I can't wait until the kids are old enough (and not scared of the dark) to take them stargazing.
Luckily, we have a great telescope available in the region at the Twinstar Guesthouse. I haven't been there yet, but I hope to soon.
Watch this video about the Stargazers of Stanthorpe.
Kid Friendly Music
I'm a big fan of music, and I can't wait to introduce music to my children as they grow up. Recently I've been building up a collection of music for my daughter who's about to turn 3, stuff that I think (hope) she'll dig but at the same time, stuff that appeals to me.
Here's a playlist I'm putting together of Kids music videos as I find them.
Here's a couple of internet radio stations
The Shake Rattle and Bowl Bowling Alley opened up in Stanthorpe late last year, and our family are all pretty impressed with it.
The most impressive thing is that the owner decided to build something of this magnitude in Stanthorpe, trusting his instincts rather than market research. And we hope it pays off, as it's great having another thing to do in the area.
Having young children, I love the thought that went into the kids playground area. There's a tiny baby play area, a bigger area for kids under 4 with those plastic balls, a slide, riding toys and a jumping castle, and a massive playground for 4-12 year olds that looks pretty impressive (but too scary for Miss 2 1/2 so we haven't checked it out closely yet). The only negative is I guess the price - $8 per kid, but that's for all day play (you can come and go). So, if we lived in town and I didn't have a small baby I would probably be tempted to go back a few times a day or stay all day and really get my money's worth. In the next year or two I'm sure we'll make full use of it. Season passes would be a bonus.
The coffee was pretty decent and the wood fired pizzas are really nice too. I think booths in the cafe area would be a good improvement to the basic tables.
The bowling alley itself is great - 6 lanes. Once I figured out what ball to use I did pretty good - two strikes ain't bad. Miss 2 1/2 got to bowl with bumpers on, and even though she walked away before her bowl made it to the pins, she did pretty good.
There's talk of someone developing a rollerskating rink next door. I hope that's true! Ice skating would be even better (or ice in winter at least).
Do your Little Ones love trains? Miss 2 1/2 absolutely adores trains, and has been obsessed with "choo choo trains" since around her second birthday.
The first thing she does when we have visitors is show them her trains (Thomas & co), and if someone calls and she talks to them on the phone she inevitably says "choo choo trains" as her opening conversation. And her nighttime story always begins with trains.
How thrilled she is to have trains come by near our fenceline - even if it's only once a month (although the last few had been cancelled due to the dry conditions and the potential for the steam train to set alight the countryside).
We had a ride on the steam train from Stanthorpe to Wallangarra in September. Tickets were $30 each for adults, and free for kids, for the Stanthorpe - Wallangarra return leg. Being cheapskates and with small kids who have limited attention spans, we arranged with friends who have kids of similar ages to do half the leg each and take a car the other leg. This meant 1 1/2 hours on the train instead of 3 hours, which turned out to be just about right for a 2 1/2 year old and a 3 month old.
It's a great trip, beautiful scenery, nice and green at that time, and Wallangarra Station is pretty impressive. The Downs Dasher was at Wallangarra Station for the kiddies to enjoy another train ride (which I think they liked more than the real train). There was also a market on at the station, but there wasn't many stalls the day we went.
The train came by again last Sunday and we sat on top of our dam wall to watch it go by and wave to all the passengers.
The Rural Fire Brigade folks were at each road crossing to make sure cars stopped, which they need to be because the cars hardly ever do stop despite the obvious Stop sign. The trainspotters were chasing the train again, taking photos at each crossing.
The next Southern Downs Steam Railway trip will be on February 21st 2010. See the SDSR site for ticketing information. They plan to come once a month from now on. It says on their site the steam train will be crossing the Winelander, but I can't find any info on the next Winelander trip at the moment.