Sunday, November 27, 2011

You park, I'll queue...

The last time we went to something free in Perth, (I love free stuff if it isn't moldy), it was a Wild Fairyland Festival in Kings Park that invited an aggregation of children high on pixie dust and ready to party.  I have had a few crazy New Years Parties in my time but this was maniacal.  Toddlers waving wands frantically and boasting wings that doubled their body girth, it made for an interesting day and a commotion to navigate crowds. We abandoned the line for face painting left the park and headed towards the Swan River, approximately 3km away, and instead we waited 45 minutes for a free pony ride. The day ended with smiles; but bruises, sweat and frustration; from me. Larger crowds than boxing day sales.

Challenge number two;  Perth Zoo Family Day, and I am expecting large crowds.  (Fat Cat's Teddy Bear's Picnic is also on today, but I have had my eye on the zoo event for a while, so here we are.) I feel as though I am prepared for this particular event.  I aim to be there for opening, I will race to the front of the face painting line while my husband parks the car, I have washed and pressed my wrist and head sweat bands, so we are all ready to go; yes, I take family outings very seriously. We managed to find a park in the 50 spot car park, but we trip at the start line as we discover the pay machine is out of order and you are required to leave a note on your dashboard.  Not how I imagined the race, (I mean fun filled family day) to begin.  We stalked several people before borrowing a felt tip marker used purely for poster art, (5cm tip, what the %&$£, seriously this is all you have in you glove box?) and we leave a note for the blind ticket man to decipher with ease.

So perhaps I panicked, it has been know to happen once or twice.  "Mummy, I can see the monkeys", was very quickly followed by, "Quick, follow mummy, I am leading us to face painting!"  Seriously, I burnt 400 calories this morning to be greeted by an empty field, 2 smiling teenagers handing me a show bag and a chance at first place in which ever event we next wish to choose.  Wow.  Cool.  Quiet.  Did nobody else see the free family fun day sign that has been on the main street for the last 2 months.  (Did Fat Cat win again?)  I'd been wanting to challenge the crowds, this was a bit of a let down.

Priorities, first stop face painting and my princess requests a fairy.  We are at a zoo, I presume that she has been wanting this face paint since the Fairy Festival in early October so I do not contest.  My prince on the other hand, is a little harder to convince.  No matter how many lion roars I execute or gorrilla chest thumping hubby performs, (given the crowds are low so these are Oscar performances), my son is still convinced that body art is not his style so we progress.  But not before... "Do I look beautiful?" we reply with a yes to recieve, "yes I do look beautiful".  Perhaps this week we can work on how to accept complements graciously.

Off to the art.  The children make a face mask, with no queue, before a quick jump on the inflatable disney castle, then off to the sand art stall.  Fantastic.  Choose a picture, remove a sticker at a time and the child covers this in sand.  It felt a bit like a free for all at a stocktake sale, elbowing to get to certain colours, and that was just the parents. There are some very serious parents out there."Okay so now the outline is black, next colour should be red", child responds "I want blue".  Parent response, "Not now Bob, mummy is busy creating".  The end result was very effective, but was presumably achieved by parents descretion.  Personally I am happy with brown sky, pink grass, and blue dinosaur, each to there own.

Next family activity is to teach your children the skills to run away from home and join the circus at an early stage.  My son becomes proficient with the 'devil sticks', my husband puts on his best pole dancer face as he masters the hoola hoop, and my daughter attempts juggling with one ball and one eye closed.  Lucky for me, I do not think anyone acquired the skills to join the circus, looks like no one is abandonning me just yet.

Next a short quiet rest on our picnic rug to devour their free yogo and chocolate milk, and a spin on the choclate wheel to win a pair of Coke Cola sunglasses and back pack.  (They both actually one 6 glasses each, but persuaded attendant, that probably not appropriate for a toddler and a klutz.)

The stage show starts and features a man dressed for a Hawaiian holiday, that sounds like Iain Hewitson from 'Hueys Cooking' show, and tells cheesey jokes like he is drunk at a Christmas Party. His side kick is Super Dog.  Adversary to Fat Cat. Large mute fluffy dog with a red cape and no pants.  I am always a little surprisd that these characters created to entertain children don't adorn the basic undergarments known to be expected in todays society.  The children were shown a large bag of lolly pops at the beginnig of the show, so this managed to maintain their interest until the conclusion when they finally reaped their sugary reward for staying the duration.

Two hours seemed to be plenty and we took the children for a little rainforest walk and then to see the elephants.  I find them so interesting, I can be mesmerized by the grace and gentle nature of the elephant, swaying back and forth, they seem to have so much character and wisdom with their baggy saggy skin. I turn to share my amazement with the children who obviously prefer the miniture statue of an elephant.  Maybe we educate on another day?

A great day that ended with DimSum in Northbridge, (Perth's China town), full bellies and some quality family time.

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