Grandchildren to amuse, so decisions needed as to where to go for a day out. Snibston Discovery park was the favourite, but a look at the website confirmed what I’d heard – it had been closed to save the council money. We decided to go to Conkers instead, a family friendly centre in the National Forest near Swadlincote. A family ticket was a bit expensive, but 20% off if booked on line, so we packed a picnic and set off. It was a fine day, so others had the same idea and we had to queue to get in. We had been there before with a different set, of younger grandchildren, so we were interested to see what older children thought of it.
There’s lots to do to wear children out, and seats for grandparents to sit on. The first activity was a bare foot walk, a trail which involved going through water, mud, and over rocks, tree stumps and other surfaces. They complained that the water was freezing, but went round for a second time! There was a tap to clean up feet at the end, and I’d packed a towel, as I’d been there before.
After our picnic, we caught the train (free) to another part of the site to go to the large play area. Lots of woodland walks there too, and an amphitheatre were events are held. Childrens craft activities were on too, but the grandchildren were more interested in active activities.
We got the train back to the main part of the site, which was quite large, with a lake, and walks, some hilly. There was an adventure trail for adults and teenagers. My grandchildren are aged 7 and 10, but good at rock climbing and gymnastics, so tackled most of the trail like monkeys, and there was no one to say they weren’t old enough. There was an interesting high and low rope adventure which had recently opened, but that cost extra and you needed to book a place, so we didn’t do it.
The last part of the site was indoors, where they headed for the enchanted forest area, a dimly lit maze on several floors with obstacles to negotiate. It did say children to be accompanied by adults, (as long as they were midgets?) and we weren’t the only grandparents wondering if and when the little people were going to reappear! The interactive section was interesting, but not very large and they soon got fed up with it. I think it needs revamping to make it more interesting for older children.
The gift shop was well stocked, but expensive, and there was nothing to temp us to part with our money. There was an interesting display about coal mining in a small adjacent room, reminding us of the origins of the site.
An interesting place to visit, catering for a wide age range of children. Not a place to visit without children, unless you have a yearly pass and treat it as a place to walk when children are at school, or are interested in any of the music performances or fireworks displays.