10 of the best family days out in South Lanarkshire

Make sure you discover the treasures of South Lanarkshire this summer. Nature lovers will be eager to take advantage of the beautiful country parks and wildlife reserves.

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Happy Days Adventure Play
Boasting the UK’s highest indoor slide (at a lofty 6.25m high), Happy Days adventure play centre offers a range of activities, feats and fun for children of all ages. Aside from wavy slides to shoot down, there is a gladiator zone (complete with pedestal for jousts), trampolines, an indoor climbing wall, ball pits, a ball cannon, kart track, ariel gliders and much, much more. There is also a dedicated baby safe play area, the ‘baby park’, where younger children aged 3 and under can play freely away from the older kids. Meal times are also an experience at Happy Days. Families can re-fuel at the in-house restaurant complex, opting to sit in a car or watch a film at the Drive In cinema. To add to the fun factor, Happy Days shares premises with indoor skatepark, EKPark. With opening hours spanning from 9.30am to 6.30pm, an action packed day spent at Happy Days can be easily had and with so much going on, you won’t be bored.

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Carmichael Visitor Centre
The Carmichael visitor centre is a prime countryside attraction located in Carmichael and is a must for any history buffs in the family as it can lay claim to hosting Scotland’s only wax model collection, depicting prime events in Scottish history in the last millennium. The Carmichael Clan has lived on the land for the last thousand years and this long history is captured through relics on display in the clan room. For families that like to be on the move, maps can be purchased giving routes for historic walks around the estate. There is an onsite animal farm and an adventure playground as well as tearooms and a farm shop.

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Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve
One for the family of animal lovers, this wildlife reserve spans an impressive 59 hectares alongside the river Clyde, where eagle-eyed nature spotters can find tits, wrens, deer, owls and more. There are plentiful walks to be had, where the whole family can take in amazing views of the waterfalls. There are interactive stands located in the visitor centre where you can learn more about the reserve and the history of the area.

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New Lanark Roof Garden
If you are looking for a truly unique experience on your doorstep, then a visit to the New Lanark Roof Garden is a must. Open all year round and offering stunning views from the heart of a New Lanark World Heritage site, the roof garden needs to be seen to be believed. It covers an incredible 9,000 square feet of roof space and is the largest roof garden in Scotland. Super organised mums and dads can combine a visit to the roof garden with a trip to the nearbyFallsofClyde.

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Garden Detectives
This is a special event for children that takes its inspiration from the work of Charles Darwin on his 200th birthday and is part of a national programme of events celebrating his scientific ideas. By taking on the guise of a garden detective, your child will develop their inquisitive skills and appreciation of nature. There are plenty of interactive exhibits and real life specimens to get their hands dirty with from digging around in flower beds and ponds to discovering how to track animals in their natural habitats. Best of all, your little David Bellamy will come away from the exhibit with a raft of exploratory and nature based skills that he can put to the test in your own garden or local park. 

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New Lanark Visitor Centre
Take time out to explore the award winning New Lanark visitor centre for a truly authentic take on the history and people of Lanarkshire. At the centre, you can get a close up view of the life and work of Robert Owen, the 19thcentury social reformer. There is also the Christmas experience show and a long running exhibition on the working life and conditions of the cotton mill industry.

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Cafe Ceramico
Being a family run business, children are very much at the heart of Cafe Ceramico. You can choose to bring your baby along to capture his footprints on a ceramic plate or if you are bringing along an older toddler or child, you can give them free rein to explore their artistic side and create their own object d’art. For the novice painter, staff are on hand to help guide you on your many choices from choosing a ceramic object to deciding on what paint types to go for. Cafe Ceramico offers more than just ceramic painting – there is a soft play area on site for little ones and a cafe serving drinks, lunches and snacks.

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Calderglen Country Park
Located in East Kilbride, Calderglen country park spans a wooded glen that is forged out by theRottenCalderRiver. In addition to a host of natural attractions including waterfalls and a tropical plant conservatory there is a wide range of activities and facilities for children and the whole family. There is a playpark (including toddlers play area), indoor aquarium and reptile centre, children’s zoo (with animals ranging from owls to meerkats), nature trails and ornamental garden. Special events and activities take place throughout the year, so it is possible to combine a visit with such an event making it an extra special day out. There are plenty of walks and trails available – leaflets can be picked up from the visitor centre. For the cost-conscious parent, entrance to the park is free.

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James Hamilton Heritage Park
A visit to theJamesHamiltonHeritagePark is a must for families who love adventure and water sports. As a 4 star accredited activity centre, the park is home to a 16 acre loch which is the setting for a thrilling range of pursuits including windsurfing, dinghy-sailing and canoeing. For the novices amongst you, there are taster sessions available and if you or your child gets bitten by the water bug, there are a range of junior and adult courses to choose from.Land lovers are just as well catered for with adventure parks, cycling and walking trails and a bird sanctuary.

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 National Museum of Rural Life
Covering an impressive 170 acres, the award winning National Museum of Rural Life does exactly as it says on the tin – giving visitors a close-up peek into the daily life for people who lived in the Scottish countryside. A visit to the museum will have you thinking that you have stepped back in time. There is a 1950s working farm which you can explore complete with farm animals including cows, pigs and sheep as well as a Georgian farmhouse. A trip to the museum can be rounded off with a stop in the gift shop and courtyard café.

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