I've recently visited a couple of local attractions with the boys recently - both places which I have been to before and liked, but this time really impressed me!
The first was Nottingham Castle. Now, to be fair, I don't think I've actually been inside since I was at university (which was *cough cough* years ago!) but I had to drop my Mum off at Nottingham station last week and I thought it might be a good place to go for the morning before that. The gardens are lovely and there's a big open space where they have open air theatre productions, but also has some climbing structures and slides with a castle theme. Nice. Inside there are several displays and exhibitions, some which the boys weren't really interested in but there was well enough for us to have a good hour in there. The first room we went in displayed interesting and fascinating objects - and had a huge Noah's Ark display on one wall with lots of sounds to listen to and animals to find under the flaps.
In the long gallery with the painting exhibition (again in itself would not have captivated the boys), they had added a sensory/musical element which had been designed by a local organisation for the disabled. There were huge square units which you could carry round a specified part of the gallery - when they came in range they would play different musical instruments, and holding 2 of them close together made a duet play. The boys very much enjoyed this, although the blocks were almost too heavy for them to carry!
There was a lovely room which had been decorated around a boat theme, with a boat reading corner (complete with sail overhead and clouds hanging from the ceiling), a unit with lots of different toys in drawers, some dressing up and some paintings to look at. It was really well done and we could have spent much longer in there exploring everything.
Finally in the basement (below the Story of Nottingham exhibition) they have a room called "Hood's in the Wood." The whole room is decorated as though it is a house in a forest, there's lots of snippets of information about Robin Hood, some TV bits (didn't really see what they were), a kitchen area to explore, lots of dressing up, some colouring and other things. Again it was extremely well put together, interested the boys and both Mum and I really enjoyed it too!
There was lots in the museum we didn't really look at, or only in passing, but it was still well worth the entrance fee and we could have spent much longer there. Definitely going back!
We've also been to Gulliver's Kingdom this week - it's a theme park set into a hillside at Matlock Bath. I have been there before - we took Zachary when he was about one and a half, so he was still relying on the pushchair a lot, and I was about 3/4 months away from giving birth to Leo. So my memories of that visit are that it was very hot, very steep, hard work and Zachary didn't go on very much.
However this visit was totally different - Leo and Zachary are both able to get themselves around now (with just a small amount of carrying for Leo!), and as they are both over 90cm tall, they can go on nearly everything (there were only 1 or 2 really big rides you had to be 120cm to go on) and did! I think the log flume was their favourite and as we started at the top entrance, we were able to work through the park going downhill most of the time, and then used the chair lift to go back up to the top and work down again to the entrance we needed! It worked brilliantly and was a great day.
Okay, so where else can we go and revisit now??!