Christmas - oh, it's that wonderful time of the year... and there is nowhere better to celebrate the run-up to the festive season, than at Sydney Santa Spectacular.
This show is really one of the best, value-for-money family events I've ever been to. I love that it offers an all-inclusive ticket. There is nothing more annoying than taking the kids to a carnival and spending the whole time dodging tantrums when you tell them "No, you can't have yet another $5 token for a rickety old ride that lasts 2 minutes!"
At Sydney Santa Spectacular, there is no reason to say "No!".
"Can I go on the teacups for the 100th time, Mum?"
It's probably a good idea to strategise your visit before you arrive and have some loose plan for how you're going to spend your time.
My kids were enjoying the outdoor rides so much, that we actually ran out of time to bounce on all the jumping castles (and there were many amazing inflatables!)
Get Your Skates On
If your family are ice-skating fans, I suggest starting with that. The rink was surprisingly large and it never felt too crowded. Towards the end of the session, the ice did get a bit wet and slippery so getting there early means that you'll get the best skating experience. I was super impressed that there were skates to fit my little ones - boots start from kids' size 8 - and you can rent a penguin skate aid for $5.
The outdoor carnival zone has some fantastic, top-quality rides - including the crazy swing chairs, a charming vintage double-decker carousel, tea-cups and jet planes. Most of these are suitable for the little ones, while there is a minimum height restriction on others. My kids ultimate favourite was the Sea Circus, which houses a topsy turkey obstacle course with a twirly whirly slide at the very top. So much fun!
In the rides area, there are also classic fairground games (at additional cost), show bags and food trucks. There are also grassy areas all around if you would like to bring your own picnic.
Once we managed to drag the kids away from the rides, we entered the magical realm of Winter Wonderland. The Enchanted Forest boasts over 200,000 lights, with adorable animatronic displays, reindeer, elves, Santas and snow. There's a magnificent passage of twinkly white fairy lights and a delicious-looking Gingerbread House.
There's also a Princess throne where we met Cinderella and Belle and we've heard on good authority that Elsa and Olaf also make an appearance.
Wonderland is home to Inflatable World, the ice-rink and the thrilling turbo toboggan ride - which the kids and the grown-ups couldn't get enough of. There's also a cute mini train for the littlies and a stage with regular shows, where the kids are the stars.
You can also get your Christmas photo taken with a jolly Santa and there are a million-and-one opportunities for festive selfies or family happy snaps.
Little Elves Craft
In the crafty zone, there's an elves colouring-in Workshop and a cute bumblebee ride. The kids loved riding the reindeer in Santa's shed and having a go at decorating cookies with pink icing, marshmallows and sprinkles.
We found the event to be impeccably organised and well run. All of Santa's helpers were friendly and helpful and there was so much thought and creativity put into every detail.
Sydney Santa Spectacular is now a favourite family Christmas tradition, along with turkey & stuffing and Elf On The Shelf! It's one of those value-for-money events that bring so much laughter and festive fun. Whatever you do, don't miss it!
Sydney Santa Spectacular is on until 27 December and open daily except Wednesday 19 Dec and Christmas Day. The event is held at Rosehill Gardens and there is plenty of free parking nearby. Tickets start from a very reasonable $35 per person and children under 2 are free and do not require a ticket.