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Sydney Life

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

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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! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

From the creators of the biggest-selling magic show internationally, The Illusionists, and the award-winning puppeteers of War Horse comes Circus 1903, a show that blends the best of both predecessors into a breathtaking performance inspired by the golden age of circus.

This all-age show features turn-of-the-century circus acts with a modern twist. Authentic period costumes and careful set design combined with dangerous and jaw-dropping acts left this theatre goer and her five-year-old daughter completely captivated, often gaping in awe, and occasionally hiding behind our hands when some of the more thrilling acts were being performed.

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

The cast of talented performers have been sourced from all over the globe – strong men, contortionists, acrobats, knife throwers, high wire and tumblers. So much incredible talent left our hands numb from clapping and cheering.

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

Traditional circuses of this era used live performing animals such as elephants – an incredibly inhumane practice that is thankfully dying out. Circus 1903 does an excellent job of paying homage to the magnificent animals that spent their lives entertaining the public through incredibly innovative puppetry.

To say that the moment with the enormous elephant puppets on stage is show stopping would be an understatement. The clever puppeteers did a tremendous job bringing these enormous pachyderms to life, creating true works of art that are beautifully nostalgic as well as exciting to watch.

This is a truly captivating circus extravaganza that is perfect for audiences of all ages.

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

TOUR FAQ

Q:  Is this family friendly?  Can I bring my kids?

A:  Absolutely.  This is a show for all ages!

Q:  Does Circus 1903 feature a live elephant?

A:  No. The elephants featured in Circus 1903 are puppets, brought to life by the talented team at Significant Object (the award-winning puppeteers from War Horse). Circus 1903 is a very unique show in that it takes aspects of the traditional circus but puts a fresh, innovative and more humane spin on them. One of those new directions is using carefully constructed and realistic puppets in place of actual animals.

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

CIRCUS 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Sunday, December 18 – Thursday December 29, 2016.
Prices: Standard from $74.90, child from $48.90 (plus transaction fee of $5 – $8.50per order)
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or sydneyoperahouse.com
More Info: sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/circus_1903 or circus1903.com

Circus 1903 – The Golden Age at the Sydney Opera House

We attended the show as guests and under no obligation to promote or write about it. We generally absolutely loved the show.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition, Sydney, Australia

It was a colder than usual summer morning today inside the brand new Penguin Expedition exhibit at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. A chilly 6 degrees C is set to keep the brand new Gentoo and King Emperor penguins at a comfortable temperature in their new home.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

Visitors to the new penguin exhibition, which is inspired by Macquarie Island in the Southwest Pacific, can climb aboard a raft and sail around the rugged, sub-Antarctic environment. You might want to pack a cardigan if you really feel the cold, or snuggle up to the person sitting next to you. At the end of the ride there is a further viewing window to see the penguins up close.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

The penguins are quite spectacular when viewed in person – and larger than expected. King Penguins can grow up to 100 cm tall and weigh 11 to 16 kg, while the smaller Gentoos reach a maximum weight of 8.5kg.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

The Gentoo and King Emperor penguins recently moved up from SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium to start a dedicated penguin breeding program on site whereby marine biologists hope to produce some baby King or Gentoo penguins next year.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

The breeding program will provide insight and research into the way penguin colonies work and assist in their future conservation in the wild.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

As part of the new Penguin Expedition, visitors to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium will learn about the issues facing penguins in the wild and the simple ways they can make a difference, including reducing single-use plastic consumption. Education programs such as this are beneficial in inspiring the next generation to become healthy ocean ambassadors.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition

Entrance to Penguin Expedition, including daily feeds and talks from dedicated keepers and trainers, is included in the cost of general admission.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium
Aquarium Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Hours: Open daily from 9.30am
Cost: For the best deal, book online in advance. Walk-up price: Adults $42, Children (4-15yrs) $29:50
http://www.sealifesydney.com.au

We attended the launch of Penguin Expedition as a guest of SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

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.

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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! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

Every year since Cheese was born, I’ve printed photo Christmas cards for our friends and relatives. I love receiving gorgeous photo cards from our friends, and hope that they, similarly, enjoy receiving our holiday wishes for them in the mail.

This year, I designed our cards with Minted, a US company specialising in gorgeous stationary.

Minted has some excellent features that I really like and wanted to share.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

1. A large variety of cards to choose from
There are hundreds of cards to make a selection from. Literally too many to look through!

