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Top 5 arts experiences for kids in Melbourne

/ 03 Jul 2017
Melbourne works hard to ensure the future legacy of its arts and cultural reputation by fostering a strong calendar of exhibitions, experiences and performances for the next generation. Kids are well-looked after at all the major arts institutions in the city with exhibitions targeted at young culture vultures, blockbuster exhibitions that include kid friendly interpretations and plenty of interactivity.

NGV International

Kids are very much part of the programming mix at Victoria’s top arts institution with regular bookable programs including Saturday art workshops for younger kids and Creative Encounters for teenagers. All ages can collect an activity sheet at the info desk to follow a trail of the permanent works with information designed specifically for younger arts appreciators. Currently kids can engage with Australian artist Fiona Hall’s beautiful natural world in Uneasy Seasons (until October 8). Inspired by Van Gogh and the Seasons currently showing, the installation centred around two huge treehouses invites children from school aged to teenage to the contemplate their environment, its issues and inhabitants by making their own animals and emojis to communicate how they feel.

Melbourne Museum

The Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum opened in December 2016 and has quickly become one of the leading attractions for parents of young children. Future palaeontologists can excavate fossils in the dinosaur dig; budding botanists can traverse the discovery garden; and the ‘camouflage disco’ will turn energetic kids into spotty and stripy disco dancing animals. And until 15 October 2017, Melbourne Museum has opened the doors to the Australian premiere of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers – an exquisitely crafted and spectacular world of bugs featuring 2,000 individual pieces including six large-scale bugs – Orchid Mantis, Bombardier Beetle, Jewel Wasp, Dragonfly, Japanese Honeybees and Katipō (New Zealand’s most dangerous native spider). Visitors can immerse themselves in the fascinating science of entomology and learn how these little creatures have inspired cutting-edge science and technology.

NGV Australia – Ian Potter Centre

NGV Australia in Federation Square is the home of Australian art, presenting Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day. Part of the NGV Festival of Photography, Patrick Pound: The Great Exhibition is the first comprehensive exhibition of the New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist. An avid collector, Patrick Pound is equally interested in systems and the ordering of objects: an attempt, perhaps, to make things coherent. As Pound says, ‘to collect is to gather your thoughts through things’. Especially for children Patrick Pound: The Great Exhibition, Patrick has created an activity trail that takes children on an expedition. Armed with a map, children explore the collections of photographs and objects on display and chart their own course by completing activities, making discoveries and finding new ways of looking at the world.

Arts Centre Melbourne

Arts Centre Melbourne has a stella line up of shows for kids this winter and spring. Beloved books come to life on stage with Horrible Harriet and The Gruffalo, while the Listies bring their seriously silly comedy to the Fairfax Studio in Ickypedia. Bamboozle Theatre Company’s Down to Earth from the UK is a beautiful and immersive work is made specifically for children and young people with physical and complex disabilities. Secret worlds are discovered in the interactive journey The Story of Lamp and the Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ new production Junk features play-loving kids who live behind a junkyard. The China National Theatre for Children presents the highly visual production of Three Monks and Ireland’s renowned CoisCéim Dance Theatre takes the timeless story of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and retells it through the eyes of the (somewhat misunderstood) in The Wolf and Peter. Last but not least, the Victorian premiere of the Helpmann Award-winning production Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories by Barking Gecko Theatre Company.


The Australian Centre for Moving Image is a no brainer for families looking to entertain kids in the technological age. Screen Worlds provides an interactive look the history of television, film and digital culture and includes gaming and animation activations. In an Australian exclusive, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present Wallace & Gromit and friends: The magic of Aardman (29 June – 29 October 2017) as part of Victoria’s annual Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series. Originally shown in Paris, the acclaimed exhibition celebrates 40 years of one of the world’s most successful animation studios. Best known for its Claymation productions, Aardman is the creative force behind beloved films and television series such as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run. More than 350 objects will be on display including: original artworks; over 50 set pieces such as Wallace’s Cracking Contraptions and Gromit’s famous vegetable garden; Shaun the Sheep sets; the flying machine from Chicken Run; and the spectacular 5-metre tall ship from The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Exclusive to ACMI will be additional artworks from the studio’s forthcoming feature film Early Man due for release in 2018.

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