Sunday, 12 May 2013

seeing lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The little girl is very excited
Hello all, you may recall, a while ago we were celebrating having success with potties.  Following our initial success we had a period of constant bugging, and a sticker chart, and in an incredibly short period of time the little girl has cracked it!  She had been told that her reward for completing potty training would be a day trip or her choice, and she decided she'd like to see a lion.

Well it's been raining for ages (although we did have sun last Tuesday), but we checked the weather forecast for Blair Drummond (a Safari Park near Stirling) today and it said it would be cloudy but unlikely to rain, so off we set!

The rain poncho.
She posted one through floorboards,
and hid the other in a maze
It rained constantly.  We had to buy a rain poncho for the little girl... although she did her best to ditch it.

We thought we'd start off with the safari bit, in the hopes that the rain would stop.  The kids loved seeing the animals close up, and the little girl got to see a lion.

Camels posing.
After that we went to see the sea lion show, which was great fun.  I know some people don't like them, and see them as exploitative, and I guess they are.  But it was a great way for the kids to learn about sea lions.  And they had a great time.

Loving the sea lion show

After that we were cold and hungry, so headed over to the restaurant with everyone else in Blair Drummond that day.  The queue was very long, but there seemed to be enough tables to go around, and the food was fine (although obviously lacking in vegetables), and not too expensive.  They also have lots of picnic areas and places to cook barbecues, so you don't have to use the restaurant.

a busy lunchtime
After lunch we sought shelter from the rain in the fabulous adventure play castle.  There are absolutely amazing play facilities at Blair Drummond, and we managed to have lots of fun even though it was raining.  We have been before on a sunny day, and we could have stayed there all day.

My kids especially enjoy digging for treasure by the pirate ship.  However, both times we've been we've had a lot of trouble finding doubloons.  Last time we were unlucky until they closed the ship play area for a while, and then there were millions of the things.  This time we spent a good half hour digging and only found one!  The big girl found it, but was good enough to share her bounty (you swap your doubloon for a lucky dip prize - she got animal shaped rubber bands).

There are lots of animals to see on foot, and the little girl loved feeding the animals (although the donkey managed to cover her in mud).  The boy liked the marmosets, which get to run around the place.

They also have a selection of fairground rides, which were all well maintained, and not too much to ride on.  The little girl loved going on the gallopers, and the boy and Kenny had a great time on the dodgems.

We did go over to see the lemurs, but they were all in one big ball, frozen and dripping, and we didn't fancy the boat to see the monkeys and get poo thrown at you.  To be honest, we were all tired out.  So we got everyone in the car, did a quick tour of the safari animals again, and headed down the road.

Kenny managed to stay awake, but he was the only one!  It was a great day out, and I would highly recommend it.

Last time we went to Blair Drummond we managed to find discount vouchers, and do look out for them, because it is a really expensive entry fee (although worth it).  Sadly you can't use your Tesco Rewards here.  We did get 10% off by buying the tickets in advance online, but watch out, these tickets are only valid for a month.

a good day out
Blair Drummond is near Stirling, and is easy to get to if you live anywhere near the Central Belt.  As we went by Stirling Castle I told the kids about the windows they'd cut low down in the walls for a toddler Queen Mary to see out, but they weren't bothered... so I'll maybe leave it a while before we go there.

Have you been to Blair Drummond?  What did you think?  Where do you think we should go next?