Sunday 25 February 2018


If you've ever visited the Natural History Museum, you've more than likely seen Dippy the Diplodocus. Residing there from 1905 to 2017 he was almost part of the furniture!

This year Dippy was carefully dismantled and has travelled down to Dorset for the first leg of his countrywide tour. Here in Dorset we are very proud of our Jurassic Coastline and dinosaur history so it seems perfect for him to begin his tour here!

As you might have guessed from previous posts, Elliot is dinosaur crazy so I was really excited that he would get to see Dippy close up. The tickets were released last year and I made sure I had the date saved in my calender so we wouldn't miss out!

Last Saturday we made our way over to the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester and queued up with lots of other excitable children. Lots of the businesses in Dorchester are flying Dippy flags outside their premises so there's been a real buzz about his arrival. You can also follow Dippy sized footprints from Brewery Square. We arrived abit late to do this but will definitely be looking out for the footprints on our next trip to Dorchester!

not sure why he felt the need to have his mint hanging out of his mouth!!
Once inside the museum, you have the option of just seeing Dippy (which your free tickets cover) or paying to see the rest of the museum too. We decided to pay to see the rest of the museum too, we've never been before and it seemed a shame not to as we were there! I think it only cost £16 for 2 adults and one child (under 5s are free) so it's very affordable.

Because the tickets are done in hour slots (ours was 10am), we found there was a massive rush to see Dippy on the hour. One of the members of staff gave us a really good tip and told us to go and explore the rest of the museum for a bit and come back in half an hour when the crowds had dispersed. This was really useful and I'd highly recommend others doing this!

We headed up to the top floor of the museum which is where all the dinosaur displays are - Elliot was in his element! It was really interesting to learn all about the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur - the largest marine reptile that ever lived. A fossilised pliosaur skull was discovered on the nearby Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and it's one of the best preserved fossils of its kind ever found. It's certainly impressive, his mouth is humungous!!

After tearing Elliot away from the fossil displays we headed back downstairs to finally see Dippy where he is currently hanging out in the gorgeous Victorian Hall. Measuring 21.3m he literally takes up the entire length of the hall, any bigger and I think they'd need an extension!!

As we walked the length of the hall, there were lots of plaques to read giving us facts about Dippy. Elliot's favourite one which he told to everyone he has met since is, Dippy's tail is longer than his neck!

When we got to the far end of the hall we reached Dippy's head. There was a large glass panel which made it really easy to take a pic with Dippy - the kids loved it!

We spent a bit more time in the Victorian Hall and it was great to see Dippy from different angles.

We went to investigate the rest of the museum and we found some really interesting displays such as the Ancient Dorset one which focused on the Romans, Saxons and Vikings who lived on the South Dorset Ridgeway. It was fascinating to read about all the items such as pots and jewellery that had been discovered over the years.

Our final stop was the craft area downstairs which had lots for Elliot to do. There was colouring, lego and special Dippy hats to make and decorate.

Elliot was also beside himself with excitement when he spotted a grandfather clock just like the one in Andy's Dinosaur Adventures!!

Finishing off with a visit to the brilliantly stocked little giftshop (and coming home with a £20 triceratops!) it was time for us to head home. We had an excellent morning at the museum and I'm really pleased we got to see Dippy while he is visiting Dorset.

For more information regarding tickets, head over to the Dorset County Museum website


Saturday 3 February 2018

The Highway Rat Trail - Moors Valley Country Park Dorset

I don't know about you but January seemed to stretch on forever! The weather was cold and gloomy and we've all had various germs at some point or another, it really did feel like the longest month. Last Sunday we decided to get our coats and wellies on and get out for some much needed fresh air - and as luck would have it, the sun was actually peeking through the clouds!

We decided to head over to Moors Valley Country Park which is a lovely woodland area not far from our house. It's somewhere we visit a few times a year and last time we went we were Gruffalo spotting!  This time however we were there to try out the brand new Highway Rat trail which is running from 20th January right through to November. We love Julia Donaldson and ever since we watched the Highway Rat at Christmas, Elliot has loved the story even more!

The trail takes you through the forest where children can spot the characters from the story and complete fun activities along the way. For additional rat fun, you can pick up an activity pack from the Visitor's Centre for £3 which includes stickers, activity pack, crayon and most excitingly, a Highway Rat mask! of course we had to get one ;)

Saying Hello to his old friend, The Gruffalo's Child

The trail is 2km long so perfect for little legs but very muddy in places - not ideal if you're pushing a buggy. Although perfect if you're 5 and just want to squelch in the mud!

The trail took us through the forest and much like last year's Gruffalo trail, it took a different route to what we'd normally take. This is great as we got to see parts of the forest we wouldn't normally walk through and kept things interesting.

 Elliot really enjoyed spotting the rat-themed panels along the route and he had lots of fun doing some rubbings with the crayon and sheet that was in the activity pack.

The trail finished up by the play trails so we were able to detour across and let Elliot have a climb after he'd posed for his mugshot!

After a quick picnic we had a walk down towards the trains and had a quick play in the adventure play ground but the weather had turned and the rain had started so we thought it might be a good time to head home.

We had a wonderful day out and it definitely did help to banish those January blues!

To find out more about the Highway Rat trail, head over to the Moors Valley website
Country Kids
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