When I first moved to Melbourne I got a job at the Cafe at the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park in Langwarrin. As a uni major in Art history and anthropology it was both a beautiful and inspiring place to work.
Funnily enough Bug and I visit the Gallery now far more than I ever went before my mini mite came along. taking Bug gives me a completely different appreciation for the sculpture park. She loves the colours and reflective services of many of the sculptures, that I previously may have barely considered.
She can interact with a lot of them too, walking around them, touching the surfaces and feeling the different textures. This week the abstract Red Yellow and Black, 2002, Peter D Cole, (above), and the flock of silver sheep (below) (Sheep Miracle, 2005, Yvonne Kendall) were particular favourites of hers.
Whereas I have a soft spot for the white stone balls (which I didn't get the details for, oh dear! shocking for an arts graduate!!). When the girls are older I imagine them having a ball (haha) playing throughout this brilliantly, but simply, interactive sculpture. I think you could get some amazing black and white photos taken too.
(Reflective Simulations, 2012, Gregor Kreger)
I love how she reminds me that Art can be engaging, playful, fun as well as inspiring, thought provoking and beautiful (not always in the classical sense of attractive). I love seeing her little imagination develop the the way she approaches, reacts, and interacts with various sculptures. I love that she will run excitedly towards works that capture her attention. Even in the inside galleries she is often quite engaged by the works.
And if your mini isn't that enamoured by the swirly stone labyrinth or apocalyptic street corner (complete with functioning traffic lights) emerging from native bush, and can't be distracted by the icy figurative sculptures photographed inside (Martin Hills Watershed exhibition is currently on, breathtaking!), you can always just turn your visit into a leaf collecting, stone clambering, stick doodling nature walk, or you can take a break by the lake and hangout with the ducks!
Facts and Figures
About 50mins drive from Melbourne central.
Open Tuesday till Sunday
Free entry unless there's a specific event or exhibit on (donations appreciated, and bug loves dropping coins into the box).
Information about exhibitions (the three exhibition spaces inside the gallery change regularly), and events (including guided tours, art chats and children's activities), can be found on the Gallery's website.
The Cafe opens for brunch and lunch. They do lovely food, but if I'm really honest I wouldn't bother taking my dad here (he's more of a pie, or fish and chips kinda guy), however it's a great place to meet up with girlfriends for coffee or lunch. The menus small and seasonal and includes kiddie offerings ($9), main meals ($12-$21) and there's coffee, a variety of teas, sweet treats, soft drinks, beer and wine on offer too. High chairs are available.
You can, of course, bypass the cafe all together and bring your own picnic.
Dogs welcome if on lead. You must clean up after them and take their rubbish with you.
Not all artwork can be touched or clambered upon. Please keep an eye on your minis, and respect the signs.
I've taken my pram here several times (Bug walks mostly now) and most of the track is accessible but an off road pram is defiantly better.
Loads of parking available