Christmas Bricktacular - Legoland Discovery Centre - Info - Melbourne

It is the season to be jolly and this year Melburnians have a reason to be merry as LEGOLAND Discovery Centre unwrapped its inaugural Christmas Bricktacular event this month. Little elves will experience the true magic of Christmas until Sunday 24th of December at the popular Melbourne attraction with festive activities scheduled throughout the month including special LEGO builds in Santa’s workshop and cupcake decorating. Junior jollymakers can also write their Christmas wish lists at a letter writing station before posting off to Santa via a large LEGO-made Santa Mailbox.

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

While Santa will be reading these lists - and checking them twice – all children (naughty or nice) will also have the chance to meet the man in red with meet and greets scheduled daily.

Decking the halls with Christmas trees, tinsel and fairy lights, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre will be transformed into a ‘bricktacular’ wonderland including its must-see MINILAND Melbourne display which will receive a magical festive makeover.

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

Any families who come dressed in their best Yuletide look will receive $5 off the price of admission (per person) from 1-24 December. LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne encourages families with children aged 3-10 years to enjoy a world of creativity, colour and brick-building fun in Australia’s ultimate indoor LEGO® playground.

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

The attraction’s features include leading local landmarks made from 1.5 million LEGO bricks in MINILAND Melbourne, fun and exciting LEGO themed rides, a 4D Cinema and a LEGO Friends at Heartlake City play zone. LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is a great choice for those looking to learn and discover through play.

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Melbourne is located in Chadstone Shopping Centre. Entrance is $32.50 per person. For more information or to book, head to the Legoland website.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Website, our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

Santa's Tree House - The District Docklands - Review - Melbourne

Kate and her little ones headed to The District Docklands this weekend for a different type of Santa Claus photo. The traditional red velvet throne has been taken to the next level and has been replaced by a very special woodlands inspired swinging chair complete with its very own scandi inspired ‘Santa’s Tree House’!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

After a browse through the scandi tree house, it was time to get to business! While the little ones were having a very important chat with Santa, Kate and her husband watched on at the gorgeous interaction before taking a family photo with Santa.

The seat is big enough to fit a family which is great and Kate found both Santa and the photographer to be patient, friendly and really interactive with the children (and adults). Each child that visits Santa Claus will receive a free colouring-in book with pencils to take home! 

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Santa photos are on now until Sunday 24th December 2017 next to Le Cirque Café. No bookings required however contact Customer Service for a photo with your furry friend.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

You can also meet Mrs. Claus and take part in weekend craft activities at Santa's Tree House!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Everyone is welcome to take part in Christmas craft activities every weekend - hosted by Poppies for Grace - at Kids Craft Zone until Sunday 24th December.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids - Poppies for Grace

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids - Poppies for Grace

Kate's little ones loved the craft activities and made their own little pom pom Christmas tree!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

While they were there, they had fun amongst balloons.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

And watched on as customers were getting strapped to pickup a free gift with Santa Claws! Lots of fun this Christmas season at The District Docklands!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman @busycitykids

For more information on Santa's Tree House, Craft Activities, Santa's claws, head to The District Docklands' website.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Website, our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

West Life Size Monopoly Game - Highpoint Shopping Centre - Melbourne

Challenge your friends and family to a life size game of Monopoly…but with a twist. Traditional Monopoly locations such as Piccadilly and Mayfair, are replaced with iconic locations in the West including Williamstown Pier, Whitten Oval and Flemington Racecourse! Thank you to Kel from Melbourne Minor for these great pics and great video!

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Work your way around the board, test your knowledge of the west and try your luck at scoring your share in over $5,000 worth of prizes! FREE and on until Sunday 24th December.

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

For more information and the skip the queue, head to Highpoint's dedicated website.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Website, our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

Chadstone Play Pods - Chadstone Shopping Centre - Review

Cute little play pod areas were completed in early August at the Chadstone Shopping Centre on the Lower Ground near Daiso. Great for little ones to enjoy a play while carers take a break.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

The pods include a Café and Shop play pod where little ones can pretend to shop and have a coffee just like their parents and carers!

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

Crawlers can wonder in the fish pond and climb over some areas of the play pod.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

Kids can also play along at the interactive stations setup at different pods.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

We love these new play pods at the Chadstone Shopping Centre. These are great little additions that will please little ones and their carers and keep them busy while carers can take a break from shopping!

Our only comment would be that some fencing around the play pods to stop escape artists going to the nearest shops would have been great! 

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our WebsiteDaily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

For actual playgrounds around Melbourne, go to our dedicated page.

To find a parents room near you or in Chadstone, head to our dedicated page.

Top Ryde City Shopping Centre - New Play Area

Upon our first visit to the Top Ryde City Shopping Centre last November, we checked out new play areas that the center had setup whilst waiting for further renovations to take place. 

The centre had a kids soft play area which was ideal for children 0 to 2 years old, a fully fenced playground for older kids 3 to 12 years of age. As well as a mini golf area ideal for kids 2 years and up and a cool soft building area where kids of all ages could build and play on level 1.

Fast track to this week and the new play area and a new parents room on level 1 are now complete with a climbing structure for little and older kids as well as an area for little ones only and an interactive & reading area.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

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We are pleased to hear that a few alterations will be made to the main climbing and slide structure. We did it tricky to access the upper levels of the structure and other parents we met on the day provided similar feedback.

