Melbourne Zoo – We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you?”

Come on, who doesn’t love the zoo!

It’s fantastic for kids of all ages.

 

Even as an adult, I LOVE visiting the Melbourne Zoo there’s a great diversity of animals on display and plenty of interesting things to see and do.

Even though we don’t live in Melbourne, we have been quite often, and try to fit in a trip when we visit a couple of times a year, as it never gets boring!

At the zoo you can move around and tire out the little ones, there is a playground and lots of spaces to sit and rest, food, coffee and lots of different animals to see.

We usually spend about 4 -5 hours there, its not a place you want to rush, we take our time and have a picnic lunch under a big shady tree around midday. A packed picnic lunch and snacks really helps minimises the cost of the day, food is expensive and isn’t of the best tasting I’ve tired in places like this, so I highly recommend bringing your own.

We find the location easy to get to, we normally drive to the zoo and parking has never been an issue but I’m told that it can be a nightmare if going on the weekend. We have caught the train also a few times which drops you right out the front of the entrance and makes for a fun and easy travel solution with kids.

Make sure you find out the show times upon entry so you can catch the shows on throughout the day, they teach you more about the particular animals, the ‘Meet The Keeper’ has a lot of information and may even allow you to pat an animal they have been talking about.

The thing I like most, beside the animals of course is that most of the zoo is shaded by trees, so even on a hot day you can enjoy the visit you don’t feel like you are in a concrete jungle.

It does get busy and can be very tiring for little ones so if they are walking its a good idea to pack the pram and lots of water, each time we have gone it has taken us around 4 plus hours just to walk around the zoo, that’s a lot of steps for little legs.

Price as of October 2017

Children 3 years and under receive FREE entry every day

Children 4 Р15 years FREE weekends and Victoria school holidays but Mon РFri (outside holidays)  $18.00

Concession $27 and Seniors $32.50

Yearly Zoo Membership is available for Melbourne zoo, Werribee zoo and Healsville and locals tell me it’s definitely worth the money for an adult pass as children are free with that ticket and it gives you unlimited entry to 3 zoos, kids register for FREE and access to VIP members only events.

I love the zoo and will be going back again on our next visit as its always a highlight of our Melbourne trip.

For more information visit the official zoo website Click Here



Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach – Phuket Paradise

I have had so many questions on where we stayed in Phuket recently and I have no hesitation in recommending the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach

They have all the bases covered for an active holiday, regardless of weather conditions.

Just how Marriott has managed to keep the personal touch in such large grounds is a mystery, yet also a welcome surprise.

Located on a secluded stretch of Tri-Tang Beach it’s close to the excitement of Patong close by, but the serene surroundings make it seem a world away.

Take advantage of the Phuket weather and relax by one of the three outdoor pools, while the kids  enjoy some time at the kids club with an all day activity program available from 8am to 8pm.

I can’t speak highly enough of all the staff, they were all fantastic and so very welcoming, the whole resort is just so beautifully set out and clean.

Of course you get all the little extras that 5 star offers like slippers and bathrobes and the cute towel animals on your bed every day but the main thing is being able to walk straight into the pool from your room. It is such a nice touch to wake up, open the curtains and step into the pool for an early swim before heading over to a huge breakfast at one of the two buffets available.

The private beach was right on our doorstep and if that’s not enough beach for you the hotel has a free bus that leaves 4 times a day that can drop you down to Patong for some local shopping and lots and lots of food plus more beach!

Below are a couple of real highlights that you can do with out even leaving the hotel.

Indulge At The Thai Pantry

Dinning at the Thai Pantry at the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach is a must do! You must order the chicken and pork satay, papaya salad and vegetable rolls topped off with some fresh mango juice. Good value for top class cooking in an elegant restaurant, service was so friendly and professional we ate here on the first night staying at the hotel and knew straight away that another visit would be needed before we left.

Learn To Cook

While in Phuket, there is no better place to learn to cook world-renowned Thai food, what an awesome experience it was to learn to cook three dishes, all of which were simple to make, and exploded with taste.

The Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach classes provide a fascinating insight into Thai life, beliefs and culture through learning about its food, cooking and culinary myths, we learnt about the exotic herbs and spices used in everyday dishes.
Classes are part demonstration, part hands-on and are held in the Pantry restaurant at the Marriott Resort and Spa Merlin Beach a couple of times a week. We had a blast, the staff were amazing teachers and very patient with me (someone with pretty lousy cooking skills) but the best bit is getting to eat the lavish feast you have prepared at the end.

Visit The Butterflies

It is always fascinating to learn how nature works her magic turning the caterpillars into beautiful butterflies. If you want to see lots of butterflies, this is the place to come. There are also a large numbers of insects and other creepy crawlies and educational displays. We had an enjoyable hour getting hands on and learning from our guide Katy. Located in the heart of the Marriott Merlin Beach it’s available for in-house guests and made for a great educational experience for us and the kids.

It’s a great resort that I highly recommend for families with children, the best thing is the kids are asking when we’re going back and I’m ready to go anytime.

 

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Marriott but, as always, opinions are honest and my own.