Every season and every occasion brings something new when you have a toddler. Watching them experiencing things for the very first time encourages you to look at everything with fresh eyes, enjoying the youthful innocence of childhood! It’s an amazing feeling to watch them learn, explore, laugh, and grow, as new sensations, sights and sounds entice them to play. This month has included another first for us – pumpkin picking! Maybe this is something that was around when we were kids, but I don’t remember it. This year it has been all the craze for little ones. We had to have a piece of the action. Luke, J and I were delighted to be invited to Hatton Adventure World to enjoy their Halloween celebrations, and pick from their vast pumpkin patch.
We have enjoyed visiting Hatton several times since J was born, and have always been so impressed by the amount of activities and facilities available. The effort they had gone to to decorate for Halloween was fantastic. There were pumpkins everywhere, with ghosts, witches, zombies, and scarecrows everywhere you looked. Cobwebs and skulls hung from all of the barns, and everything looked fresh and new – a nice change from the tired, recycled decorations that you often see at this time of year. We were given several challenges to complete on our way round, which you could see older children excitedly scribbling answers to.
We started today by looking at the animals. There are lots of traditional farm animals including sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys. There are also some slightly more unusual ones such as wallabies, birds of prey, and some new sheep dog puppies! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such clean pens at a petting farm. Everything there is immaculate, so well-kept, with hand-washing facilities everywhere. J absolutely loved the up-close experience of seeing these friendly animals. He was able to feed the sheep, stroke the guinea-pigs, and watch the falconry show. There are opportunities to hold lizards as well!
Outside the barns, there is a lovely JCB tractor play area, with ride-on diggers for little ones to play on. Roads are marked out in the playground, and there are ramps and tunnels for those who enjoy a challenge. There are 3 sizes of diggers available, so even the littlest tots can join in.
Bewitching Trailer Ride
Next, we tried some of the special ‘Pumpkin Week’ activities, starting with a Bewitching Trailer Ride. We were invited onto a lavishly decorated trailer, by a spooky looking skeleton, and we set off on our bumpy journey! It travelled in a big loop, around fields completely littered with pumpkins. We were lucky – it was a beautiful October day, and the sun on the ground looked enchanting. The driver pointed out lots of interesting landmarks as he drove round, and the whole ride took about 15 minutes – perfect for short attention spans, and it also ensured that queues never got too long.
We jumped off the trailer and took a short walk down to the Pumpkin Patch. Every child is given a voucher on arrival, allowing them to collect one pumpkin each. Even though we went on the final day of Pumpkin Week, there was still a lovely selection of pumpkins to choose from. J was amazed! We have been pointing out pumpkins to him all week, so he was very excited to find himself in a field full of them. It was warm, peaceful, and actually really relaxing to pick through the different rows. He was absolutely fixated on some underdeveloped green ones he found, but eventually he settled on a cute little orange one. It was a lovely activity for a toddler, and the uneven ground was really great for practising his walking! This is definitely something we will repeat next year.
Terrifying Terror Maze
Pumpkin in hand, we headed for the Terrifying Terror Maze! There were different times allocated for under- and over-8s, with live actors present for the older children. These ages were just given as guidance, allowing you to choose whether or not your child would be frightened! The maze is in a real maize crop. There lots of different options and pathways to choose from as you walk through. There’s a bridge in the middle, to allow you to see over the crops. You could spend a long time exploring it, but there are lots of paths to lead you out, so it doesn’t have to be very difficult. It was beautifully decorated with ghosts and ghouls.
Exploring the rest of Hatton Adventure World
Following the maze, we explored some of the non-seasonal features of Hatton Country World. There are bouncy castles, rides, adventure playgrounds, trampolines, pony rides…the list goes on. Everything is safe, clean, and well-managed, with lots of friendly staff on hand to ensure everything is running smoothly. Everything is included in the admission price, apart from the pony rides. This is really unusual – you often have to pay extra for rides! They also have a fab soft play centre, with different areas for under 2s, children aged 2-4, and over 4s. The baby section is brilliant! It has a huge ball pond, a sensory circus tent, and lots of foam blocks to climb and cruise on.
There were two live shows running while we there, but J is a little young to enjoy the magic and comedy that was on offer at the moment. If the quality of the shows matched the quality of the park, I’m sure they were lots of fun though, and we will look forward to watching them next year.
Although Pumpkin Week has finished now, Hatton Adventure World has year-round schedule of exciting events, from Circus Week to the Pirate Festival. The Enchanted Christmas Kingdom is next! There will be the chance to meet Santa, make Christmas arts and crafts, and enjoy a festive puppet show! It looks completely magical, and one not to be missed.