Oh Help Oh No We Went to the see the Gruffalo
The Gruffalo is one of our favourite books and all of our little (and big) adventurers have reread the book, again and again! Despite the fact that we know the lines pretty much by heart we can still read the story with the same enjoyment and interest as if it was our first time reading the book. When we heard of the Gruffalo experience we were really excited, for me what better way to bring the magic of the book alive than an interactive, Gruffalo experience?
Oh Help, Oh No We Went to the see the Gruffalo!
The Gruffalo experience is held at Meadowhall Sheffield and is running until 12th April 2015. The experience takes place in a heated Marquee and is perfect in case of the great British weather providing you with potential downpours.
So what is the Gruffalo experience?
From the website we learnt that the experience included
“a fun and interactive journey into the deep dark wood to meet the Gruffalo and other characters from the world famous children’s picture book and film. Your ‘Gruffalo Guide’ will lead you in the footsteps of Mouse, as if you’ve stepped into the world of the deep dark woods, complete with trees, woodland sounds, a fox’s den and its own log pile house. During the 40-45 minute experience you’ll find out where the woodland creatures live and what they like to eat! The Gruffalo himself will make an exciting appearance!”
What did we think?
We arrived at Meadowhall and loved the fact that there was signs about the event all over the different walkways in the shopping centre. We have visited similar events at other big shopping centres, we have been lost a few times and sought help from staff. On a few occasions, none of the staff were aware of where the event was and it can become a stressful experience especially with younger kids. Having the pictures dotted here and there, the little adventurers felt as though they were seeking the Gruffalo and got them really excited. In the final area they had Gruffalo feet leading the way out to the area where the Marquee was and Zayn was really excited. I loved the picture below with the hand on the Gruffalo paw. It reminded me of the star handprints in Hollywood and for toddlers is there any bigger star then the Gruffalo?
I thought the Marquee was perfectly located next to a small playground. I hate waiting in small rooms with excited toddlers so having a playground even a small one was ideal to burn off those excitement energy levels. We were booked in for the 12:30 experience and we couldn’t wait to start the experience. On arrival, each child gets special mouse ears as they will be the mouse from the story for the experience.
At the start of the experience you are introduced to your guide. Our guide was hilarious and provided plenty of tongue in cheek humour for the parents to enjoy along the journey. We were disappointed that you couldn’t take pictures of the journey as I love to have pictures of the actual events we visit. Once the guide has done the intros, the doors opened and you are in the woods. The journey starts with a short walk through the woods, which is scenery based on the actual drawings from the book. I was a little disappointed as I would have expected a more “woody” woods but the little adventurers were mesmerised. Looking at it through their eyes, it was the woods they have seen time and time again in the books and in a way brings the actual story to life.
The first stop is the meeting of the animals. Each animal was a good-sized hand puppet and the guide gets the children involved in various parts, through recalling the story. There was a good mix here as the information that was provided was enough to keep some of the older siblings entertained whilst seeing the characters and having a stroke was lots of fun for the younger ones. All three characters are shown at the same area which I think is a shame as it would’ve been fun to actually walk along the woods like the mouse does in the story and encountering one animal at a time.
The next area was where you are introduced to the Gruffalo. The walk has the film the Gruffalo playing and the children get to watch the parts and the guide tries to get them involved. I think a combination of the guide reading the book and the video in the back ground for visual effectiveness may have worked better. The Gruffalo’s entrance however, is spot on and the Gruffalo appears behind a screen and it was perfectly timed to the story. Our little adventurers loved seeing the Gruffalo. Raihan and his over active imagination was frightened of the real life Gruffalo which showed me that for young children the magic is there and they have a different understanding realism that as adults we lose.
Before the end of the experience, there is an opportunity for a photo with the Gruffalo. There is a few things to entertain the children whilst they wait but we ended up at the back of queue which was about a 15 minute wait. The children entertained themselves but it would’ve been nice to have a few more activities here. Perhaps a few copies of the Gruffalo for families to read, paper/pencils to draw the story or some crafts. Our photo opportunity with the gruffalo was great as the little adventurers wanted to see if the Gruffalo was in fact real. The test was obviously to shout out Gruffalo crumble and to see how the gruffalo reacted. The character was really engaging and everytime the children shouted it, the Gruffalo would run around, scared. This was a really lovely touch especially as Raihan was really scared and the interaction with the Gruffalo really made him smile.
Overall, we really enjoyed the visit. My major qualm with attractions like this is the fact that adults need to pay. As it is a child focused activity I always think one adult should be admitted free of charge (a charge for the second adult is acceptable). I understand the counter argument that an adult being present means that a space is used but I do feel that a free adult should be given. The experience is perhaps not as interactive as I would have liked but then again I am looking from an adults point of view. If I take a step back and reflect on how much my little adventurers enjoyed the experience I totally understand the value for money. My children were mesmerised and loved the experience. From Maya at 6 years old to our youngest Zayn at 2, there was something for everyone and we left with big smiles. A must for all Gruffalo fans!!
Tickets for the experience can be bought here http://unit10eventive.com/gruffalo/tickets/ The cost is £7.50 each per adult or child, with under 2s going free. We would love to hear if you visited the event and what you thought.