Set in the heart of the National Forest, the National Forest Adventure Farm has become one of our family favourites.
Having been lucky enough to be invited to explore their Dinosaur and Pirate themed adventures in the past, and this year, to explore the Moon Landing Maize Maze and Space Adventures.
There is so much to do at the National Forest Adventure Farm, including a wonderful indoor play area and as the children remembered their last visit, we had to do some serious planning in the car on the way there in order to make sure everyone got to do their favourite activity. So, at the request of the 4 year old, it was straight through the entrance and into the JCB area to explore the ride on diggers and sand pit – this gave us time to grab a coffee from the on-site café and to plan our next activity!
Next, it was time to head to Space Ranger Training. We walked towards the entrance and were greeted by an Astronaut who encouraged us to write our name labels (adults included!) and write our special skill that we could use in space (cue jovial suggestions from Daddy!). The children went for ‘eating all the time’ – those astronauts have to keep up their strength, and ‘singing’ (well, astronauts need to be entertained I guess!). Next, we went into the briefing room and were told about our mission! I won’t provide any spoilers here but I have to say, this is our third visit to the Adventure Farm and this experience was the best so far – it was brilliant for adults and children alike and there was a huge effort put into the effects, so much so, that at one point my four year old asked me to confirm we were still on earth and hadn’t left earth!
As fully qualified Space Rangers, we were now hungry and so headed to one of the many covered picnic areas and settled down for a picnic (supplemented with chips from the food stand – the food we had was all fresh and reasonably priced).
Next, it was time to tackle the Maize Maze…now, in the past, we have always done the maze separately with the little one going with Daddy to the junior maze and me tackling the bigger maze with the older one. However, feeling brave, we decided to tackle the big maze as a family!
The maze involves completing a series of challenges (you have to find where they are using the map!) and collecting numbers to complete a code. There are phones available at every challenge if you need a hand (or get lost!) and there is also a snack bar for cold drinks and snacks in the centre – there are no toilets, however, so be prepared for that!
The maze is enjoyable, but challenging and this maze seemed to involve more walking that in previous years. The children managed to do a good hour and a half (with a snack break!) before we sent Daddy on ahead to do the final clues so we could complete the reward at the end. It is worth noting that it was quite a challenge for our 4 year old and took longer than expected so you need to think about how likely your children are to walk for over an hour before you head in…there were also a couple of clues that were a little confusing (one asks you to name 3 astronauts and has 4 boxes to fill in) so we did lots of chatting to other maze-goers for clarification.
After the maze, we headed in side and to the amazing drop slides and soft play. The older one was much quicker this year to go on the slides (they really are very steep!) and the little one spent a good half hour moving bricks up and down on the conveyer belt in the soft play.
Our final half our was spent on the big bouncy pillows in the out door play areas. We stood and chatted while the children played and looked at all the things we didn’t manage to fit in this time – there really is a huge amount on offer for all ages. We were also pleased to note the changes since last year, for example, a lovely new Music Maze which means there is always something new to explore.
I really would recommend the new Moon Landing themed adventures at the National Forest Adventure Farm, the events run until the 2 September.