HOT: Mr Stink, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Mr Stink is the smelliest old soul that you could ever meet – but a new production of Mr Stink, now showing at the Arts Centre Melbourne, is anything but a stinker.

The show is based on David Walliams’ 2009 children’s novel and tells the story of lonely schoolgirl Chloe and her friendship with Mr Stink, a tramp who shows her more kindness than her family or schoolmates.

When Chloe’s mother, an aspiring politician, campaigns to remove homeless people from public places, Chloe invites Mr Stink to live in the family’s garden shed. He ends up an unlikely celebrity when the media discovers the story, and the results are both laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking.

There’s a wonderful mix of comic styles on display (including a generous helping of fart jokes and belches) and the audience enjoys getting involved at the right times. The five cast members (playing nine different characters) are all outstanding, but Darren Sabadina steals most of his scenes, with his roles as Chloe’s dad and Bollywood wannabe Raj featuring the best comic material.

The one-hour show explores themes of social justice, homelessness, bullying, prejudice, and family relationships. Mr Stink will resound for children aged 6-12 and their adults, but younger children with a reasonable attention span may also enjoy it, especially the dance scenes.

Thanks to journalist and mum for 2 Erika Jonsson for her guest post

HOT Tips:

  • Best suited for children aged 6-12.
  • Pram parking is available.
  • There’s a “smell-a-thon” activity set up outside the box office for identifying smells if you arrive early.

Mr Stink, Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse, April 1-9 

2,3,5,6,7,9 April: 11am & 2pm

8 April: 10am, noon, and 3.30pm

Access-friendly performance: 5 April, 11am

Book at artscentremelbourne.com.au

HOT: The Backyard, 19 Mason St, Newport

Backyard Newport

The Backyard is a family-friendly cafe in Newport that delivers what it says on the sign – a huge backyard that rivals my modest courtyard at home.

Backyard Newport

The astroturf space is THE place to hang out if you have kids. There’s a long chalkboard wall, lots of toys, space to run and every table looks out onto the play area so the adults can sit and relax while the kids play.

Backyard Newport

In addition there’s space to manoeuvre and park a pram, numerous high chairs and an open change table outside the toilet.

The only thing missing is shade – on sunny days the exposed area can be very hot and only one large communal table sits undercover.

The menu features Industry Beans coffee and a collection of breakfast favourites with an Asian twist, plus a small kids menu. The prices are very reasonable – it’s been a while since I saw a smoothie for only $6.50.

Backyard Newport

I try one of their baos with crispy pork ($18), while Baby 2.0 has a ham and cheese croissant ($6.50). The bao is not a smooth round of dough as I expect, but sort of a pull-apart version of the yum cha favourite char siu bao. The sauce is a bit heavy and sweet for my liking and bao is a little dry. It’s passable but not amazing.

Backyard Newport

While I wouldn’t necessarily return to The Backyard just for the food it does have the advantage of location and setting. It’s next to Newport Community Hub (including Newport Library) and short distance to Newport Substation. Combine it with some excellent family friendly facilities and it’s a decent option if you’re in the area.


HOT Tips:

  • Pram access;
  • Numerous high chairs.
  • change table;
  • Children’s menu.
  • Standard menu suitable for kids.
  • Toys, chalkboard; grassed courtyard
  • Free 1 hour street parking;
  • Next to Newport Community Hub (including Newport Library) and short distance to Newport Substation.

The Backyard, 19 Mason St, Newport (03) 9973 4611

Mon-Fri 7-4pm

Sat-Sun 8-4pm

The Backyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s On – Friday 31 March to Thursday 6 April

School’s out and it’s time to par-tay! Easter school holidays are on from Saturday 1 April to Monday 17 April, here’s what happening in the first week of fun.

