Going to the Royal Melbourne Show at night is a different adventure to experiencing it during the day, and worth considering if you’re looking to mix up your Melbourne Show visit.
When: 10am – 9pm daily, Saturday 19 to Tuesday 29 September 2015
Where: Melbourne Showgrounds
Cost: General Admission family ticket is $85, but there are so many ticket options it’s best to check them all out to see what works for you (and there are discounts for booking early, online or at Woolworths). Click here for more information.
In 2014 I decided we would arrive at the Showgrounds late in the day; we’d grab dinner, watch the shows on the Main Arena and catch the closing fireworks. If you don’t want to make a full day of it – the evening is perfect (and there is even a special after 3pm rate, see the bottom of this page). The only downside is if you want to visit any of the display Pavilions or activities (like My Backyard, Paddock to Plate, Animal Nursery etc) you only have a small window (as most close around 5pm – unless they are selling something).
The evening we went it was a cold night (there was no wind or rain tho) and that may have explained why there were no queues for rides or games, we had the pick of the place. And down in the kids rides area it was almost a ghost town. I had given the children $10 each to spend on rides or games so we spent quite a bit of time scoping out how they might spend their money.
We visited the Tastes of Victoria and Woolworths Pavilions to stock up on dinner supplies before heading to the main arena to watch the evenings entertainment.
Out on the Main Arena we were treated to an “outback” show where horses, dogs and cows were put through their paces (along with some general clowning about). This was followed by the Freestyle Motorcross Stunt Show which had us (me) covering our eyes and (Charlie) cheering for more. It was pretty light hearted entertainment and perfect fodder for my 6 and 8 year old.
I would strongly encourage you to pack layers – it’s pretty cold sitting in open air arena. You may also want to factor in the weather before you leave home – there is no cover and performances may be cancelled if the weather is extreme.
Another consideration is the crowd – after dark it’s a different vibe to during the daytime. While there is a licensed area (and it’s more wine and beer tasting atmosphere as opposed to a rowdy bar) there are still loads of families out and about after dark, along with the packs of teenagers.
Also as soon as the fireworks are over pretty much everyone starts to leave – so expect a bit of a crowd getting onto the train (and, I suspect, a bit of a queue leaving the carpark if you drive).
What did we love about going at nighttime? Well at dusk the lights on the rides begin to sparkle and it’s really quite magical… the dust and tiredness of the daytime fades away and it’s more about the vibrant neon lights and pumping music (mixed with the smell of hot chips) – I found it a little exciting.
So do I have a favourite between daytime and nighttime?
Hmm it’s a tricky one – I am a sucker for the Show and I love seeing the baby animals, the different Pavilions, the livestock being judged, the arts and crafts, the activities happening at My Backyard, so it’s not quite the same for me not going during the day. Maybe as the kids are getting a bit older (and their stamina is increasing) we could have the best of both worlds and arrive just after lunch – still have time to do all the old school Show attractions before the sunsets and then check out the rides, food and entertainment. I reckon that could tick all my boxes ?
Check out our review and top tips for a daytime visit here.
Check out what’s on at the 2015 Royal Melbourne Show for families here.
The After 3 Pass is one of many different passes (there is also an After 5 Pass and a special discount for kids on Mondays and Tuesdays).