We were a seasoned show-goer’s worst nightmare – setting off with no tickets, no carparking plan, no pram, no cash – we had an hour and half drive to envisage our Easter Show experience. It was around the ‘halfway there’ point that my husband suggested that perhaps the Aquarium might be open instead, but I felt we were committed to the Show and given that the girls had already begun talking of the Pony rides, showbags and fireworks…..there was no turning back.
We high-fived ourselves as we arrived at our destination in record time, with limited traffic issues along the way. Yes, this was going to be a great day!
It wasn’t until we came across the 4th ‘pre-booked carparking only’ carpark sign in a row that we realised we perhaps should have given the travel and parking planning a little more thought. Given there were 5 multi-level carparks on site, that left only one carpark with which to park our car. And you can imagine how busy that was.
EASTER SHOW TIP #1 – PRE-BOOK YOUR PARKING
We were very fortunate to discover a little side carparking option opposite P1, but if we had arrived any later we would have been doomed, so my first tip for fellow amateur show-goers is to pre-book your carspot. This can only be done up until 11.59pm on the night before the day you decide to go, and can be done at the following link (that we were totally oblivious to until the moment we arrived – which was of course too late!) - http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/parking/pre-book_parking. Next year, we will be pre-booking for sure.
Once we finally parked, we threw a few bits and pieces into a backpack and started the walk over to the showgrounds. The girls were holding up well, although they were both already asking if they could be picked up before we even arrived at the gates.
EASTER SHOW TIP #2 – PACK A PRAM
Before we left for the day, we had a brief discussion as to whether we would need a pram or not. Our kids are both walking and our 3 year old hadn’t been in a pram for 12 months so we decided against it. Bad move. No matter how old your kids, if they’re 5 or under TAKE A PRAM! It took us 5 hours to walk the entire perimeter of the grounds, and that’s a lot of walking for tired little legs. If you still don't want to take one, ensure you warm up your shoulder blades beforehand because it’s likely you’ll spend a great deal of the day with a child perched up on them.
After we arrived, purchased our tickets and entered into the festival fray, we realised just how hungry and thirsty we already were. No worries at all! We were in, we were excitedly energised, and there was food to boot on every corner! ‘Honey, you sit down with the kids and give me your wallet and I’ll go grab some tucker’. Great! Let me whip out my card for paywave. WRONG MOVE.
EASTER SHOW TIP #3 – TAKE CASH, CASH AND MORE CASH
Remember how I said we were totally unplanned and unprepared? If there was one thing we were most unprepared for this was the biggy. Many of the food vendors and particularly most areas around the animals and agriculture pavilions do not have eftpos machines or paywave. Which would be fine if ATMs were peppered all over the grounds. But put it this way – ATMs at the show are as rare as hen’s teeth, and given there’s around 4000 hens, chooks, roosters and other members of the poultry species readily on show, you can get my drift! We finally managed to find one over near the showbag pavilion, but we were already halfway around the grounds by that time.
Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of providers who do accept card payments, but there’s also a lot that don’t. So don’t make the same mistake as us and forget to bring along some coin with you. You will certainly need it for the coupons!
EASTER SHOW TIP #4 – YOU NEED TO PURCHASE COUPONS FOR THE RIDES
This will probably sound so obvious to the seasoned show-goers but another reason to take along some extra cash is to buy the coupons you will need if the kids want to go on any rides. Pretty much every ride attracts a fee, and it’s not cheap. My girls wanted to go on the train and the pony rides, but after realising this was going to cost almost $40 we opted for the Pony ride only. They were fine after they got over it, and loved the ponies thank goodness.
Obviously not every kids activity costs money (I mean, surely the high cost of the entry tickets contributes to some free family fun doesn’t it?!), but you need to seek it out, and along with thousands of other families in the same situation there will naturally be a bit of a line up and a wait for the freebie events. My girls loved George the Farmer in the Woolies Kids Tent, and they also have the farmyard nursery closeby, pasta making and veggie growing. Remember to take the kids to the toilet first before entering these super busy pavilions. Which is a perfect segway into my final Easter Show Tip:
EASTER SHOW TIP #5 – IF YOU SEE A TOILET – USE IT!
Toilets at the show are a bit like the ATMs – they will never be around when you need them the most, and if you are like us and have a toilet training toddler (or even a bit older) you need to jump on the toilet bandwagon as soon as you see one. As we were very unprepared we didn’t have the maps that some families were carrying around (although I did try peeking over one mother’s shoulder at one stage to see if I could glimpse the toilet signs on it). There will be tears of defiance as the kids tell you they don’t need to go, but firm encouragement to do a ‘tinkle’ will save you the accidents down the track.
Overall, considering the lack of preparedness we came with, we had surprising success with our family outing at the show. But we will definitely be doing things a little differently next year, and we might even be able to grant our 5 year old’s wish to stay as late as the fireworks. Small steps!
Hi there and thanks for dropping by! I'm Tehla Jane and I'm a self-confessed word nerd, bookworm and yoga devotee from Wollongong, Australia. I love to wonder and wander, and especially love spending time with my two little girls and hubby Glen. My blog is inspired by my daily musings in my trusty journal, where I scribble out endless pages in almost illegible handwriting and occasionally convert this into a typed format! Welcome!