The Melbourne Cricket Ground, also known as “The G”, is a sports stadium located in Yarra Park in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Built in 1853, it has been considered as the beating heart of Melbourne. Today, it stands as the world’s 10th largest stadium, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest in Australia. It also has the tallest light towers of all sporting venues in the world.
The MCG was the main central piece stadium for the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, as well as the two Cricket World Cups held in 1992 and 2015. In 1959, it has held about 130,000 people but a series of redevelopments for health and safety reasons reduced its capacity to 100,024 people; that’s 95,000 seating capacity and 5,000 standing capacity.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground has hosted several other international events such as State of Origin (rugby league) games and FIFA World Cup qualifiers. It also hosts epic concerts and cultural events, as well as Papal and Royal visits. Now, it is a Victorian Heritage Register-listed site and was added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2005.
The MCG Facilities for Families
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is a family-friendly venue. It offers several facilities and services for parents and their kids that aims to help them have a smooth visiting experience.
The Parent Rooms
Parent Rooms are parent facilities located near the entrance and at each stand. They have baby change facilities, a family toilet, as well as a microwave. The specific locations are at the back of M11 in the Great Southern Stand, behind M28 in the Ponsford Stand, behind M57 in the Olympic Stand and inside the Gate 2 entrance of the MCC Members Reserve.
Baby Change Stations
The baby change stations are spread around the entire stadium for both moms and dads. There are separate change stations for females and males in the Great Southern Stand. While there are unisex baby change stations in MCC Members, Ponsford Stand and Olympic Stand.
Babes in Arms
Babes in Arms are like ticket discount services for children of certain ages. Depending on the event and the promoters’ decisions, children under the age of six can get free admission to the stadium. But these exceptions come with several conditions, such as the child having to sit on a parent’s lap during an entire sporting event.
Prams and Strollers Storage
The patron’s seats and seating bays have allocated spaces for prams and strollers. However, they can only be used when they don’t pose a safety hazard to other people. When they do, parents have to store the prams or strollers at M57 Customer Service Office and the Stadium Management Centre on Level B1.
Wristbands for Lost Children
This is a free service for parents with small children. Parents will be provided with a wristband for their children. On its backside, they can write their seat location or phone numbers. So when a child gets lost, the workers in the stadium can immediately locate or call his/her parents.
Things to Do in the MCG
Visit the National Museum of Sports
The National Sports Museum is a museum that features displays and exhibits for different sports. It also offers lots of fun and exciting activities for kids and adult guests. These include the school holiday activities, the Game On! interactive gallery and virtual tours. The museum is usually open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
Take the MCG Tours
The Melbourne Cricket Ground offers guided tours inside the entire property. Together with a tour guide, visitors can walk on the world-famous arena and visit several significant centres and rooms in the MCG. Some of the highlights of the tour include The famous MCC Long Room, the player change rooms, cricketers’ viewing room and City Terrace with views of Melbourne’s skyline.
Grab Snacks in the MCG Bars and Cafes
The Melbourne Cricket Ground has three contemporary bars and two cafes within its walls. During sporting events, you can grab snacks and meals from these bars and cafes before the game begins.
The Lock Up Bar
This bar, located at the Southern Stand on B1, takes its name from the matchday police cells that used to occupy the area. The police cell was used to hold troublemaking patrons during an event. The original cell doors still stand today and lead into this contemporary bar.
The Ron Barassi Cafe
This cafe was named after Ron Barassi, one of the greatest personas in AFL history. Located in the Great Southern Stand Level B1 M27, it offers an informal dinner setting for AFL players and members. This replica of a Melbourne laneway café serves barista made coffee, a range of wraps, sandwiches and gourmet pies.
Haydn Bunton Sports Bar
This heavily refurbished sports bar is a great place for food and drinks before or after a game. It is located in Great Southern Stand, Level B1 M29 and has one of the largest screens in the entire stadium.
The Outer Bar
This bar is an external beer garden that offers magnificent views of the city. It is located at Ponsford Stand, Level 1 behind M31. The Outer Bar has an outer terrace where you can enjoy the skyline view or the warm weather. Some of the drinks you can enjoy here are beers and ciders, spirits and wine.
This cafe is a bright and joyful looking eatery that serves a wide range of wholesome meals, barista-made coffee and tasty treats such as homemade cakes. It is located Olympic Stand inside Gate 3, Level 1 M54 and operates seven days a week. It features an eclectic mix of sporting memorabilia and a view of the stadium.