The other thing that blows my mind about this sensational art haven is that it’s free to enjoy! How can that be?! It’s a stunningly artistic playground filled with sculptures, a nature walk, landscaped gardens, a lake, a gorgeous cafe and restaurant and a big open lawn for the kids to run wild while you sit and have a picnic.
Did I mention it was FREE to enter!?
Built in the early 1970s thanks to Frankston art lover Annie May McClelland, it was later established further and then owned by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, and now has a collection of more than 100 outdoor sculptures strategically placed within a 16 hectare Australian bushland backdrop.
What I love, and the kids love most about this place is the interactive sculptures. There are ones that make or play music, large animals the kids can climb on, a pitch black darkened shed you can walk into which has holes in the top making it seem like the roof is made of stars, there’s even a maze; it really is a magical place.
It takes around half an hour to an hour to wander the track, depending upon how involved the kids become with the sculptures. We like to check out each one and talk about it; “what do you like the most about this one, kids?”, “yes this is a bit scary, this one, why do you think it was made like this?”.
As art does from time to time, it also lends itself to a bit of laughter from the whole family as we try to work out…why? But hey, if it didn’t create a talking point, confusing or not, then it wouldn’t be art, right?
After we walk the trail, we come out to the front of the park and gallery where there is a large lawn area ready for you to set up a picnic by the lake. There’s a few sculptures on the grass too, such as the Tree of Life, which you may remember from Peninsula Link next to the Cranbourne Rd exit.
We then buy a coffee from the cafe, (which can have a bit of a wait if it’s a busy day) then we set up under a large tree with our packed lunch of sandwiches and fruit while the kids run around.
The onsite restaurant does has some lovely food but it’s a little pricey and not super kid friendly so I definitely suggest going for the picnic option.
Inside the gallery you can check out the latest exhibition, which changes regularly. They usually have art programs too and during the school holidays, activities and exhibitions for the kidlets.
Now I know I mentioned entry into the park is free but if you feel inclined (and you will after you walk around and realise just how amazing this place is!) there’s a glass donation box in the galleries foyer which, because the gallery is funded solely by donations, I always pop in some $$$ to show my support. I figure it’s the least I can do to make sure this gorgeous place continues to thrive.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, you can find the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park at 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin, just off the Cranbourne Rd exit off the Peninsula Link.
Contributed pic by: melbourneenlightened.wordpress.com