Canberra – for kids and adults (part 2)

The boys got so excited because as we pulled into the museum as there were two giant dinosaurs positioned on the hill. Cries of joy as they sang out ‘We’re here’!! You’d swear we’d been in the car for 10 hours…

There are plenty of car parking spaces so parking was fuss-free. The front entrance of the museum is great. There’s many a dinosaur just crying out for photos. We spent a while here though be aware you’re not allowed to sit/stand/pounce on the dinosaurs! We purchased a family ticket for $45 (two adults, two kids). On the ground level there are some activities for the younger kids including dinosaur puzzles and books, fossil tracing, a TV screen showing dinosaur shows, and a motorised dinosaur in a dinosaur egg with has two empty eggs on the side – great for kids to get in and the perfect picture opportunity.

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We headed upstairs where there is a showcase of dinosaurs and fossils. Some of the exhibits move and make noises which are great but some young kids may get a little frightened. Our youngest was very excited to see all the big dinosaur displays so we went around looking at them. Then we went around again a bit slower so we could see everything else! If you go remember to look up as they have more structures hanging from the ceiling. Once we finished here we headed out to our accommodation at Oxley Court Apartments in Dawes St.

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I booked this apartment based on availability, proximity to the activities we were going to be doing and the reviews. I have to say I was impressed when I walked in. The lounge and dining area is very generous in space with two large couches and a six seater dining set. The kitchen area is small but large enough for two of us to be in it without bumping into each other and fully equipped. The two bedrooms are again very spacious – one with a queen size bed, side dressers and double wardrobe with mirror, and the other with two single beds and another wardrobe and shelves. The bathroom was huge – four of us could fit in it with room for more! We also had a balcony that looked over to the football field much to our eldest son’s delight! I did forget some DVDs but the kids were happy with Nickelodeon and ABC Kids.

On Thursday we headed to Corin Forest which is about a 45 minute drive from Canberra. It’s a man-made snow play area that does get real snow on occasion. There’s also a ski area for those who don’t want to go to Perisher and the like. For the snow play area the sessions are allocated in 2.5 hour blocks. Due to rain overnight the car park and entry area was more muddy than snowy when we arrived. We headed up to the ticket box, handed over our receipt in exchange for wristbands and off we went. We hired a toboggan for the boys for an extra $5 and these are allocated at the top of the snow play area.

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Building our snowman

I’ll be honest and say it was more icy than snow but the boys were keen to get into it. Me on the other hand, I was happy to stand and take photos. There are two hills for the toboggans and the boys loved this! The toboggan itself is big enough to fit hubby (third child!), 5.5yo and 4yo. After a while we headed over to another area to build a snowman – isn’t he the cutest thing you’ve seen (even if he is 1ft nothing!). There was the obligatory snowball fight with me shouting to ‘not at Mummy!!!”. After an hour Little Mister had enough and wanted to go so we headed off for something to eat at The National Arborteum.

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Snowy the Snowman

This place is known for its amazing playground call the POD so we planned to have something to eat then let them run wild. Parking was easy and is $2 per hour. No entry fee to the Arborteum. We arrived smack bang during lunch hour and it was busy, however we were lucky enough to snag a table as people were leaving.  The menu is extensive but we kept it simple – homemade sausage roll for hubby and eldest son; croissant with jam (last one!) for youngest, and I had the quiche lorraine. The food was devoured and I have to say the quiche was amazing – creamy and a decent amount of bacon throughout it. The silence from the others was enough to confirm their food was satisfying!

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POD playground

Once our tummies were suitably full, we headed out to the playground. Oh the fun the boys had! It’s a great park for climbing but I imagine if it got busy it would be a bit crazy. Mr 4yo climbed up the ladder into the acorns but then found out he had to come down the big slide to get down (the only way out). This wasn’t happening so he decided to go backwards. Yes, he was ‘that child’. Anyway, he eventually worked himself backwards – much to the annoyance of parents more than kids I would say – and ran off to another section of the park. There are different climbing activities and are spread out. It’s great to spend an hour or so there and I did see some families set up with their picnics.

