Well, Hip 1's birthday happened to coincide with the Queens birthday long weekend (lucky Hip I say), so he had big expectations. I have always thought that apart from that wonderful 'thank god we made it' 1st birthday celebration, I wouldn't do big birthday parties until the Hips are practically on the floor begging (yes, I am cruel...perhaps next year?) so an action packed weekend with a trip to the Aquarium and the Zoo is what I believe to be more than enough (and fortunately we are members of both, so not too bank breaking).
So we jumped on the train to Southern Cross in order to head down to Melbourne Aquarium. Oh but wait, I had so forgotten how exciting that 10 mins on a train, and 10 mins walk down to the aquarium would be for my now 3 year old hip. Hip 1 was beaming with excitement whilst on the train, taking in every tiny detail, and yelling out 'bridge', 'train', 'train track', 'station' etc to the amusement / annoyance of the other passengers. And even getting off the train, travelling up the very huge escalators, putting the ticket into the machine, and walking down past trams, cars, and hords of people, was a brilliant experience for my little Hip 1. No, he does not lead a sheltered life (well I didn't think so), but it is just a sign of the times that our Hips get ferried around from A to B by car, and we forget about the simple joys of getting on a train etc. We can't forget that the journey itself is part of the experience, and those little things we take for granted are such a huge learning experience for our little Hips.
Mmmm, lecture over, back to the Aquarium...oh and what a fabulous place that is. As soon as you enter, you see the beautiful penguins. Having had the absolute good fortune of being 'sent' to Antarctica for work (was that real or did I dream that?), I just adore penguins. Hip 1 so its seems adores them too. He had a plastic shark in his hand (the new uber obsession thanks to Nemo), and as he was leaning against the window to the penguins, they were all diving to try and 'eat' his shark. Hip 1 was in his element. But his excitement grew even more when entering the 'Sharks Alive' section. Wow, he was running around from shark to shark, making shark noises, and loving it. One big tip - do not try to get your child to move away from the sharks and have a sandwich. Big mistake, and huge tantrum! The kind of tantrum where everyone looks at you and says 'oh, my kids would never have a tantrum like that' etc. So all up, Aquarium big tick. It can be a bit pricy, so the annual family pass is recommended, especially as I know that Hip 1 will drag Hip hubby there quite a number of times, even if just for the train ride. Hip 2 is probably still a bit young, but it won't take too long.
Myself, Hip hubby, and the 2 Hips, decided, alongside the rest of Melbourne to spend the public holiday morning at the Melbourne zoo, and see if we could see Mali the baby elephant. Yes, Melbourne, you gave us a glorious winters day, and Hip 1, again in his element, did a lot of running all around the zoo. The zoo is great, because you can, within reason, let the Hips run ahead a little bit, but like previously mentioned, should your Hip be a relatively new walker/runner, those harnesses aren't a bad idea, especially if they're one with an animal on the back, which ties nicely with the zoo. Luckily Hip 1 did run, as we got to the elephants area alongside everyone else looking for Mali, however Hip 1 ran straight past and round the back of the elephant enclosure which is where Mali was, and we pretty much had a private viewing. Good thinking Hip 1. And then onto the new Seal centre, which once again, for Hip 1 was brilliant. Its a brand new indoor centre, and really cleverly put together. Good one Melbourne zoo! Yes, again, it can be pricy, but the zoo pass is brilliant as you get entry into Werribee and Healesville Zoos as well. Oh, and even better, you can bring your own picnic to keep costs down and have lunch sorrounded by all the animals (sort of).
Oh, and finally, last weekend, we nipped up to Woodend (a fave Sunday drive) to support the first Sugar and Spice childrens Market, which was fabulous, and to go and see the very clever Natasha at her very first market with Piper and Lily - beautiful handmade kids clothes. Hip 2 has the fabulous reversible double chocolate brown vest. Love it. I bought a brilliant Hobby Horse from Bursaria - again to encourage my Hips to get out and about. Oh and if you are up in Woodend with the Hips, you cannot fail to go to the brand new childrens playground. Think we were in ther for an hour all up!
So once again, lots of being out and about with the Hips. More on this to come at a later date, and as I have a few friends overseas right now with their hips, and I might beg/bribe them to do a 'guest blog' on that all important and exciting travelling with the hips. Watch this space.