Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Ekka-cational Experience

For the past two weeks I have listened to people's opinions on the value of going to the Ekka? Is there any one friend asked me? Yesterday my husband and I took Master 2 and Master 4 to the Ekka (for those non-Quennslanders it is a show to promote and encourage the agricultural and industrial development of Queensland; as well as provide a unique opportunity for country and urban residents to come together in a celebration of Queensland lifestyle.) The Ekka (and previously Royal Melbourne Show when I was growing up) has held a special place in our family calender ever since I can remember. My mum, as a young girl, use to travel from the country with her parents and siblings to compete in the annual show jumping held in the famous arena. So as a young girl each year we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the crowds, looking through all the exhibits, eating dag wood dogs and finally spending our saved-up pocket money on that precious show bag! I have so many fond memories of going to the show as a child that I have now embraced it as a yearly tradition with my own kids (and mum!). Many people I know are of the opinion that it is too expensive and a waste of money. This can certainly be the case if you are simply there to enjoy the rides, eat terrible take-away food and buy too many show bags. On the flip side the Ekka for us was a wonderful family day out where my boys got to participate in so many wonderful hands-on learning experiences. We always take our own food to the Ekka and make sure that we have plenty to see us through the day. The boys enjoyed a treat yesterday whilst we were watching the horse/cattle activities in the arena but other than that there was no need to spend money on food. I had taken the time to really plan the the day for the boys so that we would get the most out of the activities on offer before they became too tired. I don't normally post individual photos on my blog but in this case I was so impressed with the learning opportunities at the Ekka that I wanted to share them with you. Basically in a day at the Ekka you could:
• Watch a lamb being born!

• See a beef cattle ultrasound!

• Talk to a farmer!

• Take part in a scientific experiment!

• Measure a horse!

• Taste some honey straight from the hive!

• See giant pumpkins!

• Plant a seed, take it home, watch it grow!

• Judge your favourite chicken!

• Milk a cow!

• Discover how much energy it takes to power up your favourite games console.

Here are just some of the great learning opportunities the boys took part in at the Ekka this year...

We started off the morning joining Max and Milly for a fun packed all singing and dancing Barnyard Boogie. Master 2 is a big fan and was very excited to see his favourite animals on stage.

The strawberry sundae, originated at the Ekka in the early 1950s and quickly became synonymous with all things Ekka. This is as an Ekka icon, we couldn't get away with not treating the boys to one! The famous sundae with its crunchy cone with layers of fresh chopped Queensland strawberries, smooth vanilla and strawberry ice-cream and clouds of fluffy cream topped with a juicy strawberry was enough to keep Master 2 quiet for a few minutes!!!!

Master 2 is animal crazy so was delighted to spend time looking at and touching these life size animals on display for the children.

My favourite part of the Ekka, the chance to interact with the animals and feed them. Beats singing "Old Mac Donald had a farm" when you can meet all the animals, touch them and feed them.

Master 4 really enjoyed the experience of working along side many other children and making pictures using fresh fruit and vegetables!

The Queensland Institute of Medical Research stand was a favourite. It was an interactive laboratory area that allowed Master 4 to dress up like a scientist, and try his hand at lab work.

Master 4 looking at some white blood cells!

Master 2 using a magnifying glass to look at rocks and fossils before beginning the Dinosaur Dig.

Getting Funky with Fruit and Vegies!

This was my favourite exhibition. The clever farmers have made amazing displays using fresh fruit and veg. My favourite (well there were many) was the one above "Once Upon a Time."
The display included characters and settings from well known Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes that you had to find! Truly amazing.

And of course there was a display with trains in it!!!

An alphabet display using apples!

Master 2 in his element as the boys pretended to drive the Fire Truck and look at all the equipment on board.

Riding an old fashioned tractor from the Caboolture Heritage Display.

Master 2 had been saying all week that he wanted to ride a pink horse! I was glad to be able to show him the difference between the Merry-go-round horse he rides after the shopping each Friday and a real horse!
Although we didn't get to see and do everything on offer at the Ekka we certainly had a great day and I had two very tired and quiet boys on the trip home to the Sunshine Coast! zzzz zzz zzzz!!!

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