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Category: Days Out

The Deep – Hull

The Deep – Hull

Having been planned with our chums for a while, yesterday was the day we went for a visit to The Deep in Hull. Dubbed one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world and having a motto “for conservation, not profit” we wanted to go see what all the fuss was about. To be honest, at first I thought it might not have been worth taking a four-and-a-half month old. Would she really get anything out of it? We didn’t really have much to lose given that Phoebe G was free and we wanted to go anyway as I’ve never been and Wifey hasn’t been since she was a little tinker so couldn’t remember much.

Whenever it comes to days out with a little one it seems to require a headache inducing amount of effort to decide various things like, what time shall we go? How many bibs do we need? Will she be warm enough in this? No probably not lets get her changed into something else. How many feeds do we need to take etc etc. Our chums recommended going for opening time after speaking to the staff on the phone, so we took their lead (they’ve got a 2 year old so have done this before) and arrived for the time it opened at 10am. We joined a very quiet queue in a pretty chilly wind so make sure you’ve something warm on if you go early as it might not be very warm!! A short wait and the doors opened bang on time. I’d definitely recommend going for opening as it’s very quiet so you get a really good view of everything as you’re first in.

A big win for us is that your tickets are valid for 12 months and you can revisit as many times as you want so you can really get your money’s worth. Make sure you give the ticket staff your details so you can come back for free! They’ll take your photo at this point so make sure you’ve got plenty lippy on and a posh frock if you care about that sort of thing. We’ll definitely go again when our mini beast is a bit older as she’ll be even more in awe of the sights she’s seen today (she loved it and stayed awake the whole time we were there). Kids under three go in free anyway and adults are £12. Armed forces chaps and chappesses also go in free. Booking in advance saves you some brass too, and it’ll mount up if you’re a big group. More money to spend in the gift shop at the end! Buying tickets was painless and off we went with our (free) trusty guidebook (we didn’t read this though, I won’t lie. But if you’re into reading stuff it’ll suit you!)

Once through ticketing you’ve two options, get fit and healthy and climb up what feels like three million stairs or take the lift. We took the stairs and had to whip out the inhaler at the top. Then it’s on to the main attraction…

Fish, stingrays, fish, sharks, penguins, starfish, jellyfish, eels and another 3000+ creatures await. Phoebe G was so alert walking past the giant tanks which are designed really well so kids of all heights can see. There’s lots of information to read throughout the exhibition and so much to look at. There’s also various activities at scheduled times of the day too, from feeding demonstrations to dive presentations. Throughout the venue there’s plenty toilets so it’s not too important to go at the beginning. I’m sure this will be great for all those emergencies when we’ve ditched the nappies!! There’s a soft play area once you’re round so the little ones can run off any steam they’ve got left whilst mum and dad (and whoever else!) look at snakes, ants, frogs etc. When you come back out from your under the sea adventure you walk through a really spectacular tunnel right underneath one of the big tanks so there’s fish swimming all around you. This makes a great photo opportunity (#SelfieWithNemo anyone?). Once through the tunnel you get a similar choice to when you first started, to take a lift or take stairs back to the surface. We’d reccomend taking the stairs as you go up the side of one of the tanks and there’s viewing stations on every level (there’s three of four flights so you’ll need the rest!). The lift does stop but you’re limited to how much time you can spend in it, whereas on the stairs you can hang around on each level as long as you like. Once back at the surface, you’ll head out towards the very reasonably priced gift shop. Wifey was super surprised at the prices. A lot of gift shops are overpriced but the one here is really good and there’s something to suit all budgets. Let the kids run wild and spend all that spare change you saved by booking your tickets online!

Look out for special events that happen fairly regularly at The Deep to make your visits even more exciting.

With it’s ease of access (just off the M62/A63) and just over an hour away from where we live, once Phoebe G is a bit older we’ll definitely go again. She loved it this time so it’ll be even more fun in a few months time!

A quick stop off at Frankie and Benny’s with our chums for a yummy lunch (we got starters served in mess tins and chips served in a bag which had mixed opinion! Sorry A!) and then we headed home.

Enjoying lunch with her chum!
Enjoying lunch with her chum!

5 stars to The Deep. Thanks for a grand day out. Phoebe slept all the way home, dreaming of fish (probably not sharks, she didn’t cry). She then slept all evening, properly zonked look..!

Tired Out After The Deep
Tired Out After The Deep

Ttfn

Pete

Bridlington Animal Park Review

Bridlington Animal Park Review

As part of our first family holiday, Wifey found Bridlington Birds of Prey and Animal Park (on Facebook too) which looked like a good day out not too far from where we were staying.

