Dark MOFO. The kid friendly reconnaissance…
We took the kids (4 and 6) to Dark MOFO this weekend, and Friday night saw me heading out (ALONE!!!) to check it out and see what was appropriate/they might like.
Dark Park at Macquarie Point (if, like me, you had no idea where this is, it is on Evans Street – the block behind The IXL/Henry Jones buildings).
All of these are free entry unless specified.
Ogoh-Ogoh – these are kind of scary looking – but you can write down your fears and feed them to the fish. They’ll burn away with these demon-like sculptures when they are lit up on the 21st June. I was guessing Miss E would be writing down that these creatures scare her. Master O would probably be loudly making comments about boobies…
As it turns out, they were both a bit fascinated with them, and both shared their fears and spiked them on the fish’s tooth. Love Miss E’s one…
The Fire Organ – if you time it right your little future arsonists will love this. The blasts of fire are downright impressive, but it takes a while to get to that bit, and my two aren’t known for their patience… The Saturday session moved a bit quicker though and we saw multiple fire blasts and firecracker ‘drums’ while we were there.
Kids get given earbuds to protect little ears from the noise. Miss O loved the loud noises, Miss E not so much… Warning – it gets loud!
The Bass Bath is not open to under 18’s and you need to sign a waiver and don ear protection to get in – I’m intrigued. I didn’t try this out since I had the kids in mind – hoping to get back and try it – entry is $10.
Forbidden Forest leads up to Hendrick’s Parlour of Curiosities (which was closing on Friday as I happened upon this), it’s a blue-hued forest of trees. So pretty.
Saturday night, we got to peek inside the little wooden parlour, perfect for sipping fancy gin cocktails. My suggestion, keep the kids outside and warm up on a wood stump stool around the fire drums while taken in the blue-hued trees and the Pulse Column in the background. The sausages and pie floaters on sale at the food truck near the entrance sounded delicious too.
Which leads us to the next shed along. Solid Light Works was my absolute hands down favorite of everything I saw over both nights. However, it should be said that it is very dark in here. Master O was freaking out because of the dark for most of it, and A1 took him out early on. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s a big dark warehouse with beams of light and a weird mist about which causes the light to fall in curtains that look solid. So much so, both Miss E and I would hold our hands out to protect ourselves while passing though the light beams. As close as you could feel to being a ghost I think. It is beautiful. Cathedral like. Put it this way – do not miss this one! I’m hoping to get down there again on my own to truly experience it. Probably not something for children who are scared of the dark though. No photos of this one – not enough light for a decent shot.
Throughout the Dark Park precinct there are food and drink vendors. You can keep warm around fire drums, which are pretty much kid height, so keep an eye on them (and little hands etc) in the dark.
Outside of Dark Park…
Aesop Room in the Centre for the Arts. Is a misty scent filled room. Both kids found it overwhelming and I didn’t get a chance to take it in as Miss E bolted for the door! I’d like to try this one again though, without the kids.
Angry Electrons (located in the Centre for the Arts – entrance off Hunter Street) The globes react to your movement. Stop and they dim. Move they light up and the faster you move, the greater the reaction. I thought the kids would love working this out. Sure enough, I got this one right – our kids loved jumping and dancing around under this one…
Pulse Column (the old Mercury Building, Argyle Street). This is the Spectra-like column of light that all of Greater Hobart has been seeing pierce the sky. You can have a turn at getting your own heartbeat to sound out through the speakers and pulse the beams in the sky.
Numbered tickets are handed out for this and The Shadows Calling next door. They are still free and there is screen showing the ticket numbers so you can grab a bite to eat and relax rather than stand in queue… We waited around 30 minutes to move to the top of the queue for both. On a side note – Master O was mightily impressed with the little vases of flowers in the portaloos here – he likes little details…
We had a quick look through The Shadows Calling. Its a quirky collection of oddities and performance art which had the kids off kilter. They were a bit tired by this stage so we staved off a meltdown by leaving this one pretty quickly. Not their thing. But I think older kids could love the weird vibe.
Giidanyba (Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, main top entrance. 5-10pm) are seven interactive sculptures of sound and light. These ‘Sky Beings’ are set in amongst the lawn and trees of the gardens and I think most kids would love to get out amongst it here along the dimly lit paths. The sounds may be a little scary for some little ones, but I’m definitely going to give it a try with my two. I will update with their thoughts next week. I’ve posted a couple of shorts clips of this on our Instagram feed (one which has sound).
We topped off the night with a visit to Mures for ice-cream. They were doing a roaring Winter’s trade. Just don’t ask my kids after all that what their favourite thing was. We all know it will be the ice-cream.
So rug up warm and get out there. Remember, it is dark and there are people milling about everywhere so keep your little ones close. I suggest grabbing a couple of glow sticks for them to wear around their necks or wrist so you can spot them easily. If you have an escape artist, write your phone number on their forearm.
There is a Dark Mofo app where you can find out more info about all the festival. Keep up to date on our Dark Mofo happenings on our Instagram or Facebook pages. We’ll be heading to the Winter Feast next week for an early dinner with the kids next week among other adventures. Let us know what your favourite parts have been.
And if you really can’t be bothered to experience Dark Mofo with kids, just take them out for ice-cream in the dark in the middle of Winter. They’ll think it was the best night ever…