Wilfred and Smith is a popular local cafe in the middle of residential Essendon. It’s petite and the interior navigation may be tricky for prams, but it does have high chairs and a large disabled bathroom with change table to cater for families.
When it’s warm the cosy front courtyard is the best place to hang out with kids as there’s a little more room to roam.
The food is a cut above cafe standards, particularly given the size of the small kitchen.
We try the French toast topped with caramelised banana, bacon, berries and ice cream. It’s a decadent and prettily arranged dish.
I have the black forest porridge – chocolate crumble sprinkled over a creamy oat porridge with raspberry/cherry compote. It’s soothing and filling, perfect for a wintery day.
The pastries and sweets are made on site and the doughnuts ($4.50) are big soft pillows of fried dough adorned with various toppings such as Nutella and espresso chocolate.
Perfect for a post-park treat with your Allpress Coffee! Wilfred and Smith is just a long walk/short drive from Montgomery Park and Essendon Traffic School.
Pram access mostly outside – you can get a pram inside but it’s small and there is a step;
Standard menu suitable for kids;
Disabled toilet with change table;
Long walk/short drive to Montgomery Park and Essendon Traffic School.
Learn about and admire these tiny creatures with interactive hands-on activities, incredibly life-like large-scale sculptures and immersive soundscapes.
The exhibition presents six large-scale bugs: Orchid Mantis, Bombardier Beetle, Jewel Wasp, Dragonfly, Japanese Honeybees and Katipo. They are special bugs because they have evolved to have ‘superpower’ abilities, including camouflage, mind control, super speed, swarm intelligence and deadly venom.
The exhibition also brings the facts about how bugs are the leading inspiration for cutting-edge technologies such as fly-like collision-tolerant drones, nanotechnology based on butterfly wings and 3D printed objects created from silk.
There are also four immersive chambers where you can learn more about these bugs and the experience of seeing bugs close up and magnified to immense proportions is quite spectacular.
The exhibition is set out in one large room, with plenty of space for prams (and little people) to roam.
Note that it is dimly lit, some of the bugs are very freaky when magnified to super-size and there’s a lot of ambient ‘squelchy’ noises…all of which may add up to scary sensory overload for a young child.
Older children who can read will have plenty of opportunities to learn from the numerous information plaques and to deep-dive into the activity tables, while younger kids will just enjoy the displays and hand-on activities. There’s also a bug slide at the entrance!
Specially commissioned by Melbourne Museum, a group of large-scale bug puppets that represent each of the bugs featured in Bug Lab will be let loose in the museum on Sundays in August and September between 1 –3pm.
Winter Solstice Courtyard Immigration Museum (Fri 23 Jun) – live music from polyrhythmic future-soul artist Nai Palm, lead performer of Hiatus Kaiyote. Share winter warmers with friends, including mulled wine, whisky, and spiced chocolate.
Winter Solstice Light Show (Fri 23 Jun – Sun 25 Jun) – For five evenings in winter, Melbourne’s newest icon – 888 Collins Street – will come to life in a spectacular festive light display in celebration of Winter Solstice.
Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 23 Jun – 5 Sep) – Play Pod is the SLV’s program for children aged under 8 years with activities to read, create and play. There’s a new theme every season for Winter 2017 it’s inspired by Penguin Problems. Full review.
Cartoon Workshop (Sat 24 Jun) – James Foley will be taking participants through the self-portrait process. Then it’ll be time to come up with their ideal robot companion.
Oinofilia (Sat 24 Jun) – Oinofilia will bring Greek wine producers together with some of Melbourne’s best Greek chefs for a one-day party.
Collingwood Underground Roller Disco (Sat 24 Jun) – In one of Collingwood’s most iconic and prominent landmarks, the high rise towers is the home of the Underground Roller Disco. Free skate for under 14s.
NICA Circus Showcase (Fri 23 Jun – Sat 24 Jun) – The phenomenal imagination, athleticism and humour of Australia’s next generation of circus talents will be on show when NICA presents Circosis: Left Brain, Right Brain. Last weekend.
MAP 57 St Kilda (Fri 23 Jun – Sun 30 Jul) – St Kilda’s favourite “triangle” will be converted into a glittering entertainment venue this winter, playing host to a pop up ice rink, comedy, theatre, music, food stalls, carnival rides and more.
Inflatable Futures Eastland (Mon 3 Jul – Sun 16 Jul) – Explore the inside of a wormhole, learn about inflatable habitats or play on the surface of a distant planet. Through a series of interactive sculptures, kids aged between 2-12 years old will be encouraged to take a journey into the unknown.
Make Do and Mend (Sat 1 Jul – Fri 14 Jul) – See how people used resources around them to make the best of scarcity during World War II in this free exhibition at the Shrine of Remembrance.
The Inspire9 Dream City (Sat 1 Jul) – join me and Small Scapes as we create a dream city out of cardboard and recycled materials as part of 9Fest. You can also drop in from Mon 3 Jul – Sat 8 Jul to continue building!
Imaginary Architecture (Thu 6 Jul – Sun 9 Jul) – Artplay are taking over Kensington Town Hall to build a mega mini city.
Wheeler Kids (Tue 4 Jul – Thu 13 Jul) – literary kid-friendly events. Also check out the book readings, launches and bookish activities at The Little Bookroom.
Melbourne Library Service (Mon 3 Jul – Fri 14 Jul) – classes, workshops performances and stories. In addit, on don’t forget your local library service will often hold free school holidays events (they’re too numerous to note here).
The Forest of Light Highpoint (Mon 10 Jul – Fri 14 Jul) – Explore the Forest Of Light, an interactive installation brought to you by Victoria University’s Skunk Control and take part in free science and technology themed workshops.
Also check out the following lists for free inspiration:
Footscray Finds is a monthly market and car boot sale located in the Footscray Library Car Park. It’s held every third Sunday from 8am and finishes by 1pm, before the library opens at 2pm.
I’m not expecting anyone to be around at 8am but it’s already full of families browsing the preloved clothing, toys and fresh produce.
There are numerous car boot stalls plus local food vendors, food trucks and stalls from local businesses. Stallholders can apply for either car boot or a 3 x 3m marquee space (BYO marquee and all equipment), for $50 per space.
If your kids have left you bleary-eyed then your first stop should be the coffee van – before the crowds arrive!