Easter Show Survival Guide {For parents of small children} | Kid-Friendly Sydney

The Easter Show. To be honest, up until yesterday I had only ever been twice in my life. And if you had asked me if I was going to take my two small girls one year I would have looked at you with a look of pure horror and then gone and rocked in a corner until the feeling passed.

But a few weeks ago I was contacted by a very lovely lady who asked if I would like to go to the Easter Show and was I interested in attending a pre-show sneak peek to see all the great stuff they had going on. I jumped at the chance, because to be honest, the couple of times I've been I've loved it. Sadly though the preview clashed with Tafe and I couldn't make it. But we did score some tickets so we could go and experience the show anyway.

So yesterday Dave and got the girls ready and jumped on the train to the show. We actually ended up having a pretty good day, and I think a lot of it had to do with being prepared, and how we approached it all. So I thought, in the interests of helping other parents of small children (and when I say small I mean toddlers under 4) tackle the show with their kids, I'd share the Top 5 things we did to make sure the day was enjoyable for everyone.
easter show 2015
One kids excited about the show. The other one just wants to get her head stuck in the bars.

1. Have realistic expectations

This is a big one. I've learnt that there is no point in planning interesting outings and activities for kids if it's not something that they can realistically handle. When it came to going to the show, we knew that the girls wouldn't last more than a few hours. We also knew that our girls were at their best in the mornings, and that by about 1pm Zee would be in sore need of a nap and getting crabby.

So we arrived at the show as soon as the gates opened (9am) and made sure we'd done everything we wanted to by 1pm. This way we were able to take out time getting back to the train, the girls were happy to leave, and Zee ended up getting to have her nap on the train ride home. This meant everyone was happy and there were no major meltdowns from overtired kids to deal with.

2. Be prepared

Before you go to the show, make sure you check out the website and see what's on offer before you get there. This is important. Have a think about what your kids will actually be interested in, and have a rough idea of how long you plan to spend doing each thing so you can fit it all in. Don't expect your kids to be happy to be dragged around to exhibits you want to see, that they would normally tolerate.

For instance, I would have loved to spend heaps of time looking at the arts & crafts exhibitions, but there is no way the girls would have cared for that. I'm an adult, and I can go another time if I want to see certain things so we dedicated the time we had at the show to doing the things the girls liked. Namely, looking at the animals and going on rides. Oh and running around and jumping in puddles.
royal easter show 2015
The rain wasn't going to rain on her parade!

3. Take a pram or hire one when you get there

We ummed and ahhed about whether or not we should take the pram, and in the end we did, and it was the right decision. No matter how much kids like to walk, there will be times when they just don't want to, or when you need to move quicker than their little legs will manage. Punky was the one who spent most of the show being pushed around, and then Zee slept soundly in the pram on the train coming home.

It's also good for dumping your bags/jackets/etc on if you need to be hands-free for a bit. You do a lot of walking at the show and it's a good idea not to overestimate how much your kids can handle. You can even -pre-book pram hire before you go and then just pick it up once you get there if you don't want to wrangle a pram on and off trains.

4. Use public transport

Showlink tickets include travel to and from the show on Sydney public transport. It certainly beats paying $25 for parking, and gives you a chance to just sit back and chat with the kids about what to expect on the way there, what they are looking forward to; and to chat about what they enjoyed on the way home. Make sure you pack some little snacks and take water bottles, so if anyone gets a bit peckish or rowdy, you can distract them with a well-timed biscuit!
sydney royal easter show 2015
Having a run around and chasing bubbles before heading for the train and home.

5. Research the show bags and buy them as you leave

Another good thing about the Easter Show website is that it has info on all of the show bags available and what comes in them. I had a good look through the day before we went, and then showed Punky the few that I knew she would like. I let her choose the one she wanted (Sophia the First) and then told her that we would get a second one for her and Zee to share.

There is a showbag pavillion inside the show where you can find all of the showbags available, and there are also trucks scattered around in various places with certain showbags available. Thankfully the bags we wanted were in these trucks and we didn't need to venture in to the pavillion. We grabbed the bags on our way out, and Punky had a great time looking through all of her loot on the train. It was really good for keeping her occupied on the way home and we didn't have to carry the showbags all around the show.
royal easter show
R: Zee in her makeshift poncho; L: Punky loving herself sick with her Sophia the First showbag goodies

All in all we had a really good time at the show. The girls absolutely loved checking out all of the animal pavillions, and the Farmyard Nursery was definitely a highlight of the day. Punky had a great time feeding the goats and lambs that were wandering around, and Zee just hugged every animal that got close to her. They also go to pat baby chickens in the Poultry Pavillion and we even watched a baby chick hatch out of it's egg in the Farmyard Nursery.

