My older children will be quick to tell you they had a deprived childhood because unlike other families, every Easter they weren’t taken to the Royal Easter Show.
We did go once or twice but as it is often crowded and as some children like to run away, be difficult, fight with their sister, have different agendas, and argue with their mother over what we will and won’t be doing, I deemed it too challenging and did anything other than go to the Show.
And I never took the little guy. And he mentioned it constantly and reminded me how all his friends go every year and how unfair it is that he’d never been, and how his older brother and sister had been so many times so when would it be his turn?
This was his lucky year.
And to make up for the fact he’d never been, I decided he could go for a day. A whole day. As in a 13-hour day, as in, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’.
And I even let him take a friend.
We decided to go on the last day of the Show which is ‘Children’s Day’ where children can enter for half the price and all rides are two-for-one.
As Children’s Day is usually very crowded I decided we should leave very early in the morning aiming to arrive before the Show even opened. Public transport is included in the entry fee so we left the car at home. We caught a 7am bus to the city then took two trains to the Show, getting us there at 8.30am.
Although the Show doesn’t open until 9am, you can enter into the Showground so we walked in and headed straight to the rides. The rides were a main attraction for the boys and we had time to walk around and view them all before they opened for the day.
We bought ride tokens that seemed very expensive even on the two-for-one day and our many, many tokens disappeared very quickly.
The plan to head to the rides early was excellent. For the first hour of the Show there were no crowds and so the boys didn’t have to queue for any rides. They did the Ghost Train, the Dodgem Cars, the Roller Coaster, the Rotor and many, many more spinning around-type rides. Fearless Alfie even went on one where he was so high up in the air I could barely see him.
After two hours with the rides we left and went to see some of the animals. We saw four-horned sheep; a very rare breed I had never seen before.
Then we went into a reptile enclosure where we the boys patted a bearded dragon and a tortoise.
We found out all about growing cotton and were given some cotton seeds to plant in Spring so we can attempt to grow our own. I’ll let you know how that goes!
Avoiding all those dreadful pluto dogs and potatoes-on-a-stick, we found a cute pizza place where we could sit in the sun and re-stabilise after all those rides. Unlike the slushies we’d bought somewhere else, the pizza was really well priced. And it was good, too.
Drew came to join us and we then went and watched a bird show. Flying over our heads were gallahs, cockatoos, parrots and owls. Then we watched a dog show where obedient and well-trained dogs show just how clever they can be.
After the bird and dog shows we looked at the produce displays that this year had an ANZAC theme to honour the men who fought and lost their lives one hundred years ago at Gallipoli.
I do love to see the cake displays and there was no shortage of talent in this year’s entries. I think my favourite was the stack of children’s books.
After seeing all the crafts we walked to the animal nursery. For a dollar you could buy a cup of feed and hand feed the goats and lambs. There are over one thousand animals in the farmyard and we spent nearly an hour feeding, patting and photographing the animals.
My favourite moment was seeing the man who provides all these animals to the Show and I had a talk to him about his dachshund, Bella and mentioned I have two just like her at home. He said, ‘Wait there’, and went into a back room and brought out an eight-week old dachshund puppy. She was his Easter present and his daughter bought the sister from the same litter so the two girls will always be together. The puppy was just gorgeous with the prettiest of faces.
It was now late afternoon and the boys had a few ride coupons they wanted to use up so we headed back to the carnival area. This is when I was so glad I’d made the decision to rise early and get to the rides before everyone else. It was now extremely crowded and the queues for rides more than lengthy. The boys went on a couple more spinning-type rides and then we gladly exited for the Show bag hall.
The downside of going to the Show on the last day is that some of the show bags may be sold out. Both boys wanted the ghastly sour lolly show bag but alas, there weren’t any left. Not a problem; there were plenty more to choose from.
Night was now falling and I couldn’t believe how long I’d been at the Show as the day had gone by very quickly. We bought some very ordinary takeaway food for dinner then headed back to the main arena for the evening’s performances. We again watched Mr Boom and Xtreme Korruption but also saw sheep herding and sheering, a rodeo where cowboys were riding horses and bulls and wood chopping. There were some singing performances as well and then the evening ended with a terrific fireworks display.
As we left the showground I realised we had spent quite a bit of money on our day at the Show but if you’re not obsessed with rides and show bags, you could wander around all the exhibits for no charge other than the entry fee. So much on offer for such a small price.
And for Alfie, the day couldn’t have been better.
And yes, we’ll be back next year.