When the kids are off school I always feel like I should take them out somewhere and entertain them for at least a few of the days, so I thought I'd tell you about where we have been.
Paultons Park inc Peppa Pig World
For the last 9 months this has been a favourite of ours as we became season ticket holders last summer and have tried to make sure that we use it. Our Children are 8 and 3 and this family theme park definitely caters for both of them. The weather was a bit cold so we only stayed for 3 hours but we still had a lot of fun. We even got to try the new 4D cinema. We had already experienced 4D at Legoland so knew what to expect, but to be honest I came out of it with mixed feelings really. The amount of waiting time seemed excessive especially after being told by the attendant that it was only 5 mins until the next showing, there was hardly any people queueing, and then when we finally did get inside nearly 30 mins later, they were only half filling the auditorium - so we probably could have got in to the show before as it's only a 15 mins movie! Anyway the only movie was in my opinion a bit too scary for the kids as several had to be taken out crying half way through, including Sophie and the clarity/focus of the film was not very good either.
The one really good thing about it was the effects, the chairs move and vibrate, the water & wind spurts out from the back of every chair and bubbles float out of the ceiling. This was a definite improvement from the Legoland one as their effects all only came out from the front stage or above in the middle of the ceiling, so not everyone got the full experience. I am glad we tried it but I certainly won't be queueing for it again.
The rest of the afternoon was very good, the children love the indoor soft play area of Peppa Pig World and we also managed to fit in some of the rides too. All in all I do recommend this as a great day out but if you are paying the day ticket price make sure you stay all day and get the most for your money.
Longdown Activity Farm
We had'nt been here for quite a while so it has changed a little. As soon as we arrived it was time for the baby goat feeding, which the children love. You feed them with bottled milk and the goats are so funny, they climb on top of each other to try to get a bottle and then gulp it so quickly they nearly pull it out of your hand.
Next door is the trampolines which are always a favourite and always very busy, so while the kids got the chance they had a play in there. After this we walked around the chick shed and guinea pig shed where some had just had babies & they were so cute. Next was the petting corner, for this we had to queue for a while but the children were kept busy looking for eggs in the hens nesting boxes.
The kids got to hold tiny little chicks, stroke the baby bunnies which were so, so soft and adorable and then brush the baby goats which I have to say were so placid and well behaved - nothing like the ones we fed!
Another play - this time in the soft play area and then outside on the pedal tractors & go-carts.
A new addition this time was pony rides, you do have to pay an extra fee for this but it was very popular. Sadly the big tractor ride was cancelled due to the soggy field, but normally we do really enjoy this bumpy ride.
The kids however were quite happy playing at the outside play ground and picnic area which then leads quite nicely to the pig feeding. The pigs pen has lots of plastic tubes which you pour feed pellets down for the pigs and the kids just seem fascinated by. They kept on going back round in the queue for more. The straw play barn is another great play area with a couple of slides and masses of straw bales and the kids had loads of fun running around in a very safe environment. Finally on our way out we had a look round the very lovely farm shop and bought some yummy strawberries to eat in the car on our way home.
New Forest Reptile Centre's Wild Wednesday
We have been to the Reptile Centre before, but not for "Wild Wednesday". Last year we had one of the RSPB volunteers that was working at the centre stay with us, and she had recommended it back then, so I thought we should take her advice and check it out. Admission is free but you pay a small fee for parking.
There are about 6 pods which house the reptiles that are native to the New Forest, but obviously they only become active when the weather is warm. We did manage to see a couple of common lizards and a toad, but sadly no snakes - although we have been lucky enough to come across Adders & Sloworms out in the Forest.
There were a few stalls set up with activities for the kids like colouring in & making things and although we didn't do it, I believe there was a nature trail too.
There was a lovely gentleman there with two telescopic bird viewers set up watching a nut feeder, allowing everyone to see the birds feeding right up close, it was great. There had been a Woodpecker and lots of Siskins and Tits and apparently he had seen a Nuthatch but it was in hiding. He was really helpful and very interesting to chat too.
In the main hut they have some TV screens that are linked up to live webcams that are watching the birds close by and one in particular is the live feed from a secret but local Goshawk nest.
If it is a nice warm day there are picnic benches around and also some walking trails, so you could make a day of it and it's just a really nice, peaceful place which is fun & educational without the kids realising.