National Mining Museum

I’ve been pleading to go to Scotland’s National Mining Museum for a while now, and last week I finally persuaded the rest of the family.

The TripAdvisor reviews are good, and I have to say it lived up to our expectations – exceeded them in fact.

It’s really well designed around kids – lots of interactive stuff in the exhibitions, lots of space to run around in, a free bouncy castle, and a great soft play (additional fee for this) and playground next to the cafe.  Apparently the guided tours of the colliery are excellent too but that’s maybe something for when the kids are older.

Ben most enjoyed operating the machinery and pressing buttons.

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Ellie most enjoyed the bouncy castle and looking for cats.

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And all of us enjoyed dressing up!

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Summer 2014

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to over the summer.

We’ve enjoyed the local parks and gardens.

We’ve explored Almond Valley (a great destination for young kids!).

We had our cousins come and stay with us.

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And we (sometimes!) played nicely together 🙂

Abbotsford

On Saturday we visited Abbotsford, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott. It’s recently been restored and a new visitor centre built, so we’ve been meaning to go for a while.

First we walked around the garden and grounds.

The place looked great, and the house itself was very impressive from the outside (we didn’t go in). We were told at the visitor centre that the way round the grounds was “obvious” and there was no need for a map, but we still got lost! Not to worry – we had great fun exploring inside this giant rhododendron instead:

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Then we found the best part of all – the adventure playground! The kids almost enjoyed it as much as me.

Finally, we went into the visitor centre for lunch. Unfortunately the food was overpriced and mediocre in quality. Ben entertained himself while we were waiting for food by running in circles around the Walter Scott exhibition wielding his children’s table knife at the other visitors!

All in all I think Abbotsford is a good local destination and I’m sure we’ll be back.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

Had a fantastic day out today on the beaches of North Berwick. I’ve only been once before and it was a grey and miserable day, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover what a fantastic seaside town it is in the sunshine.

We walked along the beach, collected shells and played in rockpools.

It’s such a beautiful place.

We had lunch at The Grange

… then followed it up with ice cream!

Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day out!

Deep Sea World

Yesterday we went to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry.

It’s not a huge place and is quite pricey but we’ve always found it great when the kids are very small (like Ben is now) because they find the fishes so interesting and can get so close to them.

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Ben was very excited and kept showing us that the tanks were full of fish.

They also have a small pool with seals. This one was enjoying the warm weather…

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… as did we!

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Back at the Zoo

Mine and Ellie’s zoo memberships run out at the end of February, so we took the opportunity on Sunday to make one more visit.

We started by going to the chimpanzee talk. Two of the chimpanzees had what looked like a proper fight, one wielding a stick. The zookeepers were at pains to explain that they were just being “playful”, although this was the “most playful” they’d ever seen them.

Another highlight was the pelicans. Ellie was quite taken by them because they followed her along the boundary of their enclosure.

Finally, we went to a “Meet the Reptiles” event, at which Ellie got a chance to hold a snake. I passed on the opportunity.

And here are some of the other animals we saw.