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How to keep the kids entertained over the winter school break
Beat the boredom blues these winter holidays with these family-friendly activities.
Just when the house was feeling peaceful again as learning-from-home wound up, the winter school holidays are here. But the crisp weather and early evenings don’t mean you have to stay cooped up indoors.
While some popular attractions are booked out, or yet to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown, there’s a host of fun, family friendly attractions that are welcoming visitors these school holidays.
Here are some of our favourite places to treat the kids to a day they’ll remember and, better still, they all offer discounted entry for RACV members. Just don’t forget to book in advance as many venues need to impose limited visitor numbers due to social distancing restrictions.
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Check out the view over Melbourne city from the Melbourne Star
Step into the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel to rediscover Melbourne with an uninterrupted panoramic view over the city. Test your knowledge by guessing which landmarks you can see, or listen to the audio commentary for added insights into the view you’re enjoying. Reaching a height of 120 metres, views span up to 40 kilometres, and the Star is open into the evening for a twinkly after-dark vistas. The big wheel will be open Thursdays through Mondays throughout the school holidays from 11am to 6:30 pm, so you can enjoy twinkly twilight visits. RACV members get 50 per cent off when they book online, until the end of August.
Get up close and personal with some penguins
During isolation, many zoos around the world turned on their cameras for livestreams of their cutest animals to keep guests connected. However, nothing quite beats the real thing, making SEA LIFE Melbourne the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Plus, the aquarium has some new family members to show off – four fluffy king penguin chicks that hatched this year. RACV members save 25 per cent on entry when they book olnine.
Turn yourself into a work of art
For something really different, spend a few hours inside Australia's first interactive 'trick' art gallery, ArtVo, where RACV members get 10 per cent off entry. Get stuck inside a glass bottle, defy gravity as you hang off windows and climb walls, and challenge your depth perception (and your sanity) as you wander through nine spectacular themed zones featuring more than 80 hand-painted optical illusions by master Korean artists. Online bookings are essential and session times during the school holidays are starting to fill, so don’t leave this to the last minute.
Learn about some of Melbourne’s eeriest history
Dive into Melbourne’s murky criminal history when the Old Melbourne Gaol reopens to visitors on 27 June. Explore the historic site where 133 hangings took place, and for bigger kids (aged 12 and over), try the Cluedo Experience – an immersive murder-mystery adventure that brings the iconic boardgame to life. The gaol is open 10am to 5pm daily, but you’ll need to book a time to visit online. RACV members save 10 per cent on the entry fee.
Have a prickly adventure
Be transported to the Mojave Desert without leaving Victoria. Kids young and old will love meandering through fields of picture-perfect cacti and other succulents at Cactus Country, in Victoria’s Murray country. Make sure you book your visit online. The onsite restaurant is closed for sit-down meals but you can treat yourself to some homemade cactus cake and a coffee at the café. RACV members get 10 per cent discount on entry.