Explore a nuclear bunker, try an outdoors adventure trail, get up close to 7000 animals at Chester Zoo or even try a shark dive - there's a myriad of things for your curious tots to experience in Cheshire and Chester.
1. Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo is an ever-changing day out - each visit you will see something new. Set in 110 acres of award-winning gardens and home to over 7000 animals, this really is a must for any animal lover, and recent new additions to the zoo include the revamped Jaguar house and the Giant Otters underwater viewing zone. Chester Zoo also offers a chance to get up close to some of the animals – experience bats flying around in the Fruitbat Forestor visit the tropical house to see over 30 different species of butterfly. As well as the animals, there are three different play areas aimed at different age groups a mini golf course, and you can get face painters to transform your child into their favourite animal. There is so much to see and do at Chester Zoo it really is a top day out!
2. Cheshire Ice Cream Farm
Take a tasty trip to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm, and there is so much more than just ice cream! The activities on offer make for a fun and low-price day out for all the family; admission is free, you just pay for the activities you want to do. For indoor fun there is Crazy Daisy’s Play Barn. Great value at £3 weekdays and £3.50 at weekends, children get a wrist band and can return to play as many times as they like during your visit, plus there's a free soft play area for toddlers. The Farm has lots of free outdoor fun to enjoy. Animal corner has some small animals for the children to get up close to, then there's a wide range of outdoor play areas for all ages. Crazy golf is the bargain price of £1 per player, and there''s a purpose-built electric quad track for the more adventurous youngster. Don’t forget the ice cream!! With over 20 fantastic flavours there's something to suit everyone’s taste.
3. Delamere Forest
Delamere Forest is Cheshire's largest area of woodland and is a place for families to let off steam, escape the crowds and find peace in the heart of the forest. With over 950 hectares of forest it is a great place for the family to get some fresh air and burn off some energy. There is a wide range of facilities in the forest, including an information centre, cafe and toilets. Marked paths, two-way marked cycle routes and an all-ability trail with musical instruments for children make the forest accessible and fun. Why not make a day of it and enjoy one of the three picnic areas. If you fancy testing yourself on the high ropes there is a Go-Ape at Delamere. There is a forest school for 2 to 5-year-olds and always lots of fun activities lead by the forest rangers. You can even book a birthday party at the forest. All trail maps are available at the information centre.
4. Blakemere Craft Centre
Fun, shopping and crafts - what more do you need for a fun-packed family day out! There are lots of shops to keep you busy at Blakemere, from a traditional toy store and gift shops, to jewellery and home wear. The shops are complimented by many other onsite activities such as the Aquatic and Falconry Centre, Supagolf and indoor and outdoor play areas. Barnaby’s indoor playbarn is great for kids from 1 to 10 and they have a place for mum and dad to relax and have a coffee. If the sun is shining Blakemere have a fantastic outdoor play area. Blakemere is also home to a pub and a cafe so there is plenty of choice to for food and drink. There are lots of activities and events on all year round for both children and adults to enjoy!
5. Manley Mere
There is lots to do for all the family for a fun day out at Manley Mere, from a relaxing walk around the lake to a wide range of water sports or an energetic attempt at the adventure trail. Water sports hire equipment and lessons are available, or you can have a swim session in the lake! The adventure trail is a must for any visit to Manley Mere; challenges and obstacles include a giant hamster wheel and a dunking chair – getting wet and muddy is inevitable! Finish your day off with a meal and drink in the Chameleon Bar & Restaurant. A fun day to be had for all the family!
6. Grosvenor Park & Miniature Railway
Grosvenor Park is walking distance from the shopping centre of Chester, and a lovely place to relax and enjoy its surroundings. Its formal avenues are lined with trees and statues, and surrounded with large lawns and ornamental shrub and display beds. This is a fantastic place to enjoy nature with the family. The park hosts many competitions and shows and is home to an outdoor theatre, with its custom-made wooden horseshoe structure seating 320 complemented by covered picnic terraces. The theatre welcomes children of all ages and under-5s go free. The park is also famous for its Miniature Railway; steam and diesel hauled trains run on a ¼ mile circuit around the lake in Grosvenor park. There is also a children’s drive-your-own 'Trevor The Tram' for children up to the age of 10 to drive up the short track.
7. Stockley Farm
This 750-acre organic working farm is a great place to get up close to the animals and have a fun day out. The day starts with a tractor and trailer ride to the farm. You then get to meet lots of animals and the children can even help out at feeding time and bottle feed the baby lambs and goats. They have a pets corner and children can hold the small animals with the help of the staff. The farm has birds of prey displays and you get to see the birds in their centre when not taking part in the displays. As the farm is also a working dairy farm you can also watch over 200 dairy cows being milked from the viewing gallery. If the children still have energy to burn there are indoor and outdoor play areas, or take a relaxing stroll on the woodland nature trail. You can take a break at any time and enjoy a wide selection of homemade food in the Stockley Farm tearoom.
8. Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker
For over 60 years this huge underground bunker remained secret. Set in the picturesque Cheshire countryside, this 35000 sq ft underground bunker, played a central role in the defence of Britain. Hawk Green was one of 21 fixed radar stations in the country and one of only 12 fully equipped with search lights and fighter aircraft controls. Enter the world of the servicemen and women as you enter through the blast doors. See how the men and women lived and worked in the bunker and see how the conditions were. Hours of interest to be had for all the family, a REAL history lesson!
9. Tatton Park
A fantastic outdoor day out at Tatton Park features lots of different attractions for all the family to enjoy. For those interested in old buildings, the Old Hall is a must. It was the estate manor house until the late 17th Century, and boasts a library collection said to be one of the National Trust's finest. Green-fingered visitors can appreciate over 250 years of garden design in the 50-acre garden, including glass houses, the Japanese garden and extensive kitchen gardens. Children and adults alike are sure to enjoy a trip to the rare-breed farm, home to cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry and donkeys, all set in 1,000 acres of parkland, where you can enjoy a leisurly stroll or bike ride. All this is topped off by a fantastic outdoor play area filled with lots of things to climb and swing on. Tatton Park really is hours of fun for all the family. Throughout the year Tatton is host to lots of events with lambing week at the farm, Tatton Flower Show and numerous fairs and much more. It does cost £5 per car to park at Tatton so make sure you plan for a full day of fun to make the most out of it.
10. Blue Planet Aquarium
Underwater fun at Blue Planet. Exhibits include the new Coral Cave, a giant rockwork cave home to thousands of brightly coloured tropical reef fish, rays and puffer fish. The Aquarium has introduced shark dives for children from the age of 8, and there are lots of underwater exhibits to be seen and explore; a hands-on experience in the Rocky Shoreline allows kinds to get up close to creatures in three separate rock pools. It's not all just water creatures : 'Venom' is home to over 50 giant spiders in ‘Tarantula Tower’, and the kids can let off steam in the Pirate playground.
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk