Better get organised if you want to survive the holidays
Happy New Year Secret Listers. This is the 32nd edition of the Secret List, a list of fun and unusual things to do with your kids each month in Perth. There is something for every family, no matter how much you have to spend, where you live and how old your kids are.
Why is it a secret? Because if you kids find out about all the things on this list: they will beg you to do everything on it.
Unless you want to spend the next month entertaining your kids yourself, you better get organised and book some of these great activities.
Welcome to 2015
Happy New Year
The ancient Babylonians have been celebrating New Year's Day for thousands years, and one of their customs is that all borrowed farm equipment should be returned.
What's the relevance, you ask? Not much, but maybe you should look around the kids rooms and get them to dig out all the toys they 'borrowed' over the past year, and return them to their owners. Perhaps you can gather up all the toys they no longer play with and have a toy-swap with your mothers' groups or friends, or better yet, donate them to one of Perth's great charities.
When: Thursday January 1st, 2014 Where: everywhere Cost: nothing
Perth Bell Tower, image courtesy website
Bringing the Ring-Ins If you are like me and have never actually made it to the Perth Bell Tower because it seemed a bit pricey then listen to this: during the summer holidays paying adults ($14) can bring up to four children FREE. Not only that, kids receive an activity sheet, souvenir photo and a certificate that chimes. Sounds pretty good to me (pun intended).
When: every day in January, from 10am, last entry 3.45pm Where: Perth Bell Tower, Riverside Drive, Perth Cost: adults $14, kids free Click for more info.
Celebrate the New Year in family-friendly style by heading along to the Shelley Community Concert. With plenty of family friendly activities, music and bands this will be a great way to welcome 2015.
And if you found staying up to midnight to watch the fireworks too difficult on New Year's Eve, console yourself with the much more sleep-friendly firework display that closes the Party at 8pm. Starting at 4pm there will be a bouncy castle and water slide for the kids, BYO picnic or get dinner from the market stalls.
When: Thursday January 1st, 2015, 4pm-8pm
Where: Shelley Beach foreshore, Riverton Drive
Cost: Free Click for more information.
A disco party at Decadance, image courtesy website
Dance them to Sleep
Disco party in the middle of the day? Brilliant. Every Tuesday to Friday during the school holidays, Decadance in Joondalup is offering two hour dance sessions (from 12.45pm) so your little groovers can dance themselves into a frenzy. Kids can request songs and watch them on the big screen. Bookings are required.
When: Tuesdays to Fridays in January 12.45pm for two hours
Where: Decadance, 15 Royce Court, Joondalup
Cost: $10 Click for more info.
Kids in the Kitchen?
They might be on school holidays but that's no reason for kids to stop learning. Send them to cooking classes at various cooking schools and restaurants around the city. The length of classes vary, but can be a decent enough length to allow for kids to really learn some skills (and mum to get some time off), such as the 4 hour classes at Taste Budds.
You can register now for classes at Applecross restaurant Blue Water Grill or browse the available classes at TasteBudds in Highgate. Whats2Eat in Wanneroo has a massive school holiday program, offering great classes for different age groups every day of the holidays.
Bookings are essential at all cooking schools.
When: throughout January
Where: across Perth
Give Me Some Big Screen Lovin'
Why watch a movie at home on the small screen when you can lounge around in public and watch it on the supersized massive Northbridge Piazza Screen. Throughout January, Free Flicks for Kids will be showing movies on Saturday afternoons including Peabody and Sherman and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Perfect for a casual picnic or grab some takeaway from one of the nearby restaurants.
When: Saturday 3rd January, and all Saturdays from 5.30pm
Where: Northbridge Piazza
Cost: Free Click for more info.
Hand painted umbrellas from Artybrellas, image courtesy website
Get Arty in the Holidays
No one can deny that the summer school holidays are verrrrry long. So if you (and the kids) need a bit of space, then consider some of the great art programs on offer. Also check out your local council and libraries and see if they have a school holiday program: many of the events are often free or very cheap for locals.
My tip: BOOK NOW if you like the sound of something. Forgot wrapping the Christmas presents, this is more important.
Fremantle Arts Centre: (bookings are open)
There are separate programs for 5-8 years, 9-12 years, 13-18 years and include a massive range of creative classes like mosaics, animation, music and dance, book making, toy making, jewellery making and much more.
Times and prices vary, but they are all run by professional artists, usually last a few hours and range upwards from $43 for the younger groups to $50 for 9-12 year olds, and now they also offer a teen art class as well for the older kids. Check website for more info.
Where: 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle
ArtyBrellas: (bookings are open)
Children aged between 6 and 13 can enjoy a week long art program (choice of week starting Jan 5th and Jan 12th), which includes a two hour daily art class and culminates in a special visual art presentation for parents on the final day.
Run by ArtyBrella owner and visual artist Tricia Stedman with guest artist Diana Kelly, kids will learn a range of new skills and explore different artists, mediums and styles. Classes will be held in Daglish/Wembley. Email for more information or to book a place (email@example.com)
Landsdale farm, image courtesy website
A Day on the Farm
Well worth the drive, a day at Landsdale Farm might be closest some city kids will ever get to a real farm. With all of MacDonalds animals, kids can explore and learn and pat and observe. With a fabulous undercover playground, kiosk and thriving vegetable and herb garden, kids can learn more about where there food comes from, and what farm animals really look (and smell) like.
