Like many children, my pair are animal mad! Going for a walk anywhere, we have to stop and ask every dog owner the key question: ‘Can I stroke your dog please?’ and one of the first words my little boy said was ‘dog’!
When I was asked to visit The Pet Show at Stonleigh Park in Warwickshire, I was delighted. It seemed like the purrrfect day out for our family!
Nestled in the Stonleigh Estate, The Pet Show (coupled with The Midlands Food Fair) occupied several buildings and outdoor spaces on the site. We arrived and after quickly spotting Michaela Strachen, we headed to one of the arenas to watch one of the many timetabled events. Dog agility over, we quickly diverted the children (who would have happily watched the arena events all day had we not moved them on!) and went to explore the rest of the site.
The event itself is a mixture of information stands, trade stalls and opportunities for some educational ‘hands-on’ experiences. There really was a spectacular array of species on offer from Alpacas to Sugar-Gliders (a first for us!) and reptiles to parrots. Each stall holder was friendly and encouraging, more than happy to spend that little bit of extra time encouraging the children to get a little closer and answering any of their questions and queries.
There were lots of events to watch too – the camel racing was the most prominent event for our 6 year old who was just sorry that the racing was over so quickly! Apparently they were ‘fast and funny!’
On the day we visited it was really hot and as all of the stalls and several arenas were undercover, as a parent, it created a far more stress-free event. I wasn’t worrying about the children getting too hot or being in the sun too long and it was really well spaced out which meant that although it got busier as the day went on, it never got too overcrowded and my 1 year old could toddle around to his hearts content. It also meant that if the weather changed (good old UK Summer Time!) you would still able to access most of the events.
The event has a good number of food and drink stalls on offer (although as usual, we took a picnic!) and the London Bus Bar and Champagne Bars certainly looked very appealing in the sunshine!
A word of warning, the event does have a number of fairground type rides so be prepared! We opted for the ‘you can choose one’ approach which was a nice reward at the end of the day.
We did have a quick peak in the Food Show but although this was again, undercover, I have to admit that the number of flies buzzing around in the mid-afternoon heat were a little off-putting so we headed out to cool down with a Snow Cone (a stand that really was doing a roaring trade in the heat!).
It will certainly be an event in our family diary and we are looking forward to seeing what the show has in store for next year. One mistake we made – not reading the programme and getting carried away with exploring all the animals (which was easily done!) so this would be my ‘top tip’ for any visitors for next year. We would also challenge you to see if you can follow in the spirit of Micheala Strachen and complete an ‘Animal A-Z’…we didn’t quite collect the whole alphabet but that’s the challenge for next years show!