Thursday, 7 June 2012

Woodlands Theme Park {Day Out}

With moving house this weekend, and the near-constant rain, it might have been easy to forget that this week is supposed to be a break from school for Izzy. I wanted her to have at least one fun day though so yesterday we went to Woodlands for the day. Our friends are camping there all week (rather them than me in this weather!!) so we went to spend the day with them - good motivation to keep driving even when the rain was pouring down in the morning!

We were actually really lucky with the weather - it was raining when we first arrived, so we spent a bit of time in an indoor play centre to keep dry. There were 3 teenage boys in our group so they and Liam went in playing with the littlies, whilst me and the other 3 women sat drinking coffee...bliss! Once the sun came out we headed outside. First stop - pirate ship. Izzy loves this at Crealy but this one was just a little bit higher! She still enjoyed it, but spent most of the time clung to my arm!!

After we'd got our stomachs back (Izzy always says that her stomach flies away during the swing of the ship!!), we walked down a little path to the past (!) to see some dinosaurs...

Izzy and Toby loved being able to ride in the front of the tractor themselves, with me & Liam sat behind them...

After we'd all been round the dinosaur ride (5 adults, 3 teenagers and 6 little children = 4 tractors and took a while!) it was about 2pm so we headed back to the campsite for some lunch. We'd brought packed lunch with us, but the campers got busy cooking packets of pasta n sauce and hot dogs on the stoves while the children ran around playing with the outdoor toys...

Food time!

We had brie & grape sandwiches/rolls, dried apricots, vegetable crisps, apples, biscuits and, of course, lots of grape juice...yum! We've had a lot of picnic lunches recently, easy to make and the children actually seem to eat more food that way too - either that or they just need the energy after all the running around they do first!

After lunch we headed back into the park (it was less than a 5 minute walk from the camp site) and headed to the toboggan ride. Toby was, just, tall enough to go on it, but there was such a long queue that we decided not to take him on - he'd have probably tried to climb off mid-ride anyway! Liam took Izzy on the ride and I took Toby to an outdoor under 5s play area...

Love this photo I took from one end of the "panda" tunnel as Toby was coming through it!

I also loved that every time he saw one of the panda pictures he started making his snorting "pig noise", so cute! He's pretty good at his animal noises but I wouldn't know what noise to tell him pandas make...anyone??

We managed to catch Liam and Izzy coming to the end of their ride from our vantage point at the top of the slide...

Next we all headed to the peddle boats...

The peddles were too far away for the children to be able to reach, but we didn't trust Izzy and Toby (well, Toby!) to sit in the back on their own. So Liam sat in the back with Toby, and Izzy and I sat up front, with my poor legs doing all the work to get us round the pond a couple of times!

Ice cream was needed afterwards! ;) Thorntons toffee ice creams for the adults...

and smartie ice creams for the children. At least half the smarties ended up on the floor though - is it just us that finds them difficult to get out of the stick at the end??

Messy Toby!!

Most of the rides at the park closed at 5.30pm, but as we (well, my friends) were staying at the campsite, we could stay playing at the outside areas until dusk. We managed to fit one last water slide in before the 5.30pm mark. The main water rides had super long queues so the others were going to go on those first thing this morning, but this one kept Izzy happy enough!

We then spent about an hour playing on the outdoor slides, monkey bars etc...

At about 6.30pm all the children suddenly became really tired and accident prone. Izzy fell down the above slide (which she had loved and perhaps been a bit too confident with) awkwardly and cut her lip :( and Toby twisted on a slide and ended up going down head first on his back (!!) but was fine otherwise. The other children fell over, banged heads etc too - I think we ended up with only one child not injured! We took this as a good sign that it was time for dinner, and headed to the takeaway pizza place (our friends had been eating at the campsite in the evenings, but luckily had already decided that tonight was pizza night which tied in well with us not having brought food for dinner!)

I had a large share of 4 cheese pizza (with huge wedges of goats cheese + sundried tomatoes) and potato wedges, sat on picnic benches in the sunshine, 'twas lovely!

The sky started to get grey again just as we were finishing eating, so we headed to the games room to have a quick bit of chill-out time. Izzy and Toby happily "played" the demos on the games machines without realising you were meant to put money in them!!

We then headed home around about bed time in the hope that the children, now fed, semi-changed etc, would go to sleep and be easy to transfer to bed once we got home. We'd considered going home before dinner, but by the time we thought about it it was way past Toby's nap time and, having not had a nap all day, we knew he'd sleep in the car and then not want to go to bed at night...not what we wanted after a long day out! This plan worked really well with Toby - he slept all the way home, went straight to bed when we got in, and slept til 8am. Izzy on the other hand, despite the photo below, didn't sleep at all on the journey (in the photo she is trying to get to sleep, but she couldn't get comfy in any position and we weren't happy about her lying like that anyway...much easier when you're still in a proper car seat!!), did go to bed when we finally got home about 9.30pm, but then was still awake at 7am this morning despite the super late bedtime. Needless to say, she has been very tired and grumpy today, and couldn't even have a nap this afternoon as she had a friend round to play! Ah well, at least she was happy to go to bed this evening!!

If only they were this peaceful all the time!! ;-)

All in all, a really great day. I'm so glad we made the effort to go - when it was pouring with rain in the morning I nearly cancelled, but I didn't want to let my friends down so kept going, luckily - I'd have been kicking myself if we hadn't gone and then it had dried up from mid-morning onwards!

Have you had time off this week? Any fun day trips? What is your favourite thing to pack in a picnic? I've always been a fan of traditional sandwiches - I was the child at parties who would sit by the plate of mini sandwiches while everyone else was more focused on the hula hoops and party ring biscuits - and fresh fruit is also a good one - we've just been taking whole packs of grapes, blueberries etc to save on mess. We've had 3 picnics this week but I always take way too much food - note to self: a whole pack of custard creams is not a good idea as they wont all get eaten and will then get crushed at the bottom of the bag! Liam went back to work today so the children and I are having a couple of relaxed days - getting the rest of the house unpacked, meeting up with a couple of friends and catching up on coffee/sleep! I find it difficult to get a balance during half terms as it goes so quickly - I want to do some fun things that Izzy can talk about when she goes back to school (after February half term the teacher asked what she'd done, and when Izzy replied Crealy and another local attraction the teacher replied "oh, just normal things then"!!) but also want a chance to relax - Izzy was so exhausted by the end of last week that she needs to catch up on her rest!


  1. Love the sight of kiddos crashed at the end of amazing fun days outs :-)

  2. Hope the move went well :) Looks like a lovely family day out. I like things like pasta salad, fresh fruit, things like that for picnics- no chocolate or anything that will melt or get squashed!

  3. Sounds like you had a great day! I used to love Woodlands, haven't been there in years though. Do they still have the farmyard animals and things?
    Izzy and Toby look cute when they're asleep!
    You'll be pleased to know I braved getting behind the wheel again this week and drove to my nearest Waitrose 8 miles away. A fairly easy drive and a definite incentive to keep getting back behind the wheel!!


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