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Top 10 Autumn Family Friendly Events

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by Lucy Watson (subscribe)
A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published March 13th 2012
Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to the long, hot days of summer. But don't despair, autumn promises to be every bit as exciting, with plenty of fun, family events scheduled for the next couple of months. Here are ten of them:

1. Wiggles Concerts
Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, is back. To celebrate his return to the Wiggles, the all-singing, all-dancing foursome are playing in smaller venues across Australia, to get up close to their legion of fans. The Wiggles will be in Victoria from March 17th until April 1st. To view their schedule and book tickets, click here.

Meeting Thomas' Friends on a Day Out with Thomas at Puffing Billy

2. Day Out with Thomas at Puffing Billy
Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends will be visiting Puffing Billy's Emerald Station at the end of March. Young Thomas fans will get a chance to ride on Puffing Billy, watch a Thomas the Tank Engine pantomime, have a ride on Bulgy Bus, get their face painted, visit the petting zoo and heaps more. Thomas will be in town on Saturday and Sunday 17th and 18th of March, as well as Saturday and Sunday 24th and 25th March. There are various session times, so visit the Puffing Billy website for more detailed information.

3. Wildlife of Gondwana Exhibit, presented by Otway Dinosaurs
If your little one has an obsession with all things dinosaur related, this is the place to take them. Located five minutes drive from Apollo Bay, this is the story of the unique discoveries made in the Otways at Dinosaur Cove, and showcases a huge range of diverse fossils. It is open daily from 9am - 5pm and entry costs are $12 for adults, $7 for kids. See the website for more details.

4. Children's Book Festival 2012
On Sunday 25th March, the lawns of the State Library of Victoria will be turned into a Book Festival, full of free fun for your little ones. Children's authors and illustrators will on hand to meet their readers and tell stories. There will be performers, music and magic, as well as workshops, face painting, a petting zoo and book signings. The action takes place between 10am and 4pm. Go to the State Library website for more detailed information.

5. Children's Expo
On Wednesday 21st March, the Children's Expo will hit Melbourne Showgrounds. This free, fun-filled, interactive event aims to celebrate childhood through creative play. There will be family entertainment, giveaways, interactive exhibits and information about early childhood. Suitable for families with children from birth to 8 years, it will be held in Centenary Hall at the Showgrounds on Epsom Road, Ascot Vale. Call 9243 8888 for more information.

6. James and the Giant Peach at Gasworks
The Roald Dahl classic, 'James and the Giant Peach' will be performed at the Gasworks Theatre on April 5th at 10am and noon. Each performance lasts 70 minutes without an interval. Tickets cost $18. For the uninitiated, the story follows a little boy, Henry James Trotter, who accidentally finds himself inside a giant peach and makes an assortment of friends. The Gasworks website will tell you everything you need to know.

7. Mad Hatters Tea Party
The Queen Vic Market will be hosting its annual Mad Hatter's Tea Party on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th April in the L Shed. Bring your kids along to this free event for 35 minutes of singing and dancing with Alice and her crazy friends. Performances are at 10.10am, 11.10am and 12.10pm. Call 9320 5822 for more details.

8. Kids Day Out 2012 at Edgar's Mission
Edgar's Mission is a not for profit sanctuary for rescued farm animals, located at 365 McHarg's Road in Willowmavin. On this special day, children can help feed animals on a farm tour, enjoy a delicious lunch and take part in a nature walk. The cost is $10 per child which includes lunch, materials and a take home work book. This event is suitable for children between 8 and 16 years, but bookings are essential as your child must be preregistered to take part. See the website for contact details.

Baby chicks at Ripponlea Easter Fun Day 2010

9. Easter Fun Day at Ripponlea
On Easter Sunday (8th April), Ripponlea Mansion and Gardens will welcome families to take part in all sorts of Easter activities. There will be boat rides on the lake, outdoor games, entry to the Mansion, appearances by the Easter Bunny and Ripplea Bear, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt for 2 - 12 year olds. Bookings are essential as this is a popular event. To book, go to the website.

10. Como Gardens Miniature Railway/Open Garden
This miniature railway only opens to the public twice a year, as part of the Open Gardens Scheme. On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th April, the train will be running, offering rides to the public. Follow 650m of track as you wind through the beautiful gardens and over three creek trestle bridges. As well as the train there is a vintage car museum, a teddy bear's picnic, boats on the lake, the Ferny Creek Horticultural Society and plenty of refreshments. There is a $7.50 entry fee for adults, but children under 14 are free. Located at 79 Basin Olinda Road, The Basin, this event is open between 10am and 4.30pm. Click here for more details.
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