I second it. It really is one of the best days out you can have with your kids. I last took my lot in the Easter hols where me, sil and her new fella had probably more fun than the kids playing hide and seek in the indoor play area!
I went on a school trip (as a parent helper). We didn't get much beyond the indoors play area, walking around hte nearest lake and riding back on the train. Is there really that mush more beyond that????
Lots - we spent nearly 6 hours there and didn't get bored once, and we didn't do any of the organised craft or ranger activities, nor did we watch the show in the ampitheatre. And we only went in the indoor bit right near the end - had forgotten about it and ran out of time. We also didnt get chance to play in the water fun area either.
What dd we do?
Assualt course (activity trail) - this took a while
Lots of different nature/woodland/forest garden/etc. trails - these all seem to have extra bits in them such as sensory or auditory activities
Made shelters and pretend campfires in a clearing where all the right types of branches has been left lying around
Walk in the treetop canopy
Ride on the train
Lunch at the restaurant by the lake
Playtime in the adventure playground
Climb up the look out tower
Had an ice cream and sat for a while
Look for hides, etc. in the trees
Made scupltures in the sculpture trail section
Just loads of walking, running, playing and climbing really
I don't think there is enough shade, tbh. I went as parent helper on a school trip when DD was Y3. We did a treasure hunt, the kids tore round and as it was a very hot day, they needed lots and lots to drink which wasn't as easy as it could have been to get drinks for them.
It's a couple of years since I've been though, and I'd been several times before the school trip (DD now 11yo) and I've never managed to be there on a day when all the interactive stuff in the 'museum' part is working.
I think it has enormous potential as trees get bigger and landscape looks less moon-like.
Lots of shade in the woodland walk parts, including little clearings with picnc benches. And some of the icnic tables have parasols too, such as near the playground and the station.
We only spent a small period of time in the indoor part of the place as the weather was so lovely outside. Of what we did see the interactive parts were working on Wednesday AFAIK. TBH though DD was too busy running about playing so didn't see so much of that.
But yes, not many water/drink stands once you are in the middle of the trails - but TBh we never really seemed to be more than 10/15 mins from the main buildings, even when on the edges of the nature trails. We just had lots of bottles of water, which we bought whenever we passed.