Top Ryde announced last Friday the following alterations:

  • an alternative method to access the upper levels of the climbing structure will be installed for the younger children
  • further improvements to the rope ladder and rock climbing wall
  • the dedicated 0-2 play zone will return for those parents wanting a separate space for their little ones and
  • hand sanitisers will be installed for use before and after play and more.
     
    The centre will also officially open the kid's precinct as part of its school holiday activation in September with a combination of life size games and a Turning Mecard Tournament. 
 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

We also love the new parents room on level 1, trust us we have inspected the parents rooms on all four levels of the center! Photos and room specs are up on our parents room page. 

The new parents room on Level 1 has a little relaxing area before you go into the parents room with chairs cushions etc. When you enter the room, you can park your pram on the left and either feed bub in the feeding rooms, change bub, use the kid friendly toilets with both girl and boy kid toilets and parents or have a play!

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

There are more parents rooms around the center, like the below. More pics and details can be found on our Sydney Parents Rooms page.

This parents room is on Ground Level. It has nappy change areas, private feeding rooms, a little spot to play/watch tv, microwave and kids toilets.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

This parents room is on Lower Ground 1. It has nappy change areas, private feeding rooms, a little soft play area, microwave and kids toilets.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

This parents room is on Lower Ground 2. It has nappy change areas, private feeding rooms, a spot to eat and watch tv, microwave and kids toilets.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

And a cool little play area with digital games.

 Photo credit: @busycitykids

Photo credit: @busycitykids

Lots to do in this shopping centre including shopping so watch your parking ticket as you have 3 hours free - ha!

For more ideas on what to do with the kids in Sydney, head to our blog, our daily spots list or pools & beaches or playgrounds list. And for a full list of parents rooms around Sydney, head to our parents room page.

Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne - Review

Last week, my little gang and I finally visited the Legoland Discovery Centre in Chadstone, Melbourne. If your little ones are big Lego fans they will love it. My two love playing with Lego so it was exciting for them to be there and experience the centre. Here's what we thought about it.

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After being received at the colourful entrance, we started with the Lego Factory Tour video and had a play building our own little figurine on the screen. Little Miss was happy listening to the video and playing along and picking up her Lego Dublo piece at the end of the little Factory Tour.

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We then headed on the Kingdom Quest Ride where kids can zap skeletons and trolls to save the princess. Little Mister stayed with my sister but Little Miss jumped on the ride with me and loved it.

We then made our way to Miniland, our very own Melbourne Miniland made of 1.5 million Lego bricks! Visitors can admire Melbourne icons during the day or night including some hidden Star Wars figurines. You can also interact with some of Miniland's buildings and people.

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Kids can climb in a tube and get amongst Miniland and see how the popular buildings and structures have been built.

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Next up is the Café and the Merlin's Apprentice Ride. Little Miss was not keen on the Merlin's Ride as she is not a fan of turning rides in general so we had to skip it but it looked interesting and other kids seem to be enjoying it.

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We instead headed for the Lego Friends section where we spent a good amount of time. Little Miss is almost 5 and little Mister is 1 and a half and they both enjoyed the space and making things out of Lego. They also loved the Lego Duplo Farm area which is great for kids 2 to 5 years which has giant blocks and slide. There is also a quiet room next to the Lego Duplo Farm where parents and children can use if they wish during their visit.

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Little Miss then had a play in the Lego City Soft Play, little Mister wasn't old enough and because parents cannot go in the area either, I wasn't able to go in with him so we just waited until little Miss finished. 

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There is also a Creative Workshop area where visitors can pop in at designated times and take part in creating different things while learning from Master Model Builders. We weren't able to attend a session as we had to leave for little Mister's nap but will have to try one another time.

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We then created our own car in the Lego Build and Test and raced it down the track. We definetely need more practice ha!

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The Eartquake Table was also a fun area to create a Lego tower and test its strength. We then made our way to the Lego 4D Cinema but did not stay as little Miss found the sound in the cinema very loud so made our way through the Miniland and to the Lego Shop for some obligatory Lego of course!

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Overall, we had a fun time at the Legoland Discovery Centre in Melbourne, there are so many areas where kids can create, learn from and play with their favourite little brick! To make the most of the experience, we believe the centre is best for kids aged 2 years+. See our tips below for more info.

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Our tips:

  • Go early in the morning as it opens.
  • Go during the week if you can to avoid the weekend crowds and try to avoid school holidays as it can get quite busy. If you must go during the holidays, go early.
  • The center is best for kids 2 years +.
  • Tickets are $32.50 for adults and $32.50 per children, kids aged 3 and under are free. Children must be accompanied by an adult to visit and adults must be accompanied by children to visit.
  • Book your timed spot online to avoid the queues. Once you are in you can stay as long as you want. We spent 2 hours as we had to leave for Little Mister's nap but we could have usually spent another hour or more building and exploring more. Avoid lunchtime peak hour.
  • Allow 2 to 3 hours in the centre to make the most of it.
  • There is food inside the centre (fries, pies, popcorn, donuts, cakes, banana bread, fruit etc). Outside food is not allowed however I did see parents with their own snacks.
  • Children who are sensitive to noise should avoid the Lego Factory Tour and Lego 4D Cinema areas.
  • You can bring a pram with you if you want, head to the lift and go to the last floor L1 (from memory) to get to the front desk with the pram.
  • Park near Target and Hoyts for best parking.
  • If you are visiting from interstate and staying in the CBD, you can book the free Chadstone shuttle bus which can take you there. 
  • Check the Legoland Discovery centre's website for more info.
For more information on Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne, head to their website.

