We live in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, an eclectic bayside area of the city that literally has something for everyone. No matter how old you are, there is something for you in St Kilda, and when I had to look after Jack for the day because Sarah was studying, there was only one place for us to spend a few fun-filled hours…Luna Park.
Because it’s winter Mr Moon’s big toothed gate doesn’t open until 11am, so we wandered up and down the St Kilda’s Esplanade Market for 45 minutes to kill some time. On a nice day, is this was, the market is a really pleasant walk where tourists can buy souvenirs, while anyone can buy substantial pieces of art for their own homes either here or back in their own country. You can also grab a coffee and a bite to eat if you so desire.
Luna Park is a great place for kids of all ages, including those who usually act with a little more maturity! From the moment Jack and I walked through the iconic giant mouth into the fun park, we were both so excited. I’ve always been a big fan of fun parks, and while Luna Park isn’t quite on the same scale as other places I’ve been to such as Disneyland in Paris, Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and the Gold Coast’s range of theme parks including Movie World and Wet’n’Wild, it’s still a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids.
The main rides
The most famous ride is the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster, the oldest continually operating wooden roller coast in the world! It’s the only roller coaster of its kind that still has a brakeman standing at the rear ensuring all passengers enjoy a smooth ride. It looks strange and I’m not sure how they got approval through Australia’s strict Occupational Health and Safety standards, but they did! It’s a brilliant and nostalgic ride that offers fantastic views across St Kilda and Port Phillip Bay, along with all of the excitement and thrills you’d expect from a high-speed roller coaster.
There are plenty of other rides throughout Luna Park such as the Spider, a ride that spins you around at high speeds while each leg moves up and down; the Twin Dragon pirate ship that swings back and forth until you’re almost upside down; and the Coney Island Top drop, a ride where people are strapped into a seat then slowly lifted into the air before being dropped from a great height, coming to a halt just inches from the ground!
The rides for Jack
Because I’ve been to Luna Park many times before, and ridden on all of the rides countless times, I didn’t go on any when I took Jack. And because Jack only just reached the 100cm limit for some of the rides, he had six rides he could either go on himself, or that I could accompany him on without needing an additional ticket. If I were to have bought tickets for myself, we could have gone on a number of other rides together as well. But I figured for Jack’s first time here we’d give these six rides a chance and see how he went. The six rides were:
- Carousel – a truly beautiful ride featuring 68 individually painted and decorated horses and chariots.
- Mirror Maze – Without doubt the worst mirror maze in the world. It’s basically in the shape of a T. Once you enter the base of the ‘T’, when you get to the top if you turn left it’s a dead end, and if you turn right it takes you to the exit. A real disappointment!
- Binky The Train – A train ride that takes children around the park. Adults can’t ride this one, but it goes slow enough so you can follow behind.
- Holodeck – Located near the Mirror Maze, children sit inside the ‘spaceship’ and are taken on a virtual journey thanks to the vibrating and moving ship, and the giant screen inside.
- Red Baron – a spider like ride with tiny two-seater planes on the end of each arm. The ride spins around in circles with the arms rise up and down to give the little riders the thrill of ‘flying’!
- Arabian Merry – similar to the Red Baron, except with flying elephants on the end of the arms that seat four passengers. Adults must accompany little ones on this ride.
It took us a couple of hours to wander around the park and for Jack to have a go on all six rides. By the end Jack was really tired and when we got home he crashed on the couch for a few hours, so it was a good choice not to buy any tickets for the other rides that we could have ridden together. It cost me $16.50 for Jack to enjoy unlimited turns on the six rides mentioned above, which I think is really good value.
Other ticket prices (unlimited rides):
- Family pass – $149.95: 2 adults and 2 children (4-12 years) OR 1 adult and 3 children.
- Teen and adult ticket (13+ years) – $49.50
- Child ticket (4-12 years) – $39.50
- Toddler ticket (0-3 years) – $16.50
You can also buy single tickets if you only want to visit for a short period of time.
You can come and go from Luna Park as many times as you like throughout the day after you’ve bought your tickets. This is great because it means you don’t have to stay and have lunch within the park. Acland Street is just 100 metres away, and is a great shopping strip filled with a wide variety of places to eat, including several delicious ice-cream shops. It’s also famous for high quality cake shops selling the most unbelievable sweet treats you can imagine!
Acland Street is also home to two major supermarkets, so you can buy lunch and water and take it into Luna Park with you. It’s a great way to ensure you take some quality food in with you, while saving money by not having to purchase the over-priced hot dogs, chips and fizzy drinks!
Luna Park is also right across the road from St Kilda beach, so if it’s a hot day you can easily combine the excitement of Luna Park with a dip in the Bay!
And there is plenty of public transport coming in and out of this area of St Kilda all day and well into the night, with bus and tram stops right out the front. Trams 16 and 96 run between St Kilda and the city, and can be caught from Flinders Street (16) and Southern Cross Stations (96), while the 606 bus that runs between Port Melbourne and Elsternwick also stops here. The closes train station is Balaclava on the Sandringham line, which is a 15-minute walk from Luna Park.