Melbourne Museum

Watch your children as they press the button to light up a window…and come face to face with a  huge, live tarantula, just on the other side of the glass! Adults might shudder, but kids run in delight to  the next window, looking for an even larger and scarier creepy-crawly. They wriggle excitedly into the  child-size tunnel in the ant house so they can bob up right in the middle of the ant colony and see what  all the busy little ants are up to. Melbourne Museum is filled with unique exhibits such as Bugs Alive!  that are guaranteed to keep your kids entranced.

Contact details

Carlton Gardens, Nicholson St, Carlton; (03) 8341 7777 or 1300 130 152

Price range


Don't Miss

■ The Forest Gallery, with a real temperate Victorian forest, live birds and reptiles. In winter, it closes  at 4.30pm so the birds can roost in peace.

■ The Touch Trolleys – kids love getting their hands on real objects.
■ The Discovery Centre, where museum staff can answer questions about science, Australian history  or Indigenous culture. This is a must for kids who are always asking questions!
■ The dinosaur exhibition – a perennial favourite.
■ The special Children’s Gallery, with educational activities aimed at 3–8 year olds (though older kids  enjoy it too). 
■ Phar Lap, Australia’s most famous race horse, who died in suspicious circumstances in the 1930s.
■ The Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, for an insight into Victoria’s Koorie history and culture.
■ The Melbourne Story exhibition, which brings Melbourne’s history to life and highlights the things  that make it unique. Kids have fun running in and out of historic workers’ cottages and peering into 
the shared backyard dunny (toilet).

Fabulous Facts

Some of the tarantulas in the Bugs Alive! exhibit were confiscated from people trying to smuggle them  into Australia. The museum holds them in quarantine before they are put on display. Quarantine is a maximum security area. There is not the tiniest crack anywhere, and all surfaces are painted white and  lit 24 hours a day. Only a few people are allowed to enter, and they have to go through a series of  sealed doors. No tarantulas or their parasites can escape.

Insider Tips

■ If you want to take some weight off your feet for a while, watch a screening in the IMAX Theatre.  Book tickets in advance to make sure you don’t miss out.

■ Browse the museum website – you’ll find kids’ activities and heaps of interesting information.
■ The museum cafe has high chairs and offers a special lunch box for kids, but the queues can be very  long, so you might want to bring a few snacks of your own. The cafe closes at 4.30pm.
■ There are several play areas in the museum, including an outdoor playground next to the ground floor cafe.

See Also

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