Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cool Competition

There's a really awesome sounding competition being held by the Queensland Museum South Bank. It's linked to the ENERGEX Playasaurus Place, which is a great attraction at the museum. It opened in April 2009, and has been visited by one million people since that time. There's a huge T-Rex and Triceratops as well as other interesting exhibits.
Up for grabs in the competition are prizes valued at $3,000. I must admit that I would be most excited about the prospect of winning four VIP tickets to the arena spectacular Walking with the Dinosaurs. The first prize also includes:
  • A behind the scenes tour of the Queensland Museum palaeontology collection
  • Unlimited entry to I Dig Dinos 2011
  • 1 x annual family membership to The Workshops Rail Museum
  • 1 x annual family membership for the Sciencentre
  • Selection of Queensland Museum books and merchandise
Second prize consists of:
  • 4 x A-Reserve tickets (for 2 adults and 2 children) to the arena spectacular Walking with Dinosaurs
  • 1 x family pass to I Dig Dinos 2011
  • 1 x annual family membership for The Workshops Rail Museum
  • 1 x annual family membership for the Sciencentre
  • Selection of Queensland Museum books and merchandise
Third prize consists of:
  • 1 x family pass to I Dig Dinos 2001
  • 1 x annual family membership for The Workshops Rail Museum
  • 1 x annual family membership for the Sciencentre
  • Selection of Queensland Museum books and merchandise.
To enter visit the ENERGEX Playasaurus Place, where you can fill in an entry form, and drop it in the entry box. And remember that entry to the Queensland Museum is free so you won't incur any costs to enter.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seriously in2Cricket!

Slade's involved in this most awesome cricket program called in2Cricket, which is sponsored by Milo. There's more info about it here.
It's a 10 week program and they run activities every Saturday morning from 8.30am until 10am. Slade's participating through the Macgregor Cricket Club, and their awesome group of volunteers.
Through the program Slade has been exposed to so much, and we now have a really enthusiastic cricket player in our family.
Apart from participating in the weekly program, Slade has so far been given: A backpack, cricket bat, ball, shirt, hat, cap and drink bottle. They've also had a group photo taken that he'll get in the next week or two.
Although he was a little daunted the first time that we headed to the cricket (he didn't have any friends who were going), I am really proud to see my son having grown in confidence over the weeks. He is now running out on to the field, getting involved in everything, and is so enthusiastic about it all.
Yesterday was a major highlight, so far, as there was a family day for in2Cricket at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. The kids got the chance to do some activities on the field, and there were a number of state and national cricket players who attended. Slade headed off with the bat that he'd been given on Saturday and got autographs from a whole bunch of players. Then there was also another special signing opportunity, as well as rides and activities for the kids. These included nets in which the kids could bat and bowl, special nets for practising catching, as well as slides, swings, and a jumping castle. The highlight was that Matthew Hayden attended, and Slade got him to sign his bat.
Slade came home on such a high -- he enjoyed every minute of it. And insisted on taking his bat to school today for Show and Tell!
But there's more to come. The participants in in2Cricket also get tickets to a big cricket match, and this year the tickets are to attend the Ashes on Saturday. The kids also get to go onto the field at the Gabba during the lunch break. Needless to say Slade is really in his element, although also a little nervous!
The program cost us about $90 to participate, but considering everything that Slade's got out of it, I think that it's certainly more than worth it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rock Climbing

We've recently discovered an indoor rock climbing facility at Browns Plains. And our kids are addicted! It's called The Rock, and you'll find it at 49 Eastern Road, Browns Plains, Brisbane. Based at The Spot Community Centre, there's also info about it on their website.
It provides such a great opportunity for the kids to get some good exercise in a great environment and it's really character-building.
The first time we visited was with my daughter Kai's Girl Guide group. They had a wonderful time playing a few games and doing the rock climbing.
Since then we've visited a couple of times on a Wednesday afternoon when they hold a kid's club. This is a time for the kids to try the rock climbing and do a variety of games that involve skills such as climbing, swinging and balancing.
Apart from the enjoyment the kids get out of the activity, it's also great for their confidence -- they feel great when they get a bit further up the wall than the previous time or are able to reach the top. And when activities are a little bit more difficult or they are on a more challenging part of the wall, it's also an opportunity for them to do some problem solving and to practise some persistence.
We were really excited to discover recently that they also do birthday parties. The kids went to one there recently and we've now booked for Slade's party in December. You provide your own food and they have kitchen facilities available, and there are options for climbing only or climbing and games.