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

2. A personalised card preview tool
You can easily upload your own images to see what the cards will look like with your favourite shots in them.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

3. Photo manipulation
It’s super easy to zoom in and out and crop the images to suit the cards, and there’s an option for “auto enhance” too.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

3. Customisation options
Add foil, change the colours, change the text from “holiday” to “Christmas” greetings. There are so many options for each card.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

4. Save and review later
One of my fave features, you can save all your designs and then view them all at once so it’s easy to compare them and choose your favourite.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

5. Free recipient addressing
It’s really easy to upload a spreadsheet with your family and friends’ addresses in them, and they are printed on the envelopes FOR FREE! My handwriting is appalling, so I really appreciate this.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

6. Digital proofing service
This is great for the nervous orderers among us – when you’re printing a lot of expensive cards, it’s reassuring to know there is someone looking over them and checking you haven’t made a silly mistake. If you choose not to use the proofing service you get a $10 discount and get your order 2 days faster.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

7. Frequent discount offers
When I ordered mine they had a 20% off sale, with the code in a banner across the top of the site.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

8. The quality is gorgeous
I’ve ordered from Minted before and the quality is just stunning. When you compare them to much cheaper places you can get cards from, there is no quality comparison at all. You get what you pay for – which is, in this case, gorgeous cards your family and friends will keep long after the holidays are over.

A Merry Christmas with Minted Holiday Cards

9. International shipping
I was stoked to see they shipped to Australia! It costs $20 for their standard international mail, but that’s pretty regular for getting something shipped all the way Down Under.

I can’t wait to get my cards! I will show them off on social media when they arrive.

Wanting to order your own gorgeous holiday cards? Make sure you do so while there is still time at Minted.com.

Thanks to Minted.com for the complimentary voucher to try their card ordering service. I’ve ordered from Minted in the past and have always been extremely happy with their quality and service so was more than happy to share my experience with others.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Luna Park Sydney: Just For Fun

Luna Park Sydney

Luna Park Sydney might just be the most gorgeously positioned amusement park in the world. Perched on the shorefront of Milson’s Point, the juxtapositioning of the old-world carnival colours against the stunning blue of Sydney Harbour makes it an incredible spot to visit, even if you’re not planning on actually riding anything.

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While children and adults flock to the park to enjoy hair-raising rides, Luna Park is also an historical icon in Sydney, being listed on the State Heritage Register in 2010.

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Whether rides are or aren’t your thing, Luna Park is a fascinating piece of Australian history. The fist Luna Park opened in St Kilda, Melbourne, in December 1912, with a second opening in Glenelg, South Australia, in 1930. The later, however, encountered push back from the locals, who thought the park was a haven for unsavoury types – as a result, the park was packed up and shipped to Sydney.

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Sydney’s Luna Park was constructed at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1935, and, once open, ran for nine-month seasons until 1972, when it was opened year-round. The park closed in mid-1979 following the infamous Ghost train fire, which killed six children and one adult.

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The park has been partially demolished, renovated, re-opened and closed again several times since due to various problems – the most recent being the noise pollution complaints from locals surrounding the Big Dipper rollercoaster that caused the ride to be heavily restricted and, as a result, saw a drop in attendance that lead to the park’s closure in 1996.

After further redevelopment, the park re-opened in 2004 and has been open ever since.

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In 2010 the Luna Park Face was listed as an item of national heritage by the National Trust of Australia, making it one two amusement parks in the world that are protected by government legislation; several of the buildings on the site are also listed on the Register of the National Estate and the NSW State Heritage Register: most notably Luna Park’s Coney Island Funnyland, which is the only operating example of a 1930s funhouse left in the world.

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Coney Island was built in 1935, and although there have been some changes made over the years, the layout is almost identical to when it opened, including the rotating barrels, moving platforms, long slides and arcade games that line the walls.

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I recently took the little Cheese to experience Luna Park for the first time and have some tips if you’re intending to go:

Luna Park Tips

Buy your tickets online
They are cheaper to buy from the Luna park website than in person at the park. You will also avoid the queues this way.

Look for special deals
Take a look for even better deals before you buy them directly from the park. For example, try Groupon, or Telstra and Optus perks. I received the best deal through Optus.

