We had our first (and possibly only) big adventure of the summer - a visit to Storybook Gardens in London. We didn't tell the kids where we were going - only that we were going on a special trip. It wouldn't have mattered much anyway because they've never been to Storybook Gardens and had no idea what it was all about.
As we were leaving, everyone was pretty psyched for the (LONG) car ride. They managed to last 2 hours before we had to stop for a break. It gave me several ideas for entertaining kids in the car, though.
We arrived at 11:30am - just in time for a picnic lunch before entering the park. Both kids dug into their lunches, but neither even came close to finishing. There was too much excitement at the sight of the 'castle' at the park entrance.
We were a little overwhelmed when we first went inside - looking at the map there seemed like so many things to do. If you're planning a trip there, don't be fooled by this map! Although there are tons of fun things for the kids, you certainly don't need to rush through to see/do everything. This park has the right amount of 'stuff' for little kids (and us parents too!).
Since it was another muggy day, we started off at the splash pad. This is probably the best feature of the park. There are several water stations that appeal to all ages. The kids were a little hesitant at first - it's a little more intense than the splash pad in Barrie (and WAY more intense than the non-existent splash pad here at home). Eventually, Ella got used to the sprinklers and had a blast. Harrison liked walking around the outskirts and jumping in the puddles once the sprinklers shut off.
We carried him through the fountains a few times, and I think he secretly liked it...
...in any case, they were both a little sad when we decided to move on to something else.
We made a quick stop at the trampoline before heading over to Pirate Island. The trampoline is like no other I've seen (well, actually they have one at Rounds Ranch that I've seen from the road). Firstly, it is massive and secondly, it comes up out of the ground. Who comes up with these things?!
The kids were a little scared, but Adam seemed to have fun.
Pirate Island was another huge hit with the kids. It was basically an area set up with a few massive wooden playgrounds. One was shaped like a pirate ship, and they all had crazy tube slides. Ella ran around the playgrounds calling us 'matey' and pretending she was a mermaid that needed to be rescued.
Harrison LOVED the tube slides, although he got stuck a few times because of the humidity.
Check out the green slide above - Harrison inched his way down this while several (big) kids waited at the top for their turns. He was a little scared because it was so dark and he kept sticking to the slide. I was wondering if I was going to have to climb up and pull him down, but eventually he made it. I should note, it wasn't my decision to let him go down...he's pretty brave.
Harrison got to go on the elephant ride with Adam (Ella decided she didn't want to after she was already sitting down and ready to go). He also had some fun in this crazy obstacle course at Pirate Island...but then he got scared and decided to come out.
After Pirate Island, we looked at the animals (mostly the donkeys) and then found our seats for the Storybook Play. I can't remember the name of the play, but I can certainly remember the theme song.
I managed to get one nice picture of the two kids together before the play started.
The final major area of the park that we wanted to explore was called Stoybook village. It was pretty much exactly what it sounds like - a tiny village based on different stories. It was another huge hit with the kids. They played in the village for about half an hour. There was tons of toy food, grocery baskets and a pretend kitchen, and they were the only ones there! We could use something like this in our backyard.
We finished off the day with a ride on the Merry Go Round - something Ella had been eager to do since we got there. The Merry Go Round was outside the park, so we wanted to wait until we were leaving. For some reason, she loves this thing! I'm just glad it wasn't me who had to go on with them because I was dizzy just watching from outside.
We drove out of the parking lot at around 4pm and fifteen minutes later...
...those kids were asleep. :D
They only slept for an hour, though, so we decided to stop for dinner before heading the rest of the way home. They were fairly well behaved in the restaurant...it turns out they were starting to get their second winds.
Sadly for us, they didn't go back to sleep until we arrived home and they got into their own beds. They were pretty rambunctious for the rest of the drive, so I didn't get a rest either. I'm just glad they had a great day.
Ella even snapped a picture of me - the only one of me from the entire day...
...it's a keeper.
I'm really looking forward to taking them back next year, it's just too bad it is a three hour drive! Stay tuned for a video of Ella on the way home...I just need to get it loaded without losing our internet connection!
Thanks for reading :D