Family Outing with a difference

Everyone loves a good old fashion family outing, usually these revolve around fun things to do with the kids (the zoo, the park, a theme park, the beach etc) but every now and then it’s nice to “throw a curve ball” and having an outing with a difference.

We recently did just that, my cousin (super talented!) entered a tree into this years Trees At The Meteor, the theme is “Compassion not consumption” and my Mum decided that we should take the kids and check it out. Walking in was like walking into another world – a giant room filled with amazing creations, small trees, large trees, family entries, individual entries and even some from daycare centres. Each was unique and magical – some where mind blowing, and others stood out for their simplicity – but all of them were amazing. There was a “family tree” whose branches were made from the copied arms of each member of the family and also had a family height chart recorded on the side. Then there was the “musical tree” a simple structure which has glass jars filled with different amounts of water and different items you could use to play a tune (This tree was a big hit with my kids) and even a tree made from pasta, and not forgetting the real “christmas” tree hung upside down from the roof! Every one was different, and seeing them all together was amazing – even the kids enjoyed themselves, and commented on what they liked or disliked about each tree. It really did get them thinking. You can see some photos of the trees here.

After viewing the trees, you walked through into a smaller room. Here there was a colouring table set up for the kids and they were given a booklet and asked to draw a memory they remembered from the past, something from the now and what they wanted for the future – the table was full with kids drawing all sorts of colourful pictures. Around the walls were similar drawing, only these ones had a small story attached to each of them. These stories were from children, and young adults living in countries with less than ideal circumstances. As I walked around the room reading the stories I had to fight back the tears, here my kids are living in a world where they do not want for anything (apart from the latest toys), laughing and giggling without a care in the world. Then one of my boys came up to and said “Mum, come and read this” I explained I had already read it (the story was from a young boy whose sister had been raped in front of the family, and when their father had tried to stop it he had been attacked and taken away), he looked at me and said “It’s so sad” (At which point I was struggling to hold back the tears), we talked about it, and then read the next story which was from the same boy and talked about what he wanted in the future – his wishes were simple, to live in a city with lots of cars and to own a green car – I then asked my boy to think about his life, he lives in a place with lots of cars and if we chose to we could have a green car. From the look in his eyes I knew he was trying to process all of this and it was a lot for a not quite 10 year old boy to process.

We then proceeded down to the cafe area, there was coffee, hot chocolate and chai available, and all at no charge – the cafe area was also decked out beautifully with more christmas trees and you were hit with the wonderful scent of Chai and pine mixed together. Outside there was a game of bat down going on, after hot chocolates the boys went and joined in and again I was left to reflect on the amazing country we live in, where these events are possible and where kids can simply join in a game like this.

The night was ended up a drive around our home town to check out the Christmas lights – by 10pm 3 very tired kids, and 1 tired mama crawled into bed.

While our family outing wasn’t the usual, it was worth the trip and is something that will hopefully become an annual event.

Visit the Trees at the Meteor facebook page here for more information and photos

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