Crocodiles and bulldogs made of Lego: Cr Amy Johnson and Cr Samantha McIntosh showing Belle Jantzen, 2, and Emma Cosgriff the fun toys.

THE 2016 Ballarat Begonia Festival has heaps of fun to keep kids of all ages engaged and entertained this year.

Budding green thumbs can get their hands dirty creating their very own gardening masterpiece with Festival sponsor Bunnings and BotaniKIDS. BotaniKIDS is a group under the auspices of the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens that encourages children to enjoy, explore, play and learn more about nature and specifically gardening. This year, children will be making hanging gardens to take home and nurture. The ever popular Super SandPit also returns this year, thanks to a partnership between new Festival sponsors Ballarat Sand & Soil and S.H.A.E Enterprises. The sand ‘mega structure’ is always a hit with children creating castles and sculptures in the heart of the festival. The Eureka Community Kinder Association is preparing a magical Alice in Wonderland theme for the children to enjoy, so get your bucket and spade ready to have loads of fun! The LEGO trail competition is also back, with LEGO artist ‘The Brickman’ Ryan McNaught adding a few new creations this year. There are 10 carefully crafted pieces to find throughout the Botanical Gardens this year, with the winner taking home a $4,000 Flight Centre voucher.

“This year’s LEGO trail has some real treats in it and after seeing last year’s, I thought I’d throw in a few surprises. We’ve gone cute and scary too! I’ve even added one which will hopefully be super hard to find,” said LEGO artist ‘The Brickman’ Ryan McNaught. Cr Samantha McIntosh added that a number of characters would be hidden Roger the bulldog, a pussy cat and a crocodile. “Whoever finds the ten things, their name will be put jn a barrel and the winner will be drawn out,” she said.

“Last year we had queues upon queues to see the giant begonia, which will be in the conservatory this year.”

Other attractions for kids this year include Foost Cooking Classes, Hanging Gardens, Blank Canvas, Polyglot theatre, and the Nylon Zoo Storytelling. The Festival’s full program of events will feature with the Autumn edition of MyBallarat which residents will receive in the next few weeks.

The Ballarat Begonia Festival is on at the Botanical Gardens over the long weekend 12 to 14 March from 10am to 5pm daily.