Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Stockwood Discovery Park

My mum sent us a list of places to visit that the boys would enjoy, so we are making our way down the list! Today was grey and miserable (to start with) but at least it wasn't snowing or raining so we decided to go out. I didn't think I could cope with another day indoors being forced to play Lego Batman for hours (I enjoy a good game but not a whole day of it...).

The Stockwood discovery centre in Luton displays collections of: Local Social History, Archaeology, Geology and Rural Crafts. It also houses the biggest horse-drawn carriages collection in Europe, the Mossman Collection. We all like a bit of archaeology and the carriages intrigued me!
The external part of the Discovery Centre features extensive gardens. The Period Gardens, ranging from the Elizabethan Knot Garden to the Dig for Victory Garden, were created by Luton Council from the mid 1980s onwards. Re-development work in 2007 included the building of the Sensory Garden, World Garden and Medicinal Garden. It is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display. Improvement Garden is a classical garden in which Ian Hamilton Finlay sculptures are an integral part of the landscape.

As soon as we got there the boys wanted to head to the play area, this was very well done in the sense that I saw not one garish colour in sight! No painted metal or plastic, wonderful! Lots of things to climb on and explore. All this was enormously helped by the fact that Luton airport is very close and we saw a good few planes seemingly landing on our heads, we weirdly all loved that!

From the play area you seamlessly drift into the gardens which were truly beautiful and very well kept, there is a small bee centre, greenhouses and lots to explore including unexpected statues (Isaac at one point started screaming SEA TURTLE!! He was right) and small mazes.

There are two museum bits, one at the end of the garden (complete with fossils and human remains) which charters the geological makeup and human occupation of the area. And the galleries near the entrance with all the carriages. The boys liked it all as usual, especially the fossil rooms and the archaeological dig pit.

We tried lunch at the cafe, very average, next time we will just use the cafe for coffee and cake but it was a good place to rest from the cold and as soon as we had finished eating the sun came out. So off we went again to the play area where the boys made some friends. All played happily until Isaac pretty much fell asleep in my arms. A good day out (we were there till nearly 4) and the entrance is free.

The play area

One groovy spider web climbing wall

The heritage gardens

I love this pictrure, you can make out Reuben's reflection taking it

We love an excavation pit

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