Enjoy some winter holiday fun at Snow Time in the Garden. It’s back for 2019 at the magnificent Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin from Saturday June 29 to Sunday July 21.
Here at Newy with Kids, we’ve been to Snow Time a few times and we want to share some of our best tips to enjoy your day at Hunter Valley Gardens. Snow Time 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 in the winter school holidays.
Check the weather forecast for Snow Time
There’s lots of outdoor activities like snowman making and snowball fights so pick a day where it’s forecasted to be sunny. (We’ve been to Hunter Valley Gardens in the rain before and it’s not fun).
Choose a day when it’s not too busy
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.
Book into ice skating first
If you want to go ice skating, 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. You’ll want to try ice skating on this giant ice skating rink.
In past years, 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).
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).
Some years there’s skating frames available while other years there isn’t. If there are skating frames available, grab them quick or else make sure you and your kids are confident to skate.
It’s a lot of fun skating but we found 20 minutes is a sufficient amount of time to skate before getting tired.
Have fun on the ice toboggan
A highlight of Snow Time in the Garden is riding a mega ice toboggan along a 40 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.
Build a snowman in the snow area (but pack extra clothes)
The Snow Time Play Zone is always a hit with the kids. This area has been enlarged in recent years 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. If you have snowsuits, they’re ideal).
Buckets, spades and eyes and noses for snowmen are provided by Hunter Valley Gardens so you can build snowmen.
Be prepared for kids to get wet. I suggest bringing snow suits or a set of spare clothes just in case. One year that we went, 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.
Throw some snowballs
For kids who want some more snow fun, the Snow Ball Challenge area is next door and is the site for some awesome snowball battles including parents who got in on the action.
Jump around on inflatables
If the 2019 event is similar to previous years, there will be inflatables for the kids to enjoy. There are usually two separate inflatable areas, one for under 6 kids and one for older kids.
Enjoy live ice sculpting displays
There’s usually live ice sculpting with Kenji Ogawa and it’s a hit with the crowds. Using tools and a chainsaw, he carves out art pieces out of ice blocks.
Enjoy the rides (for as added price)
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 (price to be confirmed for 2019).
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 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 a beautiful 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’s a fun family day out with lots of things for parents and kids to do together. With all of the activities on offer, it offers great value for the ticket price especially as you can tour the gardens afterwards as well which we did.
Snow Time at Hunter Valley Gardens runs from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 21 July 2019. 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: 2019 Prices: $34 for Adult, $25 for Child. Family Pass $105 (2 Adults +2 children). Kids under 3 free.
Note: you can use your Entertainment Book to get one free admission when you purchase another.
Need more ideas for family fun in the Newcastle region? Check out Top 15 things to do in Newcastle with kids.