Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Feel like a scrap?

If you're into scrapbooking; card, invite or gift-tag making then you might be interested in the inaugural Sale A Bration Spectacular by local Stampin' Up! demonstrators planned for Saturday the 6th of February. The event runs from 11am to 4pm and is being held at the Ambarvale Recreation Centre in Woodhouse Drive, Ambarvale.

Entry is $25 at the door or $20 if you book and pay before January 21st with proceeds going towards a local charity. There will be door prizes, showbags, displays and more so if you're a little bit crafty, pack up your scissors, trimmer, etc. and put a stamp on your calendar!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Happy hols for Thomas fans

If you've got a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine in the family, don't forget that The Train Shed at Luddenham is open 10am to 4pm every day of the school holidays. Take a picnic or enjoy something from the kiosk while the kids ride on Thomas, Toby, James, Percy and Mavis.

Click on the above image or HERE for more details and a map.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Monkey Mania

Monkey Mania Casula is a new indoor play centre situated at the Crossroads Homemaker Centre, 10 minutes from Campbelltown up the M5 or Campbelltown Road. With eight themed rooms it's a fantastic place for a party or school holiday fun for kids 2-12. There's a huge 'ball o city maze' climbing frame and basketball court for the bigger kids plus a separate toddler area. There's also ride-on dodgem cars at additional cost ($3 for five laps). We went on a weekday during the school holidays and found that the pictures on the internet did not match our experience.

As is typical of most indoor play centres, no outside food or drinks can be consumed on the premises (except for baby food). Cafe options were limited; the quiche we we ordered was fairly average but service was very prompt and friendly. The kids nugget and chips meals were a generous size for $6.00 each. The cafe is counter service only which can be challenging if you're on your own with bags and a stroller. There's plenty of tables and seating available. The toilet / baby change area is bright, large and mostly clean although the toilet seat in the ladies was broken on the day we were there. There's a toddler seat available in the baby change area, comfy chairs for breastfeeding behind privacy curtains and a microwave for heating baby food.

Entry fee:
Under 1 Year FREE
1 to 2 years $9.50
3 years & over $12.50
Adult $3.50 (incl. drink)

There are discounts available for multiple visits and an annual membership provides additional benefits. The centre is open 10-5:30 Monday to Friday and 9:30-6pm weekends. I'd like to see earlier opening times on a weekday for those parents that drop older kids at school and then want to entertain toddlers and pre-schoolers.

The ball o city maze features a funnel which shoots balls into the air which is great fun for the kids but it should be noted that the loud whooshing sound it periodically makes may frighten some littles. Also remember to take socks - no bare feet allowed.

Verdict from the kids in the family is that Monkey Mania is 'way better' than the other indoor play centres in the area so I guess that means we'll be making a return visit.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Plough and Harrow

One of our favourite parks to visit is a little outside Macarthur but it's an easy 25 minutes drive up the M5 and just off the M7 if you're willing to pay the toll. Otherwise you can go up via Cowpasture Drive (see map below).

Despite sounding like the name of an English pub, the Plough and Harrow makes for a great day for families of all ages. There's a toddler park for the littlies which includes a sandpit, a great little starter swing and a covered slide. For the older kids there's a set of swings in a circle, some climbing equipment and a terrific flying fox. The playground is great for kids aged 2-10 but older kids with bikes, scooters or skateboards will appreciate the extensive cycle and path ways.

For those who like walking, Plough and Harrow is connected to the Western Sydney Parklands track and there's also access to the M7 cycleway. There's heaps of free parking and plenty of shaded tables. The playground area does get busy of a weekend but in the left side of the park there are more grassed areas, tables and toilets.

Currently there are no food outlets in or near the park although there is a purpose built building up for lease - we reckon someone could do a roaring trade selling ice-creams in summer! There are also no bins so rubbish tends to accumulate, especially takeaway packaging. A cleaner/ranger collects the rubbish regularly but it can be off-putting to front up to a table piled with someone else's leftovers. Our only other gripe is that the flush for the toilets are set five feet off the ground, too high for many littlies to reach, so the toilets tend to get blocked.

Plough and Harrow is off Elizabeth Drive, Abbotsbury / Cecil Hills. It's a great day out for the whole family. Our advice it to take plenty of food and drink in reusable containers and a plastic bag to take rubbish home. Also be aware that there's an easily accessible tap next to the sandpit so you might want to consider a change of clothes for the little ones.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


If you're a long-term resident of Macarthur, you'll know about the wonderful New Year's Eve (NYE) party that Campbelltown Council host in Koshigaya Park. There's food stalls, top notch live entertainment and (weather permitting) terrific firework shows at 9pm and midnight. All set in a family friendly park with three playgrounds for the kids.

But it does get very busy - you have to get there early to reserve a good spot and spending hours in the park doesn't always go down too well with the littlies. Last year we discovered an alternative - Marsden Park in Park Central. Just up the road. There's no entertainment but the other few families celebrating make for a wonderful atmosphere. There's plenty of room for the kids to run around (or have a game of cricket), plus the playground and best of all, if you position yourself right, you'll still get a great view of the fireworks.

Take a picnic or dine at one of the restaurants in Kellicar Lane or Hyde Parade and stroll on over for the show. Just be ware of the red-bellied black snakes! (We spotted one on the way home near the ambulance station.)