I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published July 30th 2015
Sciency and not-so-sciency events for the weekends
Winter is almost finished. Gardeners are super busy in Kings Park, preparing the plants for the annual spring wildflower blooms. So, hang in there, guys. Warmer weather is not long coming now. In the meanwhile, why not while away your weekends with positive fun family activities like the below.
Riverside Garden Bayswater with Avon Descent Family Fun Day happening in the background.
Avon Descent is a 133km annual white water race that provides us with something to look forward to in winter. And with such a long route, there are several vantage points to enjoy it from, complete with extra entertainment:
Toodyay International Food Festival (Sat, 1 Aug; Stirling Park, Stirling Tce & Duidgee Park, Harper Rd, Toodyay): Have a picnic right on the river and watch all the competitors paddle down Day 1 of the race. There's no need to bring your own food as delicious food from around the world would be available for purchase. In between watching the race and chomping down your food, there will also be cultural performances and kids entertainment.
City of Belmont's Avon Descent Family Fun Day (Sun, 2 Aug 11.30am-3.30pm; Garvey Park, Ascot): Cheer on the competitors as they head towards the finish line on Day2 of the race. If you're seriously into the race, sit in the large marquee by the waterfront and listen to the live race commentary. If your kids or other family members are not seriously into the race, they can occupy themselves with the children's activities around the park. Win-win for everyone.
City of Bayswater's Finish Line Family Fun Day (Sun, 2 Aug 11am-5pm; Riverside Gardens, parking via Slade & King William Sts, Bayswater): This is a similar event to the City of Belmont's one above, except it's located further down the stream. In fact it's at the finish line, which means that other than the live commentary, kids entertainment, and food vendors, you'll also get to see the competitors up close as they complete the race and get out of the water. I can't help but standing in awe of these people who started in Northam on Friday night and have been paddling down for two full days. What stamina.
University Open Days might sound like something serious which are only suitable for Year 12 students, but they're actually more like community events held at university campuses. If you're actually interested in any courses, naturally staff will be around with course information. But more than that, universities nowadays try to promote themselves to the whole community, not just highschool graduates, so plenty of opportunities for families and kids of younger age to learn something and have fun (yes, petting zoo, face painting, and free rides too).
Curtin University (Bentley Campus, 2 Aug): This event is competing with the Avon Descent, so you can only attend one depending on your preference. This one has activities such as touring 'behind the scenes' of a film studio, computer hacking competition, race-car simulator, and educational games like tangram. Their website offers mobile apps you can use to organise your day.
UWA (Crawley Campus, 9 Aug): It's one day choc-a-block of sciency or not-so-sciency fun events, such as dressing up in Japanese cosplay, 3D printing, surgery simulators, treasure hunt to win an Apple Watch, and more. Their website allows you to pick events you're interested in and make a personalised itinerary for the day.
ECU (Mt Lawley Campus including WAAPA, 9 Aug): If only UWA and ECU hold their open days on different days then we can visit them both. Unfortunately you have to choose which one to visit and this one promises to be as much fun as the other. There will be Scitech exhibition and shows, laser skirmish, motorsports racetrack, and more. Arm yourselves with their downloadable program for the day to avoid missing the interesting parts.
University of Notre Dame (Fremantle Campus, 16 Aug): As far as I can tell, this Open Day is on a Sunday by itself, so no competition with other universities. On the day, you can find out about their courses and also enjoy the live entertainment, obstacle course, silent disco, and more.
Perth Science Festival When: 15-16 Aug; 10am-4pm Where: Perth Cultural Centre
To celebrate National Science Week, Perth Science Festival is back for one weekend only. There will of course be all sorts of science-related stalls, for example Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) will host a stall that will talk about, well, bees (they are more important than many of us think). The Society for Underwater Technology Perth will offer us an opportunity to try our hands on controlling a deep sea vehicle. UWA and a host of other science organisations will be there to introduce, tantalise, and challenge our minds. Be there.
Taste of Chittering Community Festival When: Sun, 23 Aug; 10am-3pm. Where: Lower Chittering Hall, 23 Chittering Valley Road More info here.
Orange Orchard, Chittering
I always associate Chittering with orange orchards and I'm not far off the mark as fresh local produce (oranges included) will be some of the items available during this event. However, that is not it, as there will also be other businesses and activities we can enjoy. There will be market stalls, dances, music, food, animals, and airbrush tattoos. And of course, all the fresh air you can possibly want that money can't buy.
Flight Discovery Zone - Wheatbelt Science Engagement When: Sat, 29 Aug; 4-8pm Where: Northam Recreation Centre More info here.
On my kids' behalf, I'm genuinely excited with this event. Yes, Northam is just a tiny bit far to go for a family event. Yes, there are other, closer free events with kids entertainment in the month of August. But... (and this is an important but) this event is so unique and I have never heard of another like it before. To have the opportunity to learn about hot air baloons; not just in theory, mind you, but to see them up close, talk to the people who fly them, learn how to fly them yourselves (virtually of course, so it's all safe, no real crashing), and walk into one of them; all of these would be awesome. If you have any kids whom you want to encourage to love science, this is an event not to be missed.