Once that was done we headed to Lake Burleigh Griffin for a scoot. We didn’t do much of the circuit as the kids were already exhausted but it was a nice end to the afternoon. The boys went to bed without a fuss and slept until 7am (happy me!!!).

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Gorgeous trees around Lake Burleigh Griffin

The next morning we headed to Questacon. We arrived just after 9am and parked easily enough. There was no queue for tickets and we paid for the family ticket for $70 (two adults, three children). The lovely attendant told us what was on and suggested we go to MiniQ given the boy’s ages (MiniQ is for 0-6 years).. There’s no additional cost and we booked into the 945am session. During school holidays this area is ticketed due to the number of visitors Questacon receives. There’s a lot of sensory and hands-on activities for the kids. Once we finished here we were well timed to go to the Dinosaur Puppet show at 1030am.

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Murray the Dinosaur

This was fabulous. I wasn’t expecting the youngest to sit still as it goes for 30 minutes but he was so enthralled he didn’t move! It was all about Murray the Dinosaur and also gave some insights into dinosaurs and what happened many years ago – a simple and great introduction into dinosaur history for the little ones.

There are about seven levels which all contain different fun science activities and some are targeted are specific age groups. We were there for three hours and managed to get to all levels thought the boys were starting to get tired around the 2.5hr mark so the last couple of levels were rushed, and they were more for older kids anyway.

We brought a picnic with us and managed to get a table outside just before 12pm. We were extremely lucky with the weather in Canberra and today was no different. It was cold but no wind and the sun was peeping out through the clouds. There were many families at other tables with the same picnic idea.

On the way back to the apartment we came across a playground near Lake Burleigh Griffin. It is great for kids as it’s fenced in and there are different playing areas plus a scooting/bike path. We spent some time here before heading home for afternoon champagne and birthday cake (did I mention it was my birthday and I spent it at Questacon!!).

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Champagne time!

As it was our last night in Canberra I booked dinner at The Public House based on some recommendations. When we first rocked up it looked like any pumping pub on a Friday night and I began to think that this wasn’t going to be good with two young kids. However, instead of going through the ‘PUB’ door, we continued up the path and through the ‘DINING’ door. I’d booked a booth at the back, away from the bar and next to the kitchen, again based on a recommendation. And it couldn’t have been more perfect. There are four booths and three of them were occupied with families of kids. We all smiled and nodded to each other as if we all felt thankful that there were other kids there – hilarious when I think about it now!!!

Our waitress was great. We were able to order straight away and dinner and drinks came quickly. I LOVE good pub food and would prefer than over a fancy restaurant (I’m getting old!). I ordered the schnitzel with mushroom sauce that came with chips and salad; hubby ordered parmigiana with chips and salad; boys ordered pizza with ham and the kitchen was happy to take the pineapple off for the boys. The good was delicious and hoovered down in no time! The boy’s pizzas were large and we asked for a doggy bag which they were happy to oblige with.

We decided to order ice-cream for the boys and hubby and I were to share a brownie and ice-cream. Unfortunately there was some mix-up with our order and it was 25 minutes before dessert arrived. Luckily the boys were busy watching a mix up of Peppa Pig and PJ Masks (yes, hubby and I talked about how we would ‘never be those parents’ with the phones/iPads for the kids and now that I have kids, I personally don’t give a toss if they’re watching shows if it means I can eat in peace!). When dessert arrived it came with an extra serving of ice-cream which we weren’t charged for, and an apology for the delay. To be honest I think there were some new staff members on the night we were there, and they were just trying to get across all the processes. Once dessert was done we left happy and full and walked the 10 minutes back to our apartment.

And that is our Canberra trip in a nutshell. We had a great time and Canberra is a place made for kids. There is much more to do including Cockington Green and Yarralumla Play Station but we just ran out of time. We’ll definitely be back to Canberra hopefully in the spring or summer to enjoy some of the other activities on offer.

Have you been to Canberra?

What would your recommendations be?

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