When: farm opens January 12th, daily from 8am-3pm
Where: Landsdale Farm, 80 Landsdale Rd, Darch
Cost: $7pp, under two Free Click for more info.
Attention all Cat Lovers
Garfield. Grumpy Cat. Aristocats. That fluffy white one from Stewart Little. The world is full of famous cats, and tonight you can watch over 85 clips on the Northbridge big screen, ranging from quick vids lasting less than ten seconds to short movies. And they're all cat related. Meow. Pat some real kittens. Get your face painted (not as a dog, please) and learn all about cat adoption.
When: Saturday 17th January, 5pm
Where: Northbridge Piazza
Cost: Free Click for more info.
Whiteman Park, image courtesy website
Right On at Whiteman
Whiteman Park in the northern suburbs of Perth usually has a big school holidays program in addition to their normal parks and play areas, although this year it seems more limited than usual. No worries, it's still cheap (free to $5), which is great when you're still recovering from buying all those toys for Christmas. Programs include the Mad Hatter hat hunt and pottery making. Make your bookings now.
When: starts Thursday 1st January
Where: Whiteman Park, Entry off Lord Street or Beechboro Road, Whiteman.
Cost: varies, check the website Click for more info.
Big Southern Party
Over 50 years old, the Festival of Busselton is a series of activities and events designed to celebrate this great area and make people feel welcome. With a range of things to be involved in such as the Battle of the Bands, the Festival Queens and sandcastle competition if you are planning on being down south, make sure you check out the Facebook page to see what's on. There will be fireworks, markets, a street float parade, deckchair theatre and children's pirate competition.
When: 1st-31st January, 2015
Where: Around Busselton and Dunsborough
Cost: mostly free Click for more info.
Vintage Luna Park, image courtesy website
Back in MY day…
Take the kids and travel back in time to a vintage carnival and open-air dance floor in Scarborough these holidays. Part of the larger Summer Arts Festival, the seaside carnival will feature vintage rides, roving performers, dance floor with live music, food and market stalls and even an express make-up and vintage photo booth to really get you in the retro mood. All ages and free entry.
When: Saturday 17th January, 4-9pm
Where: Scarborough Beach Reserve, The Esplanade, Scarborough
Cost: Free Click for more info.
A Night at the Zoo
What's that roaring in the distance? Is it the lions or is it coming from the movie screen? This year there will be two twilight screenings at Perth Zoo: The Little Mermaid on Wed 21st and Aladdin on Wed 28th.
With the opportunity for an exclusive twilight wander through the Savannah exhibit for premium ticket holders, this will be a family-friendly night to remember. Bring a picnic (or visit Meerkats Café), bring a blanket and settle in to watch the show. (Shhh, parents, you can BYO alcohol).
When: Wednesday 21st and 28th January 2015, doors open 6.00pm, movie starts 7.50pm
Where: Perth Zoo, Labouchere Rd, South Perth
Cost: Standard ticket $13.50/$17 adult/child (slight discount for Zoo Friends), Premium ticket $22/$16.50 adult/child (slight discount for Zoo Friends) Click for more info.
Families with older kids living in the hills and in need of some cool news will be glad to hear the newly refurbish Bilgoman Aquatic Centre is having a family pool party on a Friday evening. There will be games, an inflatable obstacle course, bucking bull and a DJ so you swim/dance your heart out. The kiosk will be open.
When: Friday 23rd January, 5-9pm
Where: Bilgoman Aquatic Centre, Lionel Rd, Darlington
Cost: normal entry fee prices apply Click for more info.
A Day at the Museum?
Every school holidays the fantastic West Australian museums offer some great school holiday programs over and above their normal displays. Costs vary and normal entry fees still apply.
WA Museum (James St, Perth): go crazy with the little ones about the underworld of marine animals with a range of fishy craft and activities, including things to take home.
Maritime Museum (Victoria Quay, Fremantle): two weeks of amazing maritime adventures learning about the communication skills of our ancestors including morse code. Make a morse code bracelet ($3) or a poppy wreath ($2) to commemorate brave fallen soldiers.
Once A Jolly Aussie Sat And Watched Some Fireworks…
Awwstrayla Day. It means something different to everyone, but at the end of the day (literally) all of Perth look towards the sky. Most local councils hold Australia Day celebrations and the best place to check is your local paper. If there's a party, it'll be advertised in there.
Alternatively, you can stay home, sit under a sprinkler, have a barbie, drink some beer (or cordial) and play some cricket.
There are also more fireworks than you can poke a flaming stick at, and include events in Bassendean, regional fireworks in Armadale and Bunbury, the 'Indian Ocean Skyshow' in Fremantle; and the biggie – the City of Perth fireworks.
When: Monday 26th January, start times vary
Where: look up in the sky
For more info check your local papers.