A giant pink snake is attempting to strangle a man around the neck - and my son and I couldn't find it funnier.

Suddenly, the snake's no longer winning the battle, with the man wrestling it off his head, and hurling it across the room before jumping for joy in celebration.

Why is this epic battle between man and snake funny? Because they're made out of pink and black blobs of plasticine.

Using our hands and our imagination, we made it all happen.


Sure, it's only 12 frames and four seconds long, but my son and I couldn't be prouder.

Wallace & Gromit and Friends lets visitors make their own claymation film.
Wallace & Gromit and Friends lets visitors make their own claymation film.

It's given us a very small taste of exactly what it's like to make a movie in the style of Aardman Animations, the British studio behind hits like Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep across four decades of stop-motion animation work.

Letting fans get behind the scenes of Aardman's animation process is exactly the point of Melbourne's Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman exhibition, says the studio's co-founder Peter Lord.

"Nothing, and I mean nothing, is as much fun as making animation," says Lord about the studio's painstaking animation process, which is achieved by a team of animators manipulating plasticine characters and shooting them frame-by-frame.

"It's a glorious experience of total creativity. You build a world, you make the people, then you make them live. That's pretty amazing."

A scene from ACMI's Wallace & Gromit exhibit.
A scene from ACMI's Wallace & Gromit exhibit.

Amazing is a great word to describe the Wallace & Gromit experience, which is on display in a lower level of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne's Federal Square.

You'll need several hours to take it all in, as it's crammed full of bits and pieces from Aardman's lengthy history.

It ranges from sketches of Morph, one of the studio's first characters, to the giant pirate ship seen sailing in their 2012 film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

The giant pirate ship that's part of the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibit in Melbourne.
The giant pirate ship that's part of the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibit in Melbourne.

Lord says the ship is the perfect example of how much detail they add to their work. The work of many different hands, it took about a year to finish. But, he says, "it seems like a lifetime ... we tried to build up a mad sort of history for the boat".

Aardman's most famous characters, Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, appear throughout the exhibition, and many of them are interactive - which is a good thing if you son has attention issues, like mine.

Handily, a video plays near each instalment, showing exactly how the exhibits were bought to life across a range of movies and TV shows.

The exhibition began in Paris in 2015, but has been touring the world ever since. Lord says it's the perfect summation of the studio's 40 years of work.

It's so good, even he was moved by it.

"I've always known that, while the films are the most important part of what we do, the way that we make them is pretty spectacular and amazing and I want to share that with people," he says.

"To see that whole story, and body of work, the history, the highlights, the photographs, the artwork and the fabulous sets – basically I found it incredibly moving."

Aardman Animations co-founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord at the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibition in Melbourne.
Aardman Animations co-founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord at the Wallace & Gromit and Friends exhibition in Melbourne.

The exhibition has been incredibly popular since its debut in June, with the ACMI recently announcing it was extending its run until the end of January.

As for our little snake vs man movie, Lord says he hasn't seen it - but he hopes someone at ACMI sends it to him soon.

"I hope that if someone did something totally amazing then someone at ACMI might forward it to me," Lord says.

Hey, maybe it'll make the cut for their next film Early Man, due for release next year.

Three things to do with the kids in Melbourne
Once you've finished with the Wallace & Gromit exhibit, it's worth sticking around for some of the museum's other displays. Definitely take a wander through Screen Worlds, which attempts to tell the story of television, movies and the internet in one wild, wide-eyed interactive display. We shot a Matrix-style short film, played plenty of old school arcade games, had a dance party with our shadows and took photos in front of one of the actual cars used in Mad Max: Fury Road. ACMI's next big exhibit is Wonderland, based on the classic Lewis Carroll character, due to begin in April.
Where: Fed Square
More information: www.acmi.net.au

Melbourne Zoo
We spent a solid four hours wandering around the zoo on a super hot sunny Melbourne Saturday, and there was plenty for both kids and adults to enjoy. It's especially good for kids wanting to check out local wildlife like kangaroos and koalas, but the alligators and snakes were a bit scary, even for the adults. As for the rutting lizards, they should get a room to themselves - their R18 activities were a little innappropriate for a seven-year-old. The follow-up questions were a bit awkward.
Where: Parkville, Melbourne, 4km from the city centre.
More information: www.zoo.org.au/melbourne
South Melbourne Food Market
It doesn't have to all be about the kids when you're in Melbourne - and hey, you've got to eat sooner or later. Head along to this massive market for plenty of ready-to-eat food, from French pastries and pies to artisanal ice creams. It's even better for stocking up the fridge - I counted five butchers, and all were doing a roaring trade. Just make sure you check the times - the South Melbourne Market is only open at select times four days of the week.
Where: Coventry St and Cecil Street, South Melbourne
More information: southmelbournemarket.com.au