CBD/Docklands

  • Cerita Anak Arts Centre Melbourne (Thu 30 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery and sound, the show bustles with all the life of the ocean. Full review. 
  • Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 9 Apr) – share, learn and eat with with the festival’s family-friendly events.
  • The Very Big Laugh Out Loud at Federation Square (Fri 31 March – Sun 23 Apr) – Get a belly full of laughs at Fed Square with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
  • Thai Songkram New Year Festival (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 2 Apr) – best of Thailand’s food, art and culture.
  • Mr Stink Arts Centre Melbourne (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 9 Apr) – touching, twisted and very smelly adaptation of David Walliams’ award-winning children’s book.
  • Queen Victoria Market (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – Family Footy Zone and FREE seasonal cooking, drawing and craft activities.
  • Melbourne Gaol (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – Come to the Old Melbourne Gaol these Easter Holidays to be locked up in the old Watch House and then sent to gaol.
  • Eureka Skydeck (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – FREE Crayola Kids Zone filled with fun craft and drawing activities, including bunny-ear making and the opportunity to scribble on windows.
  • Under 8s Ice Fun at O’Brien Arena (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – A unique toddler experience in shoes or skates every day of the school holidays.
  • ArtPlay (Sat 1 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – Come and play in the free ArtPlay Backyard and join other paid workshops.
  • Pirate Sunday Polly Woodside (Sun 2 Apr) – Dress as a pirate and come help us search for hidden treasure, play tug of war and have your face painted.
  • ACMI (Sun 2 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – be a game critic, build a VR world, family Lego robotics, minecraft, Scratch day and more.
  • Code Camp (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – During the camps, kids create and build their own game, learn about user design and the psychology of user experience.
  • Melbourne Library Service (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – classes, workshops performances and stories.
  • Lego Educational Centre (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – Serious fun with Lego! READ THE REVIEW.
  • Federation Square (Mon 3 Apr – Sun 23 Apr) – FREE experiment in collective art-making with the LOL roll, free outdoor cinema, stargazing live.
  • Smurfs High Tea The Langham (Mon 3 Apr – Tue 25 Apr) – school holiday high tea especially for teens (but kids can still go!).
  • Wheeler Kids (Tue 4 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – literary kid-friendly events.
  • Lemonade Stand Kids Coding (Thu 6 Apr – Fri 7 Apr) – coding workshop for kids.
  • State Library of Victoria (Thu 6 Apr – Tue 11 Apr) – Be inspired by the State Library’s collection of beautiful, rare books then use your imagination to create your own masterpiece.

NORTH

  • Pop Up Playgroup Greensborough Plaza (Fri 31 Mar) – Bring your little ones and enjoy a range of activities from tea parties in a teepee to our playdough play station.
  • School holidays The Little Bookroom (Fri 31 Mar – Fri 7 Apr) – book launches, readings and activities.
  • Zoovie Night Melbourne Zoo (Sat 1 Apr) – exclusive fun packed event with the outdoor screening of “Sing” and special themed entertainment and activities for all the family!
  • Melbourne Museum (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – explore animal habitats, diversity, evolution and more in a series of hands on activities inspired by our very own Wild gallery.
  • Brickman Melbourne Museum (Sat 1 Apr – 7 May) – 50 awe-inspiring models on display at the ‘Wonders of the World’ exhibition.
  • Melbourne Zoo (Mon 3 Apr – Fri 14 Apr) – full day program will take you on a journey to see some of our amazing animals that call Melbourne Zoo home.
  • Studio Magnifica School holidays Coburg (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – art classes every weekday for 3-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds with different themes.
  • Rock-a-bye Baby at Fitzroy Town Hall (Thu 6 Apr) – Rock-A-Bye-Baby is a gig-going experience for adults and children where the music hasn’t been dumbed down or sugar-coated. READ THE REVIEW

 

SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE

  • Dandenong Market (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – free kids craft workshops.
  • Summer Sessions Ripponlea (Sun 2 Apr, Sun 9 Apr) – Spend a leisurely afternoon listening to live music, play a round of croquet or quoits or simply relax on the shady lawns of Rippon Lea House & Gardens.
  • Gasworks Art Park (Mon 3 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – classes, workshops and performances.
  • Kids In Motion school holidays (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – half and full day active and sport programs.
  • Goldilocks Tivoli Theatre Malvern East (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – Panto, traditional lemon drink and fairy bread!
  • Learning by Doing Brighton East (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – hands on woodworking class for 4 – 14 year olds.
  • Art Soup Glen Iris (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – classes and workshops.
  • Fizz Kidz Malvern East (Mon 3 Apr– Fri 14 Apr) -Each child takes home their own special all natural cosmetic creation from our holiday program’s events in Melbourne.
  • Artea School Holidays Albert Park (Mon 3 Apr– Thu 13 Apr) – various activities and workshops.
  • PrimeSCI! School Holidays Wantirna  (Mon 3 Apr – Fri 7 Apr) – hands-on holiday science from Kindergarten to Year 8.
  • Invent the World School Holidays (Mon 3 Apr – Fri 7 Apr) – workshops for engineering, programming, robotics, game design.
  • Painting Malvern Central (Mon 3 Apr – Fri 7 Apr) – free painting workshops with Pain Pot People.
  • The Art Factory Malvern (Mon 3 Apr – Mon 10 Apr) – various activities and workshops
  • Sky High Dandenong (Mon 3 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – Pony Rides; Face Painting; Games and Music with the rainbow fairy; Nine hole mini golf; Reptile display; creative magic; train rides; CFA Badge-making and Demonstrations, treasure hunts.
  • Trust Kids Ripponlea (Wed 5 Apr – Thu 6 Apr) – Trust Kids presents an exciting new program for primary school children, inviting them to travel back in time and experience the life of these real individuals throughout history.
  • Party in the Park Cruden Farm (Tue 4 Apr) – mini sports, an obstacle course, face painting, animal farms and lots more.
  • South Melbourne Market (Wed 5 Apr – Sat 15 Apr) – workshops and classes, face painting and storytime.

