Australia comes alive when summer comes knocking at our door. It's intrinsically Australian to be outdoors and at the beach, or to simply be having a good fun in the sun time. Melbourne is a wonderful hive of activities year round, with a never-ending loop of festivals and events at our fingertips. Like bears coming out of winter hibernation, come summer, we're ready to party! January is especially important as we have more than ourselves to think about, with kiddies on holidays. Keeping them amused and occupied is no mean feat!
If you hurry, you'll catch the last couple days of the NGV Kids Summer Festival which concludes on 13 Jan 2019. This FREE event focuses on the theme of Make Believe this year and is filled with free hands-on activities and workshops at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square. Dedicated artist-led workshops for teens explores ways to get playful with portraiture. NGV International has live performances and activities inspired by summer exhibitions on view.
At times, you just might feel like locking your kids up, but NO, YOU CAN'T! The Old Melbourne Gaol may be a surprise to you as it's an unlikely place for kids activities, but there it is. These events are not free, but it'll be a helluva surprise to the kids when they find out you're taking them to the lock-up. The activities run till 29 Jan 2019 from 9.30am to 5pm (last entry 3pm) at 377 Russell St, Melbourne. General admission will give you a self-guided gaol tour, and you can have a Watch House experience to see what it feels like to be arrested and locked up in a building that has changed little since it closed in 1994.
Enter the Former Magistrates Court where many an infamous trial took place and pop in to hear what Ned (Kelly) has to say. For an additional $5 per person, Ned Kelly asks, Think You Know Me? Do some one-on-one time with Australia's most notorious outlaw during an intimate virtual reality experience recreating the final moments surrounding one of the most divisive trials and executions in Australian history. Please note the Ned Kelly VR experience is recommended for ages 12 and over.
Fear not, adults don't miss out with events running on various week nights and selected dates. Hangman's Night Tour from 8.30pm-9.30pm is conducted in the dark (not for those 16 years and under) with the master of the rope. Stay brave as bone-strumming tales straight from the gallows are told, with no stone left unturned. If your catchphrase is I ain't afraid of no ghost!, think again. The gaol is a grim place with a dark history, and unexplained stories abound! Join this chilling nighttime gaol tour in the dark, if you dare! A Night in the Watch House is strictly for those 16 and older at this immersive experience is conducted in the dark, includes loud noise, adult themes and confined spaces.
If all those deep and dark places made you feel like coming up for air, go sky-high with the Melbourne Star's Summer Beach Box Experience. It's not just the experience that feels like it sky-rockets; but if you take friends with you (max 6 people), it's a great reasonable once-in-a-lifetime experience to share. You could make it just for two for those special occasions like perhaps, a romantic proposal? It's a 30 min flight over Melbourne in Melbourne Star's temperature-controlled Private Cabins, lounging on beach chairs, sipping on sangria, and enjoying a summer platter of seasonal refreshments while you take in great views of Melbourne and beyond. It runs from 1-9pm till 28 Jan 2019, so don't miss out!
If going into the dark dungeons of the gaol or going sky high is not your thing, Pixar Putt may just be the answer for your family. Running till 3 Feb 2019; daily from 10am, on the River Terrace at Fed Square, play 9 or 18 holes at the newest must-do attraction amongst beloved characters and icons the kiddies will love from Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Ratatouille and a whole lot more. With Tennis on the horizon, the Australian Open (Mon 14 Jan to Sun 27 Jan) attracts events that families can get involved in.
We have the best tennis players in the world battling it out in our backyard, and Melbourne Park has events running for the duration of the Open, starting from 10am till late every day. It's an action-packed day out for the whole family with the much-loved Ground Pass giving excellent value that gives you access to Melbourne Arena, Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena; so get in amongst the famous Australian Open atmosphere.
Image - Fed Sq
AO Ballpark is getting into the Australian Open Kids Tennis World with a mini theme park filled with kids entertainment on site at the AO. Packed with fun, it's the ultimate summer family experience catering to happy imaginations in a brand new location for 2019. The epicentre of FUN, kids and parents can pick up a racquet and play tennis on the clay courts, or simply get busy on the water slide, a rock climbing wall, a Ninja Warrior Course and so much more that includes LEGO Play and AO Sports Film Festival. Watch favourites and feel good films like Cool Runnings, Bend it Like Beckham and a whole lot more.
For the very first time, there's professional onsite childcare available at the AO, which makes the event even better. Kids aged 5-12years will have nonstop fun with the new tennis and entertainment program that features priority access to the AO Ballpark, player practice viewing, a tennis lesson with a professional coach, and lots of other games and activities. Your kids will be entertained and cared for by qualified and experienced educators, but spaces are limited at this Grand Slam first, so be sure to book soon. You have options for a full or half day.
Along with a host of events for Adults, Kids and Families, the City of Melbourne has a lot of FREE things to do in January as well, or you could simply enjoy nature in the city with a bunch of must-do walks in Melbourne. For a sit down and relax experience, the South Wharf Pop-Up Cinema has a program that's bound to satisfy any local film buff at the newest cinematic experience on Common Man's green astroturf, with deck chairs, cocktails, a candy bar filled with your favourites and a screen filled with movie magic. Check here for the full program and all other details.
The tried and true Moonlight Cinema has its Melbourne January program up and running, and will be adding their February program, mid-January. Running till March, enjoy films under the stars, take a picnic along and make it a great place for family or a catch up with good friends. Living in the lucky country, our Melbourne is filled with things to do. For entertainment ideas you have but to look through Weekend Notes, plus check for fun in unlikely places by googling events at Shopping Centres, Libraries, Zoos, the City of Melbourne, Burrinja Cultural Centre and a whole lot more. Your wish is Google's Command. Make it a SUMMER TO REMEMBER!