Lively Festivals Invite Families To Australia's Capital Of Culture!
Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, and Australia's second most populated city with over 4 million residents. It is often referred to as the cultural capital of the country, because Melbourne is the birth place of Australian film, television, the impressionist art movement, and uniquely Australian dance. It's a lively centre for contemporary and traditional music, and admired for its exciting mix of modern architecture with beautiful buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. One of the top cultural attractions is the great street art found throughout the city in art-laden alleys, laneways and arcades.
The city seems to always be celebrating with a wide array of festivals and other cultural events. It is home to the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Both the Australian National Ballet and the State Symphony Orchestra are based there, and perform to packed houses, as does Opera Australia. Performances of theatrical works draws crowds to the Princess Theatre.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square is a landmark cultural space for residents who can also enjoy the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, exploring Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage and lingering to gaze at contemporary and dreamtime art. The Royal Botanic Gardens offer beauty and further exploration of the area's cultural footprint with an Aboriginal Heritage Walk. The Royal Botanic Gardens are considered by many to be one of the best landscaped gardens on earth.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is Australia's largest, oldest and most popular sporting grounds, and sports-mad Aussies are always game to take in a match in its party atmosphere. Melbourne Park hosts another international party annually -- the Australian Tennis Open. In March, speed and power fans line up to view the Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, and rarely miss the world's richest horse race held on the first Tuesday of November, the Melbourne Cup.
The Immigration Museum traces Australia's famous immigrant roots, or you can step back in time to walk the road to the gallows in a 19th century prison at the Old Melbourne Gaol - just spooky enough to intrigue kids! They'll even "arrest" you in a modern day Police Station or let you put yourself on trial and experience firsthand the workings of justice.
The Werribee Open Range Zoo is an up-close-and-personal encounter with native Australian critters, and the more traditional Melbourne Zoo is a fun days activity that kids always love. Get an adrenaline rush at the Melbourne Skydive Centre - jumping from heights of up to 14,000 feet! The centre will capture your bravery - or your screams - on DVD, so you can relive this once-in-a-lifetime activity from the safety of your own living room couch!