For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

The Food Truck Park - Sweet Lane Festival Review - Harbour Town Melbourne

Kate and her little foodies checked out the latest Food Truck Park Sweet Lane Festival at Harbour Town Melbourne yesterday and I'm hungry! Thanks for the awesome review and pics - we are drooling over here! The Sweet Lane Festival is on all this long weekend so don't miss out. Checkout Kate's tips before you head out. Follow her adventures over on Instagram, via @kateflatman
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When the food truck movement first made its way to Australia many people assumed they would be a passing craze, but in recent years these mobile restaurants have firmly parked themselves in the Melbourne food scene.

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The Food Truck Park™ brings together your favourite food trucks in unique event spaces across Australia and this Labour Day weekend (March 9th-13th) they are revving their engines into Harbour Town Melbourne to celebrate the 2017 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix with Sweet Lane Festival; a celebration of all things sugary, fast and fun!    

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Here are some of our highlights and tips for visiting the festival with little ones:

  • Entry is FREE and most trucks accept both cash or card.
  • Get there early for lunch when it opens at 12pm Friday to Monday or an early dinner around 5pm before it gets too busy and to secure somewhere to sit.
  • Some of the trucks and seating areas are not undercover so come prepared for all weather conditions.
  • Pack snacks and drinks to keep little ones occupied while you line up or wait for food to be prepared.
  • Check out the website before you arrive to familiarise yourself with the food truck line up on the day you are visiting. Different food trucks will be on offer each day throughout the festival.
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  • We started with savoury dishes to ensure the poppets had something substantial before diving into the sweet treats!  There are several trucks offering a fantastic variety of savoury items. 
     
  • The succulent, BBQ lamb skewers from Flamin’ Lamb Spit were a great option; super juicy and tender with subtle spices. 
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  • Bites On Wheels is the first Polish food truck in Australia serving yummy zapiekankies (an open face sandwich made from half of a long roll with different kind of toppings, baked in an oven and served hot). It was easy to see why these are Poland’s number one street food, our chicken zapiekanka was delicious! 
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  • The festival standout must be Nuts About Tella’s renowned Nutella burger and Nutella donuts.  The burger consists of two donut buns, grilled, stacked and filled with oozing Nutella. The result? A crispy shell, warm delicious Nutella and a soft doughnut interior. Pure heaven.  I hear the Nutella pizzas are scrumptious too.
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  • Be sure to visit Dex2Rose for one of their incredible liquid nitrogen gelati. The Salty Camel with salted caramel gelato, topped with caramel popcorn, nut clusters and sugar shards then drizzled with small batch salted caramel sauce was seriously one of the best gelato creations I have ever had.  Look out for Dex2Rose’s cooking demonstrations by former Masterchef Australia contestants Zoe Konikkos and Emelia Jackson on each afternoon too
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  • Burn off some extra calories by hitting the dance floor and busting a move with the live DJ’s.
     
  • Check out the F1 #AusGP Fan Zone, where a real, life size F1 car and V8 Super Car’s will be on display. Rev heads also have the chance to stand on the #AusGP winners block and get snap happy in the F1 GIF booth. 
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  • The Mattel Hot Wheels Immersive Zone will be open on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the festival, jam packed full of activities to keep little ones entertained.
     
  • Harbour Town Melbourne is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to the festival (near the Pearl River Road/Studio Lane entry)
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More info, head to the Food Truck Park website.

Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne opens this April!

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre is now OPEN - READ OUR REVIEW HERE.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre is coming to Chadstone Melbourne this April and we cannot wait! Little and big kids will love this centre which has much more than just plain LEGO!

Experiences at the centre include a look at MINILAND Melbourne, a LEGO Factory Tour, two rides to give LEGO fans the ultimate thrill, a LEGO Brick Play area, a 4D cinema and a behind the scenes view of the Master Model Builder hard at work!

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Melbourne

You can buy a LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre ‘First to Play’ Annual Pass for $73 per person which will grant you access from day one for the entire year. There is also an early bird special for one visit at $27.50 available online before it opens.

 Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Melbourne

Photo credit: Legoland Discovery Melbourne

Some recent pics of the progress .. (updated Tuesday 7th March 2017)

The LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre is opening on Tuesday 18th of April 2017. For more info and to signup to their newsletter to keep up-to-date and buy passes, checkout their website.

Summer Pirate Playground & Launch Sail on the Enterprize - Harbour Town Melbourne

Kate and her niece Ruby attended the launch of Harbour Town Melbourne's latest kids activity zone yesterday - the Summer Pirate Playground where they enjoyed meeting characters from Neverland and making crafts in the Pirate Craft Village. They were also spoilt with a sail around the Yarra river on Melbourne's tall ship The Enterprize. Thank you to Harbour Town Melbourne for inviting us and thank you Kate and Ruby for this great review, pics and for being such great sports on a 38c degree day!
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Ahoy me hearties, your little ones will love the new Summer Pirate Playground now open at Harbour Town Melbourne.

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Open all school holidays and weekends throughout February, Harbour Town Melbourne invites you to climb aboard a replica of John Pascoe Fawkner’s Schooner Enterprize (the ship that brought the first white settlers to Melbourne in 1835), go on a Neverland Adventure Experience with Peter Pan and his friends and join in the fun workshops in the Pirate Craft Village. Best of all, it's all FREE!

