My family is from London, and we enjoy trips down to stay every 6 weeks or so. We are extremely lucky to have relatives so close to the capital, as there is always a wealth of activities to enjoy – and this Bank Holiday was no exception. We were invited along to explore The Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss at the Discover Cihildren’s Story Centre in Stratford. Jack and I went with my Mum – she was very excited to see this exhibition, as Dr. Seuss was a favourite of hers when she was young as well!
Discover Children’s Story Centre
The Discover Children’s Story Centre is in such a great location – just a few minutes walk from Stratford Station. From the outside, it doesn’t look very big, but it is packed full of things straight from your child’s imagination. The Story Centre itself was spread out over 3 floors. The ground floor and first floor had a brilliant children’s playground to adventure in. There were pirate ships, spaceships, trees, tunnels, crooked mirrors, tunnels, slides, ropes – so many different sections to explore. There were so many story books, and little seating areas dotted all over to sit and enjoy reading together. Prompts and different activity suggestions were all around, to encourage kids to use their imaginations, and conjure weird and wonderful characters and stories. There were even ‘Story Builders’ – people to help children to play, and suggest ideas for creativity.
We headed out into the garden, which was beautifully designed. There was a big monster, whose tongue you could slide down. There was a huge UFO, a great pirate ship, and so many cool trees and plants to run between. My favourite feature was the giant percussion instruments – a wacky percussion wall, some lovely chimes, and a super sized xylophone. All were very child friendly, and were constantly surrounded by excited children!
The Fantastic World of Dr. Seuss
The Dr. Seuss exhibition itself is in the basement. It runs until 3rd September, and there are several 40 minute time-slots to choose from each day. The walls were covered with weird and wacky Dr. Seuss quotes, and there were objects and creatures from his most popular books to explore. Kids could dress up as the Cat in the Hat, or Thing 1 and Thing 2. They could climb onto the Once-ler Wagon and play with the foam blocks. There could play giant croquet, crawl through tunnels, and make music with the Boom Band.
Unfortunately, the ‘storyteller’ was unavailable on the day that we visited, and so we were unable to appreciate the full effect. Instead, we were told we could ‘free play’ in the exhibition space. It was a little dark, and a bit untidy – it all looked like it needed brightening up a bit. However, all of the children were running round having a great time.
If I Ran the Circus
As well as all of these lovely things to look at, there are regular story-telling events to book onto. We went to a 20-minute sensory session, aimed at children aged 0-3 years, called If I Ran the Circus. This was based on the Dr. Seuss book with the same title. We all entered the ‘circus’ and were introduced to its strange and interesting exhibits, one-by-one. There were rhymes with actions to learn, ‘animals’ to stroke, and even the chance of getting wet! It was a bit too crowded for such a hot day, but it was a lovely introduction to Dr. Seuss’s rhymes!
We also visited the cafe whilst there, which was brilliant. It was so reasonable – 2 (really tasty) sandwiches, a latte, and a bottle of water cost us just £7.00. The lady in the cafe was also very helpful and accommodating. There were plenty of people enjoying picnics in the garden, so the centre doesn’t mind if you take your own food and drink in. There is a lovely book shop in the entrance, with all of the lovely stories featured in the centre, at a reasonable price.
J had a lovely time, crawling around and finding hidden tunnels, slides and entrances. He is too young to enjoy the story element, but there was still plenty for him to look at and touch. As he gets older, this will be a lovely place to revisit, to unlock his imagination and encourage him to play. The exhibition space is changed every 6 – 12 months, so it is constantly evolving, and gives you somewhere to enjoy time and again.
Disclosure: These tickets were kindly gifted to us. I have not been paid for this post, and all opinions are my own.