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Adult accompanying rider tickets cost some serious money
If you’re not planning to buy an adult ticket for yourself but your child isn’t tall enough to ride everything on their own, you will need to buy an accompanying adult ticket. These are not available for discount purchase online at all – they must be bough at the park, full price, and they are EXPENSIVE! They are also only valid for rides where accompanying the riders who are too short to ride by themselves – so you can’t ride without them, either.

Pack your own food
There is basic food available at the park, like hot dogs, burgers and chips kinda stuff, and they are expensive. I suggest packing healthier food for lunch and bringing it with you to save money.

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Prepare for the weather
There is very little shade in much of the park, particularly in the little kids’ area out the back. Pack wide brimmed hats and plenty of sunscreen.

Go early
This is my mantra for theme parks in general. Go as early as possible when the queues are shorter and the sun isn’t as hot.

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Be aware of height restrictions
Make sure your kid is big enough to get the most out of the cost of park entry. You can find a list of the height requirements for each ride here

Know how much money it’s going to cost if you buy tickets at the park
Unlimited Rides Pass – Yellow (130cm+) $52 (vs $48 online)
Unlimited Rides Pass – Green (106-129cm) $42 (vs $38 online)
Unlimited Rides Pass – Red (85-105cm) $22 (vs $22 online)
Accompanying Adult – Green $42
Accompanying Adult – Red $22

The cheapest day to go is Mondays
During the school holidays this is an excellent deal for school kids
Mini Money Mondays – Yellow (130cm+) $40
Mini Money Mondays – Green (106-129cm) $30
Mini Money Mondays – Red (85-105cm) $16

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Other ticket options
A Coney Island Pass ($12) lets you access just Coney Island all day. Coney Island was our kids’ favourite of the whole day, and is blissfully indoors!

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Luna Park Sydney

How to get there
Luna park is so easy to reach by public transport. Catch the ferry or train directly to the park, or, if you have to drive, park in their car park. Either way, there is very little walking involved, so great for little ones.

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Luna Park
1 Olympic Dr, Milsons Point NSW 2061
Hours: The days and hours Luna Park opens varies. Please check the website before going.
lunaparksydney.com

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sculpture By The Sea, Bondi 2016

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Sculpture By The Sea is the largest free public sculpture exhibition in the world, and in 2016 celebrated its 20th anniversary. The exhibition runs for two weeks every year in October/November, along the cliff top walk from Tamarama Beach to Bondi Beach.

While the majority of the sculptures are not able to be touches, each year there are several that are designed to be interacted with by visitors, be it walking through them, on them or climbing over them – the placards in front of the sculptures lets people know which ones are able to be touched and which ones are too fragile.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

A big hit this year was the ship with wooden blocks that were able to be manipulated, so visitors were able to change the shape of parts of the ship.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Please enjoy the photos of this spectacular exhibition, and scroll down to the bottom for tips on attending.

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Tips for attending Sculpture By The Sea

  • Go early, like 6am early. We arrived at 7am and it was already really busy. If you arrive at midday, forget about being able to get near a sculpture without 20 people right on top of you.
  • Parking is a nightmare. Go early and look for a spot around Tamarama or Bronte.
  • Bring lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. The sun is brutal on the walk and there is no shade.
  • Bathrooms are located at Tamarama Beach, Mark’s Place and Bondi Beach.
  • Food is also located at Tamarama, Bondi and Mark’s Place. In 2015 and 2016 The Grounds of Alexandria had a pop-up cafe at Mark’s Place.
  • The walk is not stroller friendly at all. If you cannot bring your child in a baby carrier, walk/drive to Mark’s Place – it’s the only stroller accessible point of the walk.
  • Try for dawn or sunset for pictures with truly stunning light and less people around.
  • There are two kids’ playgrounds on the walk – one at Tamarama Beach and one at Mark’s Place.
  • Week days are much less busy than weekends.
  • Keep an eye on small children. Not only is the walk crowded, it runs along the cliff tops where there are no guard rails or barriers to stop children from falling over the edge.
  • Not all scuptures are designed to be touched. Please respect the signs and only touch those that are designated for interaction.

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney, Australia

Photography tip: It might look like we were pretty much by ourselves on the walk but this was thanks to careful shooting and editing. For pics like these, be extremely patient and wait until other people leave the frame, or step around them and find an angle with no-one in it. If you can’t do either, then crop in close.

Sculpture By The Sea

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Sydney Playgrounds: Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park

The Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park is a great spot to run off steam with kids if you’re taking in a show at the nearby Riverside Theatre or grabbing lunch at one of the restaurants on Church street.

