Tuesday 4 September 2012

Chessington World of Adventures, and how our family days out are changing

At the weekend we visited Chessington World of Adventures. We are fairly frequent visitors, thanks to our Merlin passes and the fact that we don't live too far away, although we've given it a wide berth over the school summer holidays. We really like it at Chessington, it's perfect for young children as there are a good number of rides that even babies can go on. There are also the Zoo and Sea Life Centre, which the kids love and which are great if you want to step away from the crowds for a while and go at your own pace. 

We tend to arrive early, and have a fairly hectic first couple of hours while we tear about to get on all our favourite rides. When the queues have started to build we slow down a bit, and spend some time seeing the animals before leaving in the early afternoon.

This was our first visit since Mia started walking confidently, and I really noticed a change in how our day went. I'm beginning to appreciate how much easier a day out is when you don't have a baby. Mia can now manage comfortably on just the one nap a day, and it makes such a difference when you don't have to plan everything around baby's nap. It's easy to say that you shouldn't let yourself be ruled by baby's routine, but my babies have never fallen asleep when tired, instead becoming over-tired, grumpy screamers. Mia didn't even sleep in the car on the way up, and yet she was able to keep going until we left! She can eat her cheese sandwiches along with the rest of us, and we don't need to worry about taking special food or milk for her. 

I must admit that we do still take a pushchair for each child though, as although Harry is perfectly capable of walking, it's much easier to pop him in a pushchair as we rush about first thing, then make him walk later on when we can slow down a bit! I'm not sure how we will manage without pushchairs, where will we put the packed lunch/water bottles/spare clothes and all the other paraphenalia that's required for a day out?!

Chessington World of Adventures

This was our first family day out when I really felt that we were doing it for Mia too. Previously she's been more of a spectator rather than a participant, being lugged about on the rides but not really showing much interest. This time, she was into everything. She loved the goats in the Children's Farm, wandering up to stroke them of her own accord. She was fascinated by the Sea Life Centre, reaching out to the tanks and trying to say fish. 

The best part of the day was in the soft play area. There is a baby/toddler section with a gentle ramp leading up to a small slide. Once she discovered that she could clamber up the ramp and get herself into position to come down the slide on her own there was no stopping her. The two of them chased each other round over and over again, and both were absolutely loving it. 

It was a wonderful feeling to sit there and watch them both going round and round, and it gave me a taste of how family days out can be as they get bigger and more independent. I hadn't really realised before how much of my energy has been taken over with worrying about whether little ones need a nap, something to eat or if they are going to start screaming because they are fed up!

Chessington World of Adventures

Our little family seems to be growing up so quickly, but I'm really excited about all the new things that we'll be able to do as they get older.


  1. I was the same as you when mine were babies, planning everything around naptimes! It definitely limited what we could do, but our routine worked really well for us and I wouldn't change a thing. It is so much easier now they're older, we can be far more flexible - and I'm also wondering what we'll do when we don't have pushchairs to carry all our bits and pieces!!

    Looks a lovely day out, glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It was a real epiphany for me if you like, a sudden realisation that things are going to get easier and I won't spend so much time stressing about days out that I can't enjoy them!


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