Monday 20 May 2019

BRAND NEW Mighty Claws Adventure Golf - Southampton - Review

Last weekend we were invited along to the launch of Southampton's newest (and most fearsome!) attraction - Mighty Claws Adventure Golf.

We were already big fans of the Bournemouth based Mighty Claws so we couldn't wait to see what was in store for us in Southampton.

Mighty Claws Southampton is the 3rd one of it's kind to open (Bournemouth as mentioned before, plus Mighty Claws Colchester). As with the other locations, it has been adapted from a children's story, 'The Mighty Claws Follow a Monster' and is part of the Mighty Claws series written by Nat Luurtsema.

Set in a mythical land of giant sea monsters, mysterious shipwrecks and moving, life-sized dinosaurs,  Mighty Claws Southampton (or Viking Valley as it's known in the story!) promised to be a fantastic attraction.

Located just off the M27, Mighty Claws is easy to get to with lots of parking. As you pull in you'll spot a massive moving Tyrannosaurus Rex so you'll know you're in the right place!

We arrived bright and early and joined the other VIP's for the official opening of the course. We nibbled on mighty munchies and settled down for story time in the Golf Centre's cafe. This wasn't just any story time though, this was a reading of "The Mighty Claws Follows a Monster" book by the author herself!

Once the ribbon had been cut and the course officially opened, we picked up our clubs and headed through the gates of Viking Valley.

The course is really impressive with colourful life sized dinosaurs set amongst the 18 holes. Aimed at children 4+, some of the holes were very simple whilst others took a bit of work! Obviously we had Erin with us and although she is only 2, she still had her own club and gave it a good go...although she kept picking up our balls and popping in the hole so I'm not sure she totally got the rules ;)

As we visited on opening day, the course was very busy and we did spend a large chunk of our time waiting for the next hole to become free. But the good thing is, there are lots of things to keep children entertained whilst waiting.  There's animatronic dinosaurs to spot, water squirting raptors, a wobbly rope bridge and even an octopus to discover! I loved the fun little info boards at each hole - they were full of dino facts and even taught us how to pronounce all the tricky dinosaur names.

There's even a few holes where the ball has to be hit over the stream - needless to say, these were Elliot's favourite and he missed on purpose so he could hook his ball out of the water with the provided nets!

Both kids were highly disappointed when we reached the end of the course and I think they would have gone round again given the chance.

We had a fun day out at Mighty Claws and will definitely return!

For more info on ticket prices and opening times, check out the Mighty Claws website

*Disclaimer - We were invited along to the VIP opening of Mighty Claws for the purpose of this review, but all views are 100% honest 

Monday 13 May 2019

SEA LIFE Weymouth - Lego Sea Explorers

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that recently we became Weymouth Sea Life Ambassadors. The kids love it there and they were really excited to find out that the latest event to open at Weymouth is Lego Sea Explorers - they have become Lego crazy over the past 6 months so excitement was high! 

Running until 2nd June, Lego Sea Explorers is an engaging interactive trail with a range of activities to learn about Sea Life's amazing underwater creatures. 

We were given a Lego Fact Finder sheet on arrival and we headed straight over to the marquee which is located just by the splash park. Inside we found a whole host of Lego themed activities and two huge pits full of Lego, just waiting to be built!

There were five interactive stations - Underwater Mosaic where we could use the provided bricks to add to the underwater scene, Roller Colour which featured lovely underwater pictures to colour in with the provided pens, Creature Creator which was an underwater puzzle, Ocean Illuminart, another colouring scene and Seabed Mosaic which was another build your own area. The mosaic ones were very popular and filled with children's names so of course, we had to add ours! 

As well as the activities, the pods are full of facts about the ocean's most exciting creatures including sharks, octopuses, starfish, crabs and seahorses. These facts will also help you unscramble the puzzles on the fact finder sheet! 

If that wasn't enough to keep the little one entertained, there is also a TV showing Lego films!

Once you have completed all the missions and filled in your fact sheet, Sea Explorers will be awarded with a limited-edition Lego Dive Team pop badge. 

