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Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

One of the most defining moments of my childhood was a trip we took when I was nine to Egypt. It was amazing. I will never forget seeing the pyramids and sphinx in Giza, and learning about their ancient world became an obsession I’ve never managed to shake.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

I was thrilled to see the Powerhouse Museum’s new exhibition for autumn is Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives because, let’s be honest, it’s not so easy to pop over to Egypt to teach your kids about these kinds of things.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

The exhibition is really best for kids aged 7+ but I would also say it depends on the kid. We saw children with their families of all ages enjoying it, so I would advise making a judgement call on your own circumstances.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives is on display until 30 April 2017, making it a perfect outing in the upcoming school holidays. The exhibition gives visitors the chance to meet six ancient Egyptian mummies and see how the latest technology has enabled us to go beyond the wrappings and discover the lives and customs of these people from the past.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

The six mummies were selected from the British Museum collection. They lived and died in Egypt between 1800 and 3000 years ago – the information gathered on their lives is on display alongside their 3D CT scan visualisations allowing visitors to not just view for themselves the amazing end result of mummification, but also see what lies underneath – and fully appreciate the whole mummification process.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

Through the exhibition visitors will learn about the lives of regular people in ancient Egypt. What is the mummification process? What were their beliefs? What do the symbols in their artworks and on their coffins mean? Quite simply, it’s all fascinating.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

I would suggest visiting the exhibition with kids on a Sunday for the museum’s Egyptian Mummies: Family Sundays.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

Each Sunday in March, from 10am–4pm, kids can enjoy ancient Egypt through a fantastic kids play area complete with a dig zone, building area, oasis for reaching and craft area. During the school holidays the dig zone will be open every day.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney
Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

On an upper level you’ll find Senet, what is possibly the world’s first board game, recreated for you to have a go. It looks kind of like chess, ancient Egyptian-style.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

You might even come across a mummy or pharaoh wandering around the museum.

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the MAAS Sydney

More information about the Egyptian Mummies exhibition:

The presentation of this exhibition is a collaboration between the British Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Visitors are advised that this exhibition contains human remains and CT scan images of mummified human remains.

Strollers must be parked at the cloaking desk on level 3 of the Museum prior to entering the exhibition.

Prices: Adult $27, Concession $25, Child (4–16) $16, Family (2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children) $65.

Pre-book online now and save.

Tickets include general admission to Powerhouse Museum.

Powerhouse Museum
The Egyptian Mummies family activities are free with museum admission.
500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007

Thank you to the Powerhouse Museum for our entry tickets. All opinions are our own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Wiggles Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum: An Update

The Wiggles Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

We had an incredibly fun day at the Powerhouse Museum checking out the changes to our favourite Wiggles Exhibition.

The exhibition has been closed for a while while it was being “updated”, and was reopened over the weekend to the public.

You can read my original post on the Wiggles Exhibition here. Basically the update was a much-needed renovation that focuses the exhibit on the current Wiggles rather than the previous ones. The exhibition now focuses on the four current Wiggles, Anthony, Simon, Lachy and Emma in the front section, with mentions of the original Wiggles through out the museum.

The Wiggles Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney The Wiggles Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

The popular interactive features of the exhibit have all remained, with the screening section expanded to look like a stage for all the little Wiggles fan to dance.

The Wiggles Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

A few other items have been moved around to create more space in various areas, but otherwise remain as they were before.

The Wiggles Exhibition, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

The update is fantastic for kids who are growing up with the Wiggles right now, while still containing plenty of information on their origins and achievements.

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Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris St, Ultimo
Hours: Daily, 10am-5pm
Prices: Adults $15, children 16 and under free.
Online

Thank you to the Powerhouse Museum for entry tickets. We love the museum and all opinions are our own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Beach at the Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney Festival

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

This summer in Sydney, you can visit a beach where you won’t get a sunburn or sand in your cossies. For the first time in Australia, The Beach, an interactive art exhibition, is available for Sydney-siders to play in an ocean made up of 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls, gently lapping against a 60-metre wide shoreline free of sand.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

The Beach is the creation of Snarkitecture, a New York-based art and architecture collaborative practice, whose name is drawn from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of The Snark, a poem describing the “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.” In its search for the unknown, Snarkitecture creates architectural-scale projects, installations, and objects.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

By transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected – which is exactly what we experienced at The Beach.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

To take a dip in The Beach, you can either do what we did, which is visit between 10am and 5pm and get free access, or skip the queues with one of their paid ticketed sessions. Every morning there is an all-ages ticket session from 9am-10am as well as an 18+ only session on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

We decided to arrive at 9:20am on a Sunday and thought we might be the first people there – how wrong we were. The line already had a lot of people in it, but we took turns waiting in the line and taking Cheese rock climbing around the Cutaway so time went fast.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

At 10am on the dot we were ushered in and made a beeline for the area next to the shallow end. We had hoped to grab a giant floatie but sadly were too late. You are permitted to bring your own, but who can fit a huge flamingo on the train? People tended to latch on to the equipment and not let it go even when they’d stopped using it, so I had no problem asking someone who had finished playing with the one they’d held on to for a long time if we could have a turn, and similarly was happy to pass ours on to other people when we’d had one for a good amount of time.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

At first leap in, the ball pit was somewhat scary for Cheese. At its deepest the ball pit is one metre deep, which is pretty much as high as she is. Initially it was a frightening experience for her to sunk under the balls and not be able to get back up again, but after she realised she wasn’t going to get hurt if she was swallowed by them, she started to really have fun and didn’t want to leave.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

The ball pit was a lot more work than I had expected it to be! Once your feet are swept out from underneath you, it takes a massive amount of effort to stand back up and haul yourself out. I would say that’s my gym work out done and dusted for the entire week.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

We had the most fun jumping into the pit both front ways and also backwards, and playing catch with the giant blow up balls. Cheese tried surfing on a huge ice cream cone floatie and found a bucket to fill and move balls around, including dumping them over her head, our heads, anyone’s heads.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

There is a great little shallow end at one side of the beach that is perfect for wheelchairs and little kids. It’s nice for small ones to be able to sit and play with the balls without sinking to their heads, which is what happens in the main area.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

Tips for visiting The Beach

If you lose something in the ball pit you will have to wait until they drain it at the end of Jan to retrieve it, so leave all valuables like phone, keys, loose jewellery in the buckets provided.

It’s pretty hot in the ball pit, and sweaty work getting in and out. Take lots of water and leave it with your bag on the beach.

If you arrive early for the first session you will wait the least amount of time during the day as once you are in you can stay as long as you want. Most people stay around 45 minutes, but we stayed for an hour and a quarter.

There is no pass to leave and return, so go to the bathroom beforehand.

There are baby changing facilities available in the restrooms outside, opposite the elevator.

You can take your phone/camera into the ball pit but be very careful not to drop it. I would suggest taking a camera with a neck strap.

There is a coffee cart and food vans outside for before/after snack attacks.

Strollers must be left in the designated parking area outside The Beach.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

Final important Q&A thanks to the Barangaroo website

ARE BALL PITS UNHYGIENIC?

GermBLOCKTM antimicrobial balls have been used to create The Beach. This safe, powerful agent provides antimicrobial protection for everyone against 50 different germs and bacteria for the life of the ball. It cannot be rubbed, scrubbed, or wiped off. Each ball is moulded from 100% recyclable nontoxic materials.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

CAN THE BALLS BE RECYCLED?

Yes, in fact The Beach balls have already been recycled once thanks to the generous assistance of the Vinik Family Foundation and The Beach Tampa. The Sydney Festival is working with local plastic recycling services to make sure every single ball is recycled after the event. They are composed of a nontoxic Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) which makes them a “Type 4” Plastic for recycling purposes.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

ACCESS

The Beach provides wheelchair access by way of an accessible ramp that can accommodate guests using a push or electric wheelchairs. Guests will have full access to all areas of the shore, out onto the piers and onto a shallow ball area along one of the mirrored walls. This area is clearly marked with white and grey flags. Between these flags, the balls have a maximum depth of 250mm. This will allow guests to remain in their wheelchairs and move around the balls. Check out this great blog post on Have Wheelchair Will Travel for more info.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

HOW DO I GET THERE?

