“ Royal Melbourne Showgrounds „
This year I decided to blow the budget and go to the Royal Melbourne Show so that my children could experience some funfair and agricultural activities. Actually, I ran out of ideas for presents for Father's Day, so a promised day out of the Show became an unusual gift - and we had an interesting time.
I had last been to the Show about six years previously and a lot had changed, both in the layout and structure of the grounds as well as the things to see and buy.
We caught a train from North Melbourne station which ran directly to a main entrance of the Showgrounds every five minutes or so. The train originates from Flinders Street Station, Melbourne CBD. It's possible to arrive at the Show by tram, bus, car or taxi also, but parking can be a bit expensive. The Show address is: Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Road, Ascot Vale (near Flemington Racecourse) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
ENTRANCE FEES - INDIVIDUALS
Child (5-14yrs) $13
Child (under 5) Free
Family (2 Adults, 3 Children) $75
Seniors (25 Sept only) $13
The following are accepted forms of concession; Student School photo ID, Secondary/Tertiary Students, Students of Agriculture, Senior Card holder, Pensioner card holder and Health care card holder. All prices are GST inclusive.
ENTRANCE FEES - GROUPS
Child (5-14yrs) $10
Child (under 5) Free
Family (2 Adults, 3 Children) $70
Group booking orders must be for 10 or more tickets, available through Ticketek only on 9299 9030. You have to fill in a Group Booking Form, which is available on the Royal Melbourne Show website.
All prices are GST inclusive.
Thursday 20th to Saturday 29th September 9:30am - 10pm
Sunday 30th September 9:30am - 8:30pm
The attractions at the Show are numerous and include:
Art, Craft & Cookery Demonstrations
Fireworks & Laser Light Show
Wine & Cheese Tasting
Beer & Food Matching
Open Air Circus
Bands & Celebrities
Baby Animal Nursery
Sheep Shearing Demonstrations
Poultry Pavilion & Chook Washing Demonstrations
Judging, Competitions & Demonstrations
Free Food Samples & Sample Showbags
We especially enjoyed the Grand Pavilion tent (in the middle of the Showgrounds, where the old Grandstand used to be) which had free food tastings. There were a lot of stalls to taste at and I found honey, veggie chips, corn chips, wine, cheese, mustard, jam, yogurt and many more - I bought quite a few as the quality was great and the taste irresistible!
Our children loved watching a Responsible Pet Ownership Demonstration with people dressed in cat and dog costumes. They were giving away free kid's CDs for all the children who danced. Also in the Pets Pavilion was a "Pat A Cat" stall so our daughter could finally pat one, and around the corner we patted a multitude of piglets, goats, chicks, lambs and so on in the Baby Animal Nursery. I really liked the kid's activities throughout the Show, which were hands-on activities - our three year old loved it and tried lots of things. This is an improvement because in the past there were a lot more leaflets and reading for children (they must have figured out reading doesn't hold their interest).
The Woodchopping Carnival is a must for women who like to watch men do some work.....especially if you want to watch muscly and sweaty men toiling away. Actually a lot of men don't seem to mind watching it either.
Showbags ranged in price from $1 to $999. As you can imagine, the $1 bags had about 5 Bertie Beetles in them and the $999 showbag had an accommodation weekend deal in a posh hotel. In between these price extremes, the average showbag which a typical older kid would want was about $20.
We missed visiting the Art & Craft Pavilion this year due to children being tired, which was a shame because it is usually such a good one - I suspect not much has changed in the displays except the venue - there is excellent decorated cakes, schools art & craft as well as women's traditional crafts. I always enjoy looking at these as they represent some of the finest works in the state and are a good source of inspiration for crafters.
Overall, we spent about 5 hours at the Show and managed to miss bits of it. We had a marvellous time, eating jam donuts, riding on the toddler carnival rides, patting animals, tasting food, buying the $1 showbags and wandering around looking at cool stuff. Our toddler was dumbfounded at the immensity of the place and we were keen to get our boots polished by the usual people, read a free copy of the Herald Sun newspaper and check out all the gigantic chickens.
I was disappointed that the Yabby pie I bought no longer contained meaty yabby chunks, just a yabby-tasting sauce for an expensive $7 (I won't make the mistake of buying one of those again). And I regrettably missed the wine and cheese demonstration (held in a room where you sit as a group and are served samples while a speaker persuades) due to not having a spare babysitter. But the layout of the grounds and removal of the grandstand meant that there was a lot more walking space and far less crowding than in previous years and it was possible to sit on the grass and access the handy parent's rooms around the place.
Our children thought the 3D Shek balloon (a helium balloon within a balloon) was the best bought item of the day and my better half raved about his Cadbury showbag cooler and all the chocolate he bought. I liked the Blue Vein cheese and Orange Blossom honey bought separately at the Grand Food Pavilion (or Grand Food Palace as I will now call it).
One question you probably have is how much did it all cost? Well, including the entrance fees, train tickets, showbags, food, rides and so on, the whole day out cost our family $175. It was a bit expensive, but we would only go every decade or so, so $175 seems quite cheap for a once-in-a-decade experience.
Some tips to help save money (most of which we used) are:
*Take your own 2 litre bottle of water to drink so you don't have to buy water
*Go for less showbags and more quality items (for the adults, anyway)
*Kid's freebies can help kids to feel as though they have gained a lot - stickers, books, postcards, free showbags etc
*VLine trains have a special Show package deal on tickets/train tickets
*Check out the website or a copy of a newspaper liftout of the Show in the Herald Sun to find out when the activities and demonstrations are on and if there are any special coupons to take with you
*AND MOST IMPORTANT - Don't wear take anything too heavy to carry around!
For more information about the Royal Melbourne Show, visit the official website at: http://www.royalshow.com.au/
Royal Melbourne Showgrounds