Kidding Around at … Hippo Beach at the Werribee Open Range Zoo

When we heard that the Werribee Open Range Zoo had opened an exciting new area for kids called Hippo Beach we knew we would definitely be visiting this summer!

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Hippo Beach is right next to the hippopotamus’ exhibit and is the perfect place to relax, grab an ice-cream from the Hippo Beach Café and feel the sand between your toes!

Hippo Beach
Hippo Beach

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The beach area has deck chairs, hammocks and thatched umbrellas (under which treasure is buried that the kids can dig up – look out for the sign that will let you know what to look for!).

A place to relax!
A place to relax!
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Dig in the sand for treasure!

The day we went it was over 30C and the children LOVED cooling of at the Hippo splash and play water area next door to Hippo Beach – there were so many excited squeals! We had bought Alegría’s bathers with us; however, our poor second child had to go in his clothes and then when they were too wet, his nappy! Luckily, we had spare clothes for him! We didn’t need a towel, but if you don’t want your kids to look like crumbed schnitzels you might want to bring one along so they can dry off before they go in the sand!

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Hippo Water Play Area
Hmmm... How do we make the tail swish?
Hmmm… How do we make the tail swish?

Each day the Keepers will feed the hippos and chat to visitors about their amazing habits, with a special Hippo Keeper Talk at 3.45pm daily.

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If you would like to see the hippos from a different angle, or any of their other African animal friends out on the Savannah, you can jump on board a Safari tour which leaves from the Safari Station. The line can be long depending on visitor numbers, and you are unable to take any food or drink (except for water) on the safari. There is a water fountain near the Safari Station entrance where you can fill your water bottles and a pram bay where you need to leave your pram. Make sure you take any valuables with you as it is not supervised.

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Look, it’s a “Raffie”!

Don’t forget, kids get free entry every weekend, as well as during the Victorian Government school holidays and public holidays!

Whether you have a couple of hours to spare or are planning to enjoy the magical Slumber Safari overnight experience – there is just so much on offer at the Werribee Open Range Zoo! We will definitely be returning to experience more of the unique behind-the-scenes encounters and have the Slumber Safari on our wish list!

MORE INFORMATION

Days and Times: 9:00am to 5:00pm every day of the year.  Last entry at 3.30pm.

Location: K Road, Werribee South VIC 3030

Cost:

Zoo members
Becoming a member of Zoos Victoria gives you unlimited entry to our three world-class zoos – and many more great benefits. For our members, kids are free every day of the year.
FREE
Adult $30.80
Child 4–15 years (weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian government school holidays) FREE
Child 4–15 years (Monday to Friday, outside holidays) $13.60
Child (0–3 years) (every day!) FREE
Concessions*
Adult concession $23.60
Senior concession $27.70
Child with a disability concession (Monday to Friday, outside holidays) $6.00
Carer accompanying a child under 16 years who is a holder of
a Child Disability Allowance Health Care Card
FREE
Carer accompanying a person with a disability who is a holder of
a Disability Pension Card or a Companion Card
FREE
Holder of a Carer Card NOT accompanying a person with a disability 10% discount

Website: www.zoo.org.au/Werribee/

Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES ON THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA WEBSITE ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA AUTHORS. ALL IMAGES ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT AND CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA.

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Kidding Around … Kryal Castle

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Tim has been dreaming about going to Kryal Castle ever since he was a strapping young lad staring wistfully out the window of the family’s Kingswood as they went wizzing past on the way from Kaniva (in Victoria’s West) to visit family in Melbourne. Alas, they never went (cue the violins) and as Alegría has been dreaming of becoming a princess since the day she was born there was much excitement in our house when we decided to visit the newly redeveloped Kryal Castle just outside Ballarat. What’s more we were sleeping over IN. THE. CASTLE (insert excited squeal and shout Huzzah!)

