8 Amazing Inclusive Activities in Melbourne

Friday, 21 February 2020
Summer break can be a fun and exciting time. School break means getting to spend quality time with your little ones. However, for some, the summer break can be nerve-wracking. Neurodiverse families often struggle with the increase in crowds, noises, and sensory input this time of the year. It can be quite isolating for these families. 

Thankfully, Melbourne is taking steps to make the summer break more inclusive for all families! Several local activities are perfect for all families and all abilities. Here are some of our favourites:

**Please note, due to the fires in Victoria it may not be safe to access some of the activities mentioned. Please make sure you do your research before taking your family to any of these suggestions. If you haven't already, download the VicEmergency app to keep yourself informed**

1. Sensory Friendly Movie Sessions
Village Cinemas frequently hosts sensory-friendly movie sessions. These sessions help make the movie experience more positive for individuals with sensory processing challenges. Some of the theatres also offer discounted movie tickets for these screenings. 

Now, not all Village Cinemas participate in sensory-friendly sessions. To date Airport West, Knox, Fountain Gate, and Century City Walk participate in the sensory-friendly sessions. If you're wondering whether or not the session is sensory-friendly, you'll find an orange icon near the film title. 

2. Climb Around at We Rock the Spectrum
We Rock the Spectrum is a sensory-safe play centre and gym suitable for all children. This multifaceted gym offers yoga classes, ninja classes, as well as OT and speechie consults. The gym was specifically created for neurodiverse children to have a safe, comfortable environment to explore gross motor movement. If you want to take your little one to a location where you'll be free of judgement, this is the place for you. 

We Rock the Spectrum also holds information sessions for parents and carers. They collaborate with local specialists to prove the most current information. It is a brilliant way to build a solid support network. Make sure you check their Facebook for session availability as they sometimes have private sessions.  

3. Visit Melbourne's Brimbank Park
Parks Victoria and Victorian Autism group collaborated together to assist in decreasing the anxieties individuals with autism may face when going to unfamiliar areas. Within this program, photographs of the park and activities have been uploaded online. There, parents can create a social story explaining what may be experienced when they visit the park. 

As the park is located in Keilor, near the airport, some of the images show children looking up to the sky with an aeroplane. This is to help explain the sounds that they may experience whilst at the park. If you do travel to Brimbank Park, Parks Victoria asks that you give your feedback about the pilot project and how the visit went. 

4. Visit the Fairy Caves
The Buchan Caves, also known as the Fairy Caves, is another incredible place to take the family. Like Brimbank Park, Parks Victoria has worked hard to make the Fairy Caves as inclusive as possible. A social story has been created in collaboration with AMAZE to help show children what they may experience or hear. The park staff also have received training to work with neurodiverse individuals. Some reviews state that when on tours, the staff can make adjustments to help everyone feel more comfortable. The Fairy Caves should definitely be high up on your list this break.  

5. Sensory Sessions at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre has created private, inclusive events for neurodiverse children and adults. Sensory sessions are held in the morning. To help individuals with sensory challenges, lights and sounds are dimmed, quiet spaces are available, and fewer individuals are allowed in the Centre. The staff have received specialised training to best support all individuals who attend these sessions. Social stories are also available to help familiarise children and adults before the outing. 

It is recommended that you book online to secure your spot. The Discovery Centre honours Carer Cards; however, it is asked the carers do not book online. 

6. Explore the Melbourne Museum
Melbourne Museum advertises that it is an autism-friendly museum. This means they do not hold specific sensory sessions for neurodiverse individuals. However, they have created a number of resources to help ensure everyone has the most fantastic experience. 

On their webpage, you can find a map that details all the high and low sensory areas. This can help families plan out which exhibits will be best to see. In addition, the museum states when low traffic times tend to happen. If your family likes a bit more intimate and quiet atmosphere, researching these times is incredibly helpful. Additionally, various social stories can be found on the website to help ensure everyone is prepared for the best trip. 

7. See the Animals at Myuna Farms
Myuna Farms is a safe and welcoming environment for neurodiverse families. The farm encourages children to see and pat the animals, go on a pony ride, and explore the grounds on a train. Research has shown significant benefits for neurodiverse individuals who visit the zoo and farms. Besides, who doesn't love cute, cuddly animals? 

8. Become a Ninja at a Risky Kids Gym
Like We Rock the Spectrum, Risky Kids is an inclusive program for all children. Risky Kids takes the concept of play and challenges and puts those skills into parkour, ninja warrior, and obstacle course racing. Research has shown that children who engage in risky play show increases in self-esteem, communication, and socio-emotional wellbeing. Staff are trained to support neurodiverse children so that all children can actively participate in the program. 

Places around Melbourne are genuinely starting to create inclusive atmospheres for all their visitors. There still is a way to go, but the more knowledge, education, and understanding that is created, the more likely we are to creating an inclusive community. What are some of your favourite inclusive summer activities? Please share them in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!


  1. I think it's great to find activities that can involve the whole family !!!

  2. Excellent suggestions for activities! They all sound like so much fun for kids :)

  3. I love how you found activities the whole family can do

  4. Hat off to them for the effort of including neurodiverse families. And these activities sound like a ton of fun!

  5. I would love to check out the fairy caves. These sound like awesome activities.

  6. I would LOVE To visit melbourne one day!! Great article though! Love the sound of these family friendly activities

  7. It's nice that Melbourne is offering all of this.I have an autistic son, so I'm always on the lookout for inclusive activities.

    1. They're definitely working to make all activities more inclusive. It's a step in the right direction but we still have a long way to go. I hope you have some inclusive activities around you're area.

  8. Melbourne is definitely on my list to visit one day! I like that these inclusive activities have a mix of adventure and education!

  9. Oh wow there are so many fun things to do! I hope I'm able to get to Melbourne someday. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us!

  10. It is awesome that there are lots of places in Melbourne that are paying attention to this issue. My daughter actually works with museums where she lives to raise awareness of how to help make the experience better for families with special needs members. I hope this movement keeps getting traction.

  11. These activities are great! They have activities that involves the whole family. I love that they have Sensory Friendly Movie Sessions

  12. As a big movie fan I always love finding ways to make movies more appealing. That's so cool they have the sensory friendly movie sessions. Definitely a way to get people who struggle to still appreciate the films in a way that won't make them go into sensory overload.