We are now officially into the school holidays and we technically (not including the weekends) have another eight days ahead of us to try and think of ways to entertain the kids on their school break. Personally, I don’t really want to spend too much money so, weather permitting, we will be frequenting our Favourite Little Parks , practicing our bike riding, going for walks, doing some arts and crafts, picnicking and heading to as many free or cheap school holiday events as we can.
Having a five-year-old girl I’ve even scheduled in a day at the beauty salon for us both to get our nails done (they only charge between $5 and $10 to paint the kids toenails at most local places), so hopefully that’s a winner with the little poppet too!
Listed below are a few of our favourite school holiday ideas on the Mornington Peninsula, ideas to suit any budget and any weather with any age group.
This is a fantastic place to visit if weather permits. They have great coffee, spots for a picnic and the most awesome sculpture walk where you and the kids can explore the many sculptures on display. The best part about this gorgeous place though is it’s free! We think it is an asset to the Mornington Peninsula and we want to keep it alive and thriving (and free!) and therefore encourage people to go and check it out and make a small donation upon leaving. Check out the day we went spent at the park recently for some additional details and some gorgeous pics which speak for themselves!
This place really is a little piece of paradise. At Boneo maze, visitors can play a round of miniture golf, explore the meandering waterways and canals on peddal boats, get lost in a hedge maze or picnic under tall trees of the games garden. In the games garden, with it’s giant chess and children’s hedge maze, you will also discover the magic of a fully operational vintage carousel (circa 1864). The park offers a seasonal holiday program of rotating activities in addition to the bungy trampolines, rock climbing wall (available weekends from Sep-Apr) and an inflatable jumping castle.
Family Retreat is just that, a family retreat. It’s a place for mums to have a coffee while the kids are kept busy with the many activities on offer such as dress ups, train table and play doh etc. In fact, the kids will be kept so busy that you’ll end up having to force them to stop playing just to have their lunch. Service is great and the food is delish, check it out and we guarantee you’ll definitely go back!
An interesting place to visit with the whole family (for safety reasons we recommend one adult per small child), the Flinders Blowhole Track is located on Boneo Road opposite Razorback Road. Just off the car park there is a lookout with magnificent views of the wild rocky coast line and Bass Straight. The walk down to the ocean and the blowhole is by way of a well-made track and a wooden boardwalk and stairway. There are some picturesq spots to take photos on the way down including Little Bird Rock off to the right, elephant rock, and the many rock pools along the beach.
Every School Holidays, Cube 37, located adjacent to the Frankston Arts Centre, hosts an exciting program of activities that the whole family can enjoy. Created by artists and art therapists from across Australia, their programs encourage interactive engagement through arts and crafts. Their famous Jan & July school holiday workshops, Hot Arts for Cool Kids, run as smaller sessions in the Easter holidays, visit the Arts Centres website for more details.
We’ve been to a quiet a few indoor play centres across the Peninsula now and have given you a rundown of what you need to know when choosing which one to go to. Luckily we are spoilt for choice on the Mornington Peninsula and most of them are clean and have good coffee (a must for us!). Check out our fave’s from on this previous post to help you choose which one is best suited for you and your kids.
We had the most fabulous day when we visited the Moonlit Sanctuary in Pearcedale earlier in the year. We went on a lovely walk around the park, the kids got to learn about and see many different Australian animals, hold a snake and feed wallabies and kangaroos. Highly recommended for a great day out, lots of picnic tables and grass areas to sit and enjoy a packed lunch, there is also a small cafe if you would prefer to buy your food. Super easy to get around, pram and wheel chair friendly. Check out our previous post for more details.
Being that it’s the middle of Autumn already (how did that even happen?) the warm days are becoming few and far between so swimming at the beach is so not happening anymore (unless your an ice-burger!). Luckily for us, the swim season is all year round at PARC. The water is relatively warm and the kids can still pop on their togs and pretend it’s Summer. The pools are fantastic, the water slides are great and the Aquatic Playground provides squealing enjoyment for the kids. Listen out for the bell and avoid the yellow bucket if you don’t want to get wet!
School Holiday Fun! Located in Tyabb, just a fifteen-minute drive down Peninsula Link from Frankston (don’t forget to wave to the giant gnome!), The Big Goose is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s best family farm attractions, perfect for a morning (or afternoon) adventure. Check out our review of the farm! We had a ball and we know you will too.
The Enchanted Adventure Garden located at Arthur’s Seat is a fab day out for the fam. Lose yourself in the beautiful colours of their seasonal gardens (take your camera!) A great place for a picnic, there’s various gardens and mazes to explore, bush scramble obstacle courses and an indoor 3D spooky maze. Kids can also participate in a tree surfing experience! They do book up fast though so get tickets early.
