Last weekend was my first Easter as a mummy. I had been so excited at the thought of Milos daddy being off work for four whole days, he travels a lot and we are renovating a house so time together is often last thing at night while he snoozes and I catch up on crappy tv. I couldn’t wait to do the family thing. To name a few we planned picnic, a trip to the park, a safari trip (not an African one unfortunately) dinner with grandparents and daddy also wanted to build a patio in the garden. But the thing I was looking forward to the most was a Gruffalo Spotters hunting trip.
I don’t think I’ve been to Sherwood Forest since I was a child, the home of legendary Robin Hood and some ridiculously big trees, it is now also one of the locations where you can go Gruffalo Spotting. Run by the Forestry Commission I wasn’t sure what to expect, in all fairness this was suggested by friends as their kids (Louis 3 and Haley 2) are slightly older than Milo and massive Gruffalo fans.
We arrived at the forest and parked up, it was busy but there was plenty of parking (approx £6 for the full day) We headed to the main area and purchased our little spotters kit for £3 from the cafe, this was also an excuse for the grown ups to have super yummy hot chocolates with tons of whipped cream and marshmallows. Louis became an immediate detective and scoured the floor with the magnifying glass, looking for ‘clues’ and stickers were handed out and we all had to wear one.
We had all downloaded the app prior to arriving and it didn’t take long to work out how to use it. We followed the ‘clues’ and each one led to an interactive sign that when you held your phone up and pointed it at the sign the scene came to life and a Gruffalo character appeared on the screen, you could then take a photograph with your little ones looking like they were whisked off to another world inside the pages of a story book. You have the chance to find mouse, fox, owl, snake and of course the Gruffalo.
It took us about an hour and a half to complete the trail, the kids had an absolute blast, they hunted the characters like tiny cluedos and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a two and three year old so occupied for so long. The only trouble we had was keeping the kids still long enough for a photo, they were too busy rushing off for the next clue.
Currently there are 26 locations you can hunt the Gruffalo, check out the Forestry Commission website for more information.
TIPS : DO NOT forget to download the app for free before you go, where we went there was no chance of downloading when there due to lack of signal, and the app really is the main part of the hunt. Also make sure your battery is fully charged, I am well known for always having less than 10% battery, but I made sure I was camera ready because missing out on vital photo opportunities and a chance to see the character come to life would be such a shame. I’d like to have included some of my pictures with actual people in too but I can only describe them as a blur of children running off in all directions – major mummy fail!
Should you buy the Spotters Activity Kit? They are available for £3 at cafés / visitor centres (cash only) of participating forests. Inside the kit you’ll find:
An evidence collection bag
5 animal activity and facts cards
A Spotter’s Guide
Stickers of The Gruffalo characters
A special magnifying glass, ruler and a pencil.
It’s a little extra fun for the kids, you can do the hunt without but our tiny adventurers just loved it.
With parking only costing £6 and the spotters kit £3 it can be a really cheap day out. We took a picnic and made use of one of the hundreds of picnic benches and splashed out a little on those hot chocolates.
Well done Sherwood Forest, you gave us a wonderful day, entertained our children with some good old fashioned outdoor fun, yet brought to the table a little bit of magic. I would absolutely recommend this to absolutely any parent, not just those with little Gruffalo fans