What to do with kids in 2020 - our top choices!

2020 marks not just a new year but a whole new decade! As the new year begins, we look ahead to just some of the exciting events and trends for children in Edinburgh and Lothians in 2020.

Get up close to dinosaurs

The most comprehensive exhibition ever mounted on tyrannosaurs will make its only European appearance when it opens at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh this month. Tyrannosaurs will explore the most feared and revered of all dinosaurs, bringing the latest discoveries in paleontology to life and challenging preconceptions about these ferocious predators. The exhibition will feature rare fossil specimens, cast skeletons including one of ‘Scotty’, one of the largest and most complete T rex skeletons in the world, and incredible models of feathered dinosaurs. Opens January 23 until May 4. Adult £12, Over 60s £10, concs £9, child (5–15) £6, Under 5s free, Family of 3 £22, Family of 4 £29. https://www.nms.ac.uk/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/national-museum-of-scotland/tyrannosaurs/

Read our review: https://www.primarytimes.co.uk/edinburgh/news/2020/01/roarsome-jawsome-awesome-tyrannosaurs-opens-in-edinburgh

Celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters

2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters – and did you know that Scotland has a staggering ten per cent of Europe’s coastline? Amazing fact from the Marine Conservation Society – help them keep our beaches pristine by joining a Beachwatch beach clean – there’s one at Cramond on January 18 – visit https://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/events for details and to register. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The charity is also running a family Seashore Safari on April 10 at Joppa Sands. Email tara.proud@mcuk.org for more info and to book.

Or visit the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick – its newly refurbished Discovery Experience focuses on Scotland’s marine wildlife, habitats, seabirds and the challenges facing them including climate change, invasive non-native species and plastic pollution, and the exhibits are designed for all ages and abilities. The centre is also helping to host Marine Fest in June, a celebration of Scotland’s marine environment and wildlife. It will include rock pooling, guided walks, citizen science, crafts, activities and interactive science shows. The marine-focused activities will be centred on World Environment Day (June 5) and World Ocean’s Day (June 8) as well as the centre’s  20th anniversary. https://seabird.org/index.php

The Edinburgh Science Festival in April will have a series of events and exhibitions under the heading Water for Life, including an interactive exhibition exploring the nature of water and people’s interaction with it, guided coastal walks and the European Stone Stacking Competition, so start working on those balancing skills.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival will also be getting in on the watery act.  Film Fest on the Forth will be a weekend of outdoor screenings, taking place on 6 and 7 June, at Port Edgar Marina, South Queensferry, with aquatic themed films and exciting activites for all ages.

And waters don’t just mean the sea – try the Water of Leith visitor centre’s interactive section where you can cause a flood, try to stop the giant waterwheel turning and control the sluices, all for free. http://www.waterofleith.org.uk/centre/

Take a walk – or a run

Need to get out and about after the Christmas hols excess? Edinburgh 5km Winter Run takes place on February 1 - the actual 5km is only open to 13+ but there is also a toddler dash, a 100-metre run for those aged up to five and a family mile, a flat one-mile loop, for three to 12-year-olds. https://edinburghwinterrun.com/ Or sign up for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in May which has a kids’ kilometre for three to six-year-olds, a junior 1.5km for six to eight-year-olds, and a junior 2km for nine to 12-year-olds. https://www.edinburghmarathon.com/ Or take things at a slower pace and discover the intrigues, rivalries and dedication of Edinburgh’s world-renowned medical history on a Surgeons Hall Museum walking tour through the Old Town. For 10+. Tours last 70 mins and include museum admission on day. Sats and Suns from Feb 1 to March 1. Tickets £9.50-£13.50.  https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/ Read our review here: https://www.primarytimes.co.uk/edinburgh/news/2019/12/-medical-history-with-a-humorous-twist-one-of-the-funniest-tours-we-ve-ever-taken-

Try some intergenerational play

Intergenerational play is the current buzz phrase! No sitting on the sidelines with a cuppa watching the kids have all the fun. Take up a new whole family physical challenge: Clip ‘n Climb at EICA at Ratho is open to adults and children aged four plus and no experience is necessary  https://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/clipnclimb.  Test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding – locations include Ratho, Linlithgow, Lochrin Basin, Portobello and Cramond https://www.standuppaddleboardscotland.com/, and with extra-large boards that can fit six, the whole family can do it together. Foxfall at Fox Lake in East Lothian is a low rope course over water suitable for ages six up (and over 1.2m in height) and grown-ups https://www.foxlake.co.uk/. And adventure park Fort Douglas’s Sky Maze is designed for children and their adults to enjoy together https://www.dalkeithcountrypark.co.uk/.

Top up on screen time

On the small screen, watch out for Jenny Nimmo’s beautiful The Snow Spider adapted as a five-part drama series on CBBC in this year, while The Adventures of Paddington will be on Nickelodeon with Ben Whishaw, the film voice of the marmalade-loving bear, reprising his role, and a theme song by Gary Barlow. As for the big screen, you could practically live at the multiplex this year. The Voyage of Dr Dolittle, starring Robert Downey, Jr, and Sonic the Hedgehog are out in February, followed by Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, with James Corden as Peter, a live action version of Mulan and Disney Pixar’s Onward about two elf brothers, in March. The Secret Garden arrives in April with a cast including Colin Firth and Julie Walters, and Disney’s big screen version of Artemis Fowl, with Judi Dench, Josh Gad and a cameo from Eion Colfer himself, is due in May.

Catch a classic on stage

The biggest show in town is still The Lion King, on at the Playhouse until March 29, but there are plenty of other fab options. Last year, we had the Oor Wullie Big Bucket Trail around the city – this year Scotland’s favourite scamp and his pals are celebrating the comic strip’s 80th birthday with a new musical. On at the King’s Theatre from January 28 to February 1. https://www.capitaltheatres.com/ And speaking of classics, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett has got to be one of the all-time greats when it comes to children’s books – we’ve already mentioned the new big screen version but catch a new adaptation on stage here before that. Red Bridge Arts’ production is described as a wild and beautiful retelling, transferring the tale of difficult and grumpy Mary to rural modern-day Scotland. See it at the Howden Park Centre in Livingston on March 4 at 10.30am, at the Traverse in Edinburgh on March 6 at 6.30pm and at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh on March 7 at 2pm. For 6+. https://redbridgearts.co.uk/


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