September 24, 2012

The Enchanted Maze Garden

55 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat (Mel 159 E12)

The Enchanted Maze Garden is one of Melbourne's real treasures for under-fives and on a sunny day it is a simply magical place to visit.

Located in the beautiful hinterland of Arthurs Seat, above Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula, it offers an amazing array of activities for children of all ages. There are several mazes, including a dedicated Children's Maze with a fairy garden, animal sculptures, rabbit enclosure, sand pit and an interactive game of snakes & ladders.

The main Hedge Maze is fun to explore, and small enough to let your kids do so independently or in teams, whilst The Turf Maze with the Loch Ness Monster in the middle makes for a fun game of tiggy without stepping on the grass.

The Bush Scramble obstacle course is better for kids aged 4+ but our younger ones still enjoyed exploring it where they could, and they loved going into the chook and duck enclosure located closeby.

The real hit with the kids (and the adults too) are the giant tube slides. This is a lot of work with under-fives as you have to pull the large tubes (and children perhaps) up a steep slope and then you need to ride with them, but it's well worth the effort if you can manage it. These are are not water slides, so there is no need to cater especially for this activity (although you may want a dry pair of undies for mum!) For parents with multiple children under five, it is recommended that you visit with more than one adult for this activity. My husband and I went with four kids aged 2, 3, 5 & 6 years of age and all of the kids rode the tube slides several times - the older girls together, and the younger boys with each adult.

Moving on through the stunningly landscaped gardens, you will encounter many different sculptures, including the King and Queen's Thrones and Ken Blum's chainsaw art pieces. You will also discover The Obstacle Course which includes a rope swing, swaying bridge, tunnel, bouncy planks and a see-through maze.

Make sure you rub the tummies of the smiling Buddhas lining the steps up to The 3D Indoor Maze before you prepare your children for the Spooky Maze. The website for this attraction advises that this maze may scare children under five so you need to judge for yourself whether this is appropriate for your child. We went through with all four kids, and yes they found it scary, but they understood that by taking off their 3D glasses it became less scary. There are no live actors within the maze but there is a moving rotation bridge that you can bypass if it all gets too much. I would advise leaving prams at the entrance/exit and holding any children aged under 3.

Entry to The Enchanted Maze Garden is fairly expensive ($91 for 2 adults & 4 kids), but this is a set fee that covers all activities including multiple mazes, animals, obstacle courses, tube slides and the 3D spooky maze. Personally I felt that it was well worth the admission price given the number of activities it offered and the work that has gone into creating and maintaining this attraction.

The Amazing Lolly Shop is located at the main entrance and offers sweets, snacks, coffee and re-usable water bottles for kids. There is also a cafe located upstairs, but we did not dine here on this occasion. Alternatively you can bring your own picnic to have on the lawns or in one of the several marquees scattered throughout the grounds.

The Enchanted Maze Garden is open everyday of the year 10am to 6pm (except Xmas Day). The Tube slides and Indoor 3D Maze are open until 4pm weekdays and 5pm on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. Prices are as follows;
Adults $29
Children 3-17 years (must be accompanied by an adult)$19
Children 2 and under Free
Family Pass (2 adults + 2 children)$79 -additional children with Family Pass rate $12
Seniors $23
Aged Pensioners $19
For more information, visit The Enchanted Maze Garden website.

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