Floriade 2014 – this year with a Søren on the outside!

I posted last year about our Floriade visit with Astrid. Floriade is Canberra’s annual flower festival, held in Commonwealth Park. Last year I was 38 weeks pregnant with Søren and waddled around with my parents and a  2 year old Astrid. Prior to last year we had never taken Astrid to Floriade (slackness on our behalf since it’s a 15 minute drive from our house) but she totally loved it and had been excited to go back this year.  All of last years photos are here…….

Floriade runs for 4 weeks over September/October.  Last year we went in the last week of September, when my parents were visiting from Queensland. This year the weather had been glorious but Anto was keen to go and we held off our visit until his return from his overseas work trip.  Our visit happened to be the Saturday morning of the October long weekend (and school holidays) but we decided to go out early and try and beat the crowds.

A beautiful, warm Spring morning with no wind, we arrived at 9am with Anto’s parents (Grandma & Grandpa) in tow and got stuck into some flower viewing.  This year Astrid was relegated to walking (she got the stroller last year and Søren scored it this year).  Our visit was slightly later in the festival this year and sometimes the flowers start to look past their best, but the tulips were still going strong. Astrid loved smelling them. She also got up close and personal with one of the dinosaur sculptures and conned her Grandma into giving her shoulder rides. Søren just took it all in from his stroller.

We were hoping Søren would get over the excitement of flowers (and people to stare at) and have his morning nap in the stroller as we wandered around. He eventually gave in for a snooze. Astrid was enjoying her walk around, and was keeping her Grandma entertained with her non-stop chatter.  The tulips were stunning as always but there were plenty of lovely displays of pansies, daisies, poppies and the odd interesting variety of tulip.

With a still sleeping Søren, we headed down towards the lake section of Floriade. There were lots more flowers to admire and plenty of sculptures to play with. This year there was a giant green snail (last year was a big yellow duck) and the permanent sculptures like the drinking Kangaroos.  Trevor, Lorraine and Anto grabbed some coffees while Søren napped and Astrid played with the sculptures and we headed up towards the kids area.  The crowds had thus far been quite manageable and we were hoping it wasn’t going to get insanely busy too quickly, although it was a glorious day so we didn’t like our chances!

Last year Astrid adored the petting zoo at Floriade. This year, the petting zoo had already finished by the time we visited but there was a reptile exhibit on. Having learnt from last years experience we timed our arrival to the reptile exhibit for just before opening (10am) so we wouldn’t have to line up for too long.  We did well and were in the first group to go in.  Soren was still napping so stayed in the shade with his Grandpa and the rest of us headed into see some reptiles.

Astrid adored the turtles but was keen to give everything a good pat.  The was a good selection of reptiles to look at and touch and the presenters were helpful and friendly. Astrid had a great time and it was worth the visit.

Once we came out of the reptile exhibit, Søren was awake (not a long nap it would appear) so we headed off to find a shady spot for some morning tea.  We had made some chocolate and raspberry muffins that morning and Astrid was keen to get into them.  A shady spot was located and Søren thought all his Christmases had come at once when we let him have some muffin (he hadn’t had anything chocolaty before).  He demolished it and then proceeded to give me lots of cuddles. I didn’t tell him his Dad had actually baked the muffin……..

There are always a selection of rides at Floriade. Last year Astrid went on the teacup ride. This year we told her she could pick one ride and she chose the Ferris wheel.  Anto decided to take her and apparently she loved it.  At first she was unsure about the swaying carriage but once they got going it was all smiles. As a bonus you get a much better view of the flower formations from up high!

It was starting to get very busy and very warm so we decided to head back towards the exit, with some last flower viewing and we even caught sight of a giant preying mantis!

 We had looped around at least once and had covered all the different areas and could have spent many more hours there but were feeling like we’d had some sun and it was time to head home for lunch.  We did have time for a few family photos though. We did attempt to get some photos in front of the giant red snail, but that was an epic disaster. Instead we settled on some in front of some of the flowers.  Astrid and I had posed for photos in the exact same spot last year. That time there was a very wiggly Soren in my belly. This time he was being just wiggly in my lap. He is a lot bigger now though 🙂

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