Not-so-Family Not-so-Fun Day

With Gran and Pa Doble and Auntie Pat and Uncle Tim in town for Easter, I have been searching for some good activities that would suit all. When I saw that the Pialligo Estate was advertising an Easter Family Fun Day, it really sparked my interest. Dave (Pa) is an avid wine buff and Patria and Tim enjoy a winery visit, so the idea of a day at the Vineyard with kids entertainment seemed perfect for us all.

We were up early in an attempt to arrive promptly at the vineyard but were still later than we aimed to be. In truth, I am a chronically late person but at least now I have small children I can blame for my tardiness. I read once that optimistic people are often late as they think they’ll achieve more than is realistic in the allocated timeframe. That sounds good so I’m sticking with that.

The first sign that trouble was amiss was as we drove through a very full car park and were directed to park on a nearby field, we passed the advertised Jumping Castle. Even from a distance it was clear it had seen better days. It was also very small (maybe suitable for half a dozen children maximum) and although the event was just kicking off, the Jumping Castle line was about twenty metres long.

We found a park on the lawn, we were faced with the reality that the picnic area was as shadeless and vast as the car park. So whilst I’d packed the car with a tarp, blankets, folding chairs and even an umbrella for the baby, it was clear we were in for a hot day sitting in the sun.

We decided to have a quick look around before we unpacked our picnic basket of camembert and lemonade. The place was packed, a huge turn out. Unfortunately I’d say the organisers either grossly misjudged how many people would turn up or were just plain unprepared.

Yes, there were food vans. Yes, there was wine. But for an event marketed as a fun day for families, there were hundreds of children with nothing to do running around in the hot sun. So we decided that we’d seen enough and moved on out of there! I’m not sorry we did, as the reviews on the Facebook page were scathing:

  • “We drove half an hour for nothing! False advertising… No face painting or cupcake decorating like promised… Only one tiny blow up jumping castle… This event is for adults to sit and drink, nothing about kids and family. Very disappointing.”
  • “Waste of time to be there! There’s only 2 cubby houses and super small jumping castle for kids! Didn’t mention the time for the treasure hunt and when we were there the forms for the hunt were all gone! Asked the staff where to get the forms and they said they don’t know.”
  • “What a joke!! Nothing for kids; just adults drinking!!! The jumping castle can fit two kids on it and there is face painting but the line is maybe 40 meters long, with only one lady doing it…… DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME GOING !!”

But we weren’t going to let a crummy event ruin our day. We make our own fun and with Briar around the fun is contagious. (And incase you were wondering, the following photo was taken in the Canberra Centre parents room. Nappy changes are fun when you light up the room!)

A quick search of What’s On in Canberra this weekend told us Glebe Park had some kids activities, and being right beside the Canberra Centre meant shopping, coffee and carousel!! We knew there would be something for all.

Whilst we waiting on some coffees, Uncle Tim and Pa took Briar on the escalators. What fun!

Next we walked to Glebe Park where the “Playful Endeavour Loose Parts Playground” was set up. There were pallets, huge inflatable tyres, bits of rubber and all sorts of repurposed items for kids to use their imaginations to create play. However, our little girl is faithful to her beloved slide and ran straight past the unusual playthings area.

So we ate our camembert and grapes by the monkey bars and Briar chased bubbles, climbed, swung and slid to her hearts content.

After a play, we headed back to the Canberra Centre for lunch and a wander. Of course we had to visit Briars beloved fountain where she threw autumn leaves in, watched them float and then it was my job to retrieve them for her.

Briar befriended a sweet girl who joined her in the leaf throwing. The girls family are from Nepal and mum enjoyed chatting with Liz (Gran). It didn’t take long for Briar and her new friend to be hand in hand, so Gran suggested she join us for some Carousel rides. The little girls mum was so grateful when the Dobles shouted both Briar and her newfound friend three consecutive rides (Briar can be quite persuasive when she sings “again, again”) but seeing Briar so delighted to have another little girl to share the experience with was priceless.

So all in all, your day was very fun and very family filled. There may have been a severe lack of vineyards and wine but we’ll save that for another day.

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