We went to the new Pauline Gandel children’s gallery within the Melbourne Museum and it was fantastic! I already knew a little bit about it from the photos I’ve seen online, but I was blown away by how good it was for the little ones. It truly exceeded my expectations!
The gallery is aimed at children from babies to 5 year olds and it is an amazing space for them to explore, play and learn. There is all manner of objects, colours, textures, animals, sounds, buttons, puzzles and books for them to discover. With a combination of hands-on exploration and discovery, open-ended play-based learning, immersive environments and unique objects your little ones will be intrigued, amazed and surprised… I certainly was!
The beginning of the gallery space features a walk through mini subway station. As you make your way through, the tiles change colour and pulse with light, the kids loved running through this! A mini train greets you at the end and you find you have entered a children’s wonderland filled with an array of interactive walls, pods, booths and tables. My kids loved touching the illustrated wall to watch it light up with cute animations. It was very hypnotic and cool. Moving through to the larger open space we were greeted with a mini disco to the left and two large giraffes on the right – standing watch over a large climbing structure and a myriad of interactive stations. There were lots of kids running around, screaming, jumping, pulling ropes, dancing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. What a sight! There was so much to see and do my little ones didn’t know where to look or start! Take a look at my photos as words can not explain how much there is to see and do!
Once you have finished exploring inside make your way to the garden. Here kids can explore nature, discover hiding mice and lizards (fake ones!), pretend to be paleontologists and discover fossils in the large sandpit, have fun with the water feature or touch and discover the large variety of rocks and plants. It’s a beautiful nature inspired space. There’s lots of benches for weary parents to sit and relax on too!
The gallery has two cafes, so you can refuel without leaving the building. We ate at the Museum Market Cafe and there were lots of healthy options such as sandwiches, salads, fruit salad, yoghurt, homemade pastries, plus cute cardboard dinosaur lunch boxes for the kids which had a sandwich and a biscuit in it. They offer free water, high chairs and a microwave to heat up bottles etc. Toilets have change tables and nursing facilities plus there’s lots of room for prams – although these were parked just outside the main gallery play area.
It’s very easy to spend quite a few hours here, my advice it to try and get there earlier as it starts to get very crowded later in the day. Check out the gallery for all the pics!