There are entrances to Barangaroo Reserve from Towns Place, Hickson Road, Munn Street Reserve and Merriman Street. The entrance to the Cutaway is near Hickson Road and Nawi Cove.

Public transport: Catch the train to Wynyard and Circular Quay and walk (approximately 1.1km). The closest bus stops are on Hickson Road at the Nawi Cove entrance, and are serviced by routes 324 and 325, which depart from Town Hall; and route 311, which runs between Central Station and Argyle Street.

By car: An underground carpark is located off Towns Place. You can also park on Hickson Road.

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival The Beach at Barangaroo, Sydney Festival

The Beach at the Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve
Dates: 7–29 January, 2017

Free Entry
7–8, 10–15, 17–22, 24–29 January from 10am–5pm
Tue–Sun, closed Mondays
Last admission for free entry at 3:30pm

All Ages Ticketed Sessions
7–8, 10–15, 17–22, 24–29 January at 9am-10am
Tue–Sun, closed Mondays
Tickets only valid for stated session times
Cost: $15 pp

The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve
Hickson Road Entrance
Barangaroo 2000

sydneyfestival.org.au/2017/beach

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney – LEGO Exhibition

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

If LEGO is your kids’ jam, then you simple must take them to see the new Brickman Wonders of the World LEGO exhibition in Sydney this summer.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

Brickman Wonders of the World features over 50 amazing LEGO sculptures of famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Arc De Triomphe and the Great Wall of China, taking visitors on a fascinating journey through history through time.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

The exhibit has been curated by the only LEGO® Certified Professional in the Southern Hemisphere (and one of only 14 in the world) Ryan McNaught and his team.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

While most exhibits are “look but don’t touch”, this one is incredibly well thought out and very interactive for kids. Several of the sculptures have large bricks pits built around their base, encouraging kids to build their own pyramid, race car or Leaning Tower of Pisa. I thought we would be in an our in an hour, but we honestly could have stayed inside building for most of the day.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

The sculptures feature are more than just statues, too. When looked at closer, they reveal amazing set ups with tiny LEGO people in the scenarios that are even more fascinating than the buildings themselves. We searched for “Leo the explorer” in each sculpture, with the aim to discover them all and enter to win a prize at the end, and in the process found ourselves swept up in the tiny detailed lives of the LEGO people in each creation. The level of detail is extraordinary.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

The only downside to the exhibition is that there are no bathrooms or food available inside, so you need to exit the exhibition for both. While they will allow children to exit and return again for “bathroom emergencies” when we asked if we could get some food for the kids and then go back inside again the answer was no. My advice: Go first thing in the morning or straight after lunch when kids can last the longest without food.

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition Brickman Wonders of the World Sydney - LEGO Exhibition

Brickman Wonders of The World
ICC Sydney, International Exhibition Centre, Exhibition Hall 1
20 December 2016 – 5 February 2017

Open daily. Booking is advisable.
Tickets on sale now at http://www.ticketek.com.au
http://www.brickmanwonders.com.au
Prices: Adult $35, Concession $30, Family of Four (Admits 4) $95, Junior (age 4-16) $25. Kids aged 3 and under are free.

We were provided with tickets to see the Brickman show for reviewing purposes but were under no obligation to write about the experience. I genuinely enjoyed the show and am planning to return over the summer.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Nubo Play Centre, Alexandria: Sydney’s Best Play Centres

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Today we checked out a gorgeous new play centre in Alexandria, Sydney, called Nubo. This space is like no other you will find in Sydney. While most play centres are a seething mass of running, crying sweaty children with parents either frantically trying to locate their wailing child or sitting having a coffee with their feet up, Nubo is a place of quiet and calm, even when filled with kids.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

What makes it so different? The purpose of Nubo is to let kids explore, create, rest and wonder. Each section of the centre focuses on a different purpose and activity that matches it, resulting in a space looks more like a children’s museum than a traditional play gym.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