The Messy Shed is a place for children to experiment and create with different types of medium. Be it mud, paint, glue, goo, water play, sensory rice play etc… all those things you really want your child to experience but just not in your own home! Well here you can let your kids make a mess and then the team at The Messy Shed tidies up after them! Sweet! It’s located next to The Hungry Peacock as they are a joint venture. The Messy Shed has two sessions per day, six days per week (closed on Mondays), and session times are 9.30am and 11am but you will need to book As it gets super busy.
The Hungry Peacock is similar to the Family Retreat in that it’s a cafe where kids are welcome to explore and play (there’s even a little kids work station and kitchen set up) while the mums (or dads) sit, have a coffee (they also serve wine!!) and relax. There’s an outdoor area with a cubby for the nicer weather days. It’s usually pretty busy and they don’t take bookings so it’s best to get there early, they are open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am.
Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens is home to Australia’s oldest and most famous traditional hedge maze set among 25 acres of world acclaimed gardens. The 3 metre high Cypress hedges have been sculpted into a gorgeous maze. There’s also beautiful gardens and plenty for the kids to explore, the views are stunning around Shoreham, it really is one of the most beautiful places on the Mornington Peninsula so don’t forget to pack your camera, a great backdrop for some updated family photos!
(Pic: Sand Sculpting Australia)
Thankfully this awesome Frankston Foreshore exhibition is staying put and will now be a permanent attraction on the Mornington Peninsula. The team at Sand Sculpting Australia recently announced they will not be packing up their sand castles this year and will instead be building an indoor sand mania for us to be able to visit and admire all year round! How lucky are we! The current exhibition is “A Day at the Zoo” is truly a stunning masterpiece and definitely worth a visit.
We all know kids (especially little boys!) need to get their energy out physically! Well Gravity Zone trampoline park in Seaford is the perfect place for them to go absolutely bonkers and work up a sweat. There’s dozens of trampolines here for the kids to jump wild on, basketball rings, dodge ball arena and an awesome indoor laser tag arena, best to book as the jump sessions fill up quickly.
McCrae Eastern Lighthouse, McCrae
Located at 676 Point Nepean Rd, McCrae Eastern Lighthouse is one of the most impressive structures located on Port Phillip Bay and it’s a must-visit for the school holidays. The steel edifice was assembled in England in 1874, then shipped to McCrae and erected in 1883. Today, it remains the largest building on mainland Victoria at 33.5 metres. Although it helped guide sailors from Melbourne along Port Phillip Bay for decades, it is now a historic relic that has been placed on the Victorian Historic Buildings Register and the kids will love it!
There’s two family open days coming up at the stunning Dame Elisabeth’s Cruden Farm located on Cranbourne Rd in Langwarrin. One of those days, Party in the Park, falls in these school holidays on April 5, the other will be held on April 17. There will be rides, jumping castles, face-painting and plenty of fun to be had. Definitely worth heading along to even if it’s just to take a look around the gorgeous grounds surrounding the mansion.
This place can get very busy, but for good reason. Everyone is itching to find and pick the best strawberries on the Peninsula! There are thousands and thousands of the delicious ripe little red fruits for all to find and devour here! It is best to get there early (they open at 9am) and fill your punnet before heading back to the Dessert Cafe for some sensational strawberry ice-cream or some strawberry inspired sweets.
This is a pretty cool place if you are a kid (ok if you’re a child hidden inside an adults body and you used to love Time Zone, it’s also wicked fun!). There’s Laser Tag, Black Light Mini Golf, Dodgem Cars, Laser Maze, XD Theatre and heaps and heaps of arcade games. Have a play or book a party! It’s located right next to the cinemas and a few family friendly restaurants on Wells Street in Frankston so it’s a great little hub to spend the day.
This roller rink (which has been around since we were little tackers!) has recently had a much needed revamp and is now much more modern and hip. It’s a great day out for all the family, no matter what their age as even the little ones can be pushed around the rink, skate around on roller blades or old school roller skates. It’s open from 11am daily on the school holidays with some special evening opening times on offer.
You can’t really go wrong if you take the kids bowling for a day on the holidays! A perfect wet day activity, the following are three locations on the Mornington Peninsula to choose from. Strike Bowling in Frankston has Laser Tag and Rosebud Top Fun offers enjoyment for the entire family with 36 holes of Mini Golf; 18 holes outside, under shade sails and 18 holes undercover, along with their four full size lanes of Ten Pin Bowling.
And if all else fails and you can’t make it to any of the above activities you can always just pack up the kids, load them up with popcorn and chuck them in front of the big screen for a couple of hours! Here are the cinema options on the Morn Pen.
Peninsula Cinemas, Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento
Rosebud Cinemas, 30 Rosebud Parade, Rosebud
Mornington Cinemas, 1 Main Street, Mornington
Frankston Hoyts Cinemas, 21 Wells Street, Frankston
Village Cinemas, 197 Karingal Drive, Karingal
Kids movies on these school hols include Batman v Superman, Captain America, Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, Star Wars and The Good Dinosaur.