Summer holidays can mean but one thing, children, children everywhere. No pre-school taking over for those precious hours of calm that I had been enjoying while the Baby napped. No summer holidays means that I am the primary source of entertainment, and so I get busy searching days out near home. Last year we went to the National Forest Adventure Farm where they had a digger theme to celebrate 100 years of JCB. This year we went back to the National Forest Adventure Farm, but this year we went hunting dinosaurs.
Yes, the dinosaurs are in town and waiting for you to come find them. The question is; did we find them?!
Panning for Fossils
First up, we headed towards the shelter to fish for fossils. Each year the National Forest Adventure Farm puts on children friendly activities in line with the theme of the year. Last year saw the Big One bricklaying, this year saw us fossil hunting. Charged at an extra £2 on top of entry, it is definitely worth the extra money. For that £2 you receive a bag full of sand, fossils and gemstones that you get to sieve through the sand just like the palaeontologists did before heading over to examine what you find.
A magnifying glass, dinosaur teeth and gemstones to fully examine and analyse against the big notice board. Of course we got to take them home with us to show Daddy, where they now live in a sock to keep them safe from the Baby. Ah, but where was the Baby at this point? My mum was doing laps in the pram in a futile attempt to get him to nap. She failed. We headed for the maize maze instead….
Dino Babies Maize Maze
The National Forest Adventure Farm boasts an impressive 10 acre maize maze, in the middle of the maze are dinosaur bones, but be warned because the dinosaurs are on the loose. Taking up to 90 minutes to complete with the smallest member of our party only having little legs and having given up on naps was definitely not happy to sit in the pram. Instead we took the easier option of the Dino Babies maze, on a hunt for the Dino Babies.
6 Dino Babies to find in the mini maze, with stamps to collect and a sticker with a lollipop at stake. Running through the maize, round the corners. We were victorious in finding all 6 and a lollipop was won. Taking us around 20 minutes we did this first thing before everyone else came in so the maze was fairly secluded, perfect for letting a 16 month old off on the loose.
Of course, no adventure to the farm would be the same without seeing the animals. A range of typical farm animals, thrilling for ones who are used to camels over cows, ranging from cows, to pigs, sheep to goats, donkeys to alpacas. The boys were in their element running from one pen to the next, animal feed in hand that was purchased for £1 per pot on entry.
Of course the Big One still is a little bit on the weary side of feeding the animals only managing to feed the sheep, while the Baby is at the stage where his little hand is constantly clenched, or feeding himself. So it was up to Mummy and Grandma to feed the animals on their behalf while they ran round us in circles joyfully crying which goat to feed next as the Daddy Goat butted everyone out of the way.
Nipping inside we saw the baby chicks, rabbits and guinea pigs, but this year missed the petting times due to all the other activities on offer.
As we headed off the farm it started to rain so we headed for our picnic in the covered picnic area putting our Munchkin Go Folding Placemat to good use.
It was here that we heard thundering, we saw the glint of teeth and the dinosaurs were on the loose with their trainer. Yep, we were in the right place at the right time for dinosaur training, taking place twice a day. The T-Rex and Velociraptor paraded round the picnic area while we pushed our way forward to see just how to train your dinosaur, from how to approach them to leading them on a little walk.
The Outdoor Playarea
After our picnic it was clear that the Baby was in dire need of a nap, so I set off doing laps while the Big One went to town on the outdoor play area.
While I walked around the serene and peaceful kitchen gardens, the sun beating down and the Baby finally giving in. The Big One raced on the mini quad bikes (£1 per go) which was interesting after our road rage on Terence the Tractor at Thomas Land before heading up to Jurassic Canyon to see what was in store.
Back hunting for fossils, carefully brushing sand away….
Before noticing the inflatable JCB digger and the bouncing pillow. Well that was it. He was lost to the fossils, they were to remain forever buried under sand as he made a run for it. Over and over again on the digger. Before heading to the bouncing pillow.
Then the Baby woke up so it was time to play. Heading on the barrel ride, where the Big One got pulled by a tractor whilst sat in a barrel, before catching the end of the sheep race. There was just enough time for a quick go on the slide in the ginormous soft play before taking the boys home for a nice cup of tea.
National Forest Adventure Farm can be found in Burton upon Trent, having started out life in 2004 as a simple Maize Maze growing in size and attraction before opening year round in 2011. Ticket prices vary with the seasons, with charges applying to those 2 and above, starting at £6.95 in the winter rising to £10.95 during peak seasons. Parking is free.
There is so much to do, you really do make a full day out at the farm with something for all ages.
We received free entry for the purpose of this review, all opinions and photographs are my own.