While physical activity is certainly important and there are plenty of ways for kids to be active here, they can also build, get arty, indulge in pretend play and read books in the most gorgeous book nooks I’ve seen.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Parents must supervise their kids at all time, and the result is a lot more engagement with offspring such as building with Magnatiles, making a grand old play doh mess or reading a book to them.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Each area has a number of children allowed per activity and the physical ones have an age recommendation too. The whole centre caters for kids up to the age of 10.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Several of the smaller rooms in particular are geared towards older kids, such as the upstairs party room which was set up with Play Sticks and suggestions of what to build with them when we visited, and the large climbing structure in the middle of the space.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Younger kids can enjoy dedicated areas or play with the more complex activities along with an adult. With creative areas such as the Blue Room, set up with Magnatiles and Imagination Blocks, it’s the kind of play that parents can get into, too.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Nubo is really a space that adults can enjoy being at almost as much as their kids will. It’s bright and light and relaxing (yes, relaxing!), with a large cafe space and fantastic facilities such as a feeding room for nursing babies and a gorgeous (!) dedicated kids’ bathroom.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

The cafe at the moment serves very healthy basic snacks such as salads, sandwiches and smoothies. In the new year they will have a dedicated kitchen installed and chef to make hot food on site. Nubo serves only healthy food and drinks – you’ll find lots of raw and whole foods here and very little sugar.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

During the week, Nubo staff, who are mostly former child care workers, run activities geared towards the younger set of under fives such as story time and craft activities. On the weekends and school holidays these activities change to become suitable for kids aged up to 10.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

At the moment these activities are included in the cost of admission but as they develop these events further into workshops that are run in series, they will be charged separately. So, for example, a kid can come for a weekly workshop without also paying to use the play space, but they can choose to pay for a bundle of both if they wish to do so. On the cards for upcoming workshops as they grow are robotics and coding for all ages, even the under 5s.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

We highly enjoyed our time at Nubo – yes, that’s right, the both of us.

Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney
Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney Nubo Play Space Alexandria, Sydney

Nubo
2/160 Bourke Rd, Alexandria NSW 2090
(02) 9317 3206
Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: $10 for 0-12 months, $18 for ages 12-24 months, $38.50 for 2 years and over. For multiple children it’s $30 each. Current special promotion running: buy one get one free for general admissions and free workshops until 31 December.
Get Directions
Parking: If you can score a spot marked “Nubo” it’s free. Otherwise it’s pay and display ($3 hour weekdays and two hours free on weekends).

 

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Sydney Kids: The Art Gallery of NSW for Families

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

Sydney’s Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) was established in 1871, a home to international and Australian permanent art collections, temporary exhibitions, programs and research. The gallery has a particularly beautiful collection of colonial and 19th-century Australian works and European old masters, as well as galleries dedicated to the arts of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

I’ve been visiting the art gallery since I was a teenager. First on school excursions, and then later with friends and my now husband. I’ve loved art all my life and introduced my daughter to art as a baby, hoping that she will grow up to similarly appreciate the arts.

We love visiting the gallery during their family programs as they makes art so much more accessible to young people. The AGNSW has a busy schedule for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens, and, best of all, the majority of them are free!

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

Our favourite program is the twice-monthly “drop in and make” art activity. Held in the entrance court of the gallery, the activity is free and suitable for kids of all ages plus their carers/families. The activities are always designed so that little kids can enjoy scribbling if they like, and older kids can create something really beautiful that is themed to a current exhibition.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

This month the art-making activity was crafty kimono cards, taking inspiration from the Japanese art of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi. We were provided with materials and instructions on how to make a kimono card with a special hidden pocket to store secrets.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

There is no time limit on making the activities, which was lucky for us as we sat there making our card for over an hour. The drop in activities are very popular, particularly on rainy days. We were told we should come back a few hours later (not sure what we were meant do with a kid until then?) but decided to wait until a table freed up, which was only about 5 minutes luckily. About half an hour later the majority of tables were empty, so I advise waiting for a table rather than taking the staff’s advice to leave.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

On the lower level of the gallery we discovered another free family activity area free with a different activity: “make your own zine”.

This space is also home to rotating activities for kids or adults to enjoy. At the moment, you can create your own self-published booklet filled with ideas, words and images. The activity is inspired by Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho whose exhibition is currently on display in the gallery.

This area of the gallery is open Monday to Friday from 11am to 4pm during the school holidays (26-30 September, 2-7 October), as well as every weekend. During the school holidays, gallery staff will be on-hand to provide instruction, inspiration and additional collage materials.