We stopped in the Kids Carnival area on the way out so that the girls could have a ride on the Mini Chairs, and let's just say Zee thought it was the best thing she'd ever been on and didn't want to get off! Despite the fact that it absolutely poured the minute we got there (forcing us to buy some giant ponchos, and fashion a makeshift poncho for Zee from the free Daily Telegraph showbag) we had a really great day and I think we will definitely do it again next year.

My fear of taking small children to the show is absolutely gone. By making sure we were well-prepared and having realistic expectations of what the girls could handle and would enjoy, it was a great day. The Easter Show website has so much useful information, and there is even an Easter Show app, which Punky had a great time looking at on the way in, telling me the things she hoped to see once we got there.
The faces of two relieved parents who can't believe they just had a great day at the show with their small children!

A big thanks to the lovely people at the Easter Show for making the day possible, it's one we'll remember for a long time.

Have you been to the Easter Show? Do you have any tips to add that will make the show more enjoyable or easy to visit for other parents of small children?

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Lilly Mary said…
Awesome! This couldn't have come at a more perfect time! I'm off to the show tomorrow with my 76 year old mum (have any tips for that?), my cousin and her two little munchkins. I'm packing nurofen and sunscreen after reading this, I am also going to check my expectations at the door and go with the flow. My only must have is a kewpie doll on a stick :) Wish me luck!
I have been to many shows, but not the Sydney Easter Show. My advice is pretty much along the lines of yours. Get in early, public transport, take more money, spend less, get home early. But go back later if there are fireworks. (I lived in Auckland once and they didn't have fireworks at their Easter Show, can you believe it? They also didn't have showbags, which was both a blessing and a curse).
Lisa said…
I agree with all your tips. In WA, you can buy your Perth Show tickets at one of the supermarkets before hand and receive a discount on the price and you don't have to wait in line. Hope you had a great time.
Leanne Shea Langdown said…
Yep. Agree. Especially about studying show bags in advance and buying last thing before you leave. When my kids were little we always went for the dress ups show bags. Seemed to have a bit more bang for our buck in the long run.
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
TwitchyCorner said…
You did brilliantly, Kylie and I saw that clever poncho was picked up and published too, well done! You are still far braver than I ever have been, or ever would be. Crowds are not our thing! #teamIBOT
HandbagMafia said…
Great tips! I'm not sure if I will brave it this year but possibly next when missy will be 3. I loved that photo of your little girl in her poncho!
Ingrid said…
Great tips but we're having a year off attending the show and saving our money for other outings instead! I used to love the main arena events in the evenings, especially the precision driving cars and fireworks. Plus the Grand Parade of animals was another favourite.
Kaz @ MeltingMoments said…
Great tips. Gosh I love the Easter Show.. and that pic at the end of your post is priceless.
Bele @ BlahBlah said…
Great tips. We haven't done it yet. I'm still working up the courage, but you make it sound doable x
EssentiallyJess said…
So glad you could go and you had a great time.
I love the show. It's one of my favourite things.
We haven't braved a big show yet, they one in Brisbane, but maybe one day, maybe! I hope you had a fun Easter lovely x
We had a great time, much better than I was expecting, that's for sure!
We will definitely be going again, that's for sure!
It's totally doable, as long as you don't have high expectations!
Haha, we were a little shell shocked, but not as bad as we were expecting!
I think we may make it an every second year kind of thing. The local show is a couple of hundred metres down the road from our house and I think we may hit that one up next year.
Punky definitely had a great time, I think 3 is the perfect age.
It was surprisingly not busy the day we went, which was weird considering it was the school holidays, but I think the weather might have had something to do with it!
That's what we did too, I purposefully picked ones with things that I knew would have some longevity and give us the best bang for our buck.
That is such a good idea. If and when we go again we definitely will buy our tickets in advance.
I can't imagine a show without showbags, that's the whole purpose of the show, right ;)
I hope you guys had a great time and the tips came in handy xx

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