The Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure

Cross-posted from The Pukeko Patch.  Apologies to those who read both.

My lovely children began asking me to take them on an adventure yesterday.  Everyone, including me, was just too tired to do anything about it though.  Instead today I made a plan and we headed out on our adventure just before lunchtime and got home just before dinnertime.  A very full day of adventuring was had.

The request was to drive somewhere and get lost.  And we had to end up in a jungle, eventually.  Clearly a real jungle is out of the question in this part of the world, but a bit of farmland and bush is completely doable.  So with a bit of imagination and pretending, we drove through a forest jungle today.  A brief jaunt up the main highway to Waikanae before turning off to head up Akatarawa Road.  It was the perfect choice for adventure – hills, forest bits, covered in patches of road, bush, hilltop views of the sea and valleys, single lane roads and, eventually a place where animals lurk.

The lurking is more like wildlife reserving, but hey that’s what imagination is for.  And for the adventure songs that were dreamt up and sung in the car.

We spent the best part of two and a half hours wandering around feeding various fowl, farm animals, and playing by the stream and walking over the wobbly bridge.  The pushy goats were still pushy and persistent, Bob the Clydesdale was still big and slightly worrying, but the rabbits were cute, furry and pat-able.   The peacocks and the cockerels were loud and almost seemed to have perverse pleasure in letting out a loud screech when you had no idea they were a couple of feet behind you.  The trout seemed even larger and more edible than ever, while the swans seemed laid back and relaxed.

Here are a few snapshots of the day out.

Feeding Ducks

At this point we had just fed some ducks, had a harem following us, and had discovered the geese enjoying themselves on the lake. I’m not quite sure what had caught Master Oh’s attention, but clearly he wasn’t looking away in a hurry.

On the Wagon

The Oh Waily kids, and friend, on the wagon in the BBQ area. Very nice spot this and new, I think, since the last time we visited. I left Master Oh’s hat in the car so he had to make do with his sister’s old one and clearly it does not quite fit him as well as it does her.

In the Aviary

They really need to work on their “cheese” faces, don’t they?  This is in the kea aviary, where we saw two sleepy-ish keas up close. One kept his beak under his wing, but a beady eye open and on the not so subtle children invading his home. But don’t you just love the exit? I had to duck down to get out, and I am no giant.

Playing in the old bank

Then in the bush settlement area they just had to play in the bank. Great fun.

Staglands makes for a fun day out for the kids.  A goodly bit of wildlife to finish off the Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure day.  Oh and the ice cream and ice block at the cafe afterwards didn’t hurt either.

I wonder what they’ll think of doing next?

Art, retail or paleontology?

Today the Oh Wailys went to Te Papa for the afternoon.
I thought I would share the usual haunts with you, plus a couple of new items that may be adding themselves to the kids’ regular visit list from now on.

You may have already worked out that Miss Oh Waily is something of a techno-chick.  She loves to get her hands on any sort of technology, so it’s no surprise that when we hit Te Papa she heads for a couple of the computer activities up at the Inspiration Station on level 4.  This is their usual first and most favoured stop.


Here is the self-portrait that she was working on when I made her stop long enough for you to see the front of her head rather than the back.

Self Portrait

Clearly she shares someone’s sense of art, I’m just not sure whose.

I wasn’t so successful in turning Master Oh Waily around for a photograph, so you will have to be doing with the back of his head.
That rather hideous and, in my opinion, scary looking baby behind the bars is one of the feature attractions at the Inspiration Station for my kids. My question: ‘What do you want to go see this time?’ Their answer: ‘The baby, the shaky house and the drawing computer.’

Scary baby

And, as my blurry photograph below proves, the baby involves action. Lots of levers for hands large and small to push and pull. So it is actually possible to make this hideous entity even more evil and vile with a flick of the wrist and push of the arm.

In action

In the same section you can also let your children pretend to run a shop or a dairy. Master Oh decided that perhaps he would like to do that today, with the old-fashioned till and a small basket full of fake plastic foodstuffs. There’s business-minded genes in that there child.

A retail future?

Just outside the Inspiration Station next to some seating for weary travellers, there is a new little bit with this famous painting mocked up. I couldn’t resist, so here for your viewing pleasure is Ms Cook and Mstr Cook. And for comparison, here is the original.

Ms Cook

Mstr Cook

After this we headed to the cafe for some much needed refreshments and then outdoors to dig for dinosaurs. Maybe I might manage to pass on my unhealthy interest in the past to my two offspring…

Could I convince my girl to be a paleontologist, perhaps?


The lad certainly ended up enjoying the tactile fun that is grovelling around in dusty gravel looking for a mosasaur*.

Digging for dinosaurs

And the two of them in the pit looking at their handy work. And it was hard work apparently judging by the littlest family member’s need to lie down.

In the Pit

All in all, a successful outing to the museum was had by everyone.

* albeit a concrete one. 😉

Oh Waily Duplo

In a very last minute spirit of Christmas, here is a little bit of Oh Waily seasonal fun.

Miss Oh Waily asked to make a “Christmas Tower” out of duplo.
Here it is.
Duplo Tree

And we can’t forget the little ones, now can we?

Duplo Tree with kids

No doubt you cannot make it out, but that is a star shaped piece of duplo right on top.  I couldn’t quite convince her to put in on one of those pokey out pieces so that we could all see it was topped with a star.  Still, I know it was there.

I hope you all have had a good festive season and that you are already heading in to the new year with lots of vim and vigour.

Science through flowers

Over the weekend Mr and Ms Oh Waily combined to create a first science experiment for the Oh Waily children.
It started innocently with wanting to pick a nice rose from the garden so that we could bring some of the flowers into the house.  The roses that are currently opening up are the very lovely Icebergs.  They tend to be just like the name suggests, a beautiful sharp white colour.  They can tend to a slight hint of pink, but the flower and buds that I snipped had no hint of that.

I had Miss Oh Waily pop it in a small tub of water, with the intention of seeing how and if the buds would open once cut*.  I then had a few errands, jobs and sundry other things to do and we left the rose sitting on the kitchen countertop.

The very next time I notice Rose #1 it’s little pot of water has turned a striking shade of red.  Mr Oh Waily had, with his able assistant, shaken a good dose of red food colouring into the water.   He had thought that it would be fun for Miss Oh to see how plants drink water and where it goes to.  So by this morning we had a fairly pink and very open Iceberg flower plus two very pink buds.

I liked this idea and ran with it.  This morning I thought what could be more striking than red turning up in the petals of a white flower?  The strongest food colour, other than black, that we possess is the very dark blue.  So Miss Oh and I picked another spray with a young flower and buds.  She added blue colour to the water and I popped the flower in.

Here are the results.  Apologies for the photographs of the pair, I don’t have anywhere reliable to set them down with good natural light, but you get the idea.
Colourful duetBehind the Scenes

As you can see the blue colouring has taken much more. It could be the delay in adding the colour to the water, or perhaps the strength of the colour itself.  These were the best photographs I could get for the veins, I hope they are clear enough for you to see.

Pink Veins

Blue Veins

And in this final photograph you can see how dark the pointed tips of the petals have become.

Colourful rose

All of the blue colour (I know if looks greenish) has come through in less than 6 hours.
So that is the first official science experiment for the Oh Waily children.  Pretty and effective.

* It has been some number of years since we tended roses, Icebergs very much included, so my memory of what would happen was somewhat spotty.

Today in history: 1832 – Louisa May Alcott was born. (American author)

Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
– Louisa May Alcott