Last year we attended Lyme Regis Fossil Festival and had such a good time we bookmarked it for this year. I had my weekend all planned with the Lyme Regis on Saturday, Knob Throwing on Sunday and Blandford Food Festival for Sunday and so was a little concerned with the weather forecast in the week running up to the events with predicted a very stormy weekend.
We woke Saturday morning to dull and overcast skies and I checked my weather app for home and Lyme Regis which said that any rain would pass over by 11am. Nevertheless I packed our wet weather gear in the car and set off on the hour’s journey west.
As we got close to Bridport the weather changed dramatically, I could feel the wind buffeting the car and all the hills were covered with cloud and mist and then came the rain. We were more than halfway there by this point and a bit of wind and rain doesn’t scare us so we carried on as most of the fossil festival is undercover in a large marquee.
We parked up and made the short dash down the hill to the beach where the Marquee is situated and headed inside. The kids were immediately drawn to the first table where a man was showing the size difference between a Megalodon tooth and a Great White Sharks’s tooth. I was impressed that they asked all the right questions and he prompted them to answer themselves. We then moved on to trying to tell the difference between an ammonite and a modern-day Nautilus.
The next table along had some even larger fossils and Isaac and Eliza were challenged to guess what they were. We struggled identifying a plate from a Stegosaurus until it was demonstrated where it would have been on a dinosaur and correctly identified a claw. We failed at guessing a rock was actually fossilised dinosaur poo though.
There was loads to see and do with scientists from all over the country, including from the Natural History Museum, but it was the British Antarctic Survey which seemed to enthrall Isaac and Eliza the most with a model of what was under the ice in Antarctica. They were fascinated by the model and after a brief discussion about what each colour meant on the model, they were expertly identifying volcano’s and mountains that were hidden under the ice.
The marquee was filled with interesting things to explore, as well as microscopes to look through and plenty of activities for the kids. We made dinosaur footprints with the help of some welly boots and giant sponges, made dinosaurs out of plasticine which then went on display in a pre-historic beach scene and even did some sparkly pen toppers and fridge magnets.
We did venture outside and found Adrian Gray balancing some stones that he had found along the Jurassic coast. He was challenged to show us how it was done and despite the high winds, managed to balance one within a minute! We then found some shelter for a spot of lunch and found Horace the Pliosaur and Bertie the walking dinosaur, although sadly due to the weather conditions he didn’t do any walking as would have been blown over.
Isaac, Eliza and Sebastian were invited to brush Horace’s huge teeth to make sure he was clean, which they thoroughly enjoyed but it was soon apparent that the weather was beating us and we were all shivering, apart from Isaac who is never cold!
Sadly we didn’t get to walk along the Cobb this year, we couldn’t even see the cliffs on the east side as the weather was so bad, so we consoled ourselves with a nice warming hot chocolate and cake in a local cafe before heading home.