Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Devon so far

Haldon Forest Park
Ah yes, blogging. I remember that. If you are wondering why I haven't been posting, it's because we're on holiday in Devon this week. We've returned to Finlake Holiday Park that I blogged about last summer.

We travelled down on Friday and stopped over in Bristol so that the last leg wasn't too onerous, which was a good job as it took us nearly 3 hours thanks to a van fire. We still arrived very early so we had a few hours to kill before we got our lodge which is nice but not as nice as the one we had last year as it's smaller although it has a hot tub but that's not much use when you have no washing machine.

We've made a few discoveries of new places, thanks to my sister who lives down here. On Sunday, we went with them to two places that I had barely registered before. The first is Haldon Forest Park which we must have passed several times as it's just off the A38 but never realised was here. There's miles of tracks for walking and cycling, there are zip wires, you can even try out Segways and maybe archery. The kids loved it and we need to go back to explore it some more as we were soon off somewhere else. However, Monkey didn't like all the walking which is odd, considering he is the more active of the two.

After our walk, we set off in convoy for Shaldon Zoo. Poor husband (who was driving) thought it was just down the road, but it's not, it's near Teignmouth. I knew there was a Zoo in Paignton, but not here. It's really small as are the animals; mostly small primates and a few birds but it was a nice place for an afternoon. It was raining by then but it was fine to visit as you're sheltered by trees. Monkey Ioved doing the quiz and they both loved the macaw whose only word was "Hello"! We thought it was a great little activity for a morning or afternoon: oh, and we can recommend the cream teas from Ode True Food just off the car park!

Tiger at Dartmoor Zoo
Whilst we were there, I got a tweet from a lovely blogger, Jenny asking me if I'd like a voucher she couldn't use for Dartmoor Zoo that had to be used by this week. Risking animal overload, we said yes and thanks to the lovely receptionist at Finlake who printed the voucher for me, we set off on Monday to give it a try. It's tucked away on the edge of Dartmoor but was very busy when we got there, it being a bank holiday. The story of the current owners and how they took on the zoo became a book and then a film starring Matt Damon, albeit the zoo in the film is in the USA. Whilst not the biggest zoo, it certainly has some of the crowd pullers: lions, tigers and an enormous old brown bear.

The children were fascinated although once again, Monkey's patience wore thin and he kept asking how many more animals we had to find, before finding them and being utterly fascinated by them. The only thing that took the shine off or visit was their "restaurant". I put it in quotes because there is no way it's a real one. The queues were enormous, largely because they only had one small self-service coffee machine for dispensing hot drinks - despite there being a massive commercial machine sat gathering dust behind the counter. And the coffees we did get after waiting for 15 minutes were tiny. I am now so glad we took a picnic!

So, that's what we've been up to so far. The next few days look to be difficult weather wise so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the usual things the children like to do here, like golf and swimming, along with meeting up with more family members will keep them amused and make the weather less of an issue.

I've blogged about these places because we enjoyed them, not because I was asked to. All opinions are my own.

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