Postscript: The Rock Adventure Specialists have organised a special kids rock climbing club climb at Kangaroo Point on November 18, 2010. It's from 3pm to 6pm and you can contact them on 0424 023 932 for more info.

Friday, October 8, 2010

South Bank

South Bank in the heart of Brisbane is full of wonderful things to experience. There are shops and restaurants in the area, but with kids we head to the water. Providing awesome free entertainment, there's a great water play park and Australia's only beach in the middle of a city. The water is also channeled towards the play park in a man-made river complete with stones, which are great for building dams!
The area overlooks the Brisbane River so the setting is great. There are also wonderful areas to picnic as well as BBQ facilities and children's playgrounds.
Parking can be expensive, but if you park at the nearby library, museum or performing arts centre parking areas, it's $14 for the day. Street parking is limited. The South Bank train stop is conveniently located for access to the water park.

Interestingly, South Bank was originally the business heart of Brisbane, but following floods in 1893, the central business district was relocated to higher ground on the north side of the river. By 1930, South Bank had established itself as a busy river port and industrial zone with markets, wharves, dance halls and theatres.
The area declined and there was even little impact when the Queensland government decided to build the Performing Arts Centre there in 1977. The area was near-derelict when South Bank was selected in 1984 as the site for the World Expo '88. It consisted of a couple of old hotels and a few industrial buildings.
The Expo was the prime catalyst for the resurrection of South Bank and by the time the Expo came to an end, over 18 million people had visited South Bank.

Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum

Outings to the Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich have always been a great hit with our family. Our first visit was to see Thomas the Tank Engine, who has recently been at the museum just after Christmas for about a month.
There are a range of themes during the school holidays. We've been to The Great Train Robbery, the model train display, which includes a visit by Bob the Builder, The Toyland Express, The Circus Train, as well as Easter and Christmas events.
The annual pass is great value for money as it costs the equivalent of two visits to the Museum, and gives you free entry for the year, as well as a discount at the restaurant and shop. The first time we went we upgraded to the annual pass after paying our entry fee and being there for part of the day. And by the end of that summer holiday we had returned again.
Slade and Kai have enjoyed every event that they've been to, and are really excited to hear about what's coming up next.
At each event there are a range of activities, most of which are included in the entry fee. These have included games to play, or creative activities, involving colouring in, cutting out, sticking and stapling and shows.
At some events the kids have played with toy train sets and lego trains. There was an animal petting experience at the Easter event and there are regular mini train rides and a jumping castle. The little train ride and on occasion the jumping castle are paid activities ($3 each), as was the making of a wooden train ($6.50 when we visited). During the circus experience there was ring and bean bag tossing, balancing beams and mini stilts.
In addition to the activities that are specifically related to the event, there are general activities and exhibits. There is also a Behind the Scenes tour of the working workshops. This is a 30 minute tour into the real working workshops. You get to see Queensland Railway's Heritage Rollingstock Maintenance and what is being work on at the time of your visit. There is also an opportunity to do into the Blacksmith Shop.
We've eaten at the restaurant once, but mostly just take our own picnic. There are a few tables and marquees for people to have picnics, and I've also read that you can order picnics from the restaurant.
The museum is also involved in organising steam train rides. There is a discount on these rides for annual pass members.

The very first train to run in Queensland steamed from the site of the Workshops to Bigges Camp, now Grandchester, over 140 years ago. For decades the site was the centre of rail construction, maintenance and technology for Queensland's burgeoning rail industry. Over 200 steam locomotives were constructed there.
The Workshops were at their peak during World War II and was the largest State employer at the time with over 3,000 people working on the site.
In addition to being a museum, The Workshops Rail Museum is also the oldest continually operating railway workshops in Australia.