This is our pick for best playground in Melbourne. Amazing equipment, a man made creek running into the sandpit and a great hill. It's accessible, it's interesting and it's a whole lot of fun!

Paid street parking, toilets at hospital next door, unfenced but set well back from the road, no shade, bbq.

This is a fantastic spot to watch the hot air balloons from if you can drag the troops out of bed early enough!

Ian Potter Children's Garden

This is a great area to explore with the kids, it's fully fenced and has lots of quirky landscaping to keep things interesting. There are places to dig, waterplay, a vege patch, the famous Magic Pudding sculpture and plenty of wonderful little details to discover.

Open 10am-Sunset Wednesday-Sunday (Closed for school groups Mon and Tue during school terms)

Shade, fully fenced, toilets nearby, café nearby

Address: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne

NGV Courtyard

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The outdoor space at NGV is just lovely and its a great spot to have a quiet break from a city adventure. Plenty of grass to run around on, fountains ready for your wishes, a climbing frame and plenty of tables and chairs. Of course there is some fantastic art out there as well. The NGV café does a kids lunchbox that you can grab and eat out here which is a favourite little tradition of ours.

Shaded areas, tables and chairs, toilets, NGV café just inside, enclosed, fenced water features

Birrarung Marr Art Play

A great playground right in the heart of the city. It's located just behind Fed Square so it's perfect for a first stop if you are jumping off the train at Flinders St Station. There is plenty of equipment, all decorated in unique artplay style, and great accessibility options with ramps and a liberty swing. This is also the permanent home of one the roaming Mali statues from the Melbourne Zoo's 150th birthday celebrations.

Parking in Fed Square, Very close to train and tram at Flinders St Station, plenty of shade, public toilet close by, unfenced but not near roads, liberty swing.

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens holds a really unusual and wonderful collection of things to visit. There is a dragon playground where you can slide down the dragon tail, an intricately decorated fairy tree, a miniature Tudor village, Cooks Cottage and a gorgeous conservatory. A fantastic spot to explore or for a picnic.

On street parking, tram stop at park, parliament train station 10 minute walk away, café, plenty of shade, accessible paths linking everything.

Address: Wellington Parade, East Melbourne