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Neverland Adventure Experience

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Miss Ruby (9) had a great morning on Treasure Island; competing with Peter Pan in a sword fight on the gang-plank (which she won and sent Peter over the edge into the pool of foam bricks below!), playing a game of ring toss and posing for photos with Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook.

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Pirate Craft Village

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Located inside the Neverland tall-ship, children can participate in free craft activities in the Pirate Craft Village including treasure chest money box decorating and make your own pirate hook, pirate telescope and parrot.  Ruby decorated her very own pirate hat and Tinker Bell wings with colourful feathers, felt scull and crossbones and LOTS of sequins!     

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Our tips for the Summer Pirate Playground:

  • Entry into the playground and participation in the craft activities is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The playground is not undercover so come prepared for all weather conditions.  
  • The craft village is inside the tall-ship and is air-conditioned. 
  • The playground is open daily from 11am to 2pm.
  • Activities vary each week so check the website if you wish to participate in something in particular.
  • Pram parking is available next to the playground.
  • Harbour Town Melbourne is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to the exhibition (near the Pearl River Road/Studio Lane entry).
For more information and full schedule of the Summer Pirate Playground, head to the Harbour Town Melbourne's website.

The Enterprize Tall Ship

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To celebrate the launch of the Summer Pirate Playground we were treated to a one hour sailing session on The Enterprize. Complete with two real-life pirates we sailed up the Yarra River from Melbourne Marina, passing under the Bolte Bridge (I didn't think we were going to make it) and enjoyed stunning views of not only Docklands but the Melbourne skyline too. 

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We met several of the wonderful volunteers and staff who provided an 1830's sailing experience for all with an adventurous spirit and an interest in Melbourne's - and Victoria's - maritime past. Ruby helped the crew hoist and set the sails and even had a turn ringing the ship’s bell.  

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The Enterprize has public sails from Docklands, Williamstown, Mornington and Geelong, with sails from Portarlington during peak season and special events.  The most popular Enterprize cruises are one hour sails and twilight sails of 1.5 hours. These are suitable for people of all ages. We highly recommend taking your family for an adventure and let the kids explore the ship. 

For more information about Melbourne's Tall Ship The Enterprize, head to their website.

For more summer school holidays events and activities, head to our dedicated page.

For our top 5 city activities with the family, head to our dedicated page.

For our daily spots list, head to our dedicated page.

For our list of parents rooms including rooms in the city, head to our dedicated page.

Westfield Warringah Mall - New Section

*Updated Sun 30th July - playground revamp photo uploaded*

The new section of the Westfield Warringah Mall opened last Thursday and I must say - what a transformation! I never expected the centre to look this good! The new section joins the old section nicely with a large number of new shops including the new Myer centre, places to eat, a little play spot for kids, a new parents room and a new parking lot.

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There were a number of events on the day of the opening where kids had their face painted, received a balloon, ice cream, did a gingerbread decoration and met some cool characters at the new bookshop.

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We loved the new play area on the ground floor next to Virgin Mobile - so cute! Little Miss loved climbing over everything and sitting on the little rock springers.

The new area is definetely appealing with a beautiful renovated dolphin fountain, new sculpture, some nice foliage and plants around the centre, seating areas, nice cafés etc. 

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It also joins to the newly renovation section with speciality grocers, butchers, bakers, fishmonger and the like, a new parents room and Woolworths as well as cafés.

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We especially like the new parents room on the ground floor which from memory was near Anaconda not near Specsavers. 

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It is very stylish, it has 4 changing bays, 2 private feeding rooms, a microwave, sinks, kids toilets and a play area with an interactive screen, cushions and a cubby.

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There is another beautiful parents room as part of the new Myer store which is also very stylish - yes it is a parents rooms and not something from a catalogue - can I move in - ha!

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The parents room on the ground floor in the food hall area near Woolworths which I have previously featured on our Sydney parents room page is also nice with the usual setup and a cool play area with soft bricks to play with.

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For more ideas on what to do with the kids in Sydney, head to our blog, daily spots list, pools & beaches section, playgrounds and parents rooms!

This post is in no way sponsored. We thought it would be helpful to provide this information for parents who visit or are thinking of visiting the new Westfield Warringah Mall section.

Harbour Town Melbourne - We're All Smurfs! Exhibition Review

Kate and her little Smurfs attended the 'We're All Smurfs' exhibition VIP event on our behalf last Saturday 8th of October at Harbour Town Melbourne and had a fantastic time! This fun exhibition is free and now open daily until the 24th of December with free kids craft activities on every weekend from 11am to 3pm. Thank you Harbour Town Melbourne for having us. Thanks Kate for the fab pics and review! xo Catherine
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If you were a child of the 80s, chances are you owned, listened to or watched the tiny blue creatures known asthe Smurfs. Created by Belgian comic artist, Pierre Culliford (better known as Peyo) in 1958, the Smurfs became a permanent part of the 80s pop culture when the Hanna-Barbera cartoon launched on Saturday morning cartoons in 1981.  Fast forward to today and the Smurfs continue to entertain millions of people around the world.  

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From now until December 24, Harbour Town Melbourne will host the ‘We’re All Smurfs!’  Exhibition, a stunning Smurf village where you will find 35 Smurfs on show for the first time in Australia.  Plus each weekend, children can attend the Smurf Craft Village and participate in free craft activities, including Spring planting, puzzle colouring, gnome painting and much more!

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We arrived at Harbour Town Melbourne ready for a celebration of everything small, blue and Smurf-like!  As we made our way to the Smurf Craft Village for the ‘We’re All Smurf's! Exhibition VIP launch party, the poppets could not resist stopping to admire the Smurf village on our way past.  Arlo stood mesmerised by the 1m high Smurfs while Macy had already spotted Poet Smurf at the entrance - with parchment and quill in hand - and was giving him a kiss on his nose and a big cuddle. Smurfing cute!

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Once in the Smurf Craft Village, the little ones were invited to find a chair at the adorably styled tables and colour in their own Smurf pencil case. Well, Master Arlo took one look at the table, bypassed the pencil case entirely and instead began to devour the vanilla iced cupcake with edible Smurf topper! Needless to say that it didn't take Miss Macy long to see what her brother was up to and she quickly joined him at the table licking icing off her cupcake and flashing me a big smile.

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When the last crumb of cupcake was finished, we started to explore the rest of the Smurf Craft Village.  We had only taken a few steps when a life-size Papa Smurf appeared for a meet and greet session. With his bushy white beard and bright red clothes, the little ones loved getting up close to Papa Smurf who posed for photos, gave out high-fives and accepted many cuddles from his admiring fans.

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Grandpa and I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane, looking at the Smurf History Wall while the poppets visited the talented face paint artist and had a butterfly (Macy) and toadstool (Arlo) painted on their cheek and hand respectively.  We scooped a few treats from the beautiful blue, white and red themed lolly buffet into our blue and white polka dot favour boxes before waving goodbye to Papa Smurf and making our way back over to the exhibition.

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By this time the exhibition had opened and was already buzzing with people. Arlo and Macy had the smurfiest time exploring the village and discovering the different blue creatures and their mushroom houses.  They loved admiring beautiful Smurfette with her long golden locks, smelling Dreamy Smurfs flowers, watching Painter Smurf in his berry-red jacket and dark blue tie with artist pallet and paint brush in hand, climbing up the ladder to help Handy Smurf paint a mushroom house, collecting apples with Farmer Smurf, sharing a sandwich with Hungry Smurf and lounging back on Deck chairs with Lazy Smurf.  

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There are plenty of photo opportunities as you make your way through the exhibition and don't forget to visit the 4 metre high giant Smurf that is floating above the nearby walkway.  

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A visit to the ‘We’re All Smurfs!’ Exhibition at Harbour Town Melbourne will certainly bring your childhood back to life and like us, allow you the opportunity to introduce your little ones to these adorable blue little people.  Plus I guarantee that at some point of your visit you will be singing or humming “La la la-la la la, Sing a happy song. La la la-la la la, Smurf it all day long”. Trust me. 

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Our tips:

  • Entry to the exhibition and participation in craft activities is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The exhibition area isn’t big and doesn’t take long to fill up, so go early before it gets busy.
  • The exhibition is not undercover so come prepared for all weather conditions. 
  • Children (and adults) are not allowed to climb on the Smurfs in the exhibition but cuddles, kisses, hand shakes and fist pumps are encouraged! 
  • Pram parking is available next to the exhibition and inside the gates of the craft village.  
  • Harbour Town Melbourne is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to the exhibition (near the Pearl River Road/Studio Lane entry).
For more information about the 'We're all Smurfs' exhibition and the craft activities at Harbour Town Melbourne, checkout their website.

For more ideas of what to do in Melbourne, checkout our blog or Daily Spots List.

Melbourne City activities for families

Little Miss and I love exploring the Melbourne CBD. If you're thinking of heading into the city soon, checkout our list of activities below that you can do with the little ones - most of them are free which is a bonus! And if you need a place to feed, change or play while you're out exploring, checkout our list of parents rooms including one at the NGV.

1. ACMI

The ACMI is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Fed Square which runs exhibitions, movie screenings, film festivals and the free permanent exhibition Screen Worlds. Kids can checkout this exhibition which explores the past, present and future of the moving image. It even features Little Miss' favourite Play School friends! There is also a kids area where kids can play a Sesame street game on projection and play some games on iPads as well as console, computer games and Minecraft.
  ACMI Screen Worlds Entrance

ACMI Screen Worlds Entrance

2. ArtPlay

ArtPlay is a creative centre in Birrarung Marr that provides a range of free and paying workshops, events and performances for babies and children up to 12 years old. It also has a fantastic playground as well as the popular free drop in indoor/outdoor activity Inside Out starting again in October and ArtPlay backyard which is a summer activity for little ones to play and create outside.
  ArtPlay at Birrarung Marr - photo credit City of Melbourne

ArtPlay at Birrarung Marr - photo credit City of Melbourne

3. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) at St Kilda Road

The NGV has always been a favourite place for little Miss and I, it is a great place to explore new and permanent exhibitions and the popular kids' installations that take place several times a year to coincide with the main exhibitions. We have loved the past kids Installations Pastello - Draw Act for Kids, Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids, Open House: Tromarama for Kids, Studio Cats for Kids and Fake Food Park: Martí Guixé for Kids.
  Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids at the NGV in 2015

Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids at the NGV in 2015

  Fake Food Park: Marti Guixé for Kids at the NGV in 2016

Fake Food Park: Marti Guixé for Kids at the NGV in 2016

The new kids' installation is Viktor&Rolf for Kids which opened this October, read our review here.
  Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids at the NGV in October 2016

Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids at the NGV in October 2016

While you're there, relax in the Great Hall famous for its stunning stained glass ceiling by Leonard French. You and the kids can lie on the floor, look up and admire the stained glass ceiling, chat with friends or enjoy a snack. 

