A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published June 25th 2013
Discover the Medieval Magic of a Bygone Era
So, armed with our trusty Scoopon voucher, my little family made its way to Kryal Castle last Sunday. Kryal Castle first opened as a tourist attraction in 1974, and has recently reopened after a major upgrade. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I never could resist a money-off voucher, hence the medieval day trip.
From the front Kryal Castle looks like something from the pages of a story book, complete with arched windows, turrets and a portcullis, not to mention a drawbridge over a moat (of sorts). It took a while to convince my 3 year old that the anamatronic dragon in the entry was not in fact going to eat him alive (very realistic indeed). The history of the castle can be found here.
After surrendering the aforementioned voucher, we walked through the entry attraction which follows the story of King Arlen and Queen Cordelia in their quest to find the dragon Ushnagh, setting the scene for our medieval adventure. This is perhaps one of the best attractions at the castle, with sounds, lights and special effects which produce a very eerie atmosphere.
Immerse yourself in the spooky tale of Ushnagh the she-dragon
Pushing through the last doorway after meeting the dragon herself, we found ourselves in a castle courtyard with different activities and attractions signposted in various directions. The map and timetable which we were given on arrival became our new best friend as there were lots of events scheduled throughout the day.
Some of the features of Kryal Castle we found great fun and noteworthy, some were a little lacking in oomph. My son thought that The Rack in which he could stretch his Dad was fabulous and provided much amusement. We didn't let him into the Torture Museum, but snuck off individually to enjoy the macabre and grisly exhibits (my favourite part of the day and very stomach churning). The jousting show was also very entertaining, presided over by an MC who knew how to get the crowd going. The children's playground was a real hit, very in keeping with the medieval theme and the Wizards Workshop was also spookily authentic-looking.
The medieval joust was very popular with the crowds
Unfortunately the chips we had for lunch were supremely under cooked and the meat pie a bit floppy and pale looking. Some of the smaller shows and attractions, such as the puppet show in the Jesters Theatre, and the concrete maze left a bit too much to the imagination, but overall we had a good day.
The kids' playground is sure to be a hit with your little ones
There are several shops in the castle selling everything from ice-cream to axes, and two eateries as well as the usual toilet and baby-care facilities. Other than general admission the castle offers facilities for conferences, schools and overnight stays.
There are even places to leave your misbehaving offspring...
Kryal Castle is located not far from Ballarat, right on the Western Highway so you can't possibly miss it. Entry prices start from $28.50 for an adult or $79 for a family (2 biggies and 3 littlies); perhaps a little on the pricey side for what you get. A full list of attractions and shows can be found here.