We love Julia Donaldson books, with the Gruffalo being one of N’s favourite characters. We’ve seen The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child on stage, so when I noticed there was a Gruffalo Experience running this spring at Milton Keynes I decided to take N along.
I presumed it was going to be similar to The Lost Gift, an immersive experience where you met characters as the story was told, and it wasn’t far off.
We arrived having totally mucked up the timings – me thinking our ticket time was 10.45 when actually it was 10-10.45. Oops. Luckily it wasn’t a problem and there was room for us to join the next session. Most of the children were younger than N, although there were a few older ones too. Everyone had been given mouse ‘ears’ to wear, so there wasn’t much getting out of wearing them.
Every went into the deep dark wood and the story teller got to work, telling, singing and acting out the story with input from the children and some help from the characters in The Gruffalo. N did make me laugh though because she got out fox and straight away, N whispered to me behind his hand
‘Mummy, that’s a fox puppet. Ssh, no-one knows, but it is’.
The kids all got to touch each of the animals if they wanted, before heading through the door to hear and watch the story, and then meet the Gruffalo. Volunteers also got to find the specific descriptive pictures of the Gruffalo’s body parts….before the Gruffalo appeared.
The story was then complete, and we were able to move through to a play area to then meet the Gruffalo and have a picture taken with him. Of course N refused to get too close and definitely wasn’t having a photo taken (which saved me a bit of money in not having to buy it afterwards).
The whole Gruffalo Experience probably took only 45 minutes, plus whatever time it took to get your children off the climbing frame and slide afterwards. Our guide and story teller was excellent – really clear to hear, good with the children, and related the story well. For around £8 each, it wasn’t bad value either.
Afterwards we headed off to a couple of shops (it feels like I’ve not been shopping in Milton Keynes for a long time, although it was a little odd and empty on a Sunday) then grabbed some food. It’s all change, with lots of restaurants and coffee shops right by the main Middleton Hall which are new since the last time I went.
N enjoyed himself and while he refused to wear his mouse ears through the experience, he was quite happy wearing them all the way home.
It was nice to do something fairly relaxing and just take things as they come.
Have you been to anything similar?
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