GardenMixFloriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring and the theme for this year is ‘Passion’. From cooking to fashion and cars, Floriade has tried to cover off on all the things people are passionate about. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Floriade over the years. In the last week alone I’ve been three times. However, this year was the first year I went with toddlers and it’s been a completely different experience. MichaelOliviaWalk Floriade is one of the best ‘toddler catered for’ events I’ve been to. It helps that most of the attractions are at a toddler’s level. Seriously, flowers are the perfect height for toddlers and the flowers at Floriade stand up remarkably well to the tugs and ‘gentle’ pats of toddlers. Without further ado, here are my top tips for tackling Floriade with toddlers.

 

1. Plan and prioritise

You know you can’t do everything. At home you rarely manage to finish a hot cup of tea, so don’t be under the impression life will be different when you’re out. I know three things are manageable. If I try to see more than three, I’m likely to be disappointed that I’ve missed something. Or I may make the rookie error of trying to squeeze just one more thing in, only to be defeated by the inevitable tantrums from overtired toddlers. If I was reading this before I had children, I would be a little disheartened. What! Only three things?!? Surely it isn’t that difficult to sight see with toddlers??? … Let’s be honest. Yes it is that difficult. That is perhaps the most exasperating lesson I’ve had to learn as a parent – to adjust my expectations of what I can achieve in a day with two little people in tow. Three is achievable. Being able to see all three things on our list makes me feel like our day was a success. RedYellowTulip Checking the program for the day you intend to go is also important because the entertainment is not the same every week. In addition to the overall theme, every week is slightly different. I spend the night before reviewing the online program and planning my top three things I want to see, then a few more incase we have a good day. Luckily I’ve managed to make it to Floriade a few times so we’ve seen a lot more than three things. Two of the ‘must do’ things I would suggest; the farmyard (but this will change to the equally fun reptile exhibit on September 30th), and the Ferris Wheel.

Did you know that Floriade takes at least 18months to plan? Floriade's head gardener, Andrew, is explaining the design process for the garden beds and the complex planting schedule. There is so much that goes into this amazing event.

Did you know that Floriade takes at least 18months to plan? So the planning for 2015 Floriade is already well underway. Floriade’s head gardener, Andrew, is explaining the design process for the garden beds and the complex planting schedule. There is so much that goes into this amazing event and it all starts with a few key words. This year’s key word being ‘Passion’.

 

2. Pack your own food.

Don’t get me wrong, the food at Floriade is rather good – the banana bread with marscapone and maple syrup in particular. But I’m not a fan of paying $16 for a quesadilla for my 2year old. She isn’t going to appreciate it. As cultured as her taste buds might be (she does love her goats cheese) a vegemite and cheese sandwich will suffice. My $16 is better spent on getting her face painted and taking her up in the ferris wheel, amongst other things. There are so many places to sit and eat, that your own picnic lunch is a better option with toddlers. We sat down in front of the main stage and watched the different school orchestras and choirs perform. My children danced in-between bites. Bringing our own food also meant we didn’t need to wait in any queues, which is never fun with young children. Daffodil

3. Floriade is pram friendly!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good woven wrap or soft-structured carrier. But when I’m out for an all day event, nothing beats the pram. You can stock an enormous amount of food, nappies, jackets, hats, sunscreen, etc in them. Not to mention your children! The paths between the garden beds are very wide, which means that even when it’s busy, it’s still easy to get around. Even the grassed areas are quite level, so the lightweight strollers still travel across them quite well. At any of the attractions for children which aren’t pram appropriate, such as the ferris wheel and farmyard nursery, there are places set aside for you to park your pram.

The view from the ferris wheel.

The view from the ferris wheel. You can see the wide pathways – totally pram friendly!

