One of the things I struggle with as the stay at home parent of a toddler is how to keep him entertained on a daily basis. I’m not one of those crafty, creative parents who always seem to have great ideas for little projects and games to play around the house. I’m one of those parents who wakes up most mornings and says to herself, “right, what am I going to do with this kid today?”
For me, the best answer to this question is to get us out of the house, to go see and do. It’s England so there will be plenty of days where it’s miserable and rainy and we end up inside playing trains all day. So, it’s important on the days that it’s not to get outside, despite the fact that the little man has recently decided he’s not that interested in wearing clothes.
Luckily, there are plenty of things nearby that we can do once we’ve gotten through the painful process of getting dressed. In addition to Blenheim Palace and the National Trust, I’ve also taken advantage of the annual pass at the Cotswold Wildlife Park. In just under 30 minutes we can be out for the day learning about animals, playing in the playground, and having a picnic on the lawn.
And, oh yeah, there is a train. A TRAIN!
On our visit there this week, the little man even had his first milkshake, a strawberry one which he refused to share with me. He is definitely my child.
There is a wide variety of animals to see and learn about at the park. We love to visit the penguins as they really get up close and personal. And, I’ve been amazed at how close you can get to the giraffes when they’re feeding in their big tall house. The little man always asks to see the snakes and the crocodile. When I asked him later in the day what his favorite animal was, he said the “dinosaur.” I think he meant the crocodile. At least I’m going to go with that given that the crocodile probably looks as much like a dinosaur as anything else to a two-year old.
The white Rhinos never disappoint. Something about the juxtaposition of these animals and a Cotswold manor house always strikes me. Yesterday, they were closer to the fence than I’ve ever seen them, hunkered down in the ditch for a little snuggle. And when I was there just a few weeks ago, I even caught them in a little sexy time.
With our annual pass, we just need to go 5 times in the year to make the pass worthwhile. We’ve already been 3 times and still have nine months and a whole week of English summertime to go. And, it’s open every single day except Christmas Day. Money and time well spent.