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Published December 26th 2012
For some historical (and hysterical) summer holiday fun
National Trust School Holiday Activities Summer 2013
For a lot of people mentioning The National Trust conjures up images of old houses, where furniture is covered by dust sheets, where people speak in reverential whispers and the grounds are tended by aged, deaf, rheumatic gardeners. But the dust sheets were tossed aside many years ago and these days the National Trust is a dynamic organisation that operates as the custodian of Australia's living, breathing heritage and history and they're offering plenty of historic holiday fun in Melbourne this summer.
The Polly Woodside is Melbourne's very own tall ship. Built in Belfast and launched in 1885 the square-rigged deep water sailing ship plied the world's oceans and trade routes for many years, and ended her active sailing days in Melbourne as a coal supply ship. In 1968 she was sold to to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) for one cent, and was lovingly restored from 1972 to 1978. She now operates as a museum ship where landlubbber lads and lasses can learn about life at sea.
The Night Watch Experience is a brand new activity for sea dogs aged over 12. In the dark the creaking rigging and fluttering sails will whisper the secrets of the deep while you tour the ship with the night watch seaman and hear gruesome tales of life on the ocean waves.
When: From 2 January every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night throughout January. Where: Polly Woodside, South Wharf, Yarra River, next to Melbourne Exhibition Centre Tickets: Adults $38, Concessions $33. 20% discount for National Trust members. Tickets can be booked online here.
Younger children might prefer getting ship shape at the Caribbean Pirates experience, which includes stories, fun activities and song.
When: From 8 to 26 January. Mondays to Saturdays at 10 am and Friday and Saturday evenings at 6pm. Where: Polly Woodside, South Wharf, Yarra River, next to Melbourne Exhibition Centre Tickets: $25 single and $90 for a group of four.
With the Old Melbourne Gaol School Holiday Programyou can visit the original gaol, the Old Magistrates Court and the old City Watch House and enjoy the Watch House experience, a courtroom trial, and 'Scary and Weird Stories'. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can see the 'Such a Life' presentation about the gaol's most famous inmate, Ned Kelly. All these experiences are included in the price of admission.
When: From Thursday 27 December 2012 to Monday 28 January 2013. Open from 9.30 am to 5pm. Where: Old Melbourne Gaol, 377 Russell Street, Melbourne Tickets: Adults $25, Children $13.50, Family (2 adults and 2 children) $55. You can book day tickets online here.
In a special school holiday bonus you can purchase a 2 Attraction Combo Pass, which will get you into the Polly Woodside and Old Melbourne Gaol for only $30 for adults, $18.50 for children or $75 for a family. The Combo Pass can be purchased at either attraction..
If you're looking for something a little more blood curdling Old Melbourne Gaol also offers the Ghosts....What Ghosts??! Night Tour or the Hangman's Night Tour.
The Ghosts....What Ghosts??! Night Tour is on selected Tuesdays and Thursdays. It can be booked online here. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $30 concession or children.
The Hangman's Night Tour is on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights and can be booked online here. Tickets cost $38 for adults and $33 concession or children.
Both these events are recommended for children aged over 12.
Alice in Wonderland at Rippon Lea
image from National Trust website.
Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and all the other favourites from Lewis Carroll's timeless classic, Alice in Wonderland will be brought to life by the Australian Shakespeare Company in the grounds of Rippon Lea House and Gardens throughout January. Bring a picnic and explore.
When: From Wednesday 2 January to Saturday 26 January 2013. Performances are at 11am and 6pm. Where: Rippon Lea, 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick. Tickets: $25 single and $90 for a group of four. Tickets can be booked online here.
At Rewind and Replay historic Como House and Garden will host a journey back in time to the Nineteenth Century, complete with fun activities, period games like croquet and quoits, and egg and spoon races.
When: Wednesday 23 January from 10 am to 12.30pm. Where: Como House and Gardens, corner of Williams Road and Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra. Tickets: Children $15. They can be booked online here.