One of the things I’m really going to miss when my youngest starts full-time school in September is being able to visit places during term time hours, without the crowds (and prices) of weekends and school holidays.
We’re trying to pack in as many off peak day trips as we can between now and the end of term – well, half day trips because Littlest has preschool nursery every afternoon so we only get a few hours in the morning.
With that in mind, yesterday we headed to Mountain View Ranch, the 100 acre outdoor freerange adventure centre, on Caerphilly Mountain.
It’s a real favourite place of ours with so much to explore. I love that the Ranch is always growing and adding new attractions and after seeing their latest additions on social media, I couldn’t wait to visit.
The most exciting news, given the current national obsession, is that there’s a unicorn in one of the woodland areas. The former Badger Wood is now the Enchanted Wood – with fairies in the trees and a unicorn with a rainbow mane resting on the ground. The wolf that used to be near the climbing frame has also relocated here.
The Lost Boys Hideout is another welcome addition. Situated near the climbing tree, this wooden structure is recommended for age five and over. But that didn’t stop my four year old from exploring. He needed help to get up the ladder onto the structure but had great fun pretending to camp out in the woods and watch out for pirates and Indians.
There are three new baby dragons perched on the tree above the nest of eggs at Dragon Gorge, plus three new wooden tree swings dotted around the park.
The man at the ticket desk told us a maze will be opening in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to take my children along to try that out.
On peak days, and for school trips, there’s a new storytelling adventure that little ones can take part in too. Dragon Stew has replaced The Gruffalo book, and we saw a school group wearing Viking hats and waving fishing nets as they hunted for dragons through the woods and across the grounds.
All the other favourite attractions are still there too, including the goats, the Gruffalo trail, the Hobbit house (I noticed they’d been painted and the doors had been removed which is probably a wise move as I’ve seen lots of little ones trapping their fingers); the Indian village, the fairy wood, two tree houses, the three bears’ pods, the climbing tree, the Wild West themed playground, and lots more.
We were there for just less than three hours – we’d usually stay all day – but we still managed to see everything and had time to eat our picnic lunch on one of the many picnic tables.
If you can visit at off peak times, it’s great value – costing £4 per person age two and over or £15/£18 for a family of 4/5 compared to £6 peak per person or £23/£28 for a family of 4/5. Under twos are free.
Do keep an eye out on the Mountain View Ranch Facebook page because of the weather’s good they have been laying on impromptu storytelling sessions for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Do share with any unicorn fans who might appreciate this!
Also check out the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram account, including Instagram Stories, for more snapshots from our days out.