A genuine smile is infectious; it has the power to brighten not only your day, but also those of the people around you. However, life can be so busy and intense, sometimes it’s easy to forget that all of us need to let go and have fun every once in a while. Also remember to protect your smile every way you can!
Here we take a look at some of the fun places to go around Australia, for those moments when you need to inject some smiles and laughter into your life.
Fancy That! Costumes, Sydney, New South Wales
Fancy That! Costumes was established in Crows Nest, Sydney in 1987, with the aim of encouraging people, especially adults, to play and have fun in order to connect better with each other. They provide fancy dress costumes to hire and buy, for women, men and children, and have close relationships with make-up and special effects experts to complete your look.
A visit to Fancy That! Costumes is a truly interactive experience, with the staff’s costumes sure to bring a smile to your lips as soon as you walk in. The team love to provide inspiration to customers in an irreverent and light-hearted atmosphere that has everyone dressing up and losing their inhibitions.
The costume specialists say that their favourite moment to date was when a pair of business executives had just 15 minutes to find costumes as a frog and a chicken for a presentation they were giving. They departed, one in a green Lycra jumpsuit struggling to walk down the stairs in flippers, ready to hail a taxi into the city!
Kindifarm, Sydney, New South Wales
The Kindifarm experience is as much about fun as education, both for humans and the animals! Children and adults alike love spending time with the animals, and always end up with huge smiles on their faces, while the animals lap up the attention.
As one of Australia’s first mobile animal farms, Kindifarm has been travelling to schools, parties and a host of other locations and events since 1992. It brings fun to you with a variety of the cutest baby animals including piglets, calves, lambs, baby goats, chickens and ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Some of the most rewarding visits are to BUPA aged care centres in Sydney. The residents get the chance to feed and pet the animals, with some of the centres inviting grandchildren or the local preschool to join in the fun. The interactions between the animals, young children and elderly residents leave everyone smiling, every single time.
Big Fork Theatre, Brisbane, Queensland
Big Fork Theatre is Brisbane’s newest comedy company, providing improvised comedy and sketch shows weekly. The company also teaches improvisation classes for the general public, and for many of the students, it gives them their first stage experience.
All the sketches are based on suggestions from the audience, so it’s often about seeing the humour in everyday life. Each audience gets a unique show as the sketches are all made up on the spot.
One night a local couple were in the audience who had never seen improvised comedy before. They left with huge smiles on their faces as their suggestion was used for one of the sketches. They couldn’t believe the whole show was made up spontaneously, and couldn’t wait to come to the next one to see what it would bring!
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Kuranda, Queensland
Butterflies appeal to everyone, regardless of age or gender. You’re encouraged to wear something bright when visiting the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary to increase the chance that the butterflies will land on you. The sanctuary staff can’t help smiling at visitor’s reactions when this happens.
The largest butterfly aviary and exhibit in Australia in undoubtedly a fun place to go. It is home to over 2,000 species of butterfly, including the blue Ulysses and the green Cairns Birdwing. Based in Kuranda, the sanctuary offers guided tours through its rainforest setting, with the chance to see the butterflies up close as they fly around you.
Children in particular are absolutely spellbound by the butterflies. They can’t help laughing and trying to chase them! Adults regularly try to keep them still so the butterflies can land on them, but the kids are too excited to stop moving, say staff from the sanctuary.
Heaven Costumes, Adelaide, South Australia
‘Our pearly whites are on display on a daily basis,’ say the happy staff at Heaven Costumes. There’s always something hilarious about seeing someone dressed as a huge banana or a dancing pink gorilla! Based in Adelaide, Heaven Costumes sell fancy dress costumes, masks, accessories and wigs for a complete dress-up experience.
At this fun place, it’s the reaction of kids that often brings the biggest smiles. One little boy was so excited about his Superman costume that he couldn’t even wait to get home to try it on. He disappeared into the car park, and after a quick Clark Kent-style change, returned as Superman. It was a competition for the biggest smile between him, his mum and the staff!
Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas, Queensland
Based in Port Douglas, Wildlife Habitat gives you the chance to experience the environments and wildlife of the wetlands, rainforest and grasslands. You’ll be led on fun guided tours by experienced wildlife keepers, and have the opportunity to feed kangaroos and wallabies, and even cuddle a koala. Visitors are always excited to have their photographs taken with a koala. It’s special moment to the staff each and every time they see the smile on the face of someone who has never seen or held a koala before.
Most of the animals roam free so you can interact with them, and visitors are constantly surprised at how close they get, say the animal keepers. All of the animals and birds love to meet new people, and their antics are sure to have you leaving with a smile.
Star Bar Comedy Theatre Presents, Sydney, New South Wales
It’s hard to go past a stand-up comedy venue if you’re on the lookout for fun places to go to. Each week Star Bar Comedy Theatre Presents hosts two comedy shows in Sydney, featuring 12 hilarious comedians. Attend a Friday night show to vote for your favourite comedian using digital voting pads! Further smiles happen when the audience find out that part of the proceeds are donated to charity.
Star Bar Comedy Theatre Presents has been running stand-up comedy clubs in Sydney since 2008. The shows feature the best of Australian comedy talent, and have been featured at comedy festivals countrywide.
Even the bad acts make people smile, say the masters of comedy. The company’s very first show featured a terrible ventriloquist with a broken dummy. His act was so bad that it actually made people laugh. One audience member commented that they’d never seen a ventriloquist before, to which a staff member replied, ‘You still haven’t.’ The customer laughed so hard he had to sit down!
Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Zone, Cairns, Queensland
Combining two fun places into one, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Zone is the world’s first Challenge Ropes course set in a wildlife park. Zip lines of different heights take you directly over some of the animals, including a four-metre crocodile! If you’re brave enough, you can also try the Power Jump, a 13-metre freefall drop (not into the jaws of a crocodile though!)
The challenge course offers a satisfying adrenaline rush. After the initial nerves have passed, smiles and laughter kick in as you begin to relax and enjoy the experience, say the guides at ZOOM.
They tell of the time that one visitor was scared of the Power Jump and had been standing at the top for a long time. The guide suggested they step off the edge for a ‘practice run’ to see what it was like before attempting the real thing. The guest was so nervous that they didn’t realise it was exactly the same thing, and stepped off, landing with a huge grin when they realised they’d done it for real!
The Enigma Room, Sydney, New South Wales
A relatively new phenomenon, escape rooms have seen a rise in popularity recently as fun places to go. The Enigma Room in Sydney’s CBD is a live-action activity for groups of two to six people, involving problem solving to escape the room. Working as a team, you have 60 minutes to solve all the puzzles which are based on a back story given to you when you arrive.
Getting involved in the story and solving the puzzles gives people a great opportunity to get into character and lose their inhibitions, say the creative team behind Enigma. The teams bond more and more as they get closer to their goal, and there are regular delighted screams, chest bumps and victory poses when puzzles get solved! Every participant leaves with a smile.
One such example was a group who came up with a solution they all agreed on, except for one team member. He was adamant it wouldn’t work. When it worked first time, he was so shocked it created plenty of laughter amongst the whole group for the rest of the day!
Save-A-Dog Scheme (SADS), Glen Iris, Victoria
Adopting a new family pet is a sure fire way to make your household a fun place to come home to every day! Established in 1985, SADS is a not-for-profit, community-based animal welfare and adoption scheme. It saves the lives of hundreds of unwanted dogs and cats each year, and also provides veterinary care for sick or injured animals.
The team are kept smiling with the regular updates they receive from people who have adopted animals from them. Each message brings a smile to their faces when they hear about how well each dog is settling in. One particularly thrilled family recently wrote, ‘Our Labrador has settled in really well with our family, and is certainly spoilt with lots of love and affection from us all... Thank you for helping us complete our family.’
Escape Room Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Escape Room Melbourne has four venues in Flemington and South Melbourne, each with different scenarios. To escape the room, you and your team mates have to solve a series of puzzles relating to the story and characters.
Solving the puzzles brings a satisfied grin to every face, say the strategists behind the puzzles. The laughter and smiles increase as the team members bond with each other in their attempts to escape the room.
Many participants aren’t sure what to expect from the experience, but are quickly converted. Recently, some teenagers brought their grandparents along, who were unsure about the process. Initially they stood back and let their grandchildren solve all the puzzles, but then the grandmother solved one, and screamed in delight! Since then, they have returned and completed all the rooms, always leaving with huge smiles on their faces.
Fun and laughter make such a difference to our lives, and there are plenty of fun places dedicated to making you smile if you know where to find them. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to put the smile back on your face.