Museum of Play and Art, Geelong, Victoria: New play-based learning museum for kids

Children, paint and cars - what could possibly go wrong?

Very little it seems. A new museum in Geelong's latest show-stealing activity teaches children to lash paint on cars – and it's a sell-out.

The new Museum of Play and Art (MoPA) is a play-based learning and creative space for kids in Victoria's second city. Children flock to paint its VW beetle, race cars down huge Lego ramps, get in the photo booths and tune into a soundstorm, transporting them around the globe through the sounds of the Australian bush or an African jungle.

Devised for children aged from one to those in the early primary school age, there are more than 30 interactive exhibits at MoPA, housed in Geelong's 160-year-old Wintergarden – which has been everything from a church to a drill hall. Founder Tom Mahon says that with tickets capped at 100 per day, the museum is usually booked out days in advance.

"Geelong's arts and culture scene is well suited to the mature audience, we thought MoPA would be a great opportunity to celebrate that culture for kids as well," says Tom. However, its newest innovation has the grown-ups in mind, but with a childish twist, with an Adults After Dark education series led by some of Victoria's top children's educators, and playful adult art classes on the to-do list.

To reach MoPA, take the new Geelong Flyer from Melbourne CBD to downtown Geelong. The new 400-seat ferry is equipped with a licenced café, bike racks, charging stations and free Wi-Fi for the 90-minute crossing between Victoria Harbour in Docklands (opposite Marvel Stadium) and Steampacket Quay, on the Geelong waterfront. The operator, Port Phillip Ferries, advises evading the working week rush by travelling Thursday to Sunday, all the while keeping an eye out for the seals and dolphins of Port Phillip Bay.

Daytrippers can make the return journey with four hours in Geelong, enough time to explore the city's newest openings including Beach House Geelong. From the creators of Higher Ground and Kettle Black fame, the café/restaurant is housed in a 1930s bather's pavilion at Eastern Beach. Otherwise, step back to 1940s Italy at The Continental on Geelong's café strip, Little Malop Street. On the art front, from late May until mid-August, you can catch the work one of Australia's premier mural painters, Rone, exhibiting in his home town at the Geelong Gallery.

The MoPA (Museum of Play and Art) costs $14 for children aged one and over, adults $10, family pass (4 people) $44. Book ahead, The Geelong Flyer travels twice daily, every day of the year. Tickets cost $18/$36 adults one-way/return, and $10/$20 children 4-16 years. See