Over the last eighteen months we have had the joy of spending even more time with our children. Finding new ways to entertain and inspire has been part of the everyday challenge as we home schooled and tried to keep them amused through lockdown restrictions. As Christmas holidays loom we can start to plan activities that will enable them to reconnect with friends and loved ones. But where to start?
To help you keep the tribe entertained we have collected some great family friendly fun destinations to add to your bucket list. Read on for some ideas to see your children’s faces really light up.
Looking like a cross between a raft and a massage table, the Zayak Sea Sled is a new snorkelling alternative. It opens to the same type of underwater views, only without the need to submerge your face and breathe through a tube. You can explore the sea without getting a single strand of hair wet. Something new the whole family can enjoy. The Victorian Tourism Award winning Mornington Boat Hire can set you up with one perfect for your size, as well as stand up paddles boards, kayaks and more. Perfect for a day on the water for the whole family.
Load the kids into the car and head to the seaside village of Dromana; home to the iconic Dromana 3 Drive In. This Heritage Victoria & National Trust listed experience is a rare surviving example of a 1950's drive-in theatre. With three screens showing 'new release' movies as well as 'classics', this is an experience that transcends time. Check out Shel's Diner, laid out in 1950's style and full to the brim with movie memorabilia, it serves up classic burgers, hot dogs and more. You can dine in, click & collect, or get delivery to your car so you don’t miss a moment of the movie!
Down a quiet country road in Balnarring lies Rain, Hayne and Shine farmyard. This relaxed rustic children’s farm has farm animals of all kinds – the perennial favourite rabbits and guinea pigs, plus sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs and alpacas. Wear your farm clothes as this is a hands-on experience. There are often baby calves, lambs, ducklings, piglets, and kids (of the goat variety), and sometimes one of the baby animals needs a bottle feed! Horse and pony rides are available and there is a free tractor-drawn hayride. Bring your camera!
Here’s one for the young, and the young at heart. Top Fun Shack in Rosebud offers enjoyment for the entire family with 36 holes of Mini Golf scattered over a crazy course. There are 18 holes outside and 18 holes undercover (for the rainy days) so plenty to challenge mini golf tragics! For those sick of chasing a tiny ball, they can find redemption with the roll of a bowling ball. There are four full size lanes of Ten Pin Bowling - complete with computer scoring - so all you have to worry about is getting a strike! The younger kids are welcome to play as well with bumper bowling and ramps available. The adjacent arcade and gaming room is lit up with some of the latest games. Little kids and big kids alike can have hours of fun in the arcade room testing their skills out.
Funky Farm is a family run, boutique wildlife sanctuary. Owners, Chris and Sam have always had a passion for horses both working in the equine industry and riding for pleasure. In 2008 they purchased the vacant 10-acre property on Coolart Road in Hastings, where they built a home for themselves and their horses. Their first non-equine animal was a pet cockatoo called Genghis and from there, their tiny family started to grow. Since then Chris, Sam and their daughter Ziva have grown the farm into a specialised facility for children and specials needs adults to come and interact with all kinds of Australian native animals. Their collection ranges from snakes and lizards to dingoes, kangaroos and of course the iconic koala. This sanctuary gives you the opportunity to get close and personal with their beloved animals, and. You can only visit by making a booking for a personalised, hands on, small groups tour. Groups are kept small to allow an enjoyable experience with the animals.
One of the new kids on the block, Yawa Aquatic Centre in Rosebud is state of the art swimming fun. This new addition to the Peninsula’s watery offerings includes a kid’s water play area with water slides, water sprays, geysers and waterfalls.! What could be more fun for your little ones! Being indoors it makes it ideal for all kinds of weather, and don’t worry parents, we haven’t forgotten about you. There are some great vantage points to enjoy watching and supervising your child/children as they enjoy all kinds of water activities that will keep them entertained whilst you have time to relax with a great coffee from the Elements Eatery on site.
The 30km Mornington Peninsula Bay Trail extends along the Port Phillip coast from Safety Beach to Portsea. Offering walkers and cyclists great views, this shared pathway winds its way along the foreshore reserve and is flanked by the beautiful sandy bay beaches and clear waters of Port Phillip. Plan your pitstops with plenty of lunch spots along the way, or why not stop at Dromana for a delicious ice cream at Icecream a la Copenhagen (Dromana) or Gobble Gelato (Dromana).
As our local businesses continue to reinvent local experiences, we can all make a difference. Stay, play and explore local – you might be surprised what you rediscover in your own backyard.