23 March 2013

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013

Each year around Easter, the Royal Agricultural Society run the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The idea of the show is to "bring the farm to the city" and show city kids what happens on the farm, learn about the animals and how food gets from "paddock to plate". 
We thought it would be a great year to take Sprocket and Gizmo and have a great day out. My aim was to let Sprocket learn more about the farm to plate process and how things get to shops and for Gizmo to see the animals and for both to experience the atmosphere. Moo and I have been planning and saving to go for a few months as its not the cheapest thing to do and we gave Sprocket a savings goal as well, whatever he saved we could use to have fun while there. He managed to save $30 on his own by doing chores around the house and reward for helping out. Their grandparents also gave them a bit of money as part of their Easter presents. 

We started the day early as the kids are awake early anyway an no point just sitting around with excitement bubbling. We walked through the gate at about 9am and following our plan, headed to the Showbag hall and to grab a locker. We do this as the Showbag hall is usually packed by the end of the day and we can take our time in choosing what we like without fighting through crowds of people. 

After Showbags secured and excess items stashed into the locker we head off on the Animal Walk. This was to be the highlight for the kids and a great learning experience for them both in different ways. The path is marked by paw prints painted on the ground and it leads through each of the animal pavilions.  I should add in here that its not just a farm in the city, there are judging competitions as well for all of the animals of display and in many other categories like baking, art, flower arranging, fashion, and wood chop. 

Our path first lead us into the sheep pavilion  where shearing demonstrations can be watched, wool and sheep are judged in all the different breeds! We saw all the different breeds of sheep and some that had been shorn and others that still had all their fleece. We noticed the ones that had won ribbons and some that were being judged. We did not stay for the shearing, Sprocket wanted to go and see what else there was. so we found the path and headed on to the next pavilion!

Next was the Poultry, where the kids got to pat chicks and see them hatching, see all types of geese, ducks, chickens, roosters and pigeons. The chicks were funny, when the kids would put their hand on the window the chicks would run over and peck at it, maybe they were expecting food! Back on the path and onward!

Next was the alpaca shed and a milking barn is attached where you can watch a cow milking demonstration. We didn't get a chance to see the milking which I was disappointed in, something I wanted Sprocket to see. We sat a listened to a talk on Alpacas and Sprocket and I had a pat, they are very soft, softer than patting a sheep but still a bit woolly. Sprocket loved seeing the ladies spinning the alpaca wool into yarn ready for knitting as I knit a bit myself.

The next stop was the goats and pigs where the kids got to pat a piglet. Gizmo wasn't keen on patting anything, it was all scary for him and he just wasn't interested. Sprocket was reserved in patting more so when the animals were approaching him. I had asked Sprocket what he thought a pig would feel like and he said 'hard' and I asked him again after he patted and he said 'rough and hairy' something learned! 

The next pavilion was an interesting one for Sprocket, titled 'Food Farm' its all about where food comes from. He was able to take some wheat and mill it into flour and use that flour to roll dough which then could be made into making meat pies in the bakery. Sprocket also watched the pies being freshly made through the bakery window, He also climbed onto the tractor for a look and could dig root vegetables up out of a garden. Gizmo was quite happy being out of the stroller to wander around and sitting down to do some colouring in while waiting for Sprocket.

We wandered onto the Animal Nursery to pat, feed and see all the baby animals. We got a cup of chaff to feed the kids (goats not children) and lambs. Both Sprocket and Gizmo were quite nervous with all the animals able to wander around. Sprocket fed the very hungry goats with some reluctance and help as they were quite forceful. Sprocket patted a cow on the head and I'm glad he could get quite close, even if there was a fence there, so he can understand how big they are but also quite gentle.

From here we wandered through the cattle with many more various sized cows and bulls and even some cows with calves having some milk which I loved seeing. <3 It was great to be able to show Sprocket that lots of babies have milk, not just human babies! 