Built into the slope of the hill on the river’s foreshore, it’s got some really cool features like a 4 metre slide and rock climbing. In summer, water features are turned on near the sand play area.

Be aware that the playground is not fenced, not does it have any shade cover or bathrooms.

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Parramatta CBD River Foreshore Park
Elizabeth St Footbridge Parramatta NSW

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

Halloween has been taking off slowly over the years in Sydney, with more and more families like ours wanting to mark the occassion with fun activities. This year Cheese was finally old enough to try the Swamp Monsters program at Centennial Park.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

Swamp Monsters is a Halloween trail through Centennial Park, starting at the Eduation Centre. The event often sells out far in advance so buying tickets before the event is highly recommended. The day is broken up into time slots to start the activities. Arrive any time during your time slot, sign in at the desk and pick up your trail map, then take as long as you like.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

The trail has five activity stations for kids to complete, with each spot spookyily themed and requiring kids to complete a task. The kids loved the (fake) spiders and cobwebs, and screamed with delighted terror at the “zombies” as they darted through a course that included navigating their way thorough a giant spider web, feeding a giant venus fly trap, guessing the ghoulish item in the mystery boxes, shooting zombies with nerf guns and bolting through a swamp infested with creatures from the dead.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

After completing the five activities, the last stop is the completion tent where kids get their maps stamped and can choose a treat. While that marks the end of the trail, they are welcome to repeat any part of the course that they like.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

At the start and end of the trail, back at the education centre, a pumpkin patch is set up for kids to make their own scarecrows. Our kids didn’t care so much about making the scarecrows – they were more enthused about pretending they were ponies munching on the hay. Great imaginations.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

We chose the 11:30 time slot and found a tree to sit under for a picnic lunch at 12:30, thinking we would take a break and then do one of the activities after our lunch break, not realising that the whole course stopped for a lunch break between 12:30 and 2pm. I would highly recommend if you’re planning to do the activities again that you choose an earilier time slow or the one after lunch break.

Swamp Monsters: Halloween in Centennial Park, Sydney

While the day is recommended for kids aged 5-12 there were definintely some younger kids there. The littlies enjoyed several of the stations but were also scared of a few, so it all depends on the kid.

More info:
Age: 5-12 years
Times: Start times are available every 15 minutes between 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4:30pm
Meeting Point/Venue: Start at The Learning Centre in the Education Precinct, off Dickens Drive, Centennial Park
Price: $17 per child
Online

Special Notes

Show your online ticket on the day to receive your Trail Map. Tickets can be shown on mobile devices or printed out.
Event will go ahead in all weather. No refunds will be given.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults do not require a ticket
One Trail Map per ticket and all participating children require their own trail map.
Coffee, ice cream and small snacks will be available for purchase from food vans.There is plenty of free parking usually available in Centennial Park, or you can take public transport.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil

“We’re going to the circus!” I announce to my five-year-old daughter, wanting to surprise her with a special treat. “Not with animals?” she looks at me somewhat confused. “No, with people!” I explain. “Ahhh, acrobats!” she crows, delighted at her good fortune of being taken on a special date, just the two of us.

“Will there be tightrope walkers? And jugglers?” she asks, her only point of reference for a circus a traditional one from well before the time she was born. “Ummmm,” I reply, not sure how to answer. When you’re going to watch Cirque Du Soleil, all expectations on what you’re actually going to see on stage go out the window. It could be literally any physical feat, and usually more bizarre than your imagination can dream up. “I guess we’ll see,” I finally say, and off we go to the big top in Sydney’s Moore Park, and excitedly take our seats.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil has been wowing audiences with electrifying shows since their humble beginnings as a group of 20 street performers in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City, in Canada. The band of colourful characters entertained people on the streets with stilt-walking, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing live music. Old-school circus acts, performed with what would become their trademark drama and flair.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil

The company is still based in Quebec, and now has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from around 50 countries around the world. They’re performed in over 300 cities in over 40 countries on six continents – and tonight, they’re in Sydney, Australia.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : Owen Carey Costume credit : Marie Chantale Vaillancourt © 2010 Cirque du Soleil

Much to my delight, Kooza pays homage to Cirque Du Soleil’s traditional circus roots with a combination of acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The acts my daughter mentioned? They’re all there and she is thrilled. Stilt-walkers, jugglers, dancers, contortionists and tight-rope walkers. Every single circus act we could have possible hoped for was entwined in Kooza’s thrilling story of an Innocent’s discovery of light and dark magic.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

