Spring activities in Plymouth
Spring is such a welcoming time of year - it warmly signals a time of fresh beginnings, more pleasant weather and a refreshing increase in the number of daylight hours, lifting spirits and restoring energy levels.
Here are some ideas to put a spring in your step…
Visit Dog-Friendly Attractions
For many families, whether an attraction is dog-friendly or not, will be the deciding factor of a destination for a day trip. Fortunately, many of our local attractions welcome dogs - in fact, you may be surprised at how many places are happy to accommodate your pet. Some venues welcome well-behaved dogs on leads, supply dog bins and water bowls on café terraces. Some even have designated doggy tables in their cafés and showers to wash down the dirty fur of any of our four-legged friends who have had, perhaps, too much of a good time rolling around in the mud.
- Do prevent your dog from chasing wildlife and farm animals
- Do keep your dog in sight
- Do bag dog poo and bin it in the special bins
Decorate Flower Pots
Add a welcome splash of colour to the garden by encouraging the children to paint or embellish a flower pot. Plain terracotta or ceramic pots are usually cheap and can be bought at many of the garden centres or home stores.
Go on a Spring Flower Walk and Trail
Spring flowers really do brighten up the landscape and can be spotted on many trails and walks throughout the county. Children are able to learn about how the appearance of certain flowers signify the changing of a season.
Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and bluebells flourish within a short space of each other but their appearance always follows the same sequence.
There are beautiful bluebell walks in Hardwick Wood in Plympton; Whitleigh Wood in Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth; Meldon Woods near Okehampton; Plym Bridge Woods in Plymouth; Fingle Bridge near Drewsteignton and Buckland Abbey in Yelverton – where often the aroma is equally as pleasing as the sight of the flowers.
Make a Welly Planter
Children tend to outgrow their wellies at a rapid pace of knots, so rather than sending the old boots to recycling heaven, how about re-using them in a way to add a funky, quirky feature for your garden? Start of by drilling some holes into the sole of the boots to enable the water to flow freely through the boot. Next, add some pebbles to the bottom of the boot, this will add some weight and keep it steady. Then pack in some compost, then plant your flower or seeds. Finish by sprinkling the plant or seeds with some water and placing the welly planter on full display for all to admire.
See and Cuddle Some Newborns
There’s something about new-born animals that children seem to absolutely love.
At this time of year, the fields are filled with newborn lambs bleating loudly and the Easter chicks are simply lovely in their yellow fluffy splendour.
The great news is that many of the farm parks and attractions have plenty of cute baby animals to see, feed and cuddle.
Help Out at a Beach Clean
The local beaches are wonderful places to be during the spring months. The summer crowds haven’t yet arrived, the sands have been freshly cleaned and yes, most of the time the weather is reasonably warm. You can contribute to this welcoming environment by helping out at one of the many beach cleans across the county.
Then, enjoy learning more about the sea-life you have helped to save at one of the fun rockpool rambles. Find some Beachwatch beach clean events on the Marine Conservation Society’s website - www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/events; or on the South Devon AONB’s website - www.southdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/events/. Surfers Against Sewage is hosting a Big Spring Beach Clean from 6 to 14 April 2019 – if you want to get involved see www.sas.org.uk/our-work/beach-cleans/ or email email@example.com
Take a look at what’s happening in the region this spring…
It’s Pirates Weekend Plymouth: Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May
Ahoy there me hearties! Get ready for a swashbuckling weekend of fun enjoying the best of the high seas in Britain’s Ocean City as the award-winning Pirates Weekend returns for another year. Enjoy an adventure-filled day out for the whole family as you explore two tall ships docked in the Harbour, meet arch-enemies Jonty Depp and Captain Barbossa and enjoy lots of free entertainment, including shanty bands, puppeteers, storytellers, stilt walkers, trails, arts and crafts activities and so much more. Pirates Weekend will happen on 11 and 12 May at The Barbican and Sutton Harbour. To find out more call 01752 306330 or see www.visitplymouth.co.uk
Make Your Child's Development More Fun with Rugby Tots
Rugbytots South Devon’s fun, structured play sessions take children on a journey of sporting imagination with engaging and energetic coaches supporting them every step of the way, whilst teaching how to catch, pass, kick, run with the ball and play as part of a team. Rugbytots' main focus is to build confidence and self-esteem in young children ensuring that they not only have a fantastic introduction to a great sport, but they have developed skills that are transferable to all walks of life. They run classes all over South Devon and East Cornwall for children aged from 20 months -7 years old.
Here’s what one of the parents had to say; “Will has been enjoying Rugbytots for the last 2 years. In this time, he has progressed through 3 classes enabling him to not only improve on his rugby and social skills, but the impact on his confidence has been amazing!”. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0345 313 0417 or visit www.rugbytots.co.uk
Let Your Dreams Take Flight at Plymouth Pavilions
Let your dreams take flight this May Bank holiday as Peter Pan flies into Plymouth Pavilions. Join the boy who never grows up, Peter Pan, and take part in his adventures with Wendy as they fly off to Neverland and meet some fantastical characters along the way.
With an all-star cast, impressive music, energetic dance routines, lots and lots of laughter and flying that will thrill the child in all of us, see Peter Pan soar to new heights this May Bank Holiday. Starring comedy legend Bobby Davro as Smee, Tracy Beaker’s Dani Harmer as Wendy and Disney’s Art Attack Lloyd Warbey as Peter Pan. For tickets go to www.plymouthpavilions.com
Budding Young Scientists Wanted at Discovery Bugs
Discovery Bugs offers children the chance to explore, discover and investigate science activities in a fun and relaxed environment. Discovery Bugs offer science parties, school/group workshops and special science and discovery events. On Tuesday 9 April, there’s a Science Holiday Camp where children aged 7-13 years will be able to explore engineering designs as invented or practised by Leonardo da Vinci.
A couple of days later, on Thursday 11 April, at the Paleontologist for a Day event, primary aged children will be hatching dinosaur eggs and making fossils and dinosaur bones to take home. On Saturday 20 April, at the morning Hubble Bubble Potion event, children aged 4-7 years will be investigating fizzing potions and colour changing reactions. In the afternoon, there’s a Divine Slime Workshop, for children aged 3-15 years. All of the events will take place at Tavy Scout Hall, 4 Tavy Place, Plymouth PL4 7DJ. For full details see www.discoverybugs.org
Epic New Climbing Challenge, Ascendor, Arrives at Clip ‘N Climb Plymouth
Visitors to Clip ‘n Climb Plymouth can look forward to taking on an incredible new challenge, as the centre has launched an epic vertical climbing line called ‘Ascendor’. This is the latest addition to the popular local attraction, which now features a whopping 44 climbing lines, making it one of the biggest Clip ‘n Climb centres in the whole of the UK. Ascendor is the first of its kind for Clip ‘n Climb, giving visitors the chance to scale its 26ft climbing challenge inside the iconic Ship Building, with incredible views from the top.
Alongside its climbing lines, this Easter is going to be one of the biggest yet at Clip ‘n Climb Plymouth, with treasure hunts, colouring competitions and a whole lot more planned for the school holidays – making it the perfect day out for all the family.
For more information or to book your visit, visit https://plymouth.clipnclimb.co.uk
Play Top Trumps at Paignton Zoo
You can find a new version of an old favourite at Paignton Zoo this year. In this special Top Trumps, guests can pit Zoo animals against each other – learning and discovering as they go.
The trail, launched at Easter, is fun, interactive and has a conservation learning element. Guests buy a Super Top Trumps Card when they arrive at the Zoo; each card comes with a trail activity sheet with instructions on how to play and space to record results. There are twelve giant cards around the Zoo for guests to discover.
Plus, there are six Super Top Trumps Cards to collect. Each card contains amazing facts and figures about that animal, such as height, weight and strength.
Guests can hand in their trail sheets; there’s an online table of top scores and everyone who returns a trail sheet will be entered into a monthly prize draw. Read more at www.paigntonzoo.org.uk
Choose Your Adventure at Adrenaline Quarry
From Saturday 6 April, Adrenalin Quarry will be open every day and the Coasteering and Aquapark will re-open at Easter too. This adrenaline-filled attraction has been ‘throwing people off cliffs since 2009’ and offers a huge range of adventurous activities for fun-loving, spirited children.
The Giant Swing gives children aged 5 years+ a moment of weightlessness and high speed; the 490m zip wire tests youngsters to jump off a 50m cliff at 40mph and the Aquapark is a super fun colossal inflatable playground on water. Children will also love showing family and friends who is number one on the massive 800m karting circuit. There are special karts for juniors aged 7 to 9 years and Bambini electric karts on a 100m track for children aged 3 to 6 years. To find out more go to www.adrenalinquarry.co.uk
Adventure Play, Each and Every Day, at Kidzworld
Come rain or shine, you can always depend on Kidzworld Adventure Play as a central hub of activity. It’s jam-packed with soft play and slides such as the three-lane Astra slide and drop slides, super fun dodgems, ball pools and a sand and water play area with climbing frames.
There’s roller-skating fun for those over 1 metre in height, open at weekends and school holidays, and trampolines too. If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re after, then head along the Sky Trail. This is the ultimate high wire experience providing wannabe climbers with both high-level thrills and challenges. For something a little calmer there’s Mini Golf. Find Kidzworld at Stadium Retail Park in St Austell. For details call 01726 815553 or see www.kidzworldcornwall.co.uk
A Marble-ous Destination, Come Rain or Shine
There’s plenty to be amazed and amused about at House of Marbles this spring. This marble-ous attraction has no admission charges and has lots of wonderful sights to behold for all ages with a working glassworks, four fun museums, bespoke interactive marble runs and a penny press.
As well as family friendly dining and shopping there’s ample free parking too. A nostalgic Brass Rubbing Trail is also available to complete for just £1! For details see www.houseofmarbles.com
Get Adventuring on Dartmoor
You don’t need to be staying at YHA Okehampton to grab an adventure. Adventure Okehampton has something to whet your appetite for fun, with 5 different days out on Dartmoor, suitable for all the family. Choose from rock climbing, to paddling down the River Exe, a day of high ropes, bush-craft or mountain boarding.
Adventure Okehampton also runs a full day Adventure Club for children aged 8 to 16 years that is packed with supervised, adventurous activities, costing from just £38. These include watersports days, action days and more challenging rock climbing and paddling days. Discounts are available for multiple bookings. Check out www.adventureokehampton.com/day-adventures
Hooray – it’s May!
May Day celebrations begin a month of festivals, shows and fun-filled occasions. It’s a time of year when communities congregate in city halls, village greens and town squares to mark the longer days and revel in the best of the season.
Although May Day falls on the first day of the month, the traditional celebrations and festivities happen at any point during the first weekend of May.
This timely celebratory occasion was chosen as it marked the date when most of the ‘seed sowing’ had been completed, making it a convenient time to give farm labourers a day off from their duties.
Interestingly, taking off the first Monday of the month as a Bank Holiday only started back in 1978. As the May Day festivities, had been enjoyed by many communities throughout the centuries, the Labour Government at the time decided to mark the occasion, by granting the first Monday in May as a Bank Holiday, giving families a day off from work and school.
Over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, many towns and villages celebrate with communal fetes, traditional festivals and shows.
Often, the celebrations are quirky affairs featuring Morris dancing, Maypole dancing and novel processions displaying unique characters to the town where they are taking place. Streets and parks are often dressed in bright flags, flowers and greenery, and live music from town bands, teams of drummers or accordion players, all contribute to a lively, convivial atmosphere.
A key part of the May Day celebrations is the maypole, which is placed at the hub of the action, bringing the community together.
Local primary school children often participate in the Maypole dancing, which involves a fun dance using coloured ribbons that are eventually woven into a pretty pattern around the pole.
Pairs of boys and girls, positioned at the base of the pole, and holding the end of a ribbon, weave in and around each other, with the boys going one way and girls going the other.
Aside from May Day celebrations there are plenty of other activities for families to enjoy throughout the month