Sunday, 14 May 2017

SEALIFE London and Shrek's Adventure

Half term is fast approaching and like most parents I am now turning my thought of ways to keep them entertained for the week. Especially, if like this time, I will have the week off of work. Budget is a huge factor in my planning (and I really do think it pays to plan ahead) so I will try and find a mix of 'free' things such as picnic's in the park with friends or a trip to the local beach and then maybe one or two big days out. Cadbury have recently launched a 2-for-1 promotion on their chocolate packs, the voucher means that someone can go free in over 20 top UK attractions with a full paying adult! I love saving money and this is certainly a good excuse to get out and have some fun as a family over the half term without breaking the bank!

The Mumsnet Bloggers Team invited us to pop to London (living in Kent we are very lucky to live only a short train journey away) and take a look around 2 of the attractions that are included in this money saving promotion!

As Craig had to work we decided to take my Sister 'Auntie Sarah' with us for a family filled day of fun. As we were tourists for the day we just couldn't resist this photo.....

We visited SEALIFE London first and arrived shortly after the 9:30am opening time. If you are visiting my one big recommendation would be to arrive as close to this time as you can. We enjoyed wandering around at our own pace with relatively low crowds. When we left the queue to get in was huge! As a family, we are big fans of SEALIFE as we can see all of the good they are doing for conservation. But the last time we had visited this particular SEALIFE location was for Millie's 2nd Birthday! A lot has changed since then! Millie is 5 so she is at an age where imagination is key to her day, she spent most of her time talking to the fish and wondering what they were doing. A real highlight for her was being able to touch a starfish! Chester is 8 so he loved reading the fun facts about the fish, but was also very concerned when he realised some of the fish were endangered. It really struck a cord with him and I am very pleased that he is grown up enough to understand what is happening in the world around us and what we can do to change it.

The star of the show though has to be the new Ocean Invaders section, which as it at the end, I can happily say that they certainly saved the best until last! It has a real wow factor! Very interactive for the children too. There is a part where you can put your hand in and 'feel' a jelly fish (obviously not a real jelly fish, that would just be irresponsible parenting!). You can even play a game on one of many interactive touch screens that link up to a big screen in front of you. Auntie Sarah and Millie were fascinated with the Sunbathing Jelly Fish.

The whole area just totally immersed you in an underwater adventure with them! I managed to film a short walk through of just one section of the Ocean Invaders so that you can see for yourself just how immersive it really is....

But the fun wasn't over yet! We then popped next door to Shrek's Adventure, which is something the children have been asking about for ages. We are all fans of Shrek and the other DreamWorks films, but for Panda loving Millie she is all about Kung Fu Panda (Po), so was extra excited!

I had already done my research before the visit so I knew that I would not be able to film or take pictures inside the main part of the tour, so I have to say before arriving I was a bit twitchy about that! I am never without a camera or at least my phone! But I have to say, it was actually the best thing they could have done. I was able to really enjoy the experience without missing anything due to being too busy on my phone etc!

You start off with Princess Fiona who gets everyone to sing so that we can create some magic to get the 4d bus to work! The bus was fantastic! I wont spoil it as it really is something you should experience for yourself, but with Donkey at the wheel lets just say that its not exactly an easy ride! It included cameo roles from the Penguins of Madagascar and Po, the looks on Chester and Millie's faces were priceless. A real magical moment.

The way Shrek's Adventure is set up is like a tour, so you have a maximum of 40 people in your tour group which means its not too crowded and the costume characters did a great job of making sure all of the children could see. After your trip on the 4d bus your mission is to get safely back to London, with some help along the way. The costume characters are key to making this attraction work, each room of the tour contains one and they were all fantastic! The tour is very interactive, and does require audience participation, but not in a cheesy way. Its very well done, Chester was lucky enough to be picked out to help on a couple of occasions, his favourite interaction being with The Muffin Man. In fact I would say this was our favourite of the rooms, it smelt just like a bakery and the costume character playing The Muffin Man was so funny that even the adults were laughing along! The attention to detail going through the tour was great, and meant that the adults got just as much out of it as the children. The corridors between each room or area were filled with nods to the Shrek films, I especially liked the 3 little pigs houses/signs on their doors!

When you eventually get safely back to London, there is an opportunity to meet Shrek! You are allowed to get your cameras out for this, but sadly I managed to miss capturing the lovely huge hug that both Chester and Millie gave Shrek! They just couldn't believe he was there waiting to greet us!

Then we got the opportunity to walk around a DreamWorks area filled with fun props for great photo opportunities and even some interactive areas in the Kung Fu Panda area. As you can imagine, with a very excited Millie, we spent a lot of time in here!

I even managed to capture this very short video of Millie trying to learn how to do the same moves as Po!

We had a really fantastic family day out, and with the 2 for 1 vouchers I can really see how this can be made into an affordable day out. My only criticisms would be that there is not really anywhere to sit and eat your lunch (if you chose to bring your own), and on the subject of food, Chester questioned why there wasn't a café selling the waffles that Donkey loves? That could be a really great addition!

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher in return for writing this post

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