Discovering the Secret Garden

Toi toi standing tall.

Toi toi standing tall.

Today we went and explored a beautiful secret garden after Miss 2’s post-op Doctor’s appointment. I’m still working my way up to talking about our experiences with her multiple surgeries and instead thought I’d share a glimpse of the beautiful landscapes we saw.

Path of Gold

Path of Gold

Winter beauty

Winter beauty

Journey to Rangitoto

Journey to Rangitoto

Love and Comfort

She won’t leave the house without him!

Fern valley

Fern valley

Winter waterfall

Winter waterfall

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Making a mermaid’s magical pool (or pirate’s treasure trove)

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Mermaid’s magical pool

A few things from the craft box can be a fun way of transforming a paddling pool for an afternoon. We picked up all the shells scattered round the garden, sprinkled in magic dust (blue and silver large-cut glitter), and added glittery-fluffy-balls as treasure.

Art Gallery


Rainy days can sometimes seem endless with an active toddler. One place to go is an Art Gallery – though it pays to get there early if you’re driving as many other families may have the same idea! They’re often free to enter which makes them budget friendly 🙂

Find out information about your local art gallery before you go and consider how this will work best for your children in terms of timing, naps, snacks, and transport. Do they allow prams or do you need to check them in? Can you eat anywhere in the building or do only in designated areas? Do they have parking on-site or validate parking nearby? Do they have activities for children?

Auckland Art Gallery for instance will validate an hour’s free parking at Auckland Transport’s Victoria Street carpark when visiting on weekends or after 6pm. They have a free bag check and big clean bathrooms for disabled access or pram & baby changing. They also have creative family activities (currently origami), a storybook nook, and an interactive Creative Learning Centre for kids with an installation that changes annually. In 2017 the installation is titled “Once Upon a Time in Art” and has a Cabinet of Curiosities type theme inside. There is paper and drawing materials to encourage children to draw – either a still life from what’s displayed or to draw on the room for inspiration. They can then hang their artwork inside one of the frames on the wall if they want.

If you’re going to an art gallery with a young child then go with the mindset that you’re there to help them have a positive experience (and stretch their legs); have reasonable expectations about their tolerances. You may find that they only last an hour (including bathroom and snack) and you’re more likely to get cursory glances at the artwork then lengthy appraisals.