 

4. Take your time.

There are so many things to see that adults completely bypass. I wouldn’t have noticed the ducks in the pond, except my son kept making a bee-line for the water doing his best ‘quack’ impression. My daughter was completely taken by all the sculptures and loved running under and around them. They found so many things to appreciate, above and beyond the ‘official’ Floriade attractions. Even the ramps for easy wheelchair access were of constant fascination to them. Who am I to say what are the ‘correct’ things to appreciate at Floriade!

My daughter doesn't miss an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.

My daughter doesn’t miss an opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.

 

5. Remember to bring sunscreen and hats.

Although there are trees if you’d like a shady spot to sit, most of the pathways aren’t shaded. And let’s face it – it is an outdoor event! So lather on the sunscreen, slap on a hat and get out and enjoy the sun after all this winter weather!! PondLivLachlan

That's my kind of car! I'm sure we'd have room for it on our property.

That’s my kind of car! I’m sure I could find room for it on our property.

 

Written by Nadia

14 Comments

Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life

I haven’t been to Floriade for a few years. I’d love to go again.
My children are teens and tweens now but I remember how their perspectives of what was interesting to them was an eye opener when they were toddlers! I remember my son being more fascinated by the screws in the side of the animal enclosure than the animals in the enclosure when I first took him to the zoo!

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nadiamc

The screw fascination! My goodness, that was all my son would look at on the Ferris Wheel – the nuts and bolts that held it together. Forget the view! I do wonder sometimes, as I pay for us to go to certain things, and all they are interested in are the rocks on the ground and the birds in the sky (both in ample supply at our place) – is it really worth the money to take them out?? I hope so. I really hope so.

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nadiamc

Thank you! I’ve been having fun experimenting with the camera lately. We’ve only just moved near Canberra. Before this year we used to go to Floriade as a day trip from Sydney – but that was without children! It is lovely. Canberra in general is lovely at this time of year. Many of the streets are lined with crab apple or plum trees, which are flowering beautifully right now. So many lovely things to see.

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Tegan

Great tips! We braved an emergency services day out when Mr 5 was 2 and it was a complete fail. None of us were in a good mood and I think we should have stayed home!

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nadiamc

Thanks Tegan! It’s so disheartening when you make the effort to get everyone out and then the day doesn’t turn out. We’ve had many of those trying trips too. I’m sure you’ve had many other successful trips since then!

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nadiamc

Thanks Vicki. I am developing a new appreciation for the seasons, living here where the seasons are distinct and don’t blend in together like they did in Sydney.

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Renee Wilson

The view from the ferris wheel looks amazing. To be honest, I’ve never actually heard of floriade, but it sounds like a great day out. In Queensland, they have the Toowoomba flower show. I’ve not been though, so I don’t know how it would compare. I’d love to try it one day though. Visiting via #teamIBOT

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nadiamc

It is a great day out. I also like that it’s free! I’ve heard of the Toowoomba flower show. It’s supposed to be very good.

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EssentiallyJess

So excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is floriade? Is it a big flower festival with other things? I can imagine my kids would love it by the pics. My girls are made about flowers.

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nadiamc

I would forget to explain the obvious! Floriade is a celebration of Spring held in Canberra. It’s known for it’s beautiful floral displays, although now it’s grown into a food event too. It is fantastic. They have a lot of things for children of all ages and if your girls are mad about flowers, it would be right up their alley!

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Peachy Keen Mumma (Jess)

What gorgeous photos. AND YES to packing lunch for unappreciative toddlers. I love your thinking – about the flowers being perfect height for toddlers to enjoy (writing this after my son just kicked one of my flowers off its stem then stomped on the plant). I think my son would love all the colours, he’s such a busy (15 month old) boy to stay on top of so I’m never quite sure where to take him.

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nadiamc

Hahaha. We have paddocks full of dandlions and, given how much of a weed they are, the kids are having mad fun stomping on all of them. Hours of entertainment. I just hope they manage to distinguish between those and the flowers I’d like to keep in my garden beds!! If you’re near Canberra, Floriade is definitely worth the visit. So many things for the kids to do, as well as the flowers for them to check out.

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