We spent five days at Centre Parcs Whinfell Forest last week. It's certainly not our first time there and everything was reassuringly familiar - it rained most of the time, our lodge was clean and comfortable, lots of time spent in the tropical swimming place and plenty of nature watching.
Our lodge was in a better position than on previous visits. We were really close to the facilities but not so close as to make it noisy.
It rained every day to varying degrees which meant that we spent even more time than usual in the tropical swimming place.
Hermione and Craig spent hours whizzing down water slides and wrestling with the waves. I didn't get any pictures of Hermione doing her thing as she always passed at great speed and usually amid a big splash.
Miles was happy pottering around in the baby and toddler pools mainly although he did venture onto a couple of smaller slides and was rather attracted to the Jacuzzis.
He found hours of entertainment in a watering can and bucket,
munching and playing with the giant connect four games in the dry areas,
sitting on bubbly water jets trying to catch the bubbles in his hands
and generally lounging about in a 'look at me I'm swimming' sort of way.
We visited South Lakes Wild Animal Park on what unfortunately tunrned out to be the wettest day of the holiday. I like this place because it does a lot of conservation work and having met the owner a few years ago when he was giving a talk, I came away with the impression that he is genuine in his desire to carry out conservation work - for the good of all not just to add a marketing spin to his animal park.
The rain was absolutely torrential in the time we were there. The kind of rain that can soak you to the skin quickly. The animals all seemed to be in hiding and we weren't in the mood to loiter around waiting to spot them. We decided to walk around one of the enclosures where the animals wander freely and you can get close up to them. Usually that area is a hive of activity but this day there was very little. We came to a sheltered part where we had to pass through and there inside were three peacocks, a heap of lima's all huddled together and a big kangaroo. It's difficult to see them from the photograph below. You can best spot the kangaroo from the whites of it's eyes and make out the rest of him from there.
We were quite wary of passing and all looked to Craig to converse with the kangaroo. That was funny. He asked it to move very politely a good few times before it decided to spring into action and hop away. When it did move we were astounded by the length of it's legs and how tall it was. Had I known it was that big I wouldn't have hung out with it in the shelter with the kids right there. It was a whopper! One wrong hop and we could have been in trouble! I think the close encounter with the kangaroo made the day really and I guess we have to be thankful that it was raining for that.
The following day I felt really weary and waterlogged. I just didn't want to face getting wet again after having been soaked the day before. Instead of swimming we decided to head out to Eden Ostrich World which had a heated indoor play area which felt really appealing to me that day.
The weather was bitter cold and we didn't actually get to see the pozee or any ostriches. We installed ourselves in the heated play area and didn't see a great deal else. The play area was deserted which meant that Craig could release some executive stress in the ball pool!
They had some rather cool ride on diggers too but even those couldn't keep us out in the cold for long.
In the evenings we read and Hermione did quite a bit of sand art. Often when they get craft kits for gifts they seem to disappear into cupboards and are never seen again so I decided to take the sand art along with us. It went down a treat!
All in all it was a great holiday. It is unusual for Craig to spend the whole of a holiday with us. We generally take two cars and he returns home to get back to work after a couple of days. I hope this means he's overcoming his workaholic tendencies. Give it another year or two and I may even manage to drag him away from work for a full week, now that would be something!