This is too cool for school! ArtVo is an immersive gallery in Docklands that uses the techniques of tromp l'oeil painting to create realistic 3D works on walls and floors. This place is a cracker - it has everything from gardens and tunnels to dragons and witches, and I'm sure I could've spent another couple of hours with my inner child playing about in there.
Balders needed something new to amuse her 3 year old for a couple of hours so we met up for a late breakfast (read: coffee) before steeling ourselves for crowds of harried parents, screaming children and pram jams. As we approached the ticket desk, I noticed that we were the only people lining up. Was this a sign that the place was over-hyped and actually a bit shit?
Mr 3 had scarfed down a big juice with breakfast, so he was all sugared up and ready to roll, but a visit starts with a quick chat from one of the guides who walk visitors through how to position themselves for photographs with the paintings. Cool, huh? Mr 3 of course spent this time rolling around on the floor babbling incoherently and rolling his eyes like he'd contracted rabies. I'd love to be able to show you lots of pictures of the young chap posing with every painting but sadly, that's just not possible. And no, it's not because there was 4 million other people there getting in the way and ruining every shot, because the place was almost empty!
No, it's because the little blighter just wouldn't stand or sit or lie or do anything for longer than a nano-second!!
We were really surprised to find that there was only about 20 other people in the place, and it's a pretty big space, so nobody was getting in anyone's way. It was the day before school holidays started, so I expected there to be at least a couple of hundred people getting a visit in before masses of squawking juveniles descended like a plague of hungry locusts blabbing on about Fortnight or Toy Story or whatever it is that small humans talk about, but no. The only hungry locust in the place was Mr 3, who after about 39 seconds of being in the gallery, had suddenly decided he was hungry and needed to snack RIGHT NOW.
Several small tantrums were threatening to gang up and become one big one, so after a while we wandered outside for a snack before returning to the gallery to finish viewing the areas we hadn't seen. The gallery's good like that: they obviously had everyone paying attention at the "Dealing With Small Children In Public Places 101" course because you can come and go once you've brought a ticket. Good for not getting sensory overload, which I suppose is always possible if you're only 3!
Definitely worth a visit if you can be jammy enough to score a day when hordes of the great unwashed don't turn up. It's nearly $30 for an adult, but littlies are free, so go on - treat yourself. Bring a camera, a sense of humour and some patience. There's at least a hundred odd paintings, so allow a good hour if you're not chasing a 3 year old (but longer if you are!).