Floriade is one of my favourite things about Canberra. It is clearly one of our best tourist attractions and it gets bigger and better every year. We have been blessed with high temps this school holidays and my four kids and I have tackled the place on more than one occasion. Which also means “Cha-Ching”, because for a free event, I end up spending a bomb.
Floriade isn’t Disneyland but, like the happiest place on earth, you need to visit more than once to see it all. Which means double the ice-creams ($4.50) and parking fees ($5). But I am a huge fan of Floriade and I am not here to poo poo it. Here is how we we spent the day (in more ways than one).
My first secret is where to park. If I go here next time and it is full … I know you have all been taking on board my tips! I park at Rond Terrace which is at the base of Anzac Parade, the parking lot slips off Constitution Avenue. There is always stacks of spaces and although it is a walk (nowhere is close) before you hit the Floriade gates, there are no roads to cross and there is a castle playground and a toilet on the way. My kid-gang and I are happy with these attractions alone. It is pay parking ($5 spend).
Once through the gates, we head straight for Kids Corner. There is something for all ages and although my 9yo was almost looking like she was beyond this stuff, turns out she isn’t and they all had a great time. My 3yo wanted a turn on these ponies. I assumed it was free as most things in kids corner are, but this was $8 per child. I nearly smiled and said “no thank you” until I saw her face. So she had a turn. Then ALL the kids wanted a turn. I am such a sucker and figured you are only young once. Do it! He cut me a deal for the 3 kids ($20 spent).
The reptiles in kids corner are free and so is the basketball and circus. We hung out in this area for close to an hour. It was fantastic. We will come here again tomorrow.
Everyone started to get hungry. I packed bottles of water, strawberries and chips but nothing competes with pink clouds of fairy floss ($5 each spend).
This iPhone photo is worth the $15 of fairy floss. A great capture of a great day.
We then headed though the stunning tulips up to the Reflection theme sign filled with gorgeous poppies. We did queue for a while but I still couldn’t manage to get the photo I was after for my Instagram feed.
After checking out the main arena of flowers, the kids spotted the fabulous cubby houses. We chewed up much time here playing in these excellent cubbies for a wonderful cause.
After the all the climbing, the kids were hot and bothered so they scored an ice-cream each and one for me too. ($18 spend. Yes that is how much 4 ice-creams cost and I had to share mine with the baby).
Next we hit the side-show scene. This is where my wallet basically gets scared. As we walked over I told them they could only have one ride/clown/thingy each. I was really praying they wouldn’t choose the Ferris wheel because the line was long and I have recently developed a fear of heights. Lucky me, they chose the slides. ($15 spend).
Lunch. Actually my wallet should be most scared here. It wasn’t too bad but only because I was starting to really tighten the strings by this stage. We had calamari and chips and I ordered two serves between the 5 of us plus two fruit salads. I didn’t buy drinks because I had packed bottles of water. I DID buy my mummy friend and me a wine though! It was so nice sitting on the grass while our kids played and we sipped back a crisp white with our seafood. ($12.50 calamaris x 2, $8 fruit salads x 2, $6.50 white wines x 2 = $54 spend).
During lunch while the kids were playing on the grass in the shade, my son found 5 cents. Winning! My boy always finds money out and about. We continued to walk around and sucked up the view and people-watched. Then we grabbed front row Ikea seats and enjoyed the free music gig by Fudge Factor. They also gave us a free CD. Winning again! (No spend + 0.05c + CD).
We had such a nice day and waaaaay too much sun by this time so we wandered back to the car and made full use of that white castle playground and toilet on the way. When I got back to our hot van, my day just got much more expensive because although the parking lot I favour and gave a huge shout-out to at the start of this post … but IT IS NOT exempt from parking inspectors. I stayed too long. ($102 spend).
This will horrify you as it did me cobbling this post together; between the hours of 10am-3pm I had spent $239 and have nothing to show for it! That’s not true. I have a belly full of food and photos I will love forever but you know what I mean. The only things I really regret were the fruit salads – they were basically big chunks of honeydew and rockmelon in a small plastic pot. It would have been better value to bring along punnet of $7.99 raspberries from Coles. And of course the I am KICKING myself over the parking fine. BUT I loved the day hanging out with my girlfriend and our children. The photos are pretty special to me and I will be back again this season to tackle the ferris wheel and try again to get the ‘Reflection’ shot.
Below are a couple of pictures of Punky the Pug enjoying Dogs Day Out. Floriade host one day each year where you can bring your fur kid along, so of course we went back. I was worried she wouldn’t sit still with all the excitement and beauty; but I was wrong. She would have been happy to die here.
Tell me EVERYTHING! What do you love/hate about Floriade.
How do you keep the costs down when you go with the children?