  NGV Great Hall  

NGV Great Hall 

Enjoy a picnic outside on the lawns of the NGV gardens and let the kids have a play on the climbing structure and explore the lawns and sculptures while you have a coffee. The upcoming NGV Architecture Commission which will stand in the NGV gardens will be M@ Studio Architects' Car Wash inspired design which will pop up in October 2016. 

  NGV Sculpture Garden

NGV Sculpture Garden

4. NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre

The Ian Potter Centre located at Fed Square is another great NGV site to explore, throughout the year it hosts several free kid friendly exhibitions. We have enjoyed in the past like Emily Floyd: The Dawn exhibition as well as Bunyips and Dragons - Australian Children's Book Illustrations and many others as well as permanent exhibitions like the Australian Art collection.

  Bunyips and Dragons exhibition at NGV Australia Fed Square in 2015

Bunyips and Dragons exhibition at NGV Australia Fed Square in 2015

5. State Library of Victoria - Baby Bounce & Storytime, Play Pod and exhibitions

The State Library of Victoria (SLV) is always a great place to visit with the kids to expand their love of reading and enjoy some activities. The SLV has weekly Baby Bounce (0-2 yrs) and Storytime (3-5 yrs) sessions which are great for little ones to listen to stories, songs, rhymes and get involved in creative activities. On top of these sessions, kids can play in the Play Pod.
The Play Pod is a library program for children under 8, packed with activities to read, create and play designed with a new theme every season. Checkout our Play Pod reviews here on the latest themes.
  State Library of Victoria Play Pod The Treehouse theme

State Library of Victoria Play Pod The Treehouse theme

For more activities to do with the kids in Melbourne, head to our Daily Spots page.

Eastland's Santa's Grotto

Little Miss and I headed to Eastland this week to see the $655 million revamp and Santa's Grotto. Even though the shopping centre isn't completed as yet, parking is a bit confusing and some retailers have not setup shop yet, once inside the centre is pretty impressive. My favourite bit of the centre is all the art by David Bromley.

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We visited around lunchtime so headed straight to Town Square for a bite to eat. Restaurants like Jimmy Grants, Hunky Dory and Huxtaburger are setup in the area which is well spaced out and relaxing.

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We then made our way to Santa's Grotto by following the magic mushrooms on level 1 Central side leading up to Myer. Little ones can meet Santa or have their photos taken with him. Sensitive Santa will also make an appearance.

Little Miss loved sitting on the toadstools and liked looking at the bear and reindeer and was very tempted to touch the moss!

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The great thing we discovered when we visited Eastland was the parents rooms scattered around the centre. Most of them are not completely finished but they have been well spaced out, designed and equipped. Some of them have little play areas which Little Miss loved and didn't want to leave!

We visited 4 out of 5 rooms, these can be found on our updated parents rooms' page

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> For more info on Eastland's parents rooms, shops or the centre, head to their website.

> For more parents rooms, head to our dedicated page.

> For more Christmas events' ideas, head to our bumper list.

Pop-up Park, Highpoint Shopping Centre

We were lucky to have a sneak peek at the Highpoint Shopping Centre Pop-up Park this morning. The Pop-Up park was inspired by the Yarraville Pop-up Park and is a collaboration between design firm Aspect Studios and Highpoint Shopping Centre.

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The result of this great collaboration is this chillout area where children and their carers can relax and enjoy a picnic, read a book, play some table tennis in the space or play with some soft play equipment (when scheduled).

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The event shown this morning was Imagination Playground and will be the first event in the space. It is a free creative loose parts play experience for children aged 3 to 12 years old. Children and adults will be invited to unleash their creativity and imagination with the help of specialised Play Rangers from the Women’s Circus. The play equipment consists of enormous foam blocks which can be shaped into fortresses, cityscapes, etc. the options are endless!

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Imagination Playground will take place this Friday 11th Dec from 10:30am to 11:30am, Wednesday 16th Dec from 10:30am to 11:30am, Friday 18th Dec from 10:30am to 11:30am, Wednesday 23rd Dec from 10:30am to 11:30am and Wednesday 30th Dec from 10:30am to 11:30am.

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Other events also taking place in the Pop-Up Park space these holidays:

  • Book.Bike.Swap which is a free pop-up book swapping activity for children aged 0 to 10 years old which will be hosted by Tot:HotorNot on Sat 19th Dec, Sun 20th Dec, Tue 5th Jan and Wed 6th Jan 2016 from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
     
  • PORTable Summer Program which a series of fun free holiday workshops for children aged 6 to 12 years old which will be hosted by Footscray Community Arts Centre in late January 2016. (Details to be confirmed)

The Pop-Up Park is located at Level 1, Hoyts Entrance near the Pancake Parlour.

Melbourne Christmas events 2015

Every year, great Christmas events take place in our beautiful city, this year is no different! Checkout our list of Melbourne Christmas events which we have sorted by date and will keep updating during the festive season - enjoy!

Melbourne Christmas Events 2015
  • Myer Christmas Windows - Now until Wednesday 6th Jan - Bourke Street Mall

This year's Myer Christmas Windows celebrate 60 years of Christmas windows and Melbourne with the cute story of  a little dog. Checkout our review here.

