Mama OWL Blog: Our Spring Break - Part One

Our Spring Break - Part One

Thursday, 12 April 2012

We took the children on a long weekend away right at the start of the Easter holidays. While they were at school on the Friday, the husband and I did the grocery shop and packed up the car before we collected them from school when they finished at 2pm, and off we went!

We stayed at Parkdean Torquay in Devon, and check in was 4pm however after having to take a very long detour due to road closures we didn't arrive until around 6pm. Check in was quick & simple, the husband collected our keys and welcome pack from the very polite & efficient lady on reception and we were directed to our caravan. The hill down to our area of the site was a bit on the steep side but there was a little car park right next to our 'patch' which meant no trudging long distances to carry our things to & from the car.

The caravan was very modern and lovely & clean, and our linen was provided though we had to make the beds ourselves. There was a television with Freeview, as well as heaters in all of the bedrooms and a gas fire in the living room, plus the fridge-freezer and oven which were all fully functional and we didn't have any problems with.

After unpacking our things the children made a beeline for the park, sports court and the large field area right next to our van. We had a great spot as we could see all play areas clearly from the window and the shop & bar area was across the field and just up the steps. The kids had a great time playing football on the field and the sports court, and using the play area which was well maintained. The kids made lots of friends and we had no shortage of little callers to our van asking for the children to come out and play, they had a wonderful time.

When we had unpacked we went off down to the harbourside to have a walk, and to get some dinner. We had a nice walk enjoying the warm sea breeze along the promenade and pier (and enjoyed playing in the bubbles someone had put in the fountain!), and the children enjoyed watching the boats out on the water. We stopped off at a chip shop on the way back to the campsite and got some fish & chips, we'd worked up quite an appetite by then and the kids ploughed through it in record time. They played outside until it was too dark to see the football any more (even with the lights on the field!) and then we came in, watched some TV and went to bed.

Up early Saturday morning, we packed some lunch and headed to Paignton Zoo for the day. I had pre-booked our tickets online for Adam & 3 of the children (Erica was free as she is under 3), but had to buy concession tickets for myself and Logan at the desk. Adam & the kids went through the fast-track gate but the lovely lady directed me to the customer service desk to a very friendly gentleman who whipped our payment through quickly so that we did not have to wait in the large queues at the other desks and could get on and enjoy our day.

Paignton Zoo is fantastic, the children were so keen to see everything they kept running off ahead and shouting for us to come and see. The animals had large, clean enclosures and there were lots of peacocks and geese roaming in the general areas, along with goats and other small creatures in the petting zoo area. The monkeys and gorillas were a favourite with our kids, they were very playful and had the children in stitches with laughter due to their antics! We especially liked seeing the new baby Giraffe that was born in February, and the elephant although unfortunately the rhino wasn't feeling very social that day and didn't come out so we could see him!

There were a few play areas dotted around the site and we stopped off on our way round to let the kids enjoy them. There were lots of stands selling snacks, drinks and ice creams as well as a cafe, and we sat in a picnic area next to one the play areas to eat our lunch, and then had an ice cream a bit later on in the day.

There was so much to see and do, the site is in sections so you can visit animals in the 'Desert' and the 'Savannah', and even see a parrot show. There is also a little train ride which you have to pay extra for (£4 for Adam and all of the children), but it runs every five minutes or so and the children enjoyed it.

We left at dinner time and stopped off in the supermarket which was conveniently just next door to the Zoo before heading back to the campsite for dinner, and afterwards the children immediately ran off out to play with their friends.

A very successful start to our holiday, stay tuned for part two which is about our visits to Living Coasts, and Woodlands Theme Park.

*Disclaimer: 'Our Spring Break' is a personal account of our family holiday.


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