Open House Melbourne Top Ten for Families
Open House Melbourne is celebrating 10 years of letting you go behind-the-scenes of some of the city's best loved buildings. On the last weekend in July (29-30th) industrial, residential and historic buildings all over the city are offering tours and presentations. I love this event, there are so many places to see and even after years of attending there are still so many buildings on my to-do list. If you are planning on taking the kids here are some family friendly suggestions.
1. Tram Museum
This is a big shed full of all sorts of old trams that you can climb into and play on. Lots of working bells too. It's open all weekend with no set tour times so just turn up and explore! It's a lot of fun.
2. Medibank Building
Sat 10am - 4pm
From the outside it just looks like another office building but inside there is an amazing rainbow staircase swirling up and around. The tour shows off plenty of other cool design features too. Expect queues, I'd recommend getting there early.
3. Port Tours
Sun 10am - 3pm
Special Note:There are some restricted areas. Will be advised by staff at the start of each tour. Standard wheelchair (non motorised) ok. Boarding ramp in place, may be steep depending on tide.
Tour Details:6 tours per day. 45 minute boat tour, 240 people per tour. Tours depart hourly, first tour at 10 am, last tour at 3pm Boat tours depart from Water Plaza Victoria Harbour, Docklands and pass Victoria Dock, Appleton Dock, Swanson Dock and the decommissioned harbour control tower on North Wharf. Tours include a guided commentary from Port of Melbourne staff.
Saturday 29 July 2017 10am – 4pm
Guided tours will run four times a day (10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm & 2:30pm) and focus on the architecture, history and modern use of the building. 20 people per tour for approximately 20 minutes.
Free drop in kids weaving activity offered all day. This is a hands-on activity where children will get to try their hand at weaving and take home their work.
ATW Artists in Residence will be showcasing hand made artworks, crafts, textiles, jewellery and ceramics.
5. Sun Theatre (pre booking required)
Sat 9am - 10am & Sun 9am-10am
Hour long tours of Yarravilles's famous Sun Theatre show you all the cinemas and the old projector that was recently installed to play The Hateful Eight plus you get to hear plenty about the history of the is special place. At the end of the tour take a seat in one of the cinemas to watch all the showreels.
6. Circus Oz
Sat 10am - 4pm
Circus Oz will be performing for everyone at their Headquarters in Collingwood. A great chance to check out the famous Keith Harring mural too.
7. Melbourne Central (pre booking required)
These tours take you on a quick walk around Melbourne Central and the shot tower before heading up to the roof and a chance to look inside the glass cone that sits on top of the shopping centre. Great for kids who aren't afraid of heights. The tour we did included a couple of escalators so not suited to prams and wheelchairs.
8. Luna Park (pre booking required)
Take a look behind-the-scenes of the scenic railway, the carousel and the ghost train.
Open:Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm
TAPE ME HOME Artist: Briony Barr
Imagine a drawing that has become bored of paper and wandered off the page in search of new adventure. Come along and contribute to a huge collaborative artwork made completely from lines of colourful electrical tape. Tape Me Home is inspired by architecture, design and neighbourhoods of all kinds, both real and imaginary, past and future.
10. Religion Day (Albanian Mosque, Melbourne Synagogue, St. Paul's Cathedral)
There are so many interesting religious buildings on the Open House books so last year we did a full religious day taking in a mosque, a church and a synagogue. The tours were really interesting and all the guides were great with the kids. We even stopped at a temple on the way home to really fill the day (The Temple of the Heavenly Queen in footscray isn't part of Open House Melbourne but is always open to visitors).
Book in early if you are going to buildings that require bookings. Many sell out fast. Bookings open July 17th 8.30am.
Expect queues and plan accordingly.
Follow Open House Melbourne on social media for live updates on crowds on the day.
Don't be too ambitious, two or three buildings per day is a good number to aim for.
Check age restrictions, some (not many) tours don't allow kids under 14.