It was a beautiful winters day today to experience the first day of Snow Time in the Garden at Hunter Valley Gardens today. Lots of sun and not too cold!

This is one of my favourite local events as it wraps up all the fun activities of winter like ice skating, tobogganing, snowman making and snowball fights in one fun day. Originally from Canada, I’ve had enough snow and ice to last me a lifetime but still want to share the fun of winter with my daughter without having to drive to the snowfields. So Snow Time in the Garden is an easy and convenient way to have some winter fun.

Compared to last year’s event, this year’s event is much larger and much more fun. It runs for three weeks from Saturday 24 June until Sunday 16 July 2017 including the July school holiday period.

Our first activity was ice skating. You need to obtain tickets for each 20 minute session of ice skating at the nearby kiosk. All equipment is provided such as ice skates and helmets (for kids under 7).  I recommend getting tickets as soon as you arrive at the Snow Time Play Zone area as on busy days, sessions can book out quickly.

Start getting your skates organised about 10 minutes before your session start time. You’ll need it to to get skates and helmets on and then line up to be one of the first in line. (There’s a range of sizes in the skates and for young kids, there’s skates that buckle on to their shoes).

This year, there’s no skating frames available like last year so make sure you and your kids are confident to skate. It’s a shame that the orange bobby seals aren’t available this year. We noticed a few young kids that could have used them and instead were hanging on to the side or clinging to their parents. Hope they bring them back next year.

We had lots of fun ice skating in the undercover marquee and we found 20 minutes is a sufficient amount of time to skate before getting tired.

After ice skating, it was ice toboggan time along a 4o metre ice slide.

This ride features large inflatable tubes for parents and kids to go together or single smaller ones for kids who want to go by themselves.  Just be prepared – you’re positioned backwards on the tube to improve safety.

It’s lots of fun and you’ll find that you can’t do just one slide. You’ll end up going back for more like we did.

And then it was onto the Snow Time Play Zone which was a hit with the kids. This area has been enlarged in size this year so there is plenty of space for families to get in the snow and have fun. (Bring gloves or mitts if you have them so that little hands don’t get cold). Buckets, spades and eyes and noses for snowmen are provided.

There were lots of snowmen being built around the snow area. These two were so cute!

Be prepared for kids to get wet. I suggest bringing snow suits or a set of spare clothes just in case. Last year, I was so relieved that I had packed extra clothes as my child manage to get herself soaked especially when the snow started to melt into deep puddles.

For kids who want some more snow fun, the Snow Ball Challenge area is next door and was the site for some awesome snowball battles including parents who got in on the action.

After skating, we headed to the inflatables. This year, the opportunities to jump around have increased dramatically.There are now two separate inflatable areas, one for under 6 kids and one for older kids.

The live ice sculpting with Kenji Ogawa was a hit with the crowds today. Using tools and a chainsaw, he carved out art pieces out of ice blocks. He’ll be performing every weekend during Snow Time in the Garden.

There’s additional rides and attractions this year that attract an additional cost including the Ferris wheel, super slide, carousel and swing chair. You can buy tokens or buy an unlimited play wristband for $15.

The Swing Chair and Super Slide have height restrictions. Kids need to be at least 110cm to ride with an adult or 120cm to ride alone but if they meet the height requirement and enjoy rides, get an unlimited play wristband as it works out much better value for money

The new flying Swing Chair will get your adrenalin pumping as you fly 12 metres above the ground. Just don’t go on it too many times repeatedly or you will feel nauseous!

The 12 metre high HVG Super Slide is just as fun and is a massive 35 metres long. Kids and adults get to slide down this fun ride using a slide mat.

Slow things down on the Ferris Wheel and see the Gardens and beyond from 25 metres up in the air.

There’s also the new carousel which was custom made in Italy specifically for Hunter Valley Gardens. It’s perfect for younger kids.

So for those like me who like winter activities without too much hassle, check out Snow Time. The event gets better each year and this year I definitely noticed the difference with more staff (all of them super-friendly), more efficient and organised lines and a better event layout.

It was a fantastic family day out with lots of things for parents and kids to do together. With all of the activities on offer, I felt that it was great value for the ticket price especially as you can tour the gardens afterwards as well which we did.

*** If you can, visit during the week. In previous years, it can get busy on weekends with lots of visitors from Sydney driving up to Snow Time in the Garden***

Snow Time at Hunter Valley Gardens runs from Saturday 24 June to  Sunday 16 July 2017  from 10am to 7pm on weekdays and 10am to 9pm on weekends. Most of the activities are FREE after paid Garden entry. Daily activities include ice skating, toboggan, snow time play zone, snowball challenge, inflatables and face painting. Check the website for specific activity times. Weekend activities include live ice sculpting.

Admission: $32 for Adult, $25 for Child. Family Pass $102 (2 Adults +2 children). Kids under 3 free. Note: you can use your Entertainment Book  to get one free admission when you purchase another.

Disclosure: The Mummy Project received free tickets for review purposes. However all opinions are my own.

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