With the weather being unusually sunny for a bank holiday we decided to visit our local woodland area, Moors Valley Park. We are so lucky that it's less than 30 minutes drive from us. We'd visited a couple of times since M was born, but found him unable to really appreciate any activities on offer. Now that he's started interacting more and walking a few steps we felt it was a perfect place to take him. Plus we both really love visiting.
The first adventure we embarked on, was a train ride on the mini railway. At £3.30 an adult, we couldn't resist taking him for his first ever train ride, bonus is they don't start charging for children until they are two. You can check out a picture of the train, over on our Facebook page. Our train ticket allowed us a return journey, so we decided for the first ride I (K) would sit with M and on the way back C would sit with him. This way we both got to witness his reaction. As soon as the train left the station M was waving and bouncing up and down with excitement. I think I had a permanent grin on my face, the whole journey. It was exactly why I love being a parent, getting to be part of new experiences is the best thing ever. He wasn't too keen on the tunnels, but it was adorable, each time he cuddled up whilst we went through them. I imagine we will wait for a year or so before we take him on the train again, by then I imagine it being a completely different experience.
Our next adventure took part in the little play area. Moors Valley Park offer two fantastic playgrounds for various ages. The older play area has a zip line, large climbing frame with slide and several things to scale. C and I have had lots of fun climbing things in the older play area, over the years. But this time we headed straight for the younger play area. This area homes a couple of smaller climbing areas, some see saws and lots and lots of sand.
Monkey first encountered sand back in November, it was incredibly cold but we were determined he got Sandy toes. This time he was much more willing to dip his toes in the sand and even sat in it so that he could grab some handfuls. I was certain he would start shovelling little fists full of sand, into his mouth. But I was surprised when he wasn't interest in sampling the grainy texture.
Monkey found it quite tricky to walk in the sand, but with a helping hand from Mummy, he was soon leading her all over the play area. His favourite apparatus was a large wooden see saw type thing, which was big enough for him and Mummy to sit on one end, whilst I sat on the other and bounced them. His little giggles kept me bouncing them for at least 5 minutes, my legs got a really good workout.
It wouldn't be a complete visit to Moors Valley Park, if we didn't attempt the Play Trail. The Play Trail takes you on a lovely walk through the woods, as you walk you encounter different wooden obstacles. The first obstacle we discovered is The Ant Hill, I'm not a huge fan of this obstacle as it requires you to climb inside a wooden replica of an ant hill and exit via a slide that is not designed for curvy adult bottoms. But C's 10 year old brother was with us and he enjoyed exploring it before we headed to the next obstacle. There had been a few changes since we last visited, a new obstacle was being built and two old ones had been removed. We are already looking forward to visiting again once they are open, to see what challenges they provide.
After tackling the webs obstacle, which is a series of cargo nets strung up to look like webs, we headed to C's favourite obstacle. Each time we visit, C and I have a race to see who can scale this obstacle the fastest. C wins almost every time, I say this is due to her being taller, so she has an advantage, but she claims she's just better than I am at climbing.
As the day was drawing to a close, C and her brother raced to the final obstacle. This obstacle is a true test of climbing skills. I challenge you to visit Moors Valley Park with your children to take on the great Play Trail. It really offers a fun experience for children, as long as they are old enough to climb things, so I'd say 3 and up for the smaller obstacles and 5 and up for the rest. We will be back with M to tackle the obstacles as he grows.
By the end of the day we were all so tired and full of vitamin D and even a few wood chips. It really was what bank holidays should be made of.