There are a few sights in Melbourne that you could describe as iconic – Federation Square, the Yarra River and the MCG for example, but none conjure up such feelings of nostalgia and joy than the unmistakable Mr Moon mouth that welcomes visitors to St Kilda’s Luna Park.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the historic funfair and the Park is opening its doors to young and old for a whole host of special events, attractions and special discounts.
While some may see Luna Park as an amusement park past its prime, it’s hard to discredit its sheer longevity and continued popularity. Out of the four Luna Parks originally built in Australia (yes, there were 4!), Melbourne’s Luna Park was the original and one of only two to continue to operate to this day (Glenelg, SA closed in 1934 and Redcliffe, QLD in 1966). And let’s be honest, Sydney’s Luna Park has had more than its fair share of problems.
Melbourne’s Luna Park’s infamous rollercoaster, the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster, holds the title of being the oldest continually operating wooden rollercoaster in the world and is one of only 2 in existence that still has a real life brakeman (or woman, let’s keep it PC) perched atop of the moving carriages on each and every journey.
No, it doesn’t have 3D movie theatres and high-tech rides that drop you from great heights or take you to a galaxy far far away, but what it does have is good old fun for the whole family.
I’m talking carousels, dodgem cars, a maze of mirrors and a ghost train that will have both kids and parents SOL-ing (screaming out loud, duh.) Plus a day at the Park won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
There’s definitely something special about Luna Park. Located on the shore of the beautiful Port Phillip Bay and in the eclectic and laid-back seaside suburb of St Kilda, the Park is free for the public to wander through and enjoy the sights, making it a cheap (if not free) and overall an enjoyable way to whittle away the warm Melbourne spring days. And even more so with all the celebrations currently underway.
The weekend of December 15-16 will see the Park host a heritage weekend to take visitors right back to 1912, the year the park originally opened.
Complete with horses and carts, vintage stands, old-school uniforms for staff members and live turn-of-the-century music, the weekend will be a great way to turn back the clock and experience the Luna Park of yesteryear. The Centenary Program is due to get underway in mid-November, so keep your eyes peeled for the plethora of special events, attractions and deals to celebrate the past 100 years of good clean fun. Head to the Luna Park website to find out more.