The day got off to a fine start (especially given it was my birthday!) with a sun shining an off-the-scale 16 degrees temperature forecast for the day. It was a 45 minute drive to get there so we planned to set off so we’d arrive just as Phoebe was due to be fed and when we knew she’d be ready for a nap (this kind of planning is the norm once there’s a baby around). Sure enough, she snoozed all the way (the way back is a TOTALLY different story). It’s dead easy to get to and has ample parking. The park is on the same site as a big factory outlet store and a nice café where we grabbed a quick snack and fed Phoebe. Then it was on to the main attraction!

Over the road we trundled, passing Charlie the parrot by the door as we went through to reception. Charlie made a few efforts at saying hello  but was more interested in cleaning his feathers to stop for a chat. In reception we were greeted by a friendly young lady who let us in and we were also able to purchase food for feeding some of the animals as we walked round. At £4.95 for adults, and £4 for kids aged 3-15 (2 and under are free, so it cost us less than a tenner for entry), it’s an absolute steal and well worth it.

There is a good variety of animals spread out across the park. Smaller animals (pigs, wallabys, birds etc) are all quite close to the reception and enclosed in a lovely wooded area which is really nice to walk round in the sunshine. There’s lots of birds singing in the trees which means there’s plenty for children to both look at and hear (and plenty smells from the pigs, too!) There’s a short walk to the paddock where you’ll find donkeys and goats and if you’re lucky there’s Billy the goat who likes to escape. Up by the paddock there’s some seating and a small playground with ride on tractors for toddlers and older children to enjoy.

The real treat comes from the on-the-hour activities run by the experienced park staff. Every day you can try your hand at wallaby feeding, reptile handling, watch a birds of prey flying display, raccoon or meerkat feeding and also take part in birds of prey handling sessions. We went to two of the sessions, and both were great.

In the reptile handling session we met a couple of slithery snakes and a tiny beared dragon Wifey has always wanted touch a snake and she got her wish. Phoebe was super interested in the reptiles too!

Having a thing for birds (ha) the big highlight for me was the birds of prey flying display. The keepers were very knowledgeable and also quashed a few myths about owls in the process! We met a huge owl and a very clever kestrel. I ended up involved in the display when the keeper was demonstrating how the kestrel could get through really tight gaps! There’s a video of this in the gallery above (thanks to the handler for letting me upload the footage). Something else which I was happy with was that the keepers never tether the birds in the displays. They fly directly from their aviaries and back again when they’ve done, so they’ve got complete freedom which is lovely for them.

On the way out we met two baby owls who looked like balls of fluff. They were very cute and we were surprised when we found out they’d be full size adults and in the flying displays in just 10 weeks!

The park also offer gift cards for things like Meerkat Experience and Keeper for the Day which would make a great gift for animal lovers. All the staff are friendly and are more than happy to go out of their way to chat to you about the park and the animals, and do everything they can to make sure you have a good day.

As the caravan is quite close we’ll definitely go here again when Phoebe is older and she’ll get more out of it. 5 out of 5 from us! We’re also planning to bring our friends who have a two year old and will love it!! Coming home was interesting, Phoebe obviously hadn’t done looking at animals and screamed all the way back. Either that or she was so worn out she couldn’t copy any more!

Ttfn

Pete

Tropical World

Tropical World

We originally tried to go to Tropical World when Phoebe was a few weeks old, however we got there and it was heaving due to snowy weather so we turned around and went home (bit of a lame drive if I’m honest seeing as it’s an hour away). Nearly three months later we had another shot, and had a wonderful time.

Tropical World is a fun day out for kids and adults alike. It’s also good for babies as there’s lots of things to exercise their sight, smell and sound senses until the excitement just gets too much and they eventually fall asleep (it’ll happen). On weekends and bank holidays there’ll almost definitely be a queue to get in, so make sure you take something to wrap your little one up in, in case you’re stood in the cold for a bit. There was a chilly wind we were stood in and we weren’t as well prepared as we perhaps should have been, as once you get inside you definitely DON’T want to be wrapped up. It costs £5 to get in (adults) and £2.50 for kids (5-15 years). Under 5s are free which is great if you’re a young family.

The main attraction really is the butterfly house, which is home to some beautiful creatures. The house is very hot and humid so make sure you can unwrap your child to keep them cool. You’ll get stuck behind other families as the walkways are quite narrow and people tend to move quite slowly as there’s a lot to look at. Here you will find numerous butterflies (naturally) which freely fly around. If you’re lucky, one will land on or near to you which makes a good photo snapping opportunity. A lovely butterfly landed on the pram next to Phoebe but flew off as we fumbled for the camera. Once you’ve enjoyed the greenery and creature comforts of the butterfly house, there’s still plenty more to see. Birds, meerkats, fish, lizards, snakes, turtles, the list goes on. Each animal is a new sight to a curious baby so expect a whole host of facial expressions from your little one. Birds are a firm favorite with Phoebe. At home we have two budgies so she’s been used to birdsong since the moment her ears started to work in the womb, so much so she’s the only who isn’t bothered by them tweeting all the way through a film (they were recently banished to the hallway – it all got a bit much – but we still love them)

Checking out the gardens at Tropical World
Checking out the gardens at Tropical World

Once you’ve been round the indoor area you’ll no doubt have time (and be sure to have some money, too) to spend in the gift shop which is full of lots of cuddly toys, plastic animals etc that fit the theme of the place, before chilling out in the small cafeteria with a drink and a cake. After a bit of R+R, you can head outside for a walk around the well kept gardens. If this isn’t enough, Tropical World sits next to Roundhay Park, one of the largest outdoor parks in Europe. If your children aren’t tired out yet, you can finish them off here to guarantee a quiet sleepy journey home in the car.

We’ll definitely visit again as a family when Phoebe is a bit older as she’ll appreciate it even more. I’d give it a respectable 4 out of 5, losing a point because you probably can’t spend a whole day there as it’s not really big enough. With a baby though you probably wouldn’t want to, so don’t let this put you off.

Anyone else been to Tropical World? I’d be interested to hear your stories!

Ttfn

Pete

 

Let’s Go Swimming

Let’s Go Swimming

When Phoebe was born we decided we’d try and go swimming once every couple of weeks. Neither me or wifey were confident in the water as kids and wanted to make sure Phoebe was comfortable in a pool.

It’s worth waiting until at least the first round of jabs is out of the way so your little one has at least some immunity against the big wide world. We took Phoebe for the first time at 3 months old. Obviously you can’t just throw your baby in the water and hope she doesn’t sink, and armbands look a bit ridiculous on tiny babies too. After a short hunt on Amazon we found a product that we would definitely recommend – Zoggs Trainer Seat. There are a number of cheaper trainer seats but they often have scratchy or sharper edges where your baby will sit, so it’s worth spending a few more pounds to get a decent one. It’s a bit of a bugger to blow up, so make sure you’ve plenty puff. There’s multiple inflation points so it’s a bit more involved than blowing up a set of armbands. Nevertheless, it’s easy enough to get up and running, plop your baby in and off she goes. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got some Swimming Nappies which are designed to catch solids (liquids just run out, but we’ve all peed in a pool at some point in our lives). We used Huggies Little Swimmers which are cheap enough and do the job just fine.

We phoned the pool before we went to check times and went early doors. We only had to share the pool with one other couple which was great to do the little introduction to swimming. The pool staff recommend only staying in about 20 minutes for the first few sessions so that Phoebe wasn’t exposed to chlorine for too long. If you are in West Yorkshire, Brighouse Pool is lovely. New facilities and very clean too. At around £9 for two adults and a teeny one, it’s also a cheap morning out. Don’t forget a quid for a locker. Whichever pool you go to, ensure it is heated. It’s handy if they’ve got a separate training/small pool too so you can be well away from the serious swimmers.

One problem we quickly came up against was spick (if you don’t know what that is, read my first ever post!). When this appears from nowhere, for no reason, in the middle of a swimming pool you suddenly find yourself with limited options. You can either:

  • Catch it in your hand and quickly exit the pool to deal with it or
  • Mix it in the water (it soon disappears. Seriously, seems gross, but a quick Google shows plenty other mums and dads doing the same thing, and after all, that’s what chlorine is for!)

We became savvy to this for the second visit and wifey stuffed a few baby wipes down her swimming costume which came in handy. Just make sure you don’t lose them ladies otherwise they’ll float off and the lifeguard probably won’t thank you for it.

The first few swimming visits will tire out your baby. We spent 20 minutes in the pool – plus changing time – and Phoebe slept like a log for a few hours and was pretty out of it for most of the day. The proof is in the pudding, no difficult working out which is the before and after shot!

Before and After Swimming
Before and After Swimming

In summary, swimming is great and the earlier you introduce your baby to pools the more confident they’ll be

Ttfn

Pete