Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published April 5th 2014
Get Back To Nature
Kids have been cooped up inside their classrooms for a term and winter is nearly upon us so time to get back to nature. Venturing outdoors is good for mental health. This is as true for kids as it is for adults, so Easter is the perfect time to enjoy the Melbourne's great outdoor locations in the mild weather while we can. Here are some places to go if you want to enjoy outdoor excursions with the family.
Collingwood Children's Farm Easily accessible for inner city residents, the Collingwood Children's Farm is open every day of the year. They offer close up animal experiences including cow milking twice daily. The Collingwood Children's Farm also hosts special events such as the Farmer's Market every second Saturday of the month. Every first Saturday, Family Day includes horse and tractor rides. You can milk a cow, cuddle a guinea pig and feast on an inexpensive BBQ lunch.
School holiday programs, kid's parties and the café make this an appealing venue for a family day out. The Collingwood children's farm is an inexpensive excursion at only $4 per child or $16 per family.
Bundoora Park Bundoora Park is billed as Melbourne's most diverse park. From the road a large natural park with loads of play equipment can be seen, but behind this the park includes so much more. Coopers Settlement includes a heritage village, wildlife reserve, community gardens and children's rides. Children can feed and handle animals and have pony rides at the children's farm. Bundoora Park offers a great holiday program for primary school aged children where they spend the day on the farm.
Learn all about Captain James Cook's life, his voyages and his death in the Discovery Centre. Explore his cottage and traditional English cottage garden and imagine what it would have been like when Cook was alive. Simulation effects help create what it would have been like when the Cook family celebrated the return of their son, Captain James Cook. The cottage is within the heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens (see below) so it's a great place for a picnic. Cook' s cottage is only five minutes from Jolimont Station.
Fitzroy Gardens This is a stunning public garden with a 150-year history within coo-ee of the city. Apart from Cook's cottage (above), James Sinclair's Italian Romanesque style gardener's cottage, beautiful sculptures and children's playground equipment, there are many other reasons for exploring the gardens.
One of the greatest attractions for children is Ola Cohn's Fairies Tree, which consists of several carvings on 300-year-old Red Gum tree stumps. The artist wanted to create a fairy sanctuary. The carvings feature fairies, dwarfs, gnomes, koalas, flying foxes and other Australian animals and birds.
Visit the Tudor Village while there. A pensioner modeled the miniature model Village in the centre of the Fitzroy Gardens. The model buildings represent a typical English Kentish village built during the Tudor period. The village includes various thatched cottages, a church, hotel, barns, school and other public buildings. Also included is a scale model of Shakespeare's home and Anne Hathaway's cottage.
Gumbuya Park is family theme park set in natural bush land. This is a great family day out for relaxation, education and fun. Take time to see the Aboriginal Centre, native animals and birds. Wildlife tours are available, free BBQs and a cafe is on site.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne This is an extensive garden area of over 300 hectares including heathlands, wetlands and woodlands. They have a unique red sand garden. Animals, birds, rare and endangered species can be observed. The Royal Botanic gardens run special events such as a nighttime nocturnal walk and all abilities walk.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Children's Garden
Let children loose in the children's interactive educational garden. This includes a water feature, wetland area, bamboo forest, plant tunnel and kitchen garden. They offer special programs, workshops and various informative walks through the garden. Last year we participated in the Indigenous program, which started with a smoking ceremony and included weaving and ocher painting. It was well worth it.
This is the home to many precious and endangered Australian animals. Meet Tasmanian devils, platypus and snakes. The sanctuary has an animal hospital for injured wildlife. Murrindindi is part of a live boomerang throwing competition and you must see the Birds of Prey Show. This is set in beautiful bush land and close to trendy nearby cafes.
You can't go wrong with the Melbourne Zoo. They are continually upgrading habitats to accommodate animals in close to natural habitats. The trail of the elephants, endangered Sumatran tigers, butterfly enclosure and the monkeys are ever popular. Babies are often on display. You can meet the keepers everyday to find out more about your favourite animal. They have a children's carousel and various eateries.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Don't miss the African safari open bus that travels through the open countryside for a close up look at wild animals in the wild. New to the zoo is an indoor play space for Ranger Kids. Kids can dress up as wildlife rangers, vets and animals. Ranger Kids has three play areas – an African village, the savannah and a field hospital Kids are free every weekend and school holidays.