Well, okay, bubbles.
Kelly and I took Abby and Tim to Sovereign Hill yesterday, to see the School-Holiday Snow! It's created with machines perched on some rooftops which blow a whole lot of froth down from the sky; it does look quite a bit like snow, enough to thrill the kids.
We went in at openning time (10am) and started wandering around. Tim's first mission was to get to the top of the poppet head (which he stubbornly calls "the Eiffel Tower") because his mum "never lets him" (ie. she can't be bothered carrying Ezra up all the stairs). We looked through the battery, which was broken today, thus quiet, and Tim was very interested in how it all worked. We headed to the main street to see the first "snow" and buy Cheap lollies, and then down to see the "lolly making" exhibit. Then the kids went into one of the old houses, where there was a nice fire burning, to listen to some stories. At 12 we headed up to the boiler house, because Nathan was cooking us 4 pototoes for lunch. But they weren't ready, so we decided to see the Gold Pouring demonstration instead. Afterwards, we picked up our potatoes and headed for the kiosk tables. When our butter-drowned spuds were gone, we walked back up to the boiler house, where Nathan let Abby and Tim come behind the barriers and blow the 1pm whistle. They each had a go; Nathan said he'd gotten permission for a 1:01pm whistle, too! Then Abby and Tim listened (very patiently) to the Stoked Tour, which is "how steam works" for kids. It was a little over their heads, perhaps, but then again, one should never underestimate the understanding of children.
After that long talk, it was time for cakes! We found the bakery and picked out some good sugary stuff to restore our energy levels. We did some gold panning, watched a silly but funny play in the old theater and went 9-pin bowling. We visitted the school and tried to write with the old pen-and-nibs and inkpots. Tim wrote every combination of "T" and "I" and "M" you could imagine without actually writing "TIM". Abby mainly drew pictures, and was as pleased as punch when the "school-teacher" told her they were good. We also lost Tim for a bit, which was... er... not part of the plan; he was singularly unaffected (for such a normally timid kid). Someone had taken him to the office, and one of the 'soldiers' walked around with him a bit until he found us. I asked him if he'd had fun, and he said "yeah" and that he just thought he would wander off!
They were pretty tired by the end of the day, and so was I! But they were very well-behaved, and I think they had a lot of fun. As I left, Tim was trying to explain to his Grandpa the sound that the whistle made when he pulled the rope; funny!