It seems this spring is hell-bent on giving Melbourne a longer dose of winter for this year's Royal Melbourne Show. Just about every day since the Show opened on September 17, it has been a grey sky affair with drizzly patches, making it possibly a little less appealing for many, to venture out to enjoy this annual family drawcard.
Don't be put off however! We made the trek to the Show on day two after it opened and yes, skies were dark and there were occasional showers, but we were happy to discover that the fun was just as mighty as ever!
As always, there are so many exciting things to do at this yearly event for all ages. What better place to start than with the animals themselves? The Royal Melbourne Show is all about food, farms, crafts and animals (plus show bags, carnival fun and those daring rides). It's an ideal place for city families to meet country life, regardless of the weather.
A visit to the Show on one of these grey Melbourne days, means a good chance you'll skip the lengthy queues you'd see otherwise. This gives you the opportunity to pet adorable farm friends like chickens, sheep, goats and even baby piglets, with all the joy you can muster. Smaller queues equals more fun and more time to fill your day. (Find a selection of hands-on activities here.)
|Pat a chicken or pig daily at The Farmhouse from 10am - 6pm.|
The Farmhouse is a great place to visit with young ones and there is much to do in here. Our kids tried out the Little Green Thumbs and potted themselves a selection of take-home chili and tomato plants. In addition, there were Digging for Vegies and Grain Station activity centres for kids to explore. Activities in here run daily from 10 am to 6pm. We unfortunately missed the 30 minute session on Training Horses for Movie Magic in here (12.30, 3.15 and 6pm daily). Next time.
|Little Green Thumbs activity in The Farmhouse.|
The fun continues outside within The Animal Farmyard. This is a large outdoor fenced area with ample space for visitors to get a good view of a variety of farm animals in their natural setting. Farmer Darryl is here to answer any questions and he also hosts a story time. You can visit this area daily from 10am to 7pm.
|Grey skies, no problem! One of this year's scariest rides - The Beast.|
Of course you can't miss the amazing Art, Craft and Cookery Pavilion. There are over 4000 exhibits housed in here, from incredible cakes to photography. Every year it's a must-see. Check out these amazing Yoda, and Wizard of Oz cakes, plus the Playschool 50th Anniversary cupcakes. (I don't think I could devour any of them!)
Food at the 2016 Show is just as diverse as ever - from the spiral, twisty potatoes on sticks to corn cobs for eating on the go. The $3 Cheese Toasties venue is still churning out popular and well-priced snacks, (though they are more expensive than last year). The Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion is a definite place to visit for a wide variety of international eats to try. There is ample seating available to take a rest-stop and lots of foods, wines and taste-testing to be had in here.
There are displays on constantly, from show dogs to wood chopping. Wood chopping this year was a surprising hit with our family and we enjoyed this event for some time. Next time we'll enjoy the wood sawing events too.
The show bags were abundant and this year there are a staggering 393 to choose from! There's something for all ages and tastes and your children will have no trouble spending your money for you in this area! Take plenty of cash to avoid the ATM queues. You can use cards to purchase just about everything however.
After hours, (from 5pm you can save big dollars on entry with all tickets just $15 each) the Show becomes an exciting event which shifts focus onto the fairground activities in particular. This is an ideal time of day to visit if you're out for the rides, foods and arena events. Also the show bags!
We popped into the Jayco Animal Nursery at around 6pm which was perfect for avoiding the crowds. We managed to walk straight in and were swamped immediately by the inquisitive little critters. The Jayco Animal Nursery is open daily from 10am to 7pm, so if you do arrive after 5pm to collect the savings at the gates, head here first to enjoy one of this event's annual highlights.
|Bottle-feed a baby animal in the Jayco Animal Nursery.|
As always, there is so much to do at the Royal Melbourne Show. Going once is rarely enough unless you have a tight schedule organised and you can manage to stick to it. Do plan your visit regardless of how many times you intend to attend this event. The Royal Melbourne Show's website has some great tools for allowing you to do this. Visit the Daily Schedule so that you don't miss any of the day's highlights.
We spent the entire day at the Show on day two, and we managed to see less than 50 percent of this event. We will be returning again on the weekend, especially to catch up on the entertainment in the Arena which includes The Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show, Aqua World Sky Pirates High Dive Show and the nightly fireworks display. (All of which we missed the first time around.)
If rides are your thing, you can save up to 30 percent by buying your tickets online, on the Royal Melbourne Show website. As for entry tickets to attend the Royal Melbourne Show, purchasing them online can save you up to 10 percent. In addition, there are RACV member discounts, after 5 tickets and multi-day pass deals.
This year's Show is open daily from 10am to 9pm until September 27th. Keep in mind, some events and pavilions have separate hours within this general timeframe so remember this when it comes to planning your day. There are a number of public transport options to get you to the Show. You can also drive and park for just $20 a day.
Tickets: Adults $35. Concessions $22.50. Child $17. Family A $76.50. Family B $65.
*Disclosure: Six Little Hearts attended this event as a media guest of the 2016 Royal Melbourne Show.
All opinions expressed are our own and genuine.