What might you expect to see and do at the Docklands for Open House Melbourne 2013? We spent the Saturday of OHM 2013 at the Docklands and have reported back below. If you have Facebook on your smartphone be sure to follow Open House Melbourne so that you can check the regular que updates – these can save you wasting time waiting in a que when you could be off somewhere else seeing something!
The highlights for us today (links to their event pages are in their names):
NAB Headquarters – this was an unexpected delight.
Loads of NAB staff have given up their weekends to help out so there were happy faces everywhere giving us loads of attention. When we first arrived (at about 11.30am) we came in on the tail end of the biggest rush of the day for NAB and so in some confusion we missed our tour group – it didn’t matter as we’d found our way into the NAB Hub which is an incredible space. Okay I NEVER thought I would ever say I want to work at a bank, but this office is seriously awesome – I want to work there and, even more curious, my kids announced they want to live there.
In the Hub we played with interactive walls, got some inflatable toys, helped ourselves to drinking water (coolest bubblers I’ve ever seen), “visited” the extremely cool bathroom, tried an amazing collection of groovy chill out chairs and saw some video displays. There is a dedicated kids activity – but it’s really aimed at older kids who are either pretty savvy with history or have time/patience to find all the answers dotted around the space. Immi (7) took one look at the activity sheet and turned it over and used the coloured pencils to make her own drawing – Charlie (5) was too busy with the inflatable football to care for sitting down with pencils (I am sure he never even noticed pencils being handed out!). If you’re into Facebook or Twitter then don’t miss the social media area in the Hub – an eye opening glimpse into how big business does social media.
The building tour was about 15 minutes long and we got a glimpse at the beautiful layout, the spaces inside and outside, the technology and the environmental efforts that this building’s design can be celebrated for – outside might be blowing a gale, inside was calm and warm.
LEGO Education Centre – Green City Challenge Build
I should point out that this venue has very little architectural significance as a space – on an ordinary day it’s just a shop space in the Docklands that sells LEGO and has an activities area where you can pay $5 to play with LEGO, host your child’s birthday party etc. As part of Open House Melbourne the Education Centre is still running it’s everyday business, but out the front of the store (under cover) are tables set up where 25 people at a time can go all out to build whatever they fancy using only green bricks. You have about 20 – 30min to complete your structure and then when your time is up you can add it to the ever-growing city.
We arrived at 2pm and joined the que for the next session (I checked with the staff and it seems that for most of today the wait has been 20 – 30 minutes at most). Our session, the 2.30 session, was the last for the day – there was still loads of LEGO for us all to use… but by the time we’d finished it was getting low – at the beginning of the day there had been six 90 litre tubs filled with green LEGO! And stretched along the porch of the Centre (and it’s neighbours) was a fantastic Green City.
FYI it is under cover, but the Docklands can be blowy and our day had turned from sunny to cold and windy, so we were a tad under-dressed and starting to feel the cold after an hour out there. I would only recommend this if you have keen LEGO fans (which my kids are) as it’s not located near any other Docklands OHM events.
As for the rest of the Docklands OHM, well…
- We turned up at the Port of Melbourne Boat Tour (goes every hour on the hour) a bit before 1pm but it was full (the boat takes up to 240 passengers). Apparently if you want to secure a spot turn up 30 minutes before it leaves. We’d just finished at NAB and there was nowhere else nearby (interesting for the kids) to hang out at for 30 minutes so we gave it a miss (LEGO was calling). By all accounts this tour should be a great way to see Melbourne from another viewpoint and at 45 minutes in length it’s not too long to be trapped on a vessel – I am pretty sure my kids would have found this fun. If we’d timed it a bit better we would have definitely been up for this, so if you’re planning your day at Docklands try to get to this early!
- Channel 9 gave out all their tickets for the whole days tours at 10am this morning so we didn’t have a chance (yay Saturday morning sports). We decided to pop in anyways and have a look – the doors were locked and the poor OHM volunteers were being grilled by a rather unhappy crowd. Channel 9 was only running their tours today, Saturday. Watch this space for 2014.
- We would have liked to have gone to the Mission to Seafarers but it was possibly a 15 minute walk (without factoring in the wind) and the wind was really crazy – plus we noticed on the OHM Facebook feed that the que at Seafarers was heavy, so I am glad we didn’t make the walk in that wind to discover it was a long wait.
- Melbourne weather – that sunny warm morning fooled us into thinking we didn’t need our heavy coats. But afternoon winds and grey skies are a formidable combo in the Docklands; it was fine in some spots, but turn a corner and suddenly we would be caught in a vicious wind tunnel that made walking 50m feel like 500m!
So did you go to OHM today? What did you see – what did you think? Are you going tomorrow – what’s top of the list? There are so many places I want to go I am still undecided. Leave a comment below to help me decide!