  • Myer Giftorium - Now on - Level 6 Myer Melbourne

The Myer Giftorium is the only retailer in Australia to offer a unique set of services to assist customers when shopping for gifts, decorations and festive food ideas this coming Christmas season. There will be 2.5 million products to chose from and a range of services for customers to personalise their gifts this year. Checkout our review here.

  • Santa at Myer Santaland -  Now until Thursday 24th Dec - Level 6 Myer Giftorium Melbourne

Children can meet Santa at Santaland for a photo to cherish and a chance to tell him all the goodies on their wish list. More info here.

  • Santa at David Jones - Now till Thursday 24th Dec - Level 5 Toy Department Bourke Street Mall

Children can meet Santa in his enchanted Magic Cave and have their photo taken with Santa. More info here.

  • Santa & Sensitive Santa at Highpoint - Now to Thursday 24th Dec - David Jones Forecourt L2

Children can share their Christmas wishes, have their photo taken and enjoy a free gift from Santa. There will also be a special experience with children with autism. More info here.

  • Santa's Magical Kingdom - Now to Thursday 24th Dec - Caulfield Racecourse

Santa's Magical Kingdom is set to bring all the wonder and joy of a traditional Christmas with an interactive walk-through and a wonderland full of activities. This magical experience includes everything that you love about Christmas so get the ready to be amazed! More info here.

  • Santa’s Post Boxes - Now to Friday 18th Dec - Christmas Square

Write a letter to Santa addressed to North Pole, 9999 and post it in Santa’s Mail Box to get a reply from Santa himself!  Plus drop a gift off at the Australia Post Giving Box where your donation will be delivered to a child in need. More info here.

  • Crown's Atrium Spectacular - Now to Friday 1st of Jan - Atrium at Crown Towers

See the Atrium at Crown Towers come alive with a spectacular animatronic, lighting and musical display every 30 minutes. A 15 metre 24-hour fully lit Christmas tree with giant spinning baubles pop open to reveal all of Santa's friends. Daily 10am to midnight. FREE photographs with Santa, 12 - 6pm daily.

  • Christmas Square - Now to Friday 25th Dec - City Square

The centre of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival, City Square will be transformed into Christmas Square, a magical forest offering festive fun for families and children. By day, discover nutcracker soldiers, interactive candy canes, free photos with Santa and visit Intel’s interactive RealSense area and explore an exciting glimpse of the future. By night, enjoy the Christmas sound and light show wonderlands.

Christmas square will officially launch Melbourne’s Christmas Festival at its free public tree lighting ceremony on Friday 27th November. More info here.

  • Melbourne Town Hall Projections - Now to Friday 25th Dec - Melbourne Town Hall

Watch as Christmas projections, inspired by the twelve days of Christmas and Melbourne icons illuminate MelbourneTown Hall and turn it into a magical scene that changes before your eyes. More info here.

  • Santa in the City - Now to Friday 25th Dec - Christmas Square

Children are invited to meet Santa, tell him their Christmas wishes and take a FREE photo with Santa and his helpers. More info here.

  • LEGO Christmas Tree - Now to Sunday 27th Dec - Federation Square

This Christmas, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest LEGO® Christmas Tree is coming to the heart and soul of Melbourne – Federation Square. Standing taller than a two-storey house, wider than a family car and built from half a million LEGO bricks, this spectacular tree will switch on its lights on Friday, 27 November to mark the official start of the festive season. More info here.

  • LEGO Christmas Creations - Now to Sunday 27th Dec - Federation Square

Head to the Atrium Fracture Gallery to see a display of amazing LEGO models that have been built by the Melbourne community and dedicated adult fans of LEGO. More info here.

  • Giant Theremin - Now to Friday 25th Dec - Near Signal at the end of Sandridge Bridge

The giant Christmas Theremin is a super-sized musical instrument standing more than seven metres tall, controlled by movement rather than touch and can be played by up to 8 people at once. Through December enjoy creating your own Christmas styled compositions and spread the Christmas cheer. More info here.

  • Our Christmas Gift: A Concert Spectacular - Saturday 28th Nov - Hamer Hall

The Salvation Army presents 'Our Christmas Gift', a family concert for the community of Melbourne. This concert spectacular will include carol singing, entertainment and music featuring some of Australia's finest entertainers: Silvie Paladino, David Hobson, Emma Pask, Fatai and Wacky Creative all supported by the 150 voice choir and The Salvation Army Band. More info here.

  • Gingerbread Village by Epicure - Now to Saturday 24th Dec - Melbourne Town Hall

Find your favourite Melbourne landmark made out of gingerbread at Melbourne Town Hall. Make a gold coin donation to Make-A-Wish Australia. Read our review.

  • Nativity Scene Blessing - Wednesday 2nd Dec 10:30 AM - Christmas Square

You are invited to witness a blessing of the Nativity scene and listen to traditional Christmas carols sung by a Christmas choir. More info here.

  • Christmas Films Outdoor Cinema - Wed 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd Dec - Federation Square

Pull up a deckchair in front of the Big Screen and relax with friendly Christmas films every Wednesday. More info here.

  • QV Outdoor Cinema - Thursday 3rd Dec to Sunday 28th Feb - QV Square

Kick back and relax at QV's new outdoor cinema.  The December program will feature a host of Christmas classics including Home Alone, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa, Miracle on 34th Street and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, as well as other beloved big screen favourites. More info here. 

