Some top tips for taking your young children to Optus Stadium
Perth is now the home of one of the countryís best sporting and entertainment facilities, Optus Stadium. This state of the art, 60,000 capacity stadium has an abundance of amenities for footy and cricket fans, plus music lovers.
If you have young children, chances are that at some stage, you may have to take them with you when you visit the stadium for whatever event you are attending. So what facilities are available? Is it easy enough to get there and back? Having taken my two children, aged three and almost one, to several AFL matches at Optus Stadium, Iíve learned a few tricks about navigating the ins and outs of getting there and settled into our seats, what facilities are available and some general Ďdos and donítsí Ė hereís my advice for taking a trip to Optus Stadium with the kids.
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Plan your journey before you go
When Subiaco Oval was still the home of WA footy, I could leave my car at a number of different sneaky carparks for a few dollars and without much advance planning if I had the kids with me, but there is no such luck at Optus Stadium. Despite this, itís actually relatively easy to get there without having to rely on your car. The most popular option for getting around is by public transport, since the stadium has been designed to minimise private vehicles in the area and to encourage patrons to use the cityís transport network. The stadium has a dedicated train station, but there are also various bus routes you can take that will drop you right outside. Iíve always found the train or bus have plenty of room for a pram Ė you just have to work out which bus route train will get you there in time for the game. Planning ahead will help alleviate some of the stress of getting there with the kids. You can find the list of bus routes here.
Top Tip: Find out which bus or train will get you to the stadium on timeÖand then aim to catch an earlier train. That way, if you are running late, you know there is the later train that will get you there with time to spare.
I have, however, also discovered there is some parking available for major events, but at a significant cost. You can book a parking spot in the Belmont Racecourse carpark for $20 through Book A Bay but it must be booked and paid for in advance. Itís an easy walk to the stadium from the carpark and is an alternative for parents who just donít do public transport.
While you canít take a pram or stroller into the stadium, you can leave it in one of the many cloakrooms for free, meaning you can bring your pram basically up to the gate. There are dedicated entry points for prams and wheelchairs at each gate.
Wear your baby
Once you drop your pram in the cloakroom, some form of baby carrier will be your best friend. It lets you have your hands free to handle toddlers or pre-schoolers and allows baby snuggle in to you or sleep when itís cold.
Top Tip: Invest in a pair of baby earmuffs. You can get them easily enough from Baby Bunting or other baby shops and they will help drown out the noise of a large crowd.
Baby earmuffs are a winner!
Have a look at the Chevron Parkland
If you have toddlers or pre-schoolers, head over to the Chevron Parkland before your event. This nature-based playground is located right outside the stadium and has six distinct areas for play, including a fully fenced area for younger children, a large play structure with a slide, ĎNumbat Burrowsí and lots of log steps and rope play. There are picnic areas and water fountains.
Locate the parentsí rooms
Optus Stadium has a number of parentsí rooms on each level, so be sure to find the closest one to your seat. They have areas for private feeding, change tables and bottle warmers, plus toilets.
The parents' room at Optus Stadium
Take plenty of snacks
If there is one area I have found somewhat disappointing about Optus Stadium, itís the food. Itís quite expensive and there arenít that many healthy options, apart from sandwiches and salads. Plus, the lines to buy food are always soooooo long. I take my own food to the stadium, including a flask of tea or coffee and bottled water Ė you can actually refill your water bottle at most of the bars, so you donít even have to buy another bottle. Some good snacks for the kids include chopped fruit and vegetables, bags of popcorn or rice crackers, sandwiches and any other snacks or treats they enjoy. The only things you are not allowed to take into the stadium are cans, bottled water and glass.
Hook up to the WiFi
Like most 3 year olds, mine canít sit still for long periods of time. Her 8 year old cousin is pretty good at keeping her entertained during a game of football, but even she has her limits. Colouring books and stickers are good for keeping kids quiet, but again, only for so long. The stadium has free WiFi you can connect to and let them watch a bit of ABC Kids or play a game if needed.
Be prepared to leave early if you need to
Before I had children, I would NEVER leave a game of football early! Now, the kids get restless, whiny and overtired, and sometimes all you want to do is get the bleep out of there, and thatís totally cool! The Armadale line train generally runs during the entire game (which runs to the Perth underground station and you can catch a train to anywhere from there) while the other train lines and buses depart from three quarter time onwards.
With a little planning, Optus Stadium with the kids can be a fantastic day out for the whole family, regardless of how old they are Ė even if they are not yet interested in footy, cricket or music.
Essential Information Optus Stadium
Roger MacKay Drive, Burswood
1300 297 588