Kooza cleverly weaves a tale about discovery, fear and power through a jam-packed show filled with acrobatic acts and tension-breaking light humour. The central character, The Innocent, is our guide on a journey of thrills, suspense and moments where our hearts almost stop watching the death-defying feats in front of our eyes.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

While the adult in me sees the occasional safety gear go up for some of the more terrifying acts, my daughter is focussed only on the action and is genuinely worried about the well-being of the acrobats. “That doesn’t look very safe,” she whispers in my ear as a man dressed as the devil jumps on top of a spinning “wheel of death” that soars right to the top of the tent roof and proceeds to flip into the air.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

She’s right – it’s part of the show’s illusion to make every act look effortless, while tapping into our sub conscious desire to see how far a human body can be pushed before it breaks. Will they fall? In a few spots, they almost do, and a collective gasp goes up in the audience to see a wobble or slight slip. They are fragile human beings and this is real life, not a movie with trick photography at work. If they fall it’s a long way down.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

I point out the safety net that springs up when the tightrope walkers get particularly daring, and the hook that is attached to the man who balances with one hand on top 10 chairs to show her there is nothing to fear. “Even if they fall, they’ll be ok,” I whisper back, and she lets out the biggest sigh of relief I’ve heard from her, and spends the rest of the show pointing out the safety equipment to me, so I won’t be scared either.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

The show draws to its close and I realise I’ve been holding my breath for much of it, perched on the edge of my seat. For two hours, we’ve been thoroughly immersed in a fantastical dreamscape world where acrobats are able to do the impossible – perform tricks that my mind can’t comprehend as possible for a human body to be able to do.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : Owen Carey Costume credit : Marie Chantale Vaillancourt © 2010 Cirque du Soleil

My daughter, after her first circus experience ever, is forever changed. Her world has expanded and her imagination unlocked. She’s seen with her own eyes the heights and athletic ability that a human body can reach, and the daring that some souls possess to push themselves past limits the rest of us would quite frankly baulk at. She is among many children in the tent, the next generation who are growing up with Cirque Du Soleil being the the only circus they’re likely to experience.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : Owen Carey Costume credit : Marie Chantale Vaillancourt © 2010

The audience leaves the tent uplifted and with stars in their eyes. We’ve seen great things today and will tell our friends about that time we saw a man leap aboard a spinning wheel of death and survive what looks impossible, or about the lady who spun from a hoop high in the air, saved from plummeting to the ground only by her neck. It’s the kind of stuff you never forget that you’ve seen.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : Owen Carey
Costume credit : Marie Chantale Vaillancourt © 2010 Cirque du Soleil

My five-year-old wants to run away and join the circus. Come to think of it, so do I. We’d better start working on our acts.

KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

Tips for seeing Kooza by Cirque Du Soleil

  • Parking at the Entertainment Quarter is actually quite reasonable. 3-4 hours is only $10.
  • If you’re taking kids, ask for a booster seat when you enter the seating pavilion.
  • Bathrooms are outside the pavilion so go beforehand.
  • Find your seats at least 10 minutes before the show starts so you don’t miss the pre-show entertainment.
  • The best place to see the show is smack bang right in the middle of the front section as this is where much of the action faces. Don’t fret if you’ve already bought tickets on the side though as the whole show is still visible from the entire ring.
  • The show is quite long for littles to sit through – an hour and a bit for the first half, followed by a 30 minute interval and then 45 minutes for the 2nd half.
  • If you are considering taking little ones, be aware that there are loud noises at times and a few scary themes like skeletons.
  • Water is provided for free near the bar areas so you can take your own water bottle as long as it’s not glass, and refill it.
  • Snacks and drinks are permitted into the pavilion.
KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil
Picture credit : OSA Images
Costume credit : Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

Catch KOOZA by Cirque du Soleil in a city near you:

Sydney – Now playing until November 13 2016, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
Brisbane – From November 24 2016, Skygate Brisbane Airport (near DFO)
Melbourne – From January 20 2017, Flemington Racecourse
Perth – From April 13 2017, Belmont Park Racecourse, Victoria Park Drive (off Farmer Freeway), Burswood
Tickets at http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza

Thank you Cirque Du Soleil for tickets to see the show. All opinions are my own.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby! She loves cake, her tolerant husband and her busy preschooler.