Isaac turns the grand old age of 6 on 23rd April but had no clue as to what he wanted for his birthday.
In the last year he has outgrown CBeebies and moved onto CBBC. His favourite shows are Absolute Genius and Splatalot with Dick and Dom and the Deadly 60 series with Steve Backshall so my mission was to do something for his birthday with one of these shows.
We were ecstatic to find that Dick and Dom were performing at Butlins when we were there and managed to get him up on stage for a pie fight with them and his big brother.
I then discovered that Steve Backshall was doing Deadly Adventure live shows at Longleat over Easter – perfect!
Running up to our trip to Longleat I have to admit I was a little nervous as I had read about the event being badly organised in previous years, but we had no issues at all – it was well organised, engaging and most of all fun.
We arrived at Longleat at 9.20am having encountered no traffic at all and sailed right up to the gates to get in. Most of the attractions open at 10am but we were pleased to see Postman Pat’s village was open so we played in there for a while.
The Deadly Show wasn’t due to start until 12 noon, so we headed to do the Deadly Challenge first. This involved working out clues in a maze and then charging around trying to find each animal given to you in each of the “zones”. Kian shot off on his own but I took Isaac, Eliza and Isaac’s friend Alfie in which made trying to complete the challenge quickly almost impossible. We had fun trying though and soon got the hang of scanning Isaac’s barcode to get to the next challenge. There was much celebration at the end when we realised that we had scored 10 points and Kian only 9!
Next on our adventure was to explore Jungle Kingdom, where we got to walk alongside some of the animals we were looking at. We spotted the monkey’s first and spent ages watching them but as we rounded the corner there was only one place everyone wanted to go to…….. Penguin Island.
I love that Sebastian is starting to enjoy our trips out and he seems to have a real love of Penguins already. We had also been challenged to find all of Longleat’s Easter Eggs in their special trail too in the hope that we would win a prize.
Next up we got to walk through an enclosure with some Rainbow Lorikeets. They were simply stunning, although flew a bit too close for comfort to the kids who couldn’t get out of their aviary fast enough. They much prefered something a little more cuddly until Isaac was faced with a black and white Tegu. He was there stroking it for ages!
We did a brief stop in the Butterfly house before heading over to the Hunters of the Sky area to see Steve Backshall’s show.
As we stood at the gates waiting, we watched as the Longleat team set up the area and got a cheery wave from Steve Backshall himself as he walked past. By the time we were let in there were lots of excited children and adults waiting to be seated.
The warm up man came out and divided the crowd into teams. We were the lions and had great fun roaring when we answered questions that he threw at us. We then took part in a Deadly 60 rap and practised some handy “ducking” techniques for when the birds flew over our heads.
Then Steve Backshall arrived, full of the enthusiasm that the kids know and love him for……….
The first display was a Peregrine Falcon that swooped over our heads. The audience whooped and cheered as it performed it tricks whilst Steve Backshall explained how it lived and caught its prey whilst Jim Rob from the Hawk Conservancy Trust put the bird through its paces.
It was then time to get up close and personal to a rather heavy looking snapping turtle. Steve carried around the arena so everyone could have a good look, before demonstrating its powerful bite with a carrot. Lets just say I am glad it wasn’t someones finger.
Next up in the show was the Kookaburra which I was surprised to find out is a member of the Kingfisher family. I never realised the Kookaburra was deadly, but as soon as Steve whipped a pretend snake from his pocket it went in for the kill and wouldn’t let go of its prey, having to be returned to its box with the snake firmly in its mouth!
My favourite bird was next on the bill – the beautiful Barn Owl. It swept in silently and delighted the audience by flying closely over their heads as Steve explained how the way its feathers were arranged made its flight silent and how its dark eyes made it see perfectly in the dark.
It was then time for the birthday boys and girls to go up on stage. Sadly Isaac couldn’t be persuaded to go as apparently he