10 of the best days out in Dudley

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Visit Dudley Zoological Gardens and you gain free entry to Dudley Castle too

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Dudley Canal Trust trips traverse the scenic waterways of Dudley

The Black Country Living Museum

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A living slice of history on a scale that has to be seen to be believed. Whole historic buildings from the local area have been dismantled and rebuilt to form an authentic village. Visit working shops, traditional tea-rooms, and sample chips fried the old-fashioned way – in beef dripping! Actors in period costume bring the place to life, sharing tales from days gone by.

You can pop into a Victorian school room, hitch a lift on a trolley bus and admire the vintage cars winding their way around the town. Youngsters will find the craft demonstrations fascinating, and you can even watch an old silent movie in the village cinema. The whole village and museum is accessible to disabled visitors and buggies, and dogs are allowed.

Dudley Zoological Gardens

DZG is unique – a zoo with hundreds of animals set around an 11th century castle incorporating the world’s largest single collection of Tecton buildings, all sited on a 40-acre wooded hillside with a rich geological history! It houses a fascinating array of species, from giraffes and bears to peccaries and porcupines.

As well as daily feeding demonstrations, seasonal events take place around the site and in Dudley Castle throughout the year. Activities include jazz evenings, arachnophobia workshops and zookeeper experiences. Admission price includes the zoo and castle: under-3s are free, 3-15s are £9.50 and adult admission starts at £11.80.

Crystal Leisure Centre & Pool

The Barrier Reef Leisure Pool, part of the facilities at the Crystal Leisure Centre, was the Black Country’s first Leisure Pool, and boasts waves, rapids, slides, sprays and waterfalls. As well as providing great family fun, the Pool has a programme of swimming lessons available in the 25m teaching pool. Crystal Leisure Centre has been recognised as a baby-friendly pool in association with Huggies Little Swimmers supported by the ASA.

The Leisure Centre offers a wide range of classes and activites, and there’s a fantastic soft play centre which has a dedicated toddlers area, two-tier junior area with slides, stepping stone run, spider web crawl & interactive light & sound system. Creche facilities are available within the soft play suite, for parents attending classes. Now you’ve no excuse to get out of exercising!

Dudley Canal Trust & Trips

The Trust invites you to ‘experience 420 million years of history in 45 minutes’, and a trip is certainly both fun and informative. Explore the limestone caverns and waterways, view lifelike displays recreating miners’ work in the tunnels in the 18th century, and wonder at the fossilised remains of small creatures and plants – now clearly visible in Castle Mill’s coral reef – which once lay under the sea bed. Boats run every hour, on the hour, more frequently at busy times, and no booking is required. A disability boat is available.

Dudley Museum

Museum and art gallery. The JAM Club (Juniors at Museums) has various events for children throughout the year, and there’s also a permanent dinosaur exhibition, with a full size reconstruction of land-loving dinosaurs and marine reptiles. The Museum is a great place to learn and have fun, and offers free admission, free trails and family craft activities. Events throughout 2012 include magic shows, balloon modelling shows and drop-in ‘Alien Encounters’ craft sessions.

Broadfield House Glass Museum

Situated in the historic Stourbridge Glass Quarter, Broadfield House Glass Museum has a magnificent collection of British glass, much of it made locally, dating from the 17th century up to the present day. An exciting programme of events and temporary exhibitions compliment the glass displays and celebrate the magical art of glassmaking. There is also a glassmaking studio on site where visitors can watch and wonder at the glassblowers’ skills.

Sycamore Adventure Playground

This adventure playground in the north of Dudley is an amazing place for children and young people to play. The playground, which opened in July 2010, offers a rich, exciting and inclusive environment, free public access play sessions, and a varied play menu throughout the year.

Sycamore Adventure also offers private bookings to schools, children’s centres and nursery groups, welcomes party bookings, and is open to all ages from 11am to 2pm on Saturdays. On Monday and Friday evenings, they operate open access sessions where the centre is free to all registered children aged 8-13 to come and go as they please.

Mary Stevens Park

This pretty park provides extensive recreational facilities, including basketball, tennis, golf and bowls plus many areas of managed flower beds. The park also has large areas of open flat grass, ideal for team games, along with smaller shaded and un-shaded areas perfect for picnics and leisure activities. A large lake and water feature is a predominant focus within the park. There’s also a number of managed walks making the park accessible to everyone.

Sixes Indoor Football Centre

Sixes Indoor Football Centre has been a favourite family-friendly venue in the Midlands for 20 years. Facilities are plentiful, including two indoor 5 and 6-a-side pitches and training facilites open throughout the year. A new fitness sudio opened in ay 2012, offering Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Zumatomic (for kids), Flab to Fab, Circuit Training, Bokwa and Beginners Belly Dance classes taking place. There is also a licensed bar where you can enjoy a refreshing drink after a hard game or where spectators can cheer on their team. Sixes also hosts kids birthday parties, and the bar is available for hire.

Red House Glass Cone

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The Red House Glass Cone lies in the heart of the Stourbridge glassmaking industry. Built at the end of the 18th century, the Cone was used for the manufacture of glass until 1936 and is now one of only four left in the UK. Reaching 100 feet into the sky, the Cone enclosed a furnace around which men made glass for 140 years. Admission to the Cone is free, parking is free, and the audio guide (yes, also free) tells you about the history of the glassworks and the characters from the industry and enables you to learn about the magical process of glassmaking. Great facilities for birthday parties, too.

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