The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is a fantastic place for families of all ages to visit. There are lots of family friendly events and programs in the Gardens throughout the year. Check out Whats on!
Do you have some ideas for more fabulous family fun? Drop into our Visitor Centre and let us know! To receive regular updates about our programs, events and tours, sign up for our email newsletter.
The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden
The Children’s Garden is the perfect place for kids who love to get their hands dirty. There’s lots of fun places to explore including the Ruin Garden, the Meeting Place (which has a water feature that sprays up out of the ground in summer!), a Wetland Area, Bamboo Forest, The Gorge, Plant Tunnel, Kitchen Garden (full of yummy vegetables!) and the Rill (a gentle waterway that runs through the Garden).
Find these magical places on the map and guide, along with everything you need to know to enjoy your visit.
- 10am - Sunset, Wednesday to Sunday and all public holidays
- 10am - Sunset, seven days per week during Victorian State School holidays and on Father’s Day
Eight weeks for rest and maintenance following the end of the July school holidays
- Every Mondays and , Tuesdays in during Victorian school term time – booked schools use only
Water feature operating times:
- Rill (stream): 10am - 4pm everyday
- Spiral fountains: 10am - 4pm on days when the temperature is forecast to be 25 degrees or more. If the forecast is less than 25 degrees, the fountains do not run.
- This is a public space, so for safety and hygiene reasons, children must be clothed at all times. Be Sunsmart. It can take as little as ten minutes for your child to suffer sunburn, so:
- Slip on sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
- Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen
- Slap on a hat
- Seek shade
- Slide on sunglasses
- Adults are responsible for actively supervising children and keeping them safe while in the Children’s Garden.
- This is a glass-free, alcohol-free, smoke-free area. Glass containers, smoking and alcohol are permitted elsewhere in the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Where’s a good spot for a picnic or a children’s party?
Picnics take up lots of space in the Children’s Garden, which is needed for jumping, running and playing!
So step out into the Gardens and try these spots to throw down your picnic rug and enjoy the beautiful views:
- Oak Lawn, beneath the mighty oaks there’s lots of space to play. A favourite for kids in autumn as the colourful leaves fall to the ground.
- Western Lawn space to run and play close to the Children’s garden
- Princes Lawn, has views down to Central Lake and a gentle hill to roll down
- Eastern Lawn, shady areas with nice views towards the city
- Guilfoyle and Eucalypt Lawns, shady areas, close to the Guilfoyle’s Volcano and D Gate
- Try the aptly named ‘Picnic Point’ for a lakeside experience and look for eels, black swans and see who’s getting their feathers wet!
Are dogs welcome?
Yes, absolutely, bring your four-legged friends for a walk in the Gardens, just remember to keep them on a lead and pick up any doggy deposits! Please note that dogs are not allowed in the Children’s Garden and they cannot be tied to the gates/fence surrounding the Children’s Garden.
Who lives in the lake?
The Ornamental Lake is full of interesting wildlife and a great place for children to explore, have a look at birds in the Gardens and start spotting! Look out for fairy wrens and cockatoos and hear the high pitched ‘bell’ noise of the bell minor. Look into the lake and you may be lucky enough to see short-finned eels or even a long-necked turtle.
It’s starting to rain. Where do we go?
- Why not step into the Tropical Glasshouse? Older children will enjoy the self-guided tour which looks at weird and wonderful plants from the rainforest; find out which plant eats bugs!
- Head to the Observatory Café or The Terrace for some delicious afternoon tea or a slice of cake.
- Drop into the Visitor Centre and sign up for some upcoming programs and events.
- Enjoy the rain and have a rain dance in the Gardens, its Melbourne!
Where’s the nearest playground with play equipment?
- Try Fawkner Park for some traditional play equipment and space to kick a ball around (no ball games are allowed in the Royal Botanic Gardens)
- Artplay in Birrarung Marr near Federation Square has some exciting outdoor play equipment
Events and activities
The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden
There is always plenty of family fun each season in the Children’s Garden. Check out What’s On and book in for a school holiday program that may set you dancing and shaking in the Garden, enjoy a toddler music program or some budding green thumb gardening activities.
Plant Craft Cottage
Make a ‘fantastic friend’ from seedpods or gum-nuts; just one of the exciting school holiday programs that are run at Plant Craft Cottage, located near ‘H’ gate.
Last updated 18 Jan 2013