The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a yearly tradition in our house. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and mum has been going since she was a kid. Every year, the whole family cant wait to spend a day at the show getting up close to the best of the country, trying new food, and patting cute animals.
Every year the Easter Show seems to get bigger and bigger. You could easily now spend a few days there seeing everything. If you just have the one day at the show, here are my top 10 tips to make it a fantastic family day out.
- Buy tickets in advance
Discounted show tickets are available through places like the NRMA, but you can also buy your ShowLink tickets online (they include public transport and entrance) and save, too. Ride coupons can be purchased in advance for a saving of around 20% as well.
- Go early
The show is the quietist in the mornings and the first week it’s open. My theory is people forget it’s on and all go on the last weekend, or plan to go over the Easter break. It’s worth arriving when the show gates open at 9am to get many of the attractions crowd-free, too.
- Do the animal walk
One of the longest-standing Easter Show features, the animal walk gets better every year. Not only do you get to meet some of the most beautiful farm and domestic animals up close, you also get to partake in interactive exhibits along the way. Pat a piglet or a chick, milk a cow, help shear a sheep, stroke an alpaca and feed baby animals in the Barnyard Nursery. Collect a free Passport at the first stop and visit each station along the way to collect a stamp and fill up the passport.
- Meet farm folk
I absolutely love meeting the amazing people fro the country whose hard work goes into making the Easter Show such a brilliant showcase of NSW’s agriculture. In the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, the people behind the displays made out of crops are keen to teach kids about the materials that have gone into the display. This year one display featured cotton plants, with cotton seeds and un-spun cotton for kids to touch. The people who put so much effort into the displays and animals are always up for a bit of a yarn. To create the award-winning Pollinators display this year, for example, took 10 months of collecting crops, followed by an intense ten days at the show assembling all of the elements.
- Enjoy all the free stuff
The Easter Show can get very pricey – but it doesn’t need to be. There is so much entertainment and exhibits to see that you can spend the entire day without spending an extra cent on a ride or attraction. Tip: pick up the free daily show schedule as you enter and plan your day around seeing all the attractions that are included, such as live characters shows and meet and greets, all of the interactive animal activities and all of the shows in the grand arena. You can bring your own lunch and refill water bottles, too, if you’re on a tight budget.
- Make a budget and stick to it
Before you arrive, decide how much you’re going to spend on rides, showbags and food, and stick to it. If you’re on a budget but still want to try a bit of everything, you can do one ride (around $7), select showbags from the cheaper end (like the $2 Bertie Beetle show bag), and have lunch at the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome where you can get my fave grilled cheese sandwich for a bargain $2.
- Plan your day
With little kids in particular, a day at the show can be a lot of walking to and fro (the bathrooms, more snacks, a rest, more water!), so I like to schedule our day to fit in everything. What’s on the daily schedule you might want to see? Any live shows? If you’re doing the animal walk, start it early in the morning as it takes a long time to get around the entire walk, particularly with little ones.
- Take breaks
Help little ones last the whole day with breaks in between exciting activities. The live shows are my favourite way to schedule breaks – this year there are Paw Patrol and In The Night Garden free character shows, plus the woodchopping, dog judging and horse riding in the main area (now called the Spotless Stadium). In the middle of the day when it’s the hottest is the perfect time to take a shady break to rest up and prepare for the afternoon. It’s amazing how kids manage to perk up and get a second wind after a break.
- Be safe
Get a free wristband from the Sydney Transport stand for your child as you enter and write their name and your phone number on it, just in case. Put valuables and heavy things in a locker (they cost $2). It’s a long, hot day out, so bring refillable water bottles, plus a hat and sunscreen.
- Enjoy a Devonshire Tea
Our last stop is always the CWA Tea Room for an authentic Devonshire Tea made by the Country Women’s Association. This year the tea room is at the back of the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Pavillion. The CWA ladies are scone-making machines, and at whatever time of day you drop by, you will get fresh, warm scones straight out of the oven.
Our new faves this year:
The Streets ice cream jumping castle next to The Shed (free).
The countless activities for kids in the Woolworths Food Farm: free shows, cooking classes, farm play, and more. We could have spent the majority of the day in this one area – it was more popular with the preschooler than even the baby animals.
The free Australian Wildlife talk outside the entrance to the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome. Snakes, owls and a little crocodile called “Snappy” are read to meet you. If you’re feeling brave, you can stroke Snappy’s back.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is Australia’s largest annual event, attracting over 900,000 people. It runs from 17 March – 30 March at Sydney’s Olympic Park, Homebush.
Thank you to the Sydney Royal Easter Show for my media accreditation.
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!