HOT: Dinosaur Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra
During the July school holidays the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne has been taken over by dinosaurs!
On Thursday 3 July and Tuesday 8 July RBG are holding a special kids program for 3-5 year olds called ‘Dinosaur Gardens‘. The sessions are sold out but there is a waiting list so you may be lucky. When we booked we were told that if we cancelled no later than 24 hours of the start time then they could resell our ticket.
Fortunately we were able to attend our session yesterday and it was a lot of fun. The session started with a visit to the Children's Garden, a wondrous space of nooks and crannies perfect for hunting out dinosaurs. Our program leader Prue started out with a few songs and then read us a picture book about dinosaurs.
Our first activity was a dinosaur bone hunt! Every child received a bone and Lady AB was so excited she wouldn't let go of her pteranodon bone in order to complete the second activity involving some ‘dino poo'. In order to teach kids how plant seeds were spread and fertilised every child was given a ball of clay. We then squished in some native grass seeds, rolled the ball in some dirt and gave it a squirt of worm tea. We could then take the ‘dino poo' home to plant it and watch the seeds grow!
We then left the Children's Garden for a long wander around the gardens with various stops to look at plants with vague ‘dinosaur' references. While it was quite pleasant for adults to stroll around the gardens I think for the purposes of this activity it would have been preferable to stay within the confines of the Children's Garden. There's still plenty of look at in that area and the walk was a cold trudge involving prams and errant toddlers and mud. The children also seemed to lose a bit of focus once we started walking long distances.
The final activity was the highlight – building a dinosaur garden! Every child was given a flat plate to fill with dirt, sand, rocks, pebbles and greenery, crowned by a dinosaur. Lady AB particularly enjoyed this easy art and craft activity and the finished product will be a nice feature in our backyard.
We enjoyed our time at the Royal Botanic Gardens and hope that they will repeat the program again with a few tweaks. Just note that the session is aimed at children aged 3-5 years and I think that's accurate . Mothers who were feeding babies or wheeling kids in prams had a harder time of it than the rest of us and it really needs to be attended by children who can follow instructions and sit attentively for periods of time.
On your way out of the Royal Botanic Gardens stop by the gift shop for some lovely garden-related items for kids (and adults).
If your child is dinosaur-mad check out the other dinosaur related activities happening in Melbourne this winter.
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