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Saturday, 25 September 2021

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On Wednesday, we ventured up to the city (an adventure in itself), to visit Polly Woodside. No - Polly is not a person, but a gorgeous tall-Ship - here's a little blurb:

"The Polly Woodside was built in Belfast in 1885 by Workman Clark & Co Ltd and operated as a cargo vessel, carrying coal, nitrate and wheat between England and South America, and also visiting North America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

The Polly Woodside is among the best in the world as a surviving example of a late nineteenth century barque rigged, iron-hulled, ocean-going trading ship and was awarded the World Ship Trust Medal for achievement in the preservation of maritime heritage."

I have to say - it was fabulous.

We arrived in time for the 2:00pm session of the holiday program. The other option was a tour of Polly - but having four children aged 2, 4, 7 and 9; we opted for the program fun, and although the tour-group sounded like they were having a grand time, who can pass up a treasure hunt and pirates!

After our crew initiation by the fabulous SHARA (she has the patience of a saint), we (being given the roles of Ships Purser, Able-bodied Seaman, First Mate and Ships Cat), headed through the gallery to hunt for locations 'around the world' have our passports stamped. Lots to see and learn in the very well thought-out gallery, but my crew were keen to get outside onto Polly herself.

We were met outside by BERTIE, who addressed us as 'scurvy seagulls', and instantly had the attention of all of my children (not an easy feat!), as we stomped aboard the ship. Once aboard, we ran from side-to-side to see if we could 'rock the boat' (yes!), and then lay on the deck to watch the masts move, and then hunted for the ships-cats and rats! We then headed below deck for some creating of parrots for our shoulders, and pirate masks, and a hunt through by-gone years for livestock and cargo. Hunting for more rats whilst moving to the front of the ship and heading up to the bow, where we were all involved in keeping watch and shouting 'ship AHOY'. Once we had unsuccessfully tried to hoist the anchors with our hands, we learnt about the 'head' (toilet) on the boat, and how the sailors used a 'poo rope' rather than toilet paper to wipe their 'nether regions'. Ewwww. A quick run aft, and we checked out how big the captains wheel is. Super huge! Back below decks for some coin rubbings, and hanging on the crossbars to see if we could withstand the wind! We headed up into the Captains quarters - so grand - he had his own poo rope! Back up on deck we marched off Polly, and headed ashore for a treasure hunt. Much giggling and hunting abounds. Then we settled down for a pirate tattoo, and sharing of the treasure.

Much fun was had - all of my girls expressed a desire to 'do it again', and that's saying something! Bertie was a gem - he had the attention of each child (and us adults) the whole time, and kept everyone active and enthralled. My girls couldn't get enough, they would have been super happy to stay all day (but traffic awaited us, and little Miss Milla was exhausted and just wanted to go home).

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A highly recommended afternoon of fun!

If you have an afternoon (or day) to spare - do head on down to Polly Woodside. Totally worth it - fun and learning all combined into one. Always happy with that! She is located at South Wharf (right near DFO) and Melbourne Exhibition Centre in Melbourne. Lots of parking - lots to see. Lots of shopping (if I was that way inclined - read - if I didn't have four children attached to me...!) The parking was a little steep at $16, but if you purchase something at DFO, you can get your parking ticket discounted (like we need another reason to go shopping!). We took a picnic and ate on the steps of "Jeff's Shed", overlooking Polly Woodside. Lovely.

We were lucky enough to review Polly Woodside for the lovely people at LITTLE MELBOURNE. Thank-you Little Melbourne - we had a ball! Head on over there for some fabulous fun ideas and activities for the rest of the school holidays (if you are like us and have another week), or weekends.

Special thanks to our guest reviewer Kylie and her 4 mini kid-testers! Get further aquainted with Kylie while reading her blog a*muze*ing - and her photography; kylieclarkphotography.com

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