FAMILY DAYS OUT
RAIN or shine there are a host of attractions in
South-West Wales to keep the whole family
happy and entertained with our round up of
fun-filled family days out.
A wide range of interests are catered for at the National
Showcave Centre of Wales, at Dan-yr-Ogof, near Abercraf
at the head of the Swansea Valley. Apart from the
cave system with its light-enhanced range of
natural effects that two years back saw it
voted Britain’s Finest Natural Wonder,
there are many other attractions to
appeal to all tastes, including an Iron
Age Village, The Farm, the Shire Horse
Centre and Barney’s Play Barn.
The National Wetland Centre for
Wales is a sanctuary for a great range
of aquatic birdlife and other creatures
as well as providing a lot of handson
activity and outdoor pursuits. The
latest fun activity on offer is the canoe
safari that uses 14 Canadian canoes that
can seat three people and comes free with
the admission ticket. Bike riding is a great
way to get around the Millennium Coastal Park
to Pembrey Country Park where you can speed things
up a little on a real motor racing circuit. Just a little slower is
the toboggan ride on a shiny metal piste.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales is now in full bloom
and makes a great all-round family attraction.
The largest and most visited garden in
the country has, as its centre-piece,
the Lord Foster-designed Great
Poised in the landscape like a
giant raindrop, the 3500sq m
structure is a Noah’s Ark for
rare and endangered plants
from around the world.
It is home to a rich array of
flora from Mediterranean
climate zones. Under the
785 panes of glass – each one
weighing a tonne – you will find
plants from California, Chile, The
Canaries, Australia and South Africa
as well as the Mediterranean Basin.
But there is much more to the Garden than the
biggest single-span glasshouse in the world.
The Garden lies on land that was once a
magnificent Regency water park and
many original features have been
restored. Many new features have
been created and care has been taken
that these harmonise with the historic
landscape and add a sense of awe.
There is a unique and historic doublewalled
garden; lakes, ponds and
walks; a theatre; licensed restaurant;
shop; gallery; bog garden and bee
garden; Physicians of Myddfai Exhibition
and Apothecaries’ Garden; children’s play
area and discovery centre.
For those with more exotic tastes, the Tropical
House – which opened in the summer of 2007 – is bursting
with palms and pineapples, coconuts and cardamom . . . and
scores of orchids.
The Garden is very welcoming. Whatever your age, they
have something for you.
No matter how old you are the West Wales Museum of
Childhood at Llangeler, near Newcastle Emlyn will make
you feel young at heart. The toys, bikes, pedal cars, rocking
horses, models and other pocket-filling impedimenta of
our schooldays will trigger tales to entertain our children
and bring them closer to us - despite the fact that
there’s not a video game in sight.
And as we’re dwelling a little in the past
how about a reminder of the age of
steam? A trip on the Gwili Railway
through countryside just made for
a picnic will help provide another
memorable family day out.
Further afield, but a real capital
attraction Techniquest offers a
Summer of sport…and science!
It’s a busy summer of sport, and
science education charity, Techniquest
is getting in on the action.
While cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes
are preparing for the Olympic Games, work
is underway at Techniquest designing activities to
explain the science behind sport.
The hands-on science centre in Cardiff Bay
will be increasing its floorspace for all this
activity, by putting some interactive
exhibits outside for all to enjoy. There
will be wheelchair racing, pitting a
basic wheelchair against a smoothrunning
lightweight chassis, like
those used by athletes such as Dame
Tanni Grey-Thompson. Visitors can
test their ability at standing jumps,
learn about the science of golf, and
bring their bikes along to take part in
slow bicycle races.
It is the second summer that Techniquest
will be offering free activities on the dock
finger. Some of the wind-up “sound stores”,
introduced as alternative energy exhibits last
summer, will be back in service - this time offering
stories of local sporting heroes and heroines.
building, with a new show in the Science Theatre, and a
special trail around the interactive exhibits. There
will alsobeonthe spot demonstrations looking
at topics such as how the right boots might
help you bend it like Beckham, and the
clothes that help you run faster!
Oakwood Theme Park
is a top 10 UK theme park
and with over 30 rides and
attractions there’s something for
everyone. Thrill seekers can brave Speed, our newest white
knuckle ride and the UK’s first rollercoaster with a beyond
vertical drop. Or why not try Megafobia, the award winning
wooden coaster with character, you’ll get off laughing and
be desperate for more. Not afraid of heights? Well, what
about The Bounce, a 160ft Shot ‘n Drop Tower coaster which
shoots riders into the air at speeds of 70 kph in less than
Or maybe you fancy cooling off on Hydro, the
steepest and wettest ride in Europe!
For those who prefera slightly slower pace we have
fantastic family rides for everyone to enjoy.You
can whiz around the slides of Snake River
Falls, pilot your own plane on Plane Crazy
or take a relaxing paddle around the
Boating Lake on one of our pedaloes.
Joining these great rides
are The Waterfall,
Spooky 3D, the
many more the
is making sure
you have time to
squeeze them all in!
For smaller kids there’s
plenty of fun to be had in
KidzWorld – a special world created
just for children. In Kidz World your
child can lead an expedition into
the undercover adventure
playworld The Lost
can experiment with
more than30 hands-on
science exhibits in the
indoor discovery world
Wacky Factory, they’ll
have a ball! Equipped
with thousands of
soft balls, banana
blasters, air fountains
and levitation tables
all propelled by compressed
air, The Wacky Factory is an
interactive play zone where
kids can go wild! And for the
little ones there’s Playtown,
where kids can ride the
Clown Coaster, pilot their
own jet plane or cause
chaos on the roads in
their own Trucks.