So, here we go- how far can we stretch $100 to get a full week of family entertainment in the city?
Monday- morning: Start at the National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda Road. The gallery is free and currently has the Triennial exhibition that has loads on offer for families including a dedicated Kids space. Afternoon: Head across the road to the Royal Botanic Gardens for a walk and this is a great spot to have a picnic so bring some sandwiches along. Be sure to visit the Ian Potter Children's Garden while you are there, lots to explore and great water play for hot weather.
Tuesday- Morning: ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is free to enter and has lots of interactive displays celebrating the history of film and tv. There are video games to play and often a travelling exhibition too. Afternoon: Cross over Flinders Street to famous Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane to admire the street art and then back to Federation Square to drop into a free Art Play class or play at the big Playground in Birrarung Marr.
Wednesday- Morning: Visit Melbourne Museum for $28 ($14 per adult, kids are free). From the dinosaurs and bugs to the rainforest and daily eel feeding session, there is something to interest everyone and the new children's gallery is amazing! You could easily spend a full day here but if you'd like to explore elsewhere...Afternoon: Wander through Carlton Gardens and have a play on the playground or jump on the free city circle tram for a tour of the city.
Thursday- Morning: Let's keep it simple with a dip at the local pool, costs vary but you can usually get a family of four in for $20. Afternoon: Jump on the bikes for a ride through Spotswood, you could catch the punt under the Westagate ($2.70 per bike per trip) or keep pedaling and grab a couple of ice creams along the way instead.
Friday- Morning: Have a play at the fully fenced, beachside Plum Garland Memorial Playground at Port Melbourne and then walk along the shore for some awesome ship spotting. Afternoon: Drive further east to the iconic Brighton Beach Huts. These 'beach cubbies' as my kids call them are all painted differently and sit on a lovely beach. Evening: Take the whole family to the MCG for a Big Bash Cricket match for $42. Matches are fast paced and there is so much on for kids- acrobats, music, fireworks, mascots and lots of little freebies. It's one of the best value sporting events for families.
Saturday- Morning: Get an early start and go Hot air balloon spotting at sunrise. Afternoon: Grab a couple of books that aren't getting much love and trade them for new reads at one the the city's dozens of little free libraries. Evening: Catch a free outdoor movie. A lot of councils across the city run these in local parks and they are a fun night out.
Sunday- Beach day. Grab the kite, the sandcastle tools and plenty of sunscreen and hit the sand for the day!
I hope this gives you some inspiration for budget fun in the big city!