I realise we have just gone into Lockdown 3 and are homebound, but I really wanted to share a fantastic little gem we visited just before Christmas – Bear Town.
Amelie and Charlie received some money from my Mum for Christmas and instead of wasting it on another slime kit or plastic toy, we decided to book them into Bear Town which is located between Exeter and Cullompton in Devon.
Bear Town is situated on the same site as the ever famous Bear Trail (which we are absolutely visiting when Lockdown is over). Bear Town is a fantastic and unique role play adventure town for children aged between 1 – 7 years old, to really expand and let their imaginations run wild. However, I personally think children up to around 10 would enjoy the experience, Amelie is nearly 9 and had a fab time.
Bear Town has 12 role play areas such as; a Cafe, Police Station, Vets, Construction Site, Hair Salon and Fire Station to name but a few. Learning through play has always been one of the most important factors during my children’s early years, role playing is so much fun when you are little.
I think I can speak for most parents when I say I have wasted so much time in sweaty soft play centres just thinking about all the germs and other gross things kids pick up. I really wish there was something like Bear Town when Amelie and Charlie were little, it would have been amazing and honestly quite a pleasant experience for me as a parent. If I’m quite honest I was more excited to visit Bear Town than anyone, I do love setting up little role play areas for the children, organising and playing with the little shops etc.
We visited on Christmas Eve during the height of Coronavirus. Every precaution was met, there was no queuing to see Father Christmas, we had a little buzzer that went off when it was our turn to see the Big Man. Honestly, it was extremely well thought out and organised, if every visit to see Father Christmas was this scheduled it would be amazing. There’s nothing worse than standing in a line waiting until it is your turn with children getting antsy, parents getting flustered and bored.
When our buzzer flashed we were led into a little room by a lovely Elf where we could play an interactive game which was projected onto the floor. This kept us all entertained and busy, with the excitement building it was a great way to expend a little energy. We usually do the Sail with Santa or Otter Nurseries but I think we have found our new favourite Father Christmas. The “grotto” was so magical, with a wonderful Father Christmas, he really interacted with the children and even knew the names of their friends which spooked them a little. We had a photo taken by another Elf and a present was given (a book). Now usually we tend to skip the professional photos taken by venues as they are ridiculously expensive but we were pleasantly surprised that this one only cost £3.50 so we snapped it up. Such a lovely memory to keep in our Covid memory box.
The quality of the play equipment was outstanding, every single little detail had been thought through and it was extremely clean. There is a café to buy drinks, snacks and lunches, from what I saw the food looked delicious. We had a couple of flat white coffees which were very nice indeed, I like a good coffee!
It was lovely to see all the children really enjoying their time at Bear Town. We were allocated a 2 hour time slot and this was ample, one of the things I was very pleased about, not once did Amelie nor Charlie come back to see us to moan they were bored or hungry. Usually at soft play the kids run off full of beans, only to return 10 minutes later moaning they are thirsty, hungry, bored – ugh! Bear Town really captured their imaginations and in a lovely way brought them closer together as they interacted with each other rather than bickering or squabbling.
All of the toys/props are wooden, just think those cute wooden cake stands, little trolleys, cute fruit and vegetables you can buy – all so lovely and amazing quality. I love wooden toys so this was right up my street. As well as all the bits and bobs there lots of little hideouts for the children to seek out and secret doorways, I won’t ruin it too much as if you visit you will see for yourself. I really just wanted to share our experience to let you know how much fun it was, it is a far cry from anything we have ever been to with the kiddies.
Also, there are going to be SEND sessions during this year which I think is just fantastic. My gorgeous nephew (who is autistic) is such a fan of the Bear Trail he thrives when he is there, I am going to book him in for a play session as I just know he would absolutely love it!
If you want to see a snippet I have saved it to my story highlights under CHRISTMAS over on Instagram.