Pat goats, meet the chickens, pick and taste strawberries straight from the veggie patch and pot a plant to take home at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. The resort’s “Mini Chefs Into the Garden” experience runs most school holidays, and yesterday Playing in Puddles’ littlest reviewers joined in the tasting, digging and fun.

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The experience is open to both day-trippers and in-house guests aged 3-12 and is a lovely way for kids to get their hands dirty and learn about the paddock-to-plate philosophy in a fun hands-on environment. As one little one exclaimed while biting into some rosemary, “it tastes like spaghetti Bolognese”. That it does.

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The “Into the Garden” experience is led by Redsalt’s executive chef Craig Robertson, so your children are learning from the absolute best. Redsalt (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s premium restaurant) has a “Farm Gate to Plate” menu which features ingredients from local producers and suppliers – we recommend you include dinner here too to make a real day of it.

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Our experience starts with a ride in a buggy, and that alone is enough to excite most kids. We board the buggy and head for Organica, Crowne’s newest outdoor dining option.

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The children walk from planter box to planter box, picking red coral lettuce, thyme, mint, oregano and more. Craig encourages the children to scrunch, smell, taste and describe each plant. They recognise basil from a salad and have a giggle when told they can eat marigold petals.

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Next we buggy to the veggie patch. We pick and eat cherry and candy tomatoes straight from the vine and delicious sweet strawberries straight from the patch. The strawberries are a favourite.

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Craig points out chives, shallots and trees bursting with oranges and limes.

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We visit the resident chickens and ducks and pick lemon leaves to feed to the goats, who are very friendly and love a pat.

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A tomato plant is given to each child and they’re invited to plant it in a pot to take home. They dig into the soil, replant their vine, give it a water and proudly hold up their new plant for all to see.

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It’s an hour of wholesome, back-to-nature fun and both boys come away all smiles.

But before we depart there’s more fun in store. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has a carousel and a mini train that does laps of the resort during holidays and busy weekends. The kids have a ride on the carousel – one aboard a painted zebra, the other a horse and then it’s off to the mini train where they lean out the windows and have a giggle imitating its puffs and toots.

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Mini Chefs Into The Garden
The “Mini Chefs Into the Garden” experience runs during school holidays at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.
Who: Ages 3-12; open to day-trippers and in-house guests.
Cost: $20/child.
Dates: Sessions are running on 16th and 23rd January; click here for more information and to book.

+ Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley has a kids club and they run lots of activities every school holidays. Here’s a little snapshot of some of our other favourite workshops on offer these Summer holidays.

Wild Australia Wildlife Show
Animal lovers will be excited to meet a new furry friend or two at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley these school holidays!  The team from Hunter Valley Zoo will be presenting a fun and educational wildlife show featuring some of Australia’s most loved animals. Bring the little ones along to learn more about these amazing creatures and their crazy Australian habitat!
Dates: 25 January 2020 (5.30pm-6.30pm). Cost: $16.90/child|Family Ticket (2A + 2C) $53.85.
Click to book
Mini Chefs Workshop
Is your little one hoping to become the new Curtis Stone? Budding chefs can learn the art of the kitchen at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley’s very own restaurant, Redsalt these summer school holidays!
Dates: 13, 16, 20, 23 January 2020 (2pm-3pm). Cost: $20/child.
Click to book
Wizards and Witchcraft LEGO Interaction
Harry Potter fans – standby to be inspired!  Head along to the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley these school holidays to build your own magical kingdom inspired by the world of Harry Potter!  Kids will enjoy two hours of creative LEGO fun, thanks to the team at BRICKS 4 KIDZ.
Dates: 21 January 2020 (4pm-6pm). Cost: $16.90/child|Family Ticket (2A + 2C) $53.85.
Click to book

Glitter Sparkle Tea Party: Has your child ever attended a Glitter Sparkle Tea Party? This is another school holiday event Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley regularly host. Playing in Puddles visited in Spring; check out our review below.