We decided that it was break time and lunch time and sat in the main arena for an hour to watch the show with a precision driving team, stunt horse riding and motocross! We watched while having a bite to eat. Sprocket and I chose a dagwood dog (kinda like a corn dog) and a burger for Moo, with beetroot of course! ;)

After our break we went and checked out the dogs (Deerhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, variety of Retrievers, and Chinese Crested) and the birds (parrots with Budgerigars, Love Birds, Cockatiels and few larger parrots). This was the last of the animals! 

We headed towards the rides as Sprocket wanted to go on the Superslide and a few others he had picked out. On our wander down Moo found frozen Fanta drinks to which we sat down to rest our feet, enjoy our drink in the shade and add more sunscreen. A check of the diary and we see there is a bee show in 10 mins time which Sprocket wanted to see. So drinks finished we go in to see what the inside of a hive looks like, meet the queen (of bees) and learn a bit about how honey is produced. Seeing the honeycomb intrigued Sprocket and he sure had lots of questions to ask!

Time for the rides! Sprocket is a bit of a sensitive kid as we discovered in Disneyland so I wasn't so sure that he was going to like the rides, even though they were only kiddie ones. He had his heart set on going on the superslide. Moo went and purchased a few coupons for the rides and got set for the slide. The top of the slide would be about 15 to 20 metres high and has about 8 lanes for riders to come down and has a wave to it. Moo took Sprocket up and they get on their mat. I watch as they come down and see Sprockets face change from 'this is awesome' to 'oh crud too fast!' in about 10 seconds! He said he liked it but pretty firmly said he didn't want to do it again! 

Sprocket wanted to ride more but was nervous about doing it. He spied the Carousel so I took him on and we sat on a bench, not the horse. "This is nice mummy, not too fast" was his comment as we were going around. We managed one other ride, a tea cup type where they sit in a cup and they can spin it as well as it going around in a circle. He was nervous to go by himself but lots of encouragement and he went on and had a great time once it started. He wanted to go on the ferris wheel as well but it was quite expensive, maybe next time.

We then wandered back to the 'Fresh food Dome' which is sponsored by one of the major supermarkets and a great opportunity to try lots of different foods that are new to the market or not widely available. We tried wine, yoghurt, bread, dips, vegie chips, cereals and Moo bought a waffle and he bought me strawberries with chocolate and ice cream as a thank you for organising the day. <3

We head back to the locker to get all of our stuff and onward to the main arena for the evening show and some dinner. We find Moos parents and sit with them in the arena. After being in the stroller a lot during the day Gizmo is not so keen on more sitting so I let him wander just behind the seating with me close behind and keeping him entertained. The evening show was similar to the lunch time one with Precision Driving, Rodeo, Motocross and a show by the name of "Darcy's Quest" This is the extract from the Official Show Site:

"Watch the sky ignite as Darcy – the young girl – transforms in her dream-like state to become the larger than life, chromium heroine who duals with monster cast iron reptiles, flying mythical daredevils and challenges the giants of steel and lightning in her quest to banish the forces of darkness and return animals to the land."

It was an interesting show, I'm not sure that Sprocket understood much of it and both the boys were frightened by the monster trucks made to look like animals (reptiles mentioned above) and some of the loud noises from the 'giants of lightning'. Sprocket soon figured out they weren't going to hurt him and Giz was just tired and snuggled into me to sleep with my finger in his ear. 

Darcy, the main character, is about 15 meter tall puppet that is carried by small crane around the arena with puppeteers animating her. Quite an incredible amount of co-ordination required to make it look as it did. The end of a long day saw us leaving 12.5 hours after walking in the gate, exhausted but happy!

It was an incredible day. I have been going since I was young and love being able to now share it all with my boys is just the best thing! I asked Sprocket what his favorite was and he replied "My favorite thing was seeing all the different animals and seeing the bike riders and the monster trucks, seeing all the different animals on the monster trucks." I was particularly impressed with the boys behavior, especially with the long day and very late night. Sprocket quite happily sharing all day and thinking of Gizmo was just beautiful to watch. Sprocket walked almost the entire day, and did not complain about anything at all! I was expecting complaints a grizzles but they were just so easy and it made for a very enjoyable day for everyone!

xx Natanie

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