 

EAST

 

WEST

HOT: Yarra Valley Railway, Healesville Station, Healesville-Kinglake Rd, Healesville

Yarra Valley Railway

Yarra Valley Railway is a heritage railway that trundles along a restored track from Healesville to Tunnel Hill. Future goals include reconstruction to Yarra Glen and Lilydale.

Yarra Vally Railway

It’s a jolly ride into yesteryear, starting with antique Healesville station setting the scene.

Yarra Vally Railway

The track winds through some scenic areas of Yarra Valley, with the most exciting part being the 150m long tunnel section just before the spot to turn back.

Yarra Vally Railway

After your train ride have a play at the train-themed playground before heading into Healesville to explore. The cafe at the station is no longer running but within Healesville and surrounds you’ll find plenty of eateries and cafes. I recommend the Healesville Hotel and Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander.

Yarra Vally Railway

While the 3o-40 minute round trip ride on the Yarra Valley Railway is not cheap all funds go towards the maintenance of the railway so you’re doing a good deed. The railway is operated by volunteers every Sunday and public holidays plus every Wednesday during school holidays.

Click here for more places to take kids in the Yarra Valley.


HOT Tips:

  • Trains depart on the hour between 10am and 4pm;
  • Operates every Sunday, public holiday and Wednesdays during school holidays
  • tickets are cash only;
  • free parking on site;
  • playground next to railway;
  • public toilets;
  • Walking distance to Healesville’s town centre.

Yarra Valley Railway, Healesville Station, Healesville-Kinglake Rd, Healesville (03) 5962 2490

Operates every Sunday, public holiday and Wednesdays during school holidays

Trains depart on the hour between 10am and 4pm

Adult$15.00
Children 3-16 years$9.00
Family (2 adults + 2 children)$39.00
Concession$13.00

 

Mr Stink at Arts Centre Melbourne – Giveaway!

Mr Stink

Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it was correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well…”

Hold onto your nose for this touching, twisted and very smelly adaptation of David Walliams’ award-winning children’s book, live on stage at Arts Centre Melbourne.

It all starts when lonely school girl Chloe makes friends with Mr Stink, the local tramp. Sure he smells a bit, but he’s the only person who’s ever been nice to her.

So, when Mr Stink needs a place to stay, Chloe decides to hide him in the garden shed, with hilarious results!


Mr Stink, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Saturday 1 April – Sunday 9 April
Ages 6-12

Tickets from $29

Children who have not yet turned two years old do not require a ticket and must be seated on the lap of a parent or guardian for the duration of the event.


Giveaway!

Thanks to Arts Centre Melbourne I have 2 x family passes (2 adults 2 children) to Mr Stink on Sunday 2 April 11am.

To win just follow the instructions below. The giveaway ends midnight Thursday 30 March and the winners will be notified via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The HOT List: Top 10 Free School Holiday Events in Melbourne

Every school holidays I try to give myself a challenge – how many free events can I book?

Inevitably there are always cool events and activities that we decide to pay for – but you CAN entertain the kids on a tight budget during school holidays.

Here’s a list of my Top 10 free school holiday events for Autumn.

  1. Federation Square (Mon 3 Apr – Sun 23 Apr) – experiment in collective art-making with the LOL roll, free outdoor cinema, stargazing live.
  2. ACMI Family Sunday (Sun 2 Apr) – If you want to become the next YouTube sensation we’ve got the tools to get you started.
  3. ArtPlay Backyard (Sat 1 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – Drop in creative play at Artplay.
  4. Wheeler Kids (Tue 4 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – literary kid-friendly events. Also check out the book readings, launches and bookish activities at The Little Bookroom.
  5. Melbourne Library Service (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – classes, workshops performances and stories. In addition don’t forget your local library service will often hold free school holidays events (they’re too numerous to note here).
  6. Queen Victoria Market (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – Family Footy Zone and seasonal cooking, drawing and craft activities.
  7. Dandenong Market (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – kids craft workshops.
  8. Sky High Dandenong (Mon 3 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – Pony Rides; Face Painting; Games and Music with the rainbow fairy; Nine hole mini golf; Reptile display; creative magic; train rides; CFA Badge-making and Demonstrations, treasure hunts. Note all the activities are free of charge but the gate fee of $6 per car still applies.
  9. Mastermind Highpoint (Mon 3 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – creative workshops for kids including Book Swap Bike.
  10. Easter Family Fun with Free Egg Hunt at Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie (Fri 14 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – free chocolate tastings and Easter egg hunts. Also happening at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.

Also check out the following lists for free inspiration:

Click here for school holiday events in Melbourne’s CBD.

Click here for school holiday events in Melbourne’s suburbs.

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