Once we had finished becoming Lego Sea Explorers we had time to explore the rest of the park, including the brand new Turtle Sanctuary. This section was being refurbished on our last visit so I was excited to see it transformed. 

Inside looked completely different - gone were the dark tanks and dimly lit corners. Instead there were brand new turtle and terrapin enclosures which looked so much brighter! 

We also found lots of interactive information boards featuring topics such as sustainable fishing, seal rescue, marine protected areas and the hot topic of the moment, plastic pollution. It's such an important topic and it's fantastic that Sea Life has invested in these new displays to educate the younger generation. 

It wouldn't be a trip to Sea Life without a touch of a starfish in the rockpools and Erin took great pleasure in showing her Daddy how brave she was!

LEGO Sea Explorers is running until 2nd June 2019 so you only have a few weeks to enjoy this fab event - for more information, check out the SEA LIFE Weymouth Website or Facebook 

*Disclaimer: We are Weymouth SEA LIFE Ambassadors and received an annual pass in return for regular reviews, but all thoughts and opinions are my own

Sunday 12 May 2019

A Day Out at Marwell Zoo, featuring Brickosaurs! Review

Marwell Zoo near Winchester is one of my favourite places to visit and is somewhere I have been coming to since I was a little girl - in fact, one of my earliest memories is a school trip here when I was around 5/6!

Recently Marwell launched their world exclusive Brickosaurs event and we couldn't wait to visit. Brickosaurs is an amazing interactive showcase of over 2 million Lego bricks creating a whole host of colourful dinosaurs around the park. It's a perfect day out for the kids - animals and Lego, a match made in heaven!

I knew we would have a lot to see so we left nice and early and arrived at Marwell at 10 when it opened. We picked up our Brickosaurs trail map and off we went. It wasn't long before we spotted our first dinosaur although this one was obviously far too dangerous to be out and about in public!

he's behind you! 
As it was quiet we decided to hop on the little train that goes around the park and it's a great way of seeing the park and getting your bearings.

The zebras were full of the joys of spring and the younger ones were skipping around all over the place!

After the train dropped us back at the station, we grabbed a quick coffee from the gift shop/cafe and spotted a rather colourful velociraptor lurking in the corners. One to tick off our list!

One of the best tips I have for anyone visiting Marwell is to consider walking the park in an anti-clockwise direction. Most of the crowd will generally head past the penguins in the direction of the giraffes but we found that by heading in the opposite direction, it was a lot quieter.  We had the snow leopards to ourselves for a little while!

The Brickosaurs are scattered all over the park and easy to spot. Each dinosaur is accompanied by a sign full of fun facts like how many Lego bricks were needed to build it, and how much it weighs etc. How amazing would it be to have the job as Brickosaurs builder?

The largest touring Lego brick dinosaur model ever made is the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex who we found outside Marwell Hall. At 8 metres long she really is a sight to behold!

Exploring the zoo is hungry work so decided to stop for an early lunch - and to stop the continued "I'm hungry!" comments! There are several cafes and kiosks around the park if you want to buy something but there are also lots of lovely areas which are perfect for picnics.

We love to have our picnic on the lawn at the back of the Hall - there are lots of benches plus more importantly, hills to roll down!

Marwell Zoo is currently going through some pretty exciting changes and is part way through a £17m investment programme which promises improved habitats for animals and more immersive experiences for guests.

One of the newest exhibits is the Tropical House which is home to an abundance of wildlife and tropical plants - and they have a sloth! I absolutely love sloths and I was really hoping to spot him but he was tucked away out of sight. Maybe next time! If sloth spotting wasn't enough to keep Elliot busy, he really enjoyed playing with the interactive tablets that can be found throughout the house.

The Tropical House spans two levels and is totally wheelchair/buggy accessible - just as well, Erin slept her way around this one ;) Colourful birds and butterflys swoop above your head whilst at ground level, you might spot mouse deer, tortoises, lizards and leaf cutter ants. We found the ants fascinating!

According to Marwell's annual audit last year, there were around 2000 animals and 143 species but this year's figure is likely to be higher because of the success of their breeding programmes. There are different things to spot around every corner and we loved seeing our favourites such as the Amur Tigers and meercats.

