Top 5 – Melbourne’s garden oriented places to visit with kids

As you can tell by the summery weather in some of these photos this is a post I’ve been working on for some time.  This weeks Top 5 is: The best places to visit in Melbourne to look at gardens (particularly kitchen gardens) with the kids in tow.  There are a few other places that may have made the list had they not been outside of Melbourne (ie Churchill Island on Phillip Island) or if they had a kitchen garden as well as stunning native gardens (ie the Australia Garden at Royal Botanic Gardens – Cranbourne).  But in Melbourne this is what I have come up with.

1. ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS – I love the children’s garden at the botanical gardens.  Not only is it right next to the kitchen garden.  Not only does it have nice bits of lawn to laze on.  But it also has sprinklers in summer for the kids to play in.  They can get very excited running in and out of the ever moving jets while you check out the cool pumpkin growing structures.



2. CERES – I do have occasional shopaholic tendencies, particularly in nurseries or garden centres.  At CERES they have a fun sandpit complete with old tractor to ride on inside the nursery, they also have chooks.  Enough entertainment then for the kids whilst you shop for seedlings or perhaps one of their excellent range of fruit trees.  One thing to note though – the sandpit is not enclosed, the kids can escape and there is a dam quite close – enough said.


3. COLLINGWOOD CHILDRENS FARM FARMERS MARKET The farmers market at the Collingwood Children’s farm is on the 2nd Saturday of the month.  The $2 entry fee lets you shop, ogle the allotment style plots from the comfort of their elevated walkway and get up close to the livestock.  The market usually has a stall selling seedlings and more attractive to the kids is one selling frozen orange juice on a stick.  After shopping and devouring frozen products its off to see the pigs and goats.


4. HEIDE – I wish I had some photos of Heidi but unfortunately circumstances have conspired against me so you’ll have to content yourself with this link.   Heide is a museum of modern art, which in itself isn’t hugely suitable for small children – the staff can look very worried if you approach with a toddler.  What is fabulous is that the museum is set in the most lovely gardens.  There’s a huge kitchen garden and more interesting for the younger members of the party there’s a very cool sculpture garden.  I really like visiting at this time of year when the sculptures are often offset by a bit of mist and fog.  Having said that the kitchen garden, which is also used by Cafe Vue which operates on the premises, is probably more interesting in summer.

5. THE ZOO – The attraction for the kids at the zoo is fairly clear – lots of exciting animals.  But it also has a lot to offer the gardener.  There are some really nice native gardens, particularly near the Australian animal enclosures and they usually have some raised beds dedicated to veggies to have a look at.  And then of course there are the animals – my personal favourite being the orang-u-tans.  Very cool indeed.


Had enough tourism, then head over to The New Goodlife for her weekly top 5, but before you go I’d love to know about your favourite places to take the kids.

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6 Responses to Top 5 – Melbourne’s garden oriented places to visit with kids

  1. Leanne says:

    Can I just add a little more about Heidi, which is one of the places I’m planning on visiting very soon. I used to take my children there all the time, they loved the cows that were in the garden. We rarely went into the actual galleries, but they loved wondering around outside. The best part of course, was that it was free, I assume it is still the same. My girls always wanted to go back and visit the cows made of corrugated iron.
    They have been to all the places you have said, though they weren’t keen on the toilets at Ceres. There is also another childrens farm in Bundoora, I don’t know a lot about it, but have been there a couple of time.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve been to the Bundoora one too – great for the kids but not much in the way of gardening interest. I presume you will photograph Heide? Looking forward to the pics!

  2. We’ve visited all but Heidi – looks like that will be next on the list when we’re looking for an outing. The zoo is our most regular outing, but we too love the children’s garden at the botanical gardens in summer. We really should check out Ceres and the Collingwood Children’s farm again soon.

    I was in the city a few weeks ago and came across a kitchen garden at the top of Melbourne Central – it was looking a bit neglected being between seasons at the time and a couple of the boxes clearly weren’t getting enough sunlight, but it was quite interesting regardless of these problems. We also went to the Children’s Expo and Bundoora Park which includes Cooper’s settlement (with community garden, wildlife reserve and historic village), a children’s farm, gallery, cafe, golf course and a great all-abilities (enclosed) playground. It’s very close to us, actually I go through it when I go for a run. Edendale farm in Eltham is another great place, it’s actually designed for kids and runs a big environmental education program (I’ve taken school groups there, but it’s great for families too). I think it has links to CERES. My final suggestion probably doesn’t fit within the Melbourne boundaries, but it’s not too far away, is Heronswood – the most beautiful kitchen garden I’ve seen, plus beautiful grounds, animals, cafe and of course Digger’s nursery.

    • Liz says:

      I’ve been to the Bundoora Park farm (for a kids party) and it was a lot of fun. I hadn’t heard of the Eltham farm though – thanks for the tip. I’ve never been to Heronswood either – one day when I’m done that way. I hope you enjoy Heide as much as I do.

  3. leduesorelle says:

    Great topic for your Top 5! I’m obsessing about the pumpkin growing trellises… do you know anything about these or have tried them?

    • Liz says:

      I haven’t tried them – not enough room for here, they seemed to work pretty well though, I think you’d need to support the individual fruits though but otherwise it looked great.

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