  • Williamstown Christmas Night Market - Friday 4th Dec - Ferguson St & Douglas Pde

FREE street event. FREE face painting. FREE Carousel Ride. Santa will be there on a very special vintage fire truck. Performing elves. Christmas Carolers. Shops open until late so you can get a kick start on your Christmas shopping. More info here.

  • Christmas Celebrations on Union Road - Saturday 5th Dec - Union Rd, Ascot Vale

FREE street event from 10am to 2pm. Twilight Carols from 4.30pm to 6pm. The festival will have photos with Santa, a Balloonologist Elf, a Craft station, live music, a jumping castle, face painting and more! More info here.

  • Moonee Ponds Central Santa Photos & Sensory Santa - Saturday 5th to 24th December - outside Kmart

Little ones can meet and have their photo taken with Santa. More info here. There's also a special Sensory Santa on the Sunday 6th and Tuesday 8th of December. More info here.

  • LEGO Christmas Decoration Build - Sunday 6th, 13th and 20th Dec - Federation Square

Come to The Square and build your own LEGO decorations to take home with you in this festive workshop for the whole family! More info here.

  • Christmas Story times and circus with Melbourne Library Service - Tuesday 8th to Tuesday 15th December 

Entertain the little ones with Christmas music, stories, craft & magic at various libraries this Christmas season. More info here. 

  • Carols in Queens Park - Sunday 13th Dec - Queens Park Moonee Ponds

Celebrate the festive season with a free evening of carols and entertainment under the stars at this year’s Carols in Queens Park. Kids activities taking place before the show. More info here. 

  • Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight - Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight has been a fabulous Christmas tradition for 77 years, bringing together Australian classic Christmas carols, and an evening of entertainment with something for the whole family. More info here.

Myer Christmas Windows

Warning: Cuteness overload!

This year's Myer Christmas Windows not only celebrate 60 years of Christmas windows, our beautiful city but a cute little dog!

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The story behind this year's windows is based on Corinne Fenton and Robin Cowcher's book 'Little Dog and the Christmas Wish' where Little Dog finds himself lost and alone in Melbourne city on Christmas eve trying to find his way home.

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The windows feature iconic spots around Melbourne like the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, the Block Arcade, Flinders Street Station, the Myer windows, our trams and a few more.

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Little Miss really enjoyed this year's windows and wanted to see them a few times. The queues weren't long even during lunch time which was good.

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The Myer Christmas Windows are now on display until Wednesday 6th January and open from 7:30 am to 1 am daily. Enjoy x

> For more Christmas events' ideas, head to our bumper list.

Myer Christmas Giftorium 2015

Little Miss and I were invited to the launch of the Myer Christmas Giftorium last Friday thanks to Myer and Kids Business and had a great time! 

Myer is the only retailer in Australia to offer a unique set of services to assist customers when shopping for gifts, decorations and festive food ideas this coming Christmas season. This year there will be a Giftorium in all Myer stores as well as online. And if you're like me and struggle buying gifts come Christmas time, you can always book time with a Giftician to assist you.

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There will be 2.5 million products to chose from and a range of services for customers to personalise their gifts this year. One of my favourite personalisation pop-up shop is Nutella's! My jar won't last long at my house tho!

Little Miss' favourite personalised pop-up shop was the Build-A-Bear Workshop where she built her own wait for it yes - Frozen Elsa teddy (of course)! Who knew making a bear came with so many options! From the actual teddy to added sound, a little heart (which is inserted inside the teddy), clothes, shoes and jewellery! 

Apart from the cool pop-up stores, each Giftorium is separated in seven gifting areas: for Her, for Him, for the Tech Guru, a Kids Cubby, Paws Corner, Stocking Fillers and Food Fanatic. 

We of course headed to the Kids Cubby area where little Miss played around before heading to the Disney area.

The Disney area had lots on offer for little boys and girls with Disney Frozen, Princesses, Inside Out, Mickey & Minnie Mouse and Toy Story pressies! Little Miss was ready to take home lots of toys on the day but we noted down their names for Santa instead! There's also Star Wars gear around the corner if your little one is a fan.

Little Miss did not allow me to spend too much time in other Giftorium areas but didn't mind me checking out the Seedling activity area. Love the little packs on offer especially the ones that let you design your own butterfly wings, superhero cape, dragon, mermaid doll and designer tutu - so cute!

We also enjoyed making our hanging flowers with the ladies at My Flower House. A bit tricky but lots of fun!

And were spoilt with ice cream and pastry treats from Café Brunetti's Pop-Up Café and beautiful Christmas treats. Loved those cute gingerbread reindeers!

The Myer Giftorium will be officially launched on Saturday 14th of November with a performance from X Factor winner Dami Im and the Hi-5 crew

Other Myer Christmas Events include the unveiling of the 60th Season of the Myer Christmas Animated Windows by the face of Myer Jennifer Hawkins on Tuesday 10th of November as well as the Santaland launch on the same day in Melbourne CBD. Santaland will open in all other downtown stores on Saturday 14th November.

> For more Christmas events' ideas, head to our bumper list.

Spring School Holidays Ideas

Here's our list of Spring School Holidays events, activities and programs - we will add more as we find them :) ..

Museums, Galleries, Zoos and Aquarium:

Shopping Centres:

Other events and activities: 

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