Showing posts with label days out with kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label days out with kids. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Animals of the Ice Age at Howletts Wildlife Park

Many zoos and wildlife parks seem to be expanding with new Dinosaur areas, but Howletts near Canterbury in Kent has created an Animals of the Ice Age walk featuring the creatures that walked the earth after dinosaurs and we were invited along for the day to take a look.

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

I visited Howletts often as a child but I don't remember the last time I was there so I was excited to see if it was the same as I remembered it.  We didn't pick the best day to visit, but it was dry when we arrived and we decided to go and find the ice age walk straight away.  Howletts is one of very few wildlife parks that has elephants and they were clearly in a playful mood when we arrived as we could watch the younger ones play fighting and teasing each other.  The animals of the ice age walk is situated right next door and we were given books at the front desk to help us explore the area.  Unfortunately we completely forgot to take them out the bag but next time we will as they look perfect for my six year old with challenges to draw, right and puzzles to complete as you walk through the area.

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

The ice age starts where the Jurassic period (which you can walk through at the sister park Port Lympne) ends and along the walkway we could spot little and large creatures as well as living animals too.  Many of them resemble the animals we know and love like elephants, rhinos and anteaters but the size and shapes were different and each one came with a board giving us help on how to pronounce each name and a few facts about the animals.  It was the perfect size for my six year old to digest and easy enough for him to read.  He has been learning about herbivores and omnivores at school and loved that each board had this information.  The little ones were excitedly running between the animals amazed at the size and pointing out familiar features.  

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

We had brought Grandma and Grandpa along for the day and the children couldn't stop telling us all about the animals.  Towards the end of the walk there is one with a huge horn coming out the top of his head which was definitely a big hit and some of the animals were situated close enough to the barriers to be touched.  The woolly mammoth was indeed woolly and the children loved feeling the fur.  

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

It wasn't long after the animals of the ice age walk, or possibly during it that it started to rain and it only got heavier as the day went on.  Of course I am that unprepared mum who just told the children to put some shoes on so none of them were in wellies.  My coat didn't have a hood and none of us had umbrellas.  Many of the animals seemed to be hiding away to escape the rain and we didn't blame them, but there were a few that just weren't bothered and as the park was quiet we got great views.  The tiger was on top form and we loved watching the lemurs feeding.  The gorillas were fascinating to my mini monkeys and the elephants were great fun to observe.  The ice age walk was definitely the highlight of our day though and the good thing about model animals is they are always exactly where they should be!

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

As much as we love dinosaurs, and we really do, it was really fascinating to learn about a different era that we know much less about and the exhibit is unique and fun for children and adults of all ages.  My camera was hastily hidden away when the rain started gushing but I got a few pictures before hand.  On a seperate note if you have children that love muddy puddles then bring wellies as Howletts is great for splashing as the three boys will tell you!

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com

Thank you to Howletts for hosting us for a fun day, the kids thought it was fantastic even in the rain and have asked to go back again over Easter! I am definitely up for it as long as it is a little drier!

Howletts, animals of the ice age, themummyadventure.com
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Monday, 26 February 2018

Dinosaurs in the Wild Review

If you have children that love dinosaurs, then you may have seen that Dinosaurs in the Wild has arrived at London Greenwich and it offers an interactive experience to see 'real' dinosaurs up close.  The boys and I visited in half term and it was one of our highlights of the week.

The Dinosaurs in the Wild experience is close to Greenwich tube station and a short walk from the O2 arena and it was easy to find thanks to plenty of signposts starting in the tube station.  You are split into small groups as you enter which are the perfect size to mean you are never queueing or stuck behind someone too tall.  You enter a time travel machine and are transported back 67 million years to a time when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Ankylosaurus ruled the earth.  

Dinosaurs in the wild, London Dinosaur experience, themummyadventure.com

It is a fast paced show which sees you spending between 5 and 10 minutes in each room and with a 4 year old that doesn't have the longest concentration span I found this ideal.  We never got bored or impatient for the next part, but we had enough time to properly explore where we were before being ushered into the next room.  The boys got to handle dinosaur poo (through gloves), take a look at a t-rex arm, watch eggs hatching with tiny triceratops inside and learned about how dinosaurs laid the eggs and how they looked after their babies.  Everything was interactive and fun and accesible on every level so that the adults took away as much as the children.  

Dinosaurs in the wild, London Dinosaur experience, themummyadventure.com

After the Dinosaurs in the Wild show we got to chat to the men behind it all including the paleontologist Darren Naish who ensured everything stayed factually correct.  Children may not spot their favourite dinosaurs featured because the dinosaur period was so long, they may not have co-existed at this time.  The information is all based on their knowledge of which animals lived where and when and how they lived together.  There are no cartoon green dinosaurs, but instead they have the specs and patterns that were most likely true.  We spoke to Tim Haines too who created the award winning series 'Walking with Dinosaurs' and was the creative director behind this project.  He told us how he wanted to make something that wasn't just for children but something that would entertain all ages and he definitely succeeded.

Dinosaurs in the wild, London Dinosaur experience, themummyadventure.com

At the end, we were taken up to the lookout tower which was a big room with four giant windows.  With our 3D glasses on we could see the dinosaurs moving around us and everything up to this point was so convincing for my boys that when the T-rex started to come towards us they did get scared.  The experience is so real but the staff were brilliant at looking after the children and making sure they were reassured.  As the experience finished our group was taken back up to the time machine to head back to 2018 and the gift shop.

Dinosaurs in the wild, London Dinosaur experience, themummyadventure.com

The Dinosaurs in the wild experience isn't cheap considering it was around 70 minutes long and the gift shop was equally as expensive.  It was fantastic though, and I would highly recommend visiting, especially if you can go off peak.  We had an amazing time and I would consider going back and taking Finn as well as at 3 I think the pace would suit him (It is open until 31st July so this may well happen).  All three of us learned a lot and came out smiling.  The boys have talked about it lots since and have asked to revisit.  

Dinosaurs in the wild, London Dinosaur experience, themummyadventure.com
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We were given complimentary tickets to the experience
 but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
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