 I also have a soft spot for the very cute red pandas and it was lovely to see them in their new home.

 As if the animals and Brickosaurs weren't enough to keep the children entertained, there are also 5 adventure playgrounds to explore! My kids are obsessed with parks so we could have spent all day playing on these. Some are suited more for older kids but with a bit of assistance, Erin was able to clamber up most of the play structures and whizz down the slides with her brother!

After a quick trip to the gift shop, it was time to come home - what a brilliant day! Sadly we didn't get to visit the Brickosaurs Base Camp - the previous day had been mega windy so the marquee was shut for safety reasons but at least this gives us a reason to return. Plus there are 12 more Brickosaurs arriving in July!

Overall, Marwell Zoo is a fantastic day out for all ages and it really is value for money. There is so much to see and do and you can literally spend the entire day there! The Brickosaurs event is definitely worth seeing and is running until 1st September 2019.

For more info on opening times and ticket prices, see the Marwell Zoo website

P.S. If you need somewhere to stop for dinner when you leave the zoo, we can highly recommend the Dog and Crook pub which is just a few minutes away in the village of Brambridge. We had a lovely meal on the way home!

*Disclaimer: We were invited to Marwell for the day to visit the Brickosaurs, all words and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Our May Bank Holiday Weekend

Our May Bank Holiday promised to be a busy one - but Elliot was just chuffed that he had yet another day off school!

I love this time of year because all the local festivals start to happen and Saturday was the day of VenFest. This is a really local one to us (we can walk from our house!) and features lots of lovely local Dorset produce, live music and stalls. The event started off as the Dorset Venison festival a few years back but has evolved over time to include lots of other Dorset produce and is now called Venfest.

This was to be our 3rd time going and it was a bit of a special one as my choir were booked in to sing! We actually did a flash mob in the morning (an interesting experience!) but our main slot was in the afternoon and we had such a good turn out. It was our first gig of the year so it was fab to be able to run through our set list and see which songs went down well with the crowd! I find that the festival gigs are always really fun and we always get a great reaction from the crowd - I love it when the kids come and join in down the mine did!

The kids had a great time at the festival and we pretty much stayed until closing time! 

Elliot found the Cerne Abbas Brewery stall highly amusing...can't think why :D
Sunday was a pretty quiet day - my husband went out training for his marathon walk in the morning whilst the kids and I caught up with Britain's Got Talent. In the afternoon they had a birthday party to go to - there was a giant dragon bouncy castle which Elliot loved bouncing on! Erin was a bit small for the inflatables but she got stuck into pass the parcel. It's the first time she's really understood it and it was very cute watching her passing it along and then getting really excited when it stopped on her!

Sunday evening was Line of Duty time and I was so excited to watch the finale of Series 5. We have binged watched all the other series over the last couple of weeks and we're finally up to date in time for the finale - it didn't disappoint! The highlight was this line!

Monday soon arrived and we had plans to visit Sealife Weymouth - we're blogger ambassadors so we love going along to check out all the new events. I'll be doing a separate blog post on the Lego event so keep an eye out for that this week. 

The kids always have a lovely day out at Sealife Weymouth and they always make a beeline for their favourite areas. The rock pools are always popular, as are the cute fairy penguins! 

The weather was lovely too so it was nice to sit outside and have a picnic. The splash park was on and it was a mission getting the kids to stay out of it! 

It was also a good chance for my husband to try out some of his new wardrobe items that were kindly sent to us from Jacamo. Working with them proved one thing though...we're not very good fashion bloggers haha! We found it totally awkward taking photos of the items but it was nice to see Paul in some new togs! 

His entire outfit consisting of black jeans, polo shirt and waffle style fleece were all from Jacamo and got the thumbs up from Paul. He said the jeans and tshirt were very much his style and very comfortable. The fleece was also a hit and perfect for Spring days like today when the sun is out but it's still a bit chilly! We actually took the fleece away with us to Iceland and it worked as a great layer for him under his coat. 

We finished the day with a spot of geocaching and just like that weekend was over!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend too x

*Collaborative Post
Musings Of A Tired Mummy
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