ACCESSIBLE IDEAS FOR WINTER HOLIDAYS

As school holidays loom it’s time to start thinking about how we are going to entertain the kids for two weeks in this wintery weather. Melbourne is the world’s most livable city (again!), but it’s not always easy to find accessible, sensory sensitive or inclusive options for our kids. So we’ve put in some of the ground work to bring you the top five accessible activities for your kids these July school holidays!

1. Visit Wonderland – low sensory exhibition – Sunday 15 July 2018

You might have to wait until the last day of school holidays to take advantage of the low sensory opportunity, but it will be worth the wait! Follow Alice’s journey through Wonderland and through the decades that this timeless story has spanned. The exhibition is open now until October, with only one sensory friendly session remaining – Sunday 15 July. The sensory friendly session include a dedicated quiet zone, lowered sound and light stimulation, and fewer visitors in the exhibition at once. Check the ACMI website closer to the date for a pre-planning social script developed in consultation with Amaze. Ensure you book to avoid disappointment! Bookings: www.acmi.net.au/events/wonderland-low-sensory-exhibition-visit/

2. All 4 Mess – Super messy sensory fun for everyone!

All 4 Mess is the perfect place for children of all ages to enjoy messy and creative sensory play. With 90 minutes to paint, squelch, rub, splash, squeeze and splat, kids are sure to get their sensory fix for the day. There is one session per day from 10am to 12pm and sessions are just $15 per child. Sessions can be booked out for larger groups, so get the gang together and book today! Accessible and inclusive All 4 Mess is suitable for wheelchairs and includes a wheelchair accessible bathroom. Bookings: www.facebook.com/all4mess/

3. Viri VR – A special treat for the tech lovers!

Viri VR is Melbourne’s most immersive virtual reality experience. It’s a bit on the pricey side (around $20-$50 depending on the experiences you choose) and not suitable for people with epilepsy, but for lovers of tech and gaming, it could definitely get you some serious school holiday brownie points! Choose from defending your castle in virtual reality archery, car racing, 15 different games in a private booth, or for the thrill seekers – The Plank. Most games are suitable for people using wheelchairs. Bookings are preferred: https://virivr.com.au/

4. Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at the Melbourne Museum

A kooky and quirky space for discovery for children of all ages. There’s space to climb, crawl, balance, build, discover and touch, as well as a great outside area featuring dinosaurs and water play. The Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery could keep the kids entertained for the morning, but don’t forget that the older kids (and adults!) have the whole museum to explore too! The museum is open every day and admission is free for kids and concession holders and just $15 for adults – making it an affordable full day out for the whole family. Find out more and see the social story: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whats-on/childrens-gallery/

5. Melbourne Magic Festival – with ‘Magic in the Dark’ thanks to Vision Australia

The Melbourne Magic Festival casts its spell across Melbourne from 2 to 14 July with 65 different shows including top international guest magicians from all over the world! There are dozens of shows and workshops for all ages, including The Kids Magic Gala, Tim Credible’s Family Magic Show and Magic School, and Playdate with Silly Billy. For the ultimate accessible and inclusive sensory experience you’ll never forget, why not check out Magic in the Dark (for adults and older children 8-10+ years)! Magic in the Dark, a show developed for vision impaired people, is the only magic show worldwide that takes place in absolute darkness – and it’s in Australia for the very first time! Sighted people will be asked to wear blindfolds, as does the performer, Juan Esteban Varela. ‘Magic In the Dark invites the public to witness the possibility to be astonished and live magic without using their sight, participating in an experience that allows them to activate the intellect, fantasy and emotion.’ All venues are wheelchair accessible (booking form required: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/accessibility/) and all shows accept companion cards. Find out what’s on at the Melbourne Magic Festival here: http://melbournemagicfestival.com/