POLLINATION AT THE CALYX | ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS SYDNEY

Not all outings with a toddler go completely smoothly; there have been been plenty of outings I haven’t blogged about - like the time I drove out to Bondi to see the Sculptures by the Sea festival but literally couldn’t find a carpark within a 2km radius so abandoned the mission and went to playground instead. Or the time we went to the Grounds of Alexandria, heavily pregnant, on the hottest, busiest day of the summer. And now with a newborn in the mix, it’s inevitable that things won’t always go to plan. Our outing to The Royal Botanic Gardens was one of these occasions, a lesson in juggling two babies. However I did love the Botanic Gardens and was amazed by the Pollination installlation at the Calyx. I managed to snap a few photos, so I thought I’d share some of our mis-adventure. 

Dad and Donna were visiting from Brisbane and Donna had mentioned she was interested in seeing the Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age Exhibit at the Art Gallery of NSW. I thought it would make for a wonderful multigenerational, educational experience; with any luck, we could let Farley do some exploring in the Royal Botanic Gardens and then she would nap in the pram, Hallie in the carrier, while I enjoyed some Art History. Ha! Very wishful thinking. Generally Farley is a real treat to take out and almost never has tantrums, however, in the middle of the herb gardens, right when Hallie woke up and wanted to be feed, Farley lost it - epic meltdown. After a few deep breaths and the realisation that an Art Gallery was no place for a disgruntled toddler, I sent Dad and Donna off to see the Dutch Masters. Once Hallie finished feeding and Farley calmed down and after a quick nappy change for both behind some bushes, I discovered we weren't too far from The Calyx which housed the Pollination installation. 

Pollination at The Calyx is an incredible floral display, celebrating how colour plays a vital role in the pollination process. It features an amazing 50 metre long wall which stands 6 metres high, covered in vibrant flowers and plants, arranged to spell Pollination. It’s quite an amazing site to behold and it’s also free! (although donations are appreciated) Farley enjoyed having a wander and exploring the plants, until she slipped over in a puddle, drenching her tutu and leggings in dirty puddle water! Arrhhh! (and of course I didn’t pack a change of clothes for her! I even contemplated it that morning when I packed a second outfit for Hallie but foolishly thought Farley wouldn't need it.) After some more deep breaths from me, we went off to meet Dad and Donna for lunch at the Botanic Gardens Cafe (which was really lovely!) I wish I could say Hallie slept the whole time, she slept all the way there on the train but after her feed in the gardens, she was having some trouble with trapped wind so she was grizzling on and off. A grumpy toddler and unsettled newborn is not a fun combination. 

After lunch we  walked back to Circular Quay train station via the Sydney Opera House. Once back at Wynyard Station, the train we were waiting for spontaneously changed to an express train that would bypass our stop. (Transport NSW appeared to be having a very bad start to 2018) We figured it would be quicker to get on the express train and then back track to our stop. But then, with the already delayed train arriving in 2 minutes, I smelt the worse thing a parent could smell… a dirty nappy! Not wanting to miss the train (it was already dangerously close to peak hour) and not wanting to change a toddlers nappy on a train, poor Farley had to endure that situation for a bit longer. Then, the final another scene to our comedy of errors, once the train terminated at Hornsby, we got off and went up to the concourse to find out which platform we needed to go to to catch the train back to our stop. Only to discover we literally had to return to the train we had just got off! 

What a day! Thankfully I had the help of Dad and Donna but it did make me rethink any solo train trips into the city with both a toddler and baby. However, I really loved the Royal Botanic Gardens, and am very keen to go back one weekend with Braino. The sprawling parklands are the perfect place for families to enjoy nature, relax, explore or get active. And it’s right in the heart of the city! I could spend all day strolling around the beautiful gardens and it’s ideal for little toddlers to have a wander and explore. If you’re visiting with a toddler I’d suggested a trip on the Choo Choo Express, hunting for dinosaurs with the interactive Jurassic Garden or look into the weekly Dandy Lion’s playgroup. (They are one our list for our next visit)

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Pollination at The Calyx is on until 15th of August 2018. 

TIPS AND INFORMATION

  • Getting there: The Royal Botanic Gardens are right in the heart of Sydney. We caught the train in and walked from Circular Quay, however there are parking options and many nearby bus stops. There is great information on the Royal Botanic Garden's website.
  • Cost: Entry to the Royal Botanic Gardens is free! Entry to the Pollination display was also free however donations were appreciated. 
  • Pram Friendly?: Yes, there is plenty of paved pathways and lots of space!
  • Sun Protection: There is a bit of shade throughout the gardens however, definitely pack hats, suncream and protective clothing and avoid a really hot sunny day with toddlers. We went on an overcast day around 30 degrees and it was pleasant. 
  • Dining: There is a number of cafes and restaurants within the gardens. We had lunch at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant and would recommend it. However, it's also the perfect spot to bring a picnic and enjoy sitting amongst nature. For a full list of dining options, head to this page of the website.