Walking across the medieval drawbridge and back in time, Kryal Castle invites visitors to experience the variety of shows and activities that they have running thoroughout the day. To enter the Castle you will first need to negotiate the Dragon’s Labyrinth which tells the story of Ushnagh, the She-Dragon that lives beneath the hill and of the legends and stories of the Land of Kryal.

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Within the Castle walls there’s been a great deal of effort put in to ensure that all the Lords and Ladies have a great time – and yes, you will be referred to as “My Lord” or “My Lady” for the duration of your visit! From the Knights jousting tournament to hilarious pantomimes, bracelet making*, pony rides* and militia training to the more adult appropriate Torture & Dungeon Museum the Land of Kryal is place of fun and fantasy that has something to appeal to everyone in the family.

Walking around the grounds it isn’t hard to immerse yourself in village life. There are wooden shop fronts, cobbled streets, towers (where you can imagine you are one of the Knights of the Round Table) and sit on the Kings throne. You can lose your kids (well almost!) in the stone maze which isn’t as easy to negotiate as it looks – especially for those under 5 foot tall! Alegría loved running wild through the maze!

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On the day we visited, The Fairies and Goblins Wonderland was running bracelet making workshops, face painting and story time.

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The Town Crier summons everyone to the Castle Arena for the Skills in Arms and Joust/Siege which really are a must see for visitors. Make sure you plan your day around the performance times.

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After watching the Knights in action, Alegría and Isaac wanted to ride their very own war horse! For this experience you have to pay an additional fee (buy your token first at the Tooth Fairy Lolly Shop before lining up!) and are only for children under 8. The kids loved it!

Buy your tokens first before lining up!
Buy your tokens first before lining up!
Isaac The Knight
Isaac The Knight – check out his sword!
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Hmmm…. No, I think this is too big! Maybe the sword?
Lady Alegría and her faithful steed!
Lady Alegría and her faithful steed!

Other free “on arena” militia training activities included sword fighting and archery.

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Georgina Says

Bringing your own lunch is a great option as there is a picnic area right next to the playground. There are other options for meals if you would like to purchase something, or like us, you have a hankering for hot chips! However, like most tourist attractions the prices are inflated, so if you’re trying to feed your family on a budget bring your own!

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Right next to the playground is a small collection of farm animals. Alegría and Isaac were fascinated by the hairy coo’s!

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ISAAC SAYS

Moooooooooo!!!

Before your visit, jump on Kryal Castle’s website! It’s easy to navigate and will give you an idea of what could be on offer. We used the website to prepare Alegria for our visit and she was really excited! There was one downside however and we’ve learned our lesson. She was particularly looking forward to the perfume making, but, unfortunately it wasn’t on offer the day we went and we had a disappointed Princess! So, make sure your kids know that you might be able to do the listed activities but you’ll have to “wait and see” to avoid tears!

There is just so much to see and do, from the sword in the stone, to the chapel (which you can hire for weddings), and the village stores.

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Chapel and Herb Garden

The perfect way to see it all is to stay overnight in the Castle Suites. There are 17 suites which are new and comfortable and the breakfast basket is generous and the homemade bread was outstanding! Guests have the Castle all to themselves after hours which would be such fun during the summer where you could make the most of the playground and not be confined to your hotel room. It was cold when we visited and our only issue was that the bathroom was not heated and it was freezing – we guess that makes for a more authentic experience!

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Just a warning – This is what happens to naughty children who don’t go to sleep when they are asked …

Mean Dadda!
Mean Dadda!

MORE INFORMATION

Days and Times: Weekends, Public Holidays and School Holidays from 10am to 4pm (last entry is 3pm)

Location: 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek (Ballarat) Victoria 3352

Cost:

  • Families $89 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
  • Adults $31.00
  • Children (4-16 years) $19
  • Children (under 4) Free
  • Concession $25

Entry price gives you access to the Castle grounds, all shows and attractions. *  Some activities are not included in the entry price and require additional payment.

Website: www.kryalcastle.com.au

Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES ON THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA WEBSITE ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA AUTHORS. ALL IMAGES ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT AND CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA.