Monday, 5 November 2012

The Eden Project and Cheddar Gorge

I know it's been a long time since I've posted!  Sorry!  It was 1/2 term week here, where the kids get a week off of school, and we took the opportunity to show some friends of ours from the US around England.

First we took them to Cheddar Gorge and to the Eden Project!

 In the Eden Project, they had a tent where it was setup for kids Halloween projects.  To begin with, they had to stick their hands into a hole and they didn't know what they were feeling on the other side (mushed pumpkin!)   Then they were able to make their own wands, get their faces painted, cook up a potion, listen to a story, and make a charm bracelet.  They also had an amazing pumpkin carver there showing her work!

The biomes themselves were ok.  They are amazing to think that they were made, and things grow; the power of greenhouses was awesome.  However, coming from Florida, I didn't feel like the atmosphere in them was all that great.  I was expecting the Amazon, but got Tampa.  It just made me homesick.  :)  If your from the UK, this is bound to be amazing; but if your from somewhere tropical, then it'll just feel like home.  

We were a little disappointed in the lack of hands on kids activities (other than the Halloween tent, and the ice skating rink) that there was for the kids to do.  While there were some interactive displays and signs telling us what things were, it wasn't as educational for the kids as I expected it to be.  We withheld judgement until after visiting the education center, and found that although the kids had a good time, it wasn't as education focused as I would have liked it to be.  I don't think they really LEARNED much.  

Lastly:  Food in the Eden Project.   The food was good, and there was a good selection of it.  However, if you have an allergy, beware, they are NOT equipped to handle it very well.  Nothing is labelled with ingredients, and they don't have other options if you have an egg allergy (it was a good thing we brought other food for our little guy with an egg allergy!)

We were greeted with a beautiful rainbow!  

 On the way down to the Eden Project, it was recommended to us that we stop at Cheddar Gorge.  We are SO glad we did!  There are AMAZING caves there!  And guess what?  Cheddar (the cheese) was invented there!  Way cool, huh?  They store it in the caves (hence the name) and it is so good!  They have shops in the little town where you can buy the cheese.  The cheese shop has been there since 1170!  We were very impressed!

All in all, we are glad we went, and it was a great 3 days out.  

On a side note:  We stayed at the China Fleet Country Club when we went down there.  It's about an hour drive from the Eden Project (30 miles), and it was the place that booked for us when I booked our Eden break through the Eden website.  I would not recommend this place.  It LOOKS amazing on their website.  But looks can be deceiving.  They weren't friendly, and they are like a wanna-be country club.  Sure, they are big enough, and have the ammenities for the name, but they skimp on everything.  Their large slide in the kids pool?  (A HUGE Attraction for our little ones) is only open for 10 minutes each 1/2 hour.  And then they shut it off and don't let the kids down it.  And if there aren't enough kids in the pool, they won't turn it on.  They require parents in the pool with kids under 8, and there are NO watching seats or anything to sit on.  You have to be IN the pool (we sat on the side).  No adults (like fathers?) who can just sit and watch their kids swim.  You have to bring your own towels (from your room) to the pool, they don't supply them. and the towels are skimpy, small and very thin.  If you try to get in (not knowing, and it wasn't told to us ) they call SECURITY on you!  (we know this first hand!)

Anyway...  We weren't very happy there, as nothing was disclosed to us beforehand (we showed up with 4 excited kids to the pool and they got 10 minutes of slide time, and that's it!) with no towels and disappointed fathers who couldn't go in to watch the kids play.  They had conflicting rules (one person said, yes we could eat our pizza delivery on premises, and then after we sat down and tried to feed the kids, we were told no, we had to go to our rooms.  

The rooms themselves were ok.  We stayed in a family room, which had a small kitchen, bathroom, living room (with a pull out couch bed ) and a couch, and a bedroom.  It took some figuring out how to connect the two single beds into something hubby and I could sleep on, and rearranging the small room was a pain.  There were spare towels and sheets and things to make up the beds for the kids, but we had to hunt for these things (no one explained it to us) and there was no bell hop to help with any luggage.  Also, we were not given a map to find out rooms, so we had to navigate in the cold with our tired kids through lots of buildings to figure it out.  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Plymouth UK

Two years ago we took the kids to the Plimoth Plantation and the Wampanog village.
We learned about the first settlers from Europe, where they came from, why they came,
how the First Thanksgiving was celebrated and we learned all about the Wampanog people who helped them to survive.  

This year, completing our Mayflower journey (backwards!) we visited the Plymouth on this side of the world.  Here is the plaque that sits in Plymouth UK in Devon.  

The kids didn't remember much of the Plimouth from the US side, we may have to do it again!  

The site where the original settlers embarked upon their epic journey!