My five-year old and I were privileged to attend the fair on the opening night charity event and we LOVED every minute of it. The three-hour session was ample for us to experience everything we wanted, and take home a swag of precious memories. I told my son we were going to the North Pole and he believed me. It's the closest experience you'll get to a winter wonderland in down-town, 30-degree heat, Sydney summer Christmas.
The two-storey carousel is for kids and adults alike
So, let's get to the nitty gritty for those keen to hear what they'll get, if they invest in tickets. At $40 for a standard, 3-hr session 'Golden Ticket', the following is included:
Free parking (or catch the train to Rosehill station which is RIGHT on the doorstep); All rides, most of which are suitable for under 5s to ride solo and some with parents; Fair rides suited to older kids and adults: chair-o-plane, twister and fun house;
Snow World Ice-Skating rink; Cookie decorating and Little Elves Craft Workshop; Turbo Taboggan Snow Slide (suitable for 4s and up);
Reindeer stables riding experience;
Jumping Castles and slides GALORE;
Free small gift from Santa;
Roaming meet and greet characters – Disney princesses (incl. Elsa), Paw Patrol and reindeer;
Winter Wonderland display with synthetic snow.
It makes the cost seems like excellent value for money, huh? As a parent, I thought so, especially with the unlimited rides.
The ice-rink is a great attraction for older kids but there are Child Aids for littlies
Okay, so here are the kickers. These are the optional extras you might want to budget for:
Food : the fairground site has a tremendous range of food trucks serving all the traditional food you'd expect, starting at a bucket of chips or chicken chips for around $5, fairy floss from $3 and water/drinks for around $3. You might like to bring your own picnic, as there is seating and grass available but food is most likely one of extras you'll need to factor in.
Food adds up quickly but we avoided most of these other attractions and found plenty of value for money in the activities included in the entry fee. Manage your kids' expectations from the outset and you should be able to keep a reasonable lid on the additional spend, or go crazy and experience everything!
The kids can have a reindeer race at Santa's stables
If there is one Sydney Christmas activity you choose to invest in this year, I'd whole heartedly recommend this for parents with kids ten and under, with particular appeal for the age group that still truly believes in Santa – 7 and under. Most theme parks have limited experiences for small kids (up to a height of 100cm) but this fair has rides suited mostly to that height. I felt perfectly safe letting my child go on the rides alone. And with limited numbers in each session, the lines for amusements should never get too long. One of the highlights I could share with my son was the two-storey merry-go-round which was like something out of Mary Poppins or a German Christmas market.
Apart from the outdoor and indoor rides for littlies, The Winter WonderlandPavilion kept us amused for almost two hours. I let my son loose on the jumping castles and slides, we took photos with Elsa, Belle and Sleeping Beauty, we walked through the Enchanted Snow Cave and we took part in the interactive stage show. Kids are king at this event, and it's a delight for parents to watch. After visiting the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular last year, this was always going to be a tough act to follow. However, for Sydney-based families, the Sydney Santa Spectacular is the best fun around, and well worth the trip, if you don't live locally to Rosehill. Parking is on the doorstep and train access is easy.
And if you can't quite afford the tickets, there is a discounted entry fee of $20 per ticket, after Christmas, on 26 and 27 December. Keep this is mind if you don't mind having slightly less of that Christmas anticipation in the air. Or, if you love it the first time around, you could always go again!