
Artplay offers tours of its historic building as well as games of Ping Pong WoW for the kids

For the Open House Weekend, the building is open to tour and for play. Discover the history of the building on a self-guided walk, and join the childrens' activity Ping Pong WoW. Open 10am to 4pm for the self guided tours and 10.30am to 12.30pm, and 2pm to 4pm for Ping Pong WoW. This is an open entry (no booking required) event, which is fully accessible and suitable for all ages.

Old Treasury Building

With origins dating back to the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, this elegant, sandstone faced, carefully restored building is now a museum with exhibitions that chart the growth of Melbourne through dramatic panoramic images of the city.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019
Kids can complete the Fun Trail at the Old Treasury Building

As well as being able to visit the original basement gold vaults, which were used to store the State's gold in the 1860s, there will be a Kids' Fun Trail, available at the main entrance, which will bring the museum to life.

The Old Treasury Building is open Sunday 28th July from 10am to 3.45pm. Tours are open entry, self-guided, fully accessible and suitable for all ages.

Tay Creggan

Tay Creggan, a magnificent heritage building on the Yarra in Hawthorn, was built as a family home by architect Robert Guyon Purchas in 1893. Showcasing Victoria's finest examples of Victorian Queen Anne Revival with elements of Elizabethan Revival, 19th Century Eclecticism, Arts and Crafts, Picturesque Gothic and Art Nouveau, the building provides a glimpse into the life of wealthy Victorians in the era. The building has been owned by Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar since 1969.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019
At Tay Creggan, children will be able to create their own piece of robotic art

In the futuristic sessions available during Open House, children will be able to control Spheros to create their own piece of robotic art. Older children will be able to use codes including randomisation and and loops to achieve different effects.

Smocks will be provided, and water based paints will be used, but art-friendly clothes are recommended.

Tay Creggan is open on Sunday 28th July from 10am to 3pm. Tours will take around 30 minutes and are guided. Tours run every 30 minutes between 10am and 3pm.


Built in just three weeks in 1887, the historic building which now houses Dancehouse has had many tenants, including the Carlton Mechanics Institute and the Carlton Community Centre. For 25 years, it has been Australia's only performing arts venue solely dedicated to the creation and presentation of contemporary dance.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019
The historic Carlton building which is home to Dancehouse

During Open House, visitors will be able to tour the building, plus enjoy a dance, with diverse dance genres on offer. Classes are available at 11am, 12.15pm, 2pm and 3.15 pm on Saturday 27th July. While walk-ins are welcome, if you want to ensure your place, you should pre-book. Go to to book. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Guided tours of the building are available at 10.30am and 2.30pm on 27th July, with self-guided tours also available while the building is open, on Saturday 27th July between 10.30am and 4.30pm.

Melbourne Camera Club

Built in 1876, the heritage-listed neo-classical Corinthian-style building was designed by local architects Robert Adamson and William McKean. The building had fallen into disrepair when purchased by Melbourne Camera Club in 1979, but it has since been restored and repurposed into club rooms and exhibition space. The building features an impressive auditorium accessed via a winding staircase.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019
The spiral staircase in Melbourne Camera Club's building

The building will be open on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July, from 10am to 4.30pm for self-guided tours. Kids will be able to drop in to a free cyanotype workshop where they can create and print an image to take home.

There are many other child friendly options available during Open House Melbourne Weekend 2019, so please take the time to have a browse of the full event program.
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Why? Fun for the whole family
When: Weekend of 27th-28th July
Where: Various locations, check article and Open House website for details
Cost: Free
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