Home Educating Fifth Week

Most of this week was spent at Ribby Hall (see previous blog posts!). We stayed in a cute little cottage, visited the swimming pool (and its epic slide) daily, met a variety of animals at the Wild Discovery Centre, had a joint Archery lesson and positively sucked at Squash! (I still love it though – I went to play it again today!)

I also realised that T much prefers being self-sufficient, rather than being told what to do, so looking at ways to facilitate this…

Friday, Saturday & Sunday have been more chilled in terms of activities, however, T did make cupcakes, taught himself how to use the cut / magic wand tool on Photoshop, and we played a few games of hangman, and had a go at painting Chinese lettering. The rest was spent walking our dog at Etherow Park (he missed her so much while we were away!) and visiting family.

We will be spending this week concentrating on The Big Journal Growth Mindset Printouts. These were recommended to me by a lovely home educating mum on Instagram to help T confidence-wise and to help him to have a healthy attitude with regard failure etc (see post Sucking at Squash), so very much looking forward to seeing if he likes them!

Animals, Archery and Fun Interactive Slides at Ribby Hall

We woke up around 9am, after a very comfortable nights sleep (as comfortable as you can be with a wriggly long legged 8 year old sleeping next to you!).  After breakfast we ventured out to revisit the Wild Discovery Centre as T was very keen to see Miss Piggles again (their resident pig!) On arrival we were welcomed by a friendly keeper (that remembered us from yesterday!), and we went straight over to the farm yard area. On our way we stopped to look at the tortoises and were greeted by Paul, a volunteer at the Centre. He accompanied us to Miss Piggles, who looked like she was settling down to go to sleep (again!).

After giving her a few back rubs and cuddles, we went into the bat house (it wasn’t feeding time so they were all hiding – unlike yesterday!) on our way back out, we saw Paul again and he asked T if he’d like to help him feed to sheep. T said yes (of course!), and we spent around 15 minutes feeding the sheep and listening to Paul who gave us lots of interesting information about the animals on site. A lovely friendly chap! We then revisited the Exotic area (nice and warm) and watched the lemurs play, and said hello again to the tiny tortoises (T’s favourites) and spotted the Jamaican Boa (we didn’t spot him yesterday). After we had warmed up a bit, we went back outside in the cold to revisit the lovely Kirk ‘DIk, Dik’ (a tiny antelope), the Dwarf Mongoose and the beautiful Wallaby.

After 1 hour or so we decided to leave the Wild Discovery Centre and take a walk along the woodland trail. This is a trail that goes along the perimeter of the holiday village. It’s a nice easy flat walk, burning off just enough energy in time for lunch. After our lunch we went on a pre booked Archery lesson (£9 each). This was situated on the ‘island’ at the back of the health club. It was very cold, but we soon warmed up! Our instructor Jacob briefed us on safety and taught us how to hold the bow and aim. Now this was easier than it looked…after getting the hang of it a bit, we ended up being able to actually hit the target (and not the ground!), Jacob kept score – T was very happy to beat me (hehe!). It was an hour long session and went so fast!

After returning to our lovely little cottage, we had a snack and then headed to the swimming pool in the Health Club (our 3rd visit this week, entrance is included in booking price!) T absolutely loves the pool, it has a couple of Jacuzzi’s, a nice sized pool, with various water features and slides to keep younger and older children entertained. One of the slides for older kids (height restricted) is a huge interactive one that allows you to pick a theme on a touch screen at the top of the slide, each theme plays different music / sounds and lights as you slide down , it was much fun! (I need to invest in a water proof go pro or similar to capture future moments like this!)  After lots of sliding and swimming and me jacuzzi’in, we got out and quickly got ready in the ladies adult changing room as the family rooms were closed. This wasn’t a problem, but I’d imagine that lots of other non parent / paying guests / members were not expecting kids roaming around in their space!

Tomorrow is our last day, we are looking forward to playing Squash (!?!) at the Health Club in the morning (£4 per person), swimming and sliding again in the afternoon, and then visiting the Bar & Grill Restaurant for a meal in the evening, to fill us up for our final night sleep!

Wild Discovery Centre at Ribby Hall

When booking our little getaway at Ribby Hall, one of the activities mentioned on the website was visiting the Wild Discovery Centre. Now, having an animal loving 8 year old, this was something that we didn’t want to miss out on, but I did have my reservations, I mean how could they possibly fit a zoo within the holiday village?! I read a few reviews on Trip Advisor and they were mixed, some saying it was great, some complaining about the extra entrance fee (£7 adult, £6 child), and others saying that there wasn’t much to see and that it was a waste of money as it was all over in 10 minutes…!

Regardless of some of the negative reviews, I thought we would check it out. We arrived at 11am, and were greeted by a friendly, kind, informative lady at the entrance, she advised us of the various animal meets / talks that keepers were delivering throughout the day, and gave us a receipt of payment so that we could visit the next day. The zoo looks more like a farm, and from the outset looks quite unassuming and small. We followed the track and started encountering the animals. These varied from Dwarf mongooses and Wallabies to Porcupines and Sheep to name a few!

We spent at least three hours exploring and looking at the animals, and had a chance to feed some Fruit and Seba bats in the bat house, meet and feed the meerkats and porcupines, pet some sheep and meet Miss Piggles the huge friendly pig that spends most of her day snoring (really loudly!) and loves nothing more than a back rub and cuddles!

If you’re visiting Ribby Hall, I would definitely recommend paying to visit this area, they have lots of timed talks throughout the day so you can find out more from the friendly keepers about the animals, as well as having the chance to interact at feeding time. It’s a great place to learn!

We ended the visit with a warming hot chocolate from the gift shop, and look forward to returning tomorrow, minus the entry fee:)

(Please note this is a totally unbiased review, we have not been compensated by Ribby Hall or the Wild Discovery Centre!)

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