Here come the kids

School’s out and now you have to find ways to en­ter­tain them

Warwick Daily News - - ESCAPE - with Ann Rickard For more go to an­nrickard.com

SCHOOL hol­i­days. Love them, dread them. It all de­pends on your stage of life and the age of your chil­dren – but they come around too quickly and can some­times leave you un­pre­pared and frus­trated as to how to oc­cupy the chil­dren for the next two weeks.

There is a host of things to do in south-east Queens­land. Aussie World, north of Bris­bane, has long been a fam­ily favourite. With new rides and en­ter­tain­ment, a visit should be on the cards. Try the Wasp – it flings you around wildly but you stay in con­trol with a joy stick.

The Bomb­ora Bounce ride can rise to 10 me­tres be­fore dropping and twist­ing. It sounds force­ful but it is okay even for lit­tle ones.

The older kids (and you) will en­joy be­ing fright­ened in the May­hem Maze, a hor­ror maze with nine rooms and ex­ten­sive props, sounds, smells, spe­cial ef­fects and hid­den cham­bers with live ac­tors and life-like an­i­ma­tron­ics.

The Gold Coast – a Mecca for fam­i­lies – is al­ways go­ing to pro­vide the goods, with theme parks and ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions from the high-end to the bud­get and ac­tiv­i­ties from kid-friendly sky­div­ing to water sports.

The Sun­shine Coast with its long beaches and vil­lage-like des­ti­na­tions holds a wealth of choices for kids and par­ents, from roller-blad­ing to beach fun, to the never-let-you-down aquatic ex­cite­ment at Sea Life Sun­shine Coast at Mooloolaba.

Aus­tralia Zoo is a win­ner for the en­tire fam­ily and its school hol­i­day pro­gram has more ac­tiv­i­ties than you could fit into a day.

There is even a mob of meerkats, which re­cently joined the African an­i­mal fac­tory.

The Toowoomba Car­ni­val of Flow­ers (on un­til Septem­ber 24) may be pop­u­lar with par­ents, but it also has plenty of fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids, from en­ter­tain­ment to colour­ful pa­rades and ex­cit­ing rides.

A Bris­bane city day could in­clude a visit to GOMA where free en­try to the Chil­dren’s Art Cen­tre will keep the chil­dren happy and un­leash their cre­ativ­ity.

The cen­tre works with artists on pro­jects aimed at young ones. You browse the gal­leries and ex­hi­bi­tions while the kids are fully oc­cu­pied and cul­tur­ally ed­u­cated.

There is no stuffi­ness at this gallery.

After all that cre­ativ­ity and cul­ture, the kids could work off their ex­cess en­ergy with a swim at the ar­ti­fi­cial beach in the 17ha of park­lands at Bris­bane’s South Bank.

Fraser Coast de­liv­ers a lot all year but ex­cels dur­ing school hol­i­days with kids’ work­shops at Her­vey Bay and Mary­bor­ough and free en­try to the WetSide Water Park in Her­vey Bay.

If you re­ally want to get away for a few days or the full two weeks, a camp­ing hol­i­day can still be ar­ranged.

Dis­cov­ery Parks is Aus­tralia’s largest op­er­a­tor of life­style parks and has car­a­van and cabin parks na­tion­wide – and the sites are of­ten in some of the coun­try’s most pic­turesque lo­ca­tions.

If bud­get re­straints and time lim­i­ta­tions are a prob­lem, pitch a tent in the back­yard and have a stay­ca­tion camp­ing hol­i­day. Get the kids in­volved with mak­ing a pic­nic for lunch or din­ner.

Your lo­cal li­brary and art gallery will have a host of free school hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties.

Keep the ac­tiv­i­ties go­ing at home with an arts and crafts ta­ble. You’ll be sur­prised how much glit­ter and paint and stick­ers you can buy for just a few dol­lars at your lo­cal thrift shop and if you sit down with the kids and get crafty your­self, the re­ward is sat­is­fy­ing.

Per­haps the most im­por­tant thing about school hol­i­days is to spend time fun with the kids, which means everyone is a win­ner.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED AND FILE

◗ Jake and Tilly will greet you at Aussie World on the Sun­shine Coast and, be­low right, thrillseek­ers on one of the rides at Dream­world on the Gold Coast.

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