Friday, August 19, 2016

INTERVIEW | Omaha Children's Museum

By now I think it is no surprise that my family and I are very interested in discovering new interesting venues that we can take our children to and explore. We often take them to museums and venues like the art center or inspiring playgrounds that have been designed with the purpose of having fun, not only physically but also visually stimulating. 

Today I’d like you to tag along and follow me to the heartland of America, Nebraska and a visit to the Omaha Children’s Museum - an organization who provides children with all of the above and more! We sit down and chat with Michelle Chartrand - Director of Advancement and Matt Orand - Chief Operating Officer.

2016 has been quite a special year for OCM as you are celebrating your 40 year anniversary! Tell me how have you celebrated this monumental achievement and how did it all start back in 1976?

Michelle: The museum had quite a humble beginning back in 1976 and started as a traveling community program that operated out of the back of an old station wagon.  It’s pretty incredible to think that 40 years later we are the most visited museum in the state of Nebraska and serve nearly 300,000 people each year!  We’ve got lots going on to highlight our big anniversary including a big celebration on our official birthday June 25 which will include goodie bags, cupcakes and lots of birthday themed programming for guests that day.

We’ll also be doing a throwback to some of our original events including Sundae Sunday on June 26 which where the museum will have a sundae bar set up outside and will have celebrity scoopers on hand to help cap off our birthday weekend.

OCM is such a visually stimulating place for kids and parents to be, you obviously take a lot of care into the interior design of the museum. Who decides on the design of an exhibit like for instance the Imagination Playground, and what key elements goes into the design to make it visually fun and interesting for the kids exploring it?

Matt: The museum has always put a big emphasis on the look and feel of its exhibits and graphics. We strive to make everything bright, exciting and inviting. Although some of the permanent exhibits that were completed in a previous renovation were designed by an exhibit design firm, all of the recent exhibits, graphics and logos are designed by the museum’s in-house team.

That team includes an Art Director, Traveling Exhibits Coordinator, Exhibits and Facility Director and Graphic Designer.
You have both permanent exhibitions and traveling exhibitions at the museum, how do you choose which ones to make permanent?  

Matt: The incredibly large second floor of the museum that houses our temporary exhibits gives us the opportunity come up with a theme that can be delivered in a completely immersive way. We create two temporary exhibits a year and they have quickly become one of the most popular parts of our visitor’s experiences. The permanent exhibits are grouped into three main thematic areas; The Charlie Campbell Science Center, Creative Arts Center and Imagination Playground. With almost 300,000 visitors annually those exhibits see a lot of use. As they become worn, we look for opportunities to replace them with creative new pieces

And I hear new permanent exhibitions is coming up too? Anything for little train enthusiasts perhaps?

Matt: We are proud to have opened Susie’s Station, an interactive train depot named in honor of Susie Landow. The station includes hidden displays, an interactive train engine, a ticket window, a mysterious moving portrait and magnetic railroad map of the United States. Guests can explore these exhibit pieces as they wait to board the museum’s train ride.

Your last exhibition - The Super Powers was very highly attended and loved by both young and old, what are some of OCM’s favourite exhibitions from the past and what can we look forward to coming up next?

Matt: It would be impossible to pick a favorite. The museum has hosted world-class traveling exhibits like Sesame Street: The Body and LEGO Travel Adventures. It’s also created fully immersive exhibits like Itty-Bitty City, Construction Zone: Return of the Bulldozer and our current exhibit Pirates and Mermaids: Adventure to Creature Cove.

Our fall exhibit, Imagination, will celebrate the museum’s 40 year commitment to the power of play by highlighting and recreating some of our most beloved pieces. For visitors that are eager to find out what’s coming further down the road, we can only offer some hints: They can look forward to more prehistoric beasts, talking trees and some totally awesome pizza-loving heroes.

I have seen some sneak peeks at the OCM’s instagram (@omahachildrenmuseum) page of some of the amazing creatures you will have on your Pirates and Mermaids - Voyage to Creature Cove exhibit, what are some of the attractions parents and kids can explore on this swashbuckling adventure 

Matt: Kids can play on a giant “wave” that gets them close to a twenty foot long prehistoric shark named Chompy. Once on board of our forty foot long pirate ship they can scale the masts climb from bow to stern. As they explore the rest of the watery world, they will encounter a giant octopus, an elasmasoaraus, a giant purple ammonite and a mosasaurus. The exhibit also includes live marine life and tons of interactive programs that happen multiple times per day. Visitors will also want to be on the lookout for one of our many mermaids that hold the secrets of the sea!

I love the initiative of the Omaha Children’s Museum Welcome Fund, can you tell us a little bit about it? 

Michelle: Omaha Children’s Museums Welcome Fund program is 100% donor supported and is designed to share the museum experience with families and children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy our programs and exhibits.  This program allows the museum to offer $5 family memberships to low-income families in the Omaha Metro and to date has about 750 families who utilize this opportunity.

Working at the museum must be the best way to stay young! What is the most rewarding thing about working at the OCM?  

Michelle: There are SO many rewarding things about working at OCM.  One of the best parts of the job is seeing the families that walk thru our doors spend time together and watching kids explore our museum as they learn through play.  Each day is so different here at OCM and its fun to be part of a team that creates exciting, educational and most importantly, fun, exhibits and programs for young children and families. 

Matt: Working at the museum we get to share in the excitement and joy that our young visitors experience every time they walk through the doors. The most rewarding part of working here is being able to offer the unparalleled experience of open-ended imaginative play to thousands of children. Plus, we all get paid to play!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us and letting us peek into the wonderful learning experience that OCM is! A special thank you goes out to Shawn Toovey - the Director of Guest Experience for making this interview possible! 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MOMENTS | 'How To Disappear' by Bobo Choses

D wears: Knitted Abracadabra jumper by Bobo Choses / Pants by Soft Gallery / Shoes by Vans / Beanie by H&M. M wears: Bunny Sweatshirt by Bobo Choses / Baggy Tracksuit pants by Bobo Choses / Moccasins by Country Road.

Winter is here! The temperature is dropping fast and a long with biting winds and days of rain, we are happy to add some thicker wear to the wardrobes. Bobo Choses new AW16 collection entitled 'How To Disappear' is full of great choices for winter. The collection is "Inspired by the world of magic, the collection pays tribute to the children’s sense of wonder towards the extraordinary". We love the fact that almost the whole collection is unisex!

Bobo Choses is one of 'the' brands internationally for those who want cool kids clothes that appeal to both parents and children. This season you can expect a few welcomed updates keeping the collection fresh and exciting especially for those longterm fans. The vintage inspired colour palette is on-trend, with muted tones of white, pink grey and mustard.
In addition Bobo Choses has communicated their greener approach to production. "We care about the impact we have on the environment. For this reason, a significant part of our knitted fabrics have been made of organic cotton made in India. This is a process in which no pesticides are used and water wastage is controlled, as the soil becomes more fertile and retains water better. This collection we are also using new biodegradable plastic bags which degrade in three years".

You can find a good selection of Bobo Choses here in Australia over at Buckets and Spades for Kids.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


If you are on the look out for a kid friendly cafe in the Melbourne area, I can really recommend Henrik's Cafe in Mordialloc, VIC. If your family is anything like ours, there is always a search for that nice cafe that can cater to 4 different taste pallets. Why does there always seem to be one that doesn't like eggs, or waffles or one that loves spices while the other one don't. Well I am sure we are not alone, and today we stumbled across this little hidden gem called Henrik's Cafe.

For years the owners Lee and Chloe had dreamed of opening a cafe that would highlight some of the best of the south side while bringing some of that north of the river flare this way. Together with their chefs Adam Owen and Tom Crosswell, they have manged to just that.

The space is bright and so well laid out and the service & staff is so accommodating and fast! They are great with kids and ours instantly got crayons and menus with fun little colour in tasks and games. It's a small thing but oh so important when you are trying to decide on what to get on the menu. The nice design elements around the cafe was so tastefully chosen and it kept the place interesting to just take in while you were waiting. We quickly got ordering and before we knew it the food was already on the table. Low and behold we all loved what we had ordered and the kids gobbled up their breakfast orders while us parents were really impressed with our food. You can tell the menu has been carefully created with interesting flavors in mind, and a lovely surprise is their prices are so affordable too. The cafe has been receiving amazing reviews since they opened their doors on the 25th of March 2015, and now I know why. It's always nice to discover and share new places to eat at and this is one we will definitely visit again soon!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

EXPLORE | JURASSIC WORLD - the exhibition

One of our favourite hang out places for the whole family must be the Melbourne Museum. We have taken the kids there since they were babies, and there are so much amazing things to explore that you normally can't squeeze it into just one visit. There are always interesting exhibitions on show that mixes education as well as a big dose of fun - and this exhibition is no different. Jurassic World - the exhibition is one action packed adventure. Based on one of the biggest blockbusters in cinema history, the Exhibition immerses audiences of all ages in scenes inspired by the beloved film. Now, the park that was only a promise comes to life… right before your eyes.

Travel to Isla Nublar as a VIP guest and explore Jurassic World. Come face-to-face with a Pachyrhinosaurus; visit The Hammond Creation Lab; stare in wonder at a towering Brachiosaurus; get a rare up-close look at the most vicious dinosaur of them all, Tyrannosaurus rex; and learn all about top-secret projects currently in development.

Inspired by the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic Park franchise, the exhibition at Melbourne Museum will show a glimpse of what life was like on Earth millions of years ago.

Imagine Exhibitions chief executive Tom Zaller said the exhibition was like a "fairy ride" to the Jurassic period. "You know that moment in the first [Jurassic Park] film when the jeep drove over the hill and the dinosaur is there," he said. "Everybody's seen the dinosaur bones at the museum, the cheap animated dinosaur things, but if you're going to Jurassic World, I'm going to blow your mind." 

Mr Zaller has created a number of major exhibitions from the ground up, including Angry Birds Universe, Titanic The Exhibition, The Human Bodies Exhibition, and Dinosaurs in Motion.
He said it was a challenge to keep the educational value in the exhibition, as well as keeping people interested. "Here the theatre that we've brought together is a fine line between theme park and museum ... I really think we've hit the balance," he said.

"We've struck the chord that is going to satisfy the young mind and the imagination.
"Also, having watched the eight-year-old children and just looking at the microscopes and seeing the bone slices of real dinosaurs — we have a bone you can touch, a 65 million-year-old sauropod femur that's 150 centimetres, you couldn't pick it up."

Created in close collaboration with renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, the Exhibition is infused with interactive educational elements—drawn from the real-world science of dinosaur DNA that allowed Jurassic World to come to life. Visitors of all ages can now learn all about these incredible prehistoric creatures.

This is a great opportunity to take your dinosaur loving kids for a close up experience but bare in mind that younger children might get a bit scared by the moving dinosaurs (but nothing a reassuring hand or a hug can't fix). For us it was a wonderful chance to do something the entire family enjoyed. We are all Jurrasic Park fans in this family and it was cool to get a chance to relive some of the most memorable scenes from the new movie Jurassic World in this exhibition.

To book tickets visit Melbourne Museum's ticket stand here.
For those that can't get enough of the dinosaur experience they are also running a 3D show in their IMAX theatre: Walking with Dinosaurs - Prehistoric Planet

If you are interested in finding out more about how all these dinosaurs for the exhibition was made, make a visit to Creature Technology and take a peek behind the scenes and read up on how these amazing creatures were made.

BEHIND THE SCENES - making Jurassic World, the exhibition.

Friday, April 1, 2016


As school holidays crept closer we found out in the last minute that our trip to Tasmania wasn't going to be working out as we had hoped, so we quickly re-arranged our plans to an escape to the charming town of Daylesford, Victoria. We had visited this little gem once before when the kids were really young, but we had done the trip as a simple day venture. This time we made sure we had at least 3 days and nights to explore this wonderful region.

Daylesford is famed for its naturally occurring mineral springs and exquisite local produce invites you to soak up the goodness and enjoy its day spas. There are plenty of restaurants, galleries, wineries, boutique shops and markets. The best thing is you have nature at your doorstep and yet you are never far away from a great cup of coffee or a delicious meal.

We thought we would have some difficulties in finding an accommodation with a family focus (as the main tourism to this regions are couples), but after some searching we finally found a place that had everything we were looking for!  

St. Etienne is a Federation home from 1912, located right in the heart of Daylesford. This three-bedroom home maintains its period features whilst adopting a minimalist and contemporary style in the native surrounds of a woodland garden. Just a five minute walk from Lake Daylesford and 450 metres from the township (Vincent Street), St. Etienne also includes a few creature comforts should you decide to stay indoors including a welcome hamper with locally made treats, Netflix and free Wi-Fi. 

St. Etienne has been redesigned by a husband and wife team with two tots in tow and a mutual passion for all things design. Every room has a history of its own and the careful design choices for each room were so wonderful. The kids loved every second we had here. They quickly found the toy shelf in the kitchen and the playful design choices such as a denim Smeg fridge, colourful artworks by Michel Quarez and the amazing Byron Bay hanging chair in one of the bedrooms were all met by squeals of delight! It was a visual feast and it was so easy to feel the holiday calmness spread over us as there was everything you could have wished for. The delicious hamper that was provided had a great selection of Daylesford goodies and the navy inspired kitchen comes armed with everything you need to cook delicious homemade meals. We especially enjoyed the custom made cabinets and all the state of the art appliances by Miele and Smeg which made it so easy to cook up a storm on the nights we decided to eat at home. The cool communal table created by New Zealand designer Alastair Keating was also a big hit with the whole family. 

It was always so nice to step back into this home after a day out exploring both Wombat and Lerderberg State Forrest and all the great sights around this region. We sipped cider at the Daylesford Cider Company, walked around the beautiful town lake, grabbed coffees at the Larder, shopped vintage finds at Brick Lane Bazaar, took in the beautiful treasures at Bromley & Co and ate several good meals at the many wonderful cafes and restaurants in the area. 

It was an absolute joy to stay at this place (and I assure you this is by no means a sponsored post) it was so nice to find a home that shared our passion for design, yet done in such a great way that you didn't feel uncomfortable sharing it with curious children. it was a marvelous escape and one that made us glad that the original Tasmanian trip didn't go to plan. Instead we left Daylesford, relaxed and eager to come back for more adventures soon!
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