Kayla’s mum is big on getting “experiences” as gifts for the kids, such as our trip to Ballarat last year. This works out pretty well for me as it means I get to do something fun and Charlie doesn’t get something big to try and fit into our tiny house. This time for Christmas, they took us all to the Melbourne Museum to see Bricktionary: the ultimate A–Z of LEGO® and the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery.
We had to skip our first week back at swimming lessons, which was fine as I couldn’t find my new board shorts anyway. When we were getting ready, Charlie only wanted to climb over his mum the entire morning, making it difficult for us to get ready. I had to get my mum to come over and help us get ready or else we’d be late.
On the way there, we had a sneaky stop at McDonald’s so Kayla could get an iced coffee, but we turned it into a large double cheeseburger meal so Charlie and I could have something to eat. We parked at a pre-booked multilevel car park a few streets away and ran into Tan, Steve, Emily, Holly and Edie as we were crossing the road to get there.
When we neared the museum, we saw that there was another LEGO event next-door at the Royal Exhibition Building – Brickvention Melbourne. It looked massive and would have been cool to go to as well, but there was no way we’d get around the museum and this without the kids getting too tired and grumpy.
There were people dressed in Star Wars costumes out the front of the place entertaining the people in line and Steve took a few photos of them.
Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery
We had a 9.30 booking for the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, but we were a little late and Jess, Travis and their kids weren’t there yet, so we lined up for the 10 am session. Whilst it’s basically a “free” exhibition with ticket entry, you have to book a time so that the place doesn’t get too full and presumably to ensure they can clean it between groups since it’s all very hands-on. It is for babies and children up to 5 years old, which was perfect for Charlie.
What is the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery? It is an interactive playground and miniature museum for children. It has sections about animals, plants, aboriginal culture and more. The centrepiece is a giant tree-like playground and you could see that the kids absolutely loved it.
Since I knew I’d be dad-blogging about this and we were at the front of the line, I got to go into the back end of the playground before all the slow little kids to get some photos of everything before they were in it. I try not to get too many random kids in my photos.
The above ropes can be pulled down to make objects near the roof spin and move. With enough people, you can get everything moving.
Pink Wombat Sculpture
Charlie climbed on a pink wombat. After a while, Jess, Travis, Hayley and Zac arrived. They live an hour and forty minutes from Melbourne, so it was quite a trek for them. Edie had a lot of fun playing chasey with other random kids and I also ran into my friend Evan who was there with his kid. He told me to make sure we checked out the rainforest area.
I think Kayla said that Charlie ran straight into one of these mirrors.
Getting a photo of Charlie crawling through this area was hard.
Taxidermy for Kids
Hayley asked me if these animals were real and I said yes and explained how taxidermy worked and that they take all the blood and guts out of the animal and replace it with stuffing. This answer made her angry and she complained to everyone about what I said. Everyone said I was lying so she punched me in the stomach.
There was also an outdoor section with a sandpit and some other things for kids to play with. I think you were also allowed to eat out here.
Design Your Own Butterfly
Edie coloured in a butterfly which led to a 3D animation of her butterfly appearing on a TV.
Bricktionary The Exhibition by Brickman
Edie, Charlie and Hayley outside the Bricktionary Exhibition.
Giant LEGO Eagle
The exhibition had a couple of large and smaller builds for each letter of the alphabet such as this eagle.
Giant LEGO Goat
I found it kind of cheeky that they made a giant LEGO goat sculpture given the rarity of this piece. The LEGO goat Minifigure has only appeared in Mill Village Raid from 2011. I believe the mould for it broke, so it’s not been reissued. These push $200 AUD on eBay nowadays. You can see the original goat LEGO Minifigure and carrot next to it that this sculpture is based on in a little box on its back.
This keyboard was realistic, but a few pieces were missing or broken by people touching it.
Charlie Building LEGO
Emily helping Charlie make a car.
LEGO Stephenson’s Rocket
According to Wikipedia “Stephenson’s Rocket is an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement. It was built for and won the Rainhill Trials of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, held in October 1829 to show that improved locomotives would be more efficient than stationary steam engines.”
Animal from The Muppets LEGO Sculpture
Given that there’s now a Muppets Animal Minifigure, I was surprised they didn’t include it inside here.
Giant LEGO Hotdog Man
There were several giant LEGO Minifigure characters made from bricks.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory LEGO
Build Your Own LEGO Animal
Kayla, Edie and Holly at the animal building kiosk.
They had a big wall that anyone could add to by following instructions on iPads. Most of our kids were too young to really do this, so I don’t think any of us did it.
These giant brick-built LEGO Bionicles (in their rolled-up forms) were impressive, but there was no signage or context or so a lot of older people were unsure what they were.
Lego Polar Bears
This tiny little build was actually one of my favourite features. I’ve got a massive Jurrasic Park/World layout in my garage so animal enclosure ideas are always fun for me.
Giant LEGO Tree
Kids were able to add their animal creations below this giant LEGO tree.
Picnic at Melbourne Museum
Kayla’s mum brought a little cheese platter with salami, a few kinds of cheeses, twiggy sticks, dip and crackers. It was pretty good! Whilst Steve, Tanya, Emily, Charlie, Kayla and myself made a start on these, the rest were inside getting drinks. When they returned they had fairy bread from home and also bought some food at the cafe.
The kids were very keen for the fairy bread.
Charlie and Zac got along really well and had a lot of fun chasing birds.
Free Water at Melbourne Museum
The kids were very fascinated by the drinking fountain and water bottle filling station.
Zac was very good with Charlie and gave him lots of cuddles.
Out of Bounds
At some point whilst we were outside, Hayley stole my hat and threw it over the balcony to the outside of the museum. I thought she was just being mean, but as I’ve been writing this, it dawned on me that she was probably still angry at me for “lying” about the taxidermy animals being real, which was actually the truth. She felt pretty bad about it and said sorry. Someone in the park below threw it back up to Emily.
Dinosaur Exhibition at Melbourne Museum
We saw the standard dinosaur exhibition, it was quite impressive. Most of what people discussed was about whether or not the giant skeletons were real or replicas. The way that the support frames seemed to be fused with the bones and that they are fresh-bone coloured suggests they have been cast out of plaster or other materials.
Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs at Melbourne Museum
The triceratops had a lot of emphasis on it being very complete, including the tips of horns and tail. The fact that it was black and with very distinct poles and scaffolding to hold it up suggests the earlier dinosaurs were replicas. The lighting and atmosphere of the triceratops exhibition were very impressive.
Insect Exhibition at Melbourne Museum
As the day went on, everyone took fewer photos. I really liked the insect exhibition but Charlie was asleep for most of it. The only photo I took was the one below.
The ant graveyard was fascinating. I don’t know how often they clean these out, but these ants look like they’ve been dropping like flies. I saw several ants heading this way bringing bodies of other dead ants across to join the pile. It also looks like the ants have taken out a few crickets or other insects as well as I can see a few legs and other body parts here that are not from ants.
After the insect exhibition, we all sat down for a bit and I ran into cousin Beth and met her new partner.
The last area we looked at was the Melbourne Exhibition which included a little exhibition about scale models then also had famous things to do with Melbourne in it, such as Phar Lap’s stuffed body. We didn’t take many pictures here as we were all getting pretty exhausted. We went home after this.
Just a guy with a nice home. Keith is lives in Melbourne, Australia and works at the digital marketing agency WebOracle. Keith has been working in digital marketing since 2009 and has two kids and two cats and has a fondness for 80s and 90s pop culture and junk food.