Located around 150 kilometres north-west of Melbourne is Victoria's 4th largest city. Bendigo is best known for its 1850s gold-related heritage, opulent and grand architecture, elegant shopping precinct, manicured gardens and home of the first Myer store in 1900. Readers may not be aware that the City of Greater Bendigo was the first Australian city to be recognised as a Child Friendly City by the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in 2009.
With the financial support from the Federal Government's "Stronger Families, Stronger Communities" strategy, the local government partnered with its community to formalise the city's commitment to children as citizens. Some 500 children aged 3 to 8 years were consulted as part of the city's planning process in 2008, resulting in a "Building a Child Friendly City Children's Consultation Report". A "State of Bendigo's Children Report' was also published in 2011.
Today, the City of Greater Bendigo assumes a leadership role in raising general awareness of the importance of building a Child Friendly City not only to its own residence but both nationally and internationally. Child friendliness is also visible through a dedicated Children's website which provides kids and their families with up and coming events and a register of child friendly services and business participating in the Child Friendly Sticker Program.
So grab your kids are head down to Bendigo to enjoy 10 family fun activities this Summer.
Bendigo Pottery - Kids can experience some hands-on fun through 2 lessons at Bendigo Pottery. Kids can play with clay all day, every day for AUD4 which includes the clay, tools and apron. 30 minute wheel throwing lessons are also available daily at scheduled times of 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm where kids can learn how to make a pot on the wheel from professional potters at AUD12 per child. Bookings are recommended and more information is available at www.bendigopottery.com.au
Post Office Gallery - Award winning children's book author and poet, Lorraine Marwood will be conducting a workshop about collecting and sharing memories with kids at 11am on 17 and 24 January. The costs are AUD7.50 for kids between 4 to 7 years and AUD10.50 for 8 to 14 years. Bookings can be made by phoning 03 54346088.
Confectionery Capers - This attraction combines fun and learning for kids, parents and school groups. It challenges and entertains visitors with puzzles as well as a range of tasty confectionery whirring, wobbling, jiggling, jumping and shaking on machines. Parents and kids can indulge in chocolate bars, mixed lollies and the exclusive JELLY BELLY jelly beans in all 40 exquisite flavours.
Confectionery Capers / Photo by Gavin Anderson of Flickr
Bendigo Art Gallery - A series of creative children's workshops inspired by the Gallery's 'Japanese Visions' exhibition will be conducted from 15 to 24 January. Kids can learn how to make Japanese carp kites, dharma dolls and printmaking. For more information visit www.bendigoartgallery.com.au
Ironbark Riding Centre Saddle Club - Young nervous and beginner riders from 6 years and up can enjoy hands-on horse riding from 9am to 3pm. Riding lessons, games, safety helmets, lunch, refreshments and insurance are all included at AUD55 per child. For more information and reservations, visit www.bwc.com.au/ironbark
Bendigo Water World - There is no better way to escape the summer heat than splashing in the cool waters and rushing down the giant slide at Bendigo Water World. There are shaded areas with tables and chairs for parents, free WIFI and free BBQ. The attraction is opened between 10.30am to 5.30am till 3 February. For admission tickets, visit www.bendigowaterworld.com.au
Golden Dragon Museum - Kids can learn how to make striped Chinese poms poms which are found on many of the museum's items such as the dragons and lions. Lessons are conducted for children between 5 to 12 years at AUD10 per child on 18, 21, 23 and 25 January. Kids under 7 years must be accompanied by an adult. To make this unique Chinese New Year decorations, simply make reservations by phoning 03 5441 5044 or visit www.goldendragonmuseum.org
Lake Weeroona - Families can chill out, have a BBQ or picnic and enjoy the large children's adventure playground at the recreational lake which was once a barren area resulting from the mining activities.
Discovery Science and Technology Centre - From January to 1 February, curious kids will be excited and intrigued by the workshops and shows at the Discovery Science and Tecnology Centre. They include taste labs and food science shows that explain the chemistry behind the various foods and eating. It also includes a planetarium show on the Aurora Australis and Borealis (Southern and Northern Lights). Admissions are AUD9.50 per child, AUD12.50 per adult and AUD39.50 for a family for 2 adults and 2 children. For schedule of workshops and shows and reservations, visit www.discovery.asn.au
Central Deborah Gold Mine - The 75 minutes 'Mine Experience Tour' is ideal for children aged 3 and up to discover what the life was a miner was like during Bendigo's gold rush era. They will get to don a miner's hard hat and lamp and enjoy stories from an experienced guide while descending underground into the mine as well as to learn how to pan for gold. For reservations, phone 03 5443 8322 or visit www.central-deborah.com.