Now is a brilliant time to get small children interested in natural history. New TV series Planet Earth II and Andy’s Baby Animals combined with museum visits get my 3-year-old daughter Tilly hooked.
Revisiting the National History Museum in Tring and making the new discovery of Tring Park, next door.
Out of all the animals to capture the imagination of young children, it’s the large mammals. Lions, hippos, tigers, bears, elephants and others feature highly in children’s books are when a visit to the zoo is mentioned, they come at the top of the request list. Happily there’s a space not far out of London where the big animals roam free (well relatively, depending on their level of ferocity). We’d been to Whipsnade once before, which isn’t too far from us, but this was our first visit with Tilly. Offering soft play and a playground as well as an amazing array of animals, we were keen to get stuck in.
Activity farms come in a range of sizes. Near us they range from working farms hosting occasional events through to the enormous, which border on theme parks in their own way. Langleybury Children’s Farm is towards the smaller end of the spectrum, yet conveniently located just off the M25 near Watford.
Animals are a big draw for two-year-old Tilly at the moment and a day out with friends at the Willows Activity Farm near St Albans in Hertfordshire was the huge hit we’d hoped for. From feeding animals to exploring the playgrounds and rides on the fun fair, we didn’t even get around to exploring the extensive indoor soft play area.
Two-year-old Tilly is obsessed with babies of all kinds so the opportunity to visit newborn lambs wasn’t an opportunity we were going to pass up. The Chiltern Open Air Museum is one of our local attractions and it’s something of a favourite. It feels rather understated, nestling in woodland down a rather minor road and with a sizeable site that makes even busy days feel relaxed. The museum is based around a collection of historic buildings that have been relocated to the museum site and offer an authentic insight into life from the past. Whereas last year Tilly’s ability to interact with the museum was limited, this visit revealed she’s of an age to get a huge amount from a visit.