Leaving the natural outdoor playground that is Pembrokeshire & Bluestone Wales, we've headed inland and back into England to see just what Birmingham has to offer our intrepid family adventurers. So where better to start in this city that's famous for it's chocolate heritage than at Cadburys World... But first we needed to burn off some of those eventual choices, so we headed for the brilliant climbing centre at Rock Up Birmingham.
Birmingham has a series of brilliant family opportunities that we hope to take advantage of this weekend, but a trip to Rock Up Birmingham had certainly inspired both girls... fresh from their climbing experiences in Exeter, both girls have decided that they love climbing. Not just for the personal challenges, health benefits or the series of fun climbing walls.. But because they love the fact that it's a great family experience. Especially as we all get to climb together and challenge each other. Whether it's the 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Leap of Faith'... there's always an opportunity to test yourself!
It's interesting that both girls started their interest in climbing in one of the best natural outdoor playgrounds in Eidfjord in Norway. But they've really taken to the climbing walls they've seen in Exeter & Birmingham... Whether it's the speed wall or the opportunity to climb the 'Cheese Wall'... All offer a range of experiences that have certainly improved our girl's climbing techniques...
But in truth, we're just glad that they have found another method of exercise that they enjoying doing together.. So we'll add it to the love for kayaking that inspired our trip, and hopefully they'll be climbers for life!!! Most importantly, there's a real 'Can Do' mentality developing which we love - just like the #THISGIRLCAN campaign
As teachers, we love the fact these climbing experiences can also have educational benefits too... they fit well into KeyStage 2 Educational Topics in Geometry, PE and offer plenty of problem solving opportunities - read more here if you're interested in knowing more (or download the example file below)
So after all that exercise, it was a choice... should we investigate the on site cafe with it's fantastic menu (genuinely affordable & healthy too) OR should head for Cadbury's World and hopefully find some chocolate??? I think you can probably guess the answer to that one!
So fully buckled in, we set off for a new experience... a chance to see Cadbury's World and the site of the Quaker's family factory that altered the way workers were treated across the UK. Birmingham is rightly famous for it's central geographic location and series of canals.. so it's no surprise that it became a hotbed of industrial activity... but the efforts of Cadburys to promote workers rights resonated with us.... so in truth, it was never really about the chocolate, but more a chance to keep 'Road Schooling' our girls across the UK - this time focusing on social equality and the need to be community minded.
We'd heard a little of the story of the Quakers, when we visited the impressive 'York Chocolate Factory Experience' in York. Which details the similar story by the Rowntree family but nothing beats seeing it in person! Giving the girls the chance to learn about British history at first-hand, hopefully inspiring them to ask questions and form their own opinions and most importantly have the confidence to express them to others.
So what did we find out??? Well, there's plenty of chocolate at Cadbury's World... the girl's trouser pockets were bulging before we'd even got to the main exhibits!!! Munching on Curly Wurlys to Crunchies, both girls were more than happy with this unexpected benefit!!!
We discovered yet again that children love attractions to offer something to fill in on the way round... having been in Lincoln last weekend, the free Lincolnshire Life Museum provided some brilliant puzzles. Each told through the eyes of two children.. it captivated both girls who love every second of that visit!
So how did Cadbury's do? They passed with flying colours!! The 'scratchable' quiz was excellent, as too were the clear wall displays that really showcase the importance of chocolate in the Age of Discovery (a topic we'd loved covering when we visited Porto in Portugal)
Cadbury's World also has a great breadth of activities - from 4D cinemas through to live chocolate making demonstrations... It does well to keep children's attention throughout and offers the chance to burn off some energy outside in it's adventure playground!
It's clearly developed the tour over it's 20+ year existence and we were really impressed with the attention to detail in the interactive chocolate exhibits... they seemed to work just as well for our age of children, yet seemed to have as much for toddlers too.. .. which is a pretty decent effort if you ask us!
So would we recommend it? Absolutely, if you want to discover a little more about Bournville's amazing social history, or if you'd like to discover just how chocolate has evolved over the years - .You can even take a trip back through the rainforests of Mexico... what child doesn't love that!!
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