The AGNSW also has age-specific programs running throughout the year. “Kids Club” for ages 5-8 and”Art Club” for ages 9-13 both run on weekends with “tour for tots”, ages 2-5, on week days. For kids with special needs and their carers, “children’s access workshops” runs once a month on week days, and during the school holidays there are special workshops for kids and teens such as calligraphy and “clay club”.

The Art Gallery of NSW for Families via christineknight.me

Get more information on family programs at the AGNSW.

Art Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery Rd, Sydney NSW 2000
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm (Wednesdays open until 10pm)
Prices: FREE
Online: artgallery.nsw.gov.au
Get Directions
Getting there: get the train to Circular Quay and walk, or park at the Domain parking station which is right next door to the art gallery. Weekend parking is $10 all day.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

The Museum of Contemporary Art in the Rocks is a regular fixture on our outing agendas, particularly when their Sunday Family Fun Day series is on. Around once a month (usually the last Sunday of each month) the MCA hosts a special day for families on level three in the National Centre for Creative Learning.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

We’ve been to three or four of these “fun days” now, and really enjoy the format that each one follows.

1. Sign in at the level three learning centre and hand over a $5 donation.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

2. Collect a “sketch activity card” – each month a different card is created by the MCA Artist Educator to inspire kids to explore the permanent collection in the gallery downstairs. The theme of activity is mirrored in the activities set up back in the learning centre.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

On our most recent visit, the theme was “signs and symbols”. We were sent to find symbols around the gallery, then report back upstairs for the next step.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

3. Get hands messy with art and craft activities in the learning centre.

Friendly MCA staff set the room up with activities that are designed to be adult-led. Whole family participation is encouraged, making this activity session an enjoyable way for parents to connect with their kids.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

The activities are always set up to enable kids of a wide range of ages and abilities to participate. The guide is ages 4-12: we have been attending since just before Cheese turned four, so have always been on the parent participation end – but I can see that with a child who is closer to 12 that parents wouldn’t need to be so hands on.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

The learning centre is a fabulous space. Light and bright, with huge glass windows that look over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it’s a delightful way to spend a few hours with your child.

While a theme is encouraged, it’s not mandatory, so kids can really make whatever they want with the materials provided. On our most recent visit the theme was “signs and symbols” and there was an option to make your own encoded book, but Cheese preferred sticking tape on the window and creating a box that she covered in her own special symbols.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

4. Outside the learning centre is an additional room for children that is always open as part of one of the museum’s main exhibitions. It often features activities for kids to create something like a drawing that is then projected onto a screen in the next room, which is set up with projectors.

MCA Sunday Family Fun Day via christineknight.me

On our recent visit, the room was set up like a movie set green screen, and kids could participate in a little movie magic, exploring how using various materials and signs would make them disappear on the large screen.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

5. Eat! For a bit of a fancy meal, try GRACEMCA down on ground level (read about our delicious meal at GRAZEMCA here), or grab a more casual meal or snack on the level four Sculpture Terrace & Cafe (check out our experience dining at the MCA Sculpture Terrace & Cafe here)

Check out the MCA’s website for details on their next Sunday Family Fun Day.


Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George St,
The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9245 2400
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

There’s still time to see the amazing The Art of the Brick: DC Comics exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum before it closes on May 1.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

This contemporary art exhibition by LEGO® artist Nathan Sawaya uses over a million bricks to create more than 120 large-scale sculptures of famous DC Comics superheroes and villains.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

We enjoyed seeing interpretations of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Joker and Super Girl made, astonishingly, out of LEGO bricks. The exhibition is spread over 10 galleries, and is the world’s largest collection of DC Comics-inspired LEGO ever created.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

I visited with two almost five-year-olds who were mostly interested in finding Wonder Woman, and the LEGO video that filmed in one of the middle galleries.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

The exhibition is hands-off until the last section, so keep your eye on little ones who might want to grab the LEGO for themselves.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

If you visited during the first few months and are a hardcore fan, you might want to revisit before the exhibition closes to see the new sculpture that has been added to the collection to coincide with the Australian launch of Warner Bros. Pictures film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Called ‘Showdown’, the piece features a battle between Batman and Superman, made from over 30,000 bricks.

The Art of the Brick: DC Comics via christineknight.me

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The exhibition ends in a gift shop with large Duplo and LEGO areas for kids to build in, plus superhero video games to play. It was almost impossible to drag the kids out.

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During the school holidays you’ll get even more value for the entry fee with the free activities run by the Powerhouse Museum. Our girls highly enjoyed colouring in the Giant Comic Strip and the Bird’s-eye Super Hero Photos, both open daily until April 25.

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The Super Hero photo was a particular hit. The kids donned Wonder Woman capes and had their photo taken to make it look like they were soaring through the air.

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Note: The exhibition is extremely popular right now, so I recommend buying tickets in advance and try to make it to the 10am session (the first session of the day).

After checking out the exhibition and activities, be sure to drop by the Wiggles Exhibition on the ground floor. It’s been updated with Emma Wiggle.

Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007
Online

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs

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Nutcote, the home of Australian author and illustrator May Gibbs, has long been on my “must see” list in Sydney. As 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of her most famous work, the Gumnut babies, I thought it was time to finally make that 10 minute drive to Neutral Bay to pay homage to an author/illustrator whose stories entertained me as a child, and inspired me as an adult.

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May Gibbs’ Nutcote, where she lived for 44 years, is now a visitable house museum after many years of changing hands. The home was designed by popular architect B. J. Waterhouse, a friend of May’s whom she would catch the ferry across the harbour to her studio each day. It’s believed he might have given her “mates rates” because of their friendship.

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The house sites on a parcel of land bought by May’s mum, Cecilia Rogers, with May moving into the house with her husband, James Ossoli Kelly, in 1925. The couple never had any children (she called the gumnuts her “babies”) and, after May’s death in 1969, the estate was left to UNICEF.

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Nutcote was then sold to a private party in 1970 who had plans to demolish it (when you see the view from the block of land you’ll understand why it was in demand for redevelopment), but the house was thankfully saved by the newly formed May Gibbs Foundation in 1987. The house was placed on the Register of the National Estate and then bought by North Sydney Municipal Council for $2.86m in 1990. With its future finally safe, Nutcote was restored to represent what life would have looked like there in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and opened to the public in 1994.

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The house is on an amazing block of land that sprawls down to the harbour. The view is just stunning – it’s easy to see why May would have been inspired to write here, in her little slice of paradise.

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At the entrance to the property is the giftshop (it used to be a garage), with the cafe underneath in what was once the gardener’s flat. The actual house is further down past the gardens. Visitors are welcome to roam around the house, but I would suggest taking a free guided tour from one of their very well-versed volunteers.

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The house contains replica furniture in the style of the original furnishings, with some original items, such as photographs, the ice chest and May’s work desk, set up by the window taking in the view.

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Underneath the house is a perfect spot for kids, with a little set of table and chairs, colouring in sheets and pencils and dress ups clothes.  There is also a DVD playing on repeat that tells May’s story if you can convince the kids to sit down long enough to let you watch it.

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Keep heading down the stairs to the final section of the garden, where we found a basket set out with more colouring in equipment for kids. We took a lovely siesta down here undisturbed for quite some time. Cheese happily coloured in en plein air, while the hubbie and I took in the view and relaxed. Ahhhh the serenity.

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Dotted around the garden are little tributes to May’s life. The Big Bad Banksia man stealing Ragged Blossom, a Scots Terrier (the breed of dog May kept in her home), the caterpillar hedge and, of course, “Bib and Bub”, who we know as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

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After enjoying the view, art and tour of the house, it’s time for lunch, so we dropped by the Bib and Bub Tea Room. The tea rooms is usually open during Nutcote’s open hours, but, as it is staffed by volunteers, it’s recommend that you call ahead if you are planning to lunch there.

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The tea room serves light refreshments such as tea and coffee, scones, cakes and sandwiches. We had an egg sandwich, made freshly with herbs from the garden, a “fairy sandwich” and a brownie.

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A delicious, light lunch, and possibly the best egg sandwich (definitely the freshest!) I’ve ever eaten.

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It’s impossible to pass through the exit without buying a little souvenir or two – we chose the children’s book “A Day With May Gibbs At Nutcote” which has since been a bedtime favourite at home. All proceeds go back to the foundation to keep the house in great condition and open to the public.

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Nutcote
5 Wallaringa Ave, Neutral Bay
Phone: (02) 9953 4453
Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-3pm
Prices: $10 adults $4 children aged 5 and over
Online: http://www.maygibbs.com.au
Accessibility: Some stairs.
Get Directions
NOTE: Nutcote will be closed from March 25 until late June for renovations.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Early Start Discovery Centre: Australia’s First Children’s Museum

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Australia’s first children’s museum has opened in Australia! The Early Start Discovery Space in Wollongong is the country’s only dedicated “Children’s Museum”. Last weekend we drove the hour and a half south of Sydney to check it out and see what made it different from a regular play space.

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The Early Start Discovery Space is located on, and operated by, the University of Wollongong. It was designed to teach children through play using interactive exhibits. It was created using educational resources and is mapped to the NSW Board of Studies K-6 Syllabus. The museum is suitable for kids from birth to age 12, with the lower level completely accessible and some of the best family bathrooms I’ve ever seen.

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We visited on a bit of a dreary day and expected the place to be crawling with people. It wasn’t. We were happy surprised that while there was a constant buzz of people in the space, it was certainly not full or so busy that Cheese couldn’t try her hand at every single exhibit without having to wait her turn. I ran into a friend there who mentioned how busy it was that day, compared to during the week, so I imagine if you do visit on a week day you might have this entire magnificent space to yourself!

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The museum is spread across two floors, with each exhibit in a designated area. Upon entry we received a very helpful map which enabled us to plan our visit.

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The majority of the exhibits are on the entry level:

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Shipyard
Ahoy, it’s pirate play!

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Tummy Tour
Crawl through a human digestive tract! In through the mouth, out through the … you get the picture.

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Construction Site
Learn about safety on building sites, dress up in a vest, hard hat and tool belt, and build the city. Kids can lay carpet tiles, place mortar and bricks in the house to build walls, or thread pipes and connectors into the frame.

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Market Place
Littlies will love “shopping” with realistic-looking groceries, and older kids can use a shopping list to collect their goods and then “buy” them.

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CreARTivity Space
The place for artists to let their imaginations go wild. This space also features daily educator-led activities.

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Book Nook
A quiet spot to enjoy a book or join story time activities.

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The Cave
Grab a torch and discover stalactites and stalagmites.

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Lights, Sound, Action!
Kids can dress up in costume and perform.

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Games Area
Big kid games like chess and giant Connect Four.

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Crawler’s Cubby
Soft play for babies plus gears for toddlers/preschoolers.

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The Pod
A 2 story interactive LCD screen where kids can be part of the story on the screen in front of them.

The Dig/Archeology was closed for maintenance on our visit.

Also scattered around the floor are little nooks with activities like building, threading and puppets.

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The floor is a giant circle with the exhibits and amenities spread around the inside and outside edges of the circle. It’s fantastic as kids can literally run in circles here and find it endlessly entertaining to start over at the exhibits they already discovered as they entered. Hours of fun, guaranteed.

Upstairs are activities best suited for slightly older kids.

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Digital Media Lab
Kids can learn how to create an eBook, an ePoster, video and editing

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Galileo’s Study
This science-themed area teaches kids how a telescope works and basic astronomy.

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When it’s time for a snack, head outside to The Discovery Gardens. There are shaded picnic tables so you can bring your own food, and take a breather while kids explore the fruit and veggie beds, quarry and creek.

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If you’re like us and never pack lunch (busted!) try the onsite cafe, Espresso Warriors, where all-day brekkie is on the menu, as well as amazing looking pastries and a kids menu that features meals like ham and cheese toasties, fish, sweet potato chips and grilled chicken for $10-11. Each kids meal comes with fresh fruit and a juice box.

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The Early Start Discovery Space
University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong.

The Discovery Space is located on Ring Road opposite the Western (P4) Car park.
Hours: Tues-Sun 9am-4pm (Closed Mondays)
Prices: Adults and children 12 months and over: $15. Children under 12 months: free.
Get Directions

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!