Mama has always loved uncovering fabulous mums running businesses and supporting their families, so you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered Victoria’s biggest water theme park is run by not one, but three fantastic mums, who are also sisters!
Sisters Leanne, Carla and Bree are a true example of a modern family run business. Started by their father, now with five children of their own between them, the girls skillfully juggle motherhood and running a company and have created their own child friendly workplace culture. We chat to Leanne about life running a theme park.
Can you quickly tell us a little bit about each of your own families? Who are you kids and how old are they?
I have a daughter aged 17 months, Bree has three boys aged 6, 4 and 2.5 and Carla has a little girl who is almost two.
Adventure Park started around 22 years ago with your parents. Can you tell us how it all began?
Our parents always had a love for tourism and the park started off with a small lake with boats and some archery. It all slowly expanded from there.
Did you all grow up knowing you would one day be involved in the park, or did any of you have other career aspirations?
We originally all did different degrees at university and I then went into the banking sector. We all pursued different fields to begin with, but we loved tourism, like Mum and Dad, and eventually came back to the park. We love having a job in Geelong, close to family and the Surf Coast. In the end it came back to our passion to see the park grow and our love of being close to family.
What is the most exciting thing about running a theme park (besides making thousands of families smile every day)?
The thing that I love most is that it is such a fun, positive, joyful place to work, where everyone is happy all the time. Who doesn’t want to work in a place like that?
What unique aspects have you added into the park to ensure it is the best family-friendly theme park in Victoria?
A really important thing for families visiting the park is ensuring there is plenty of shade for them. We have installed lots of free undercover seating and shaded areas and if you really want to splash out and stay out of the sun you can hire one of our special poolside cabanas! We also have drinking taps around the park where you can refill your water bottles which I think is really important for a full family day out. Hydration is so important, especially in the Summer heat.
We’ve got a number of different food and beverage options to suit everyone as well as the popular Ice Cream Parlour and Candy Land for a treat. But we also welcome guests to bring their own food and drink into the park (just no glass or alcohol), which many other theme parks don’t, and we also have BBQ facilities onsite for families to use.
We’ve also made sure that there are a big range of rides that are suitable to kids of all ages, so nobody misses out. Rides are based on height, not age, and over half of the rides at Adventure Park require no contact with water so they are a perfect way to spend the day when the weather is a bit colder. But you are also more than welcome to bring a wetsuit for the water rides in order to stay warm when it’s not so warm out.
With younger children not yet at school, how do you each juggle working and child care arrangements?
Bree’s oldest two are at school and kinder, but the rest of the crew are little and are looked after by a nanny. We have a full-time nanny that the three of us share which works out brilliantly.
What are your children’s favourite things about the park?
They can’t get enough of Bonito’s Bay and Tiny Tot’s Splashzone, as being little still these waterplay areas are simply perfect for them on a hot day.
What do you love doing with your kids when you are not working?
Hitting one of the amazing beaches around the coast of course!
And finally, what is the best and worst thing about working with your sisters?
It’s actually brilliant working with my sisters. We are all very different but have the same vision and passion for what we do. Meetings are very honest and to the point that you can just cut through the red tape and get things done quicker.
Adventure Park is at 1249 Bellarine Highway in Wallington, just outside of Geelong. Find out more at adventurepark.com.au.