With Ava starting school next week, and Alex starting kinder the week after, I am cherishing every second we get to spend as a family. As soon as I heard about the Rhythm of Africa event I immediately started planning a weekend away at Mansion as knew it would be a perfect school holiday treat for the kids.
We checked into Mansion Hotel & Spa yesterday afternoon and the little ones were SO excited to be back at the hotel. As soon as Alex heard we were also going to the Zoo he insisted on taking every single animal toy in the house along with him - elephants, lion masks, tiger tails, you name it, it came to the hotel with us!
Mansion Hotel & Spa is one of my absolute favourite hotels and this visit did not disappoint. Not only is the setting spectacular, it is super family-friendly, the staff are attentive and friendly, there are also so many little touches that make this a truly special property. Pete and I were offered a glass of sparkling wine at check-in which we took back to the room and were thrilled to find a gorgeous hand carved chocolate platter in the room to enjoy with our wines.
After a couple of hours enjoying the hotel grounds it was time to head next door to the Zoo!
The Rhythm of Africa is an annual event series held at Werribee Open Range Zoo on Saturday nights over the summer and is running until 24 February. It is a celebration of African music, culture, food and, of course, animals, with the African Pula Trail open each evening until 8pm.
On arrival the Zoo entrance was packed full of families laden with picnic baskets, rugs and chairs... plus hundreds of (very excited) little ones!
Our first stop was to the face painting station (Ava was thrilled with her Lion face paint!) and we then enjoyed a picnic dinner listening to the fabulous live band.
One of the highlights of the night for the kids was the drum workshop which took place between music sets. The teacher was so engaging and ensured all the children got a turn on the drums.
We finished the night with a stroll along the walking trail and the kids could not have been more excited when a Lion jumped up (literally right in front of them) to say goodnight! As we exited the walking trail we spotted three sleepy hippos enjoying a swim as the sun set. It was truly a magical night out.
This morning we enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast in Joseph's Restaurant which is on the ground floor of Mansion Hotel & Spa overlooking the parterre. We then went for a stroll down to the lake to say hello to the resident ducks. We had packed our bathers as there is a beautiful indoor pool at Mansion, however the kids chose to spend the morning outside enjoying the grounds.
It was a super fun and memorable weekend for our fam and we can't wait to return to Werribee Open Range Zoo and also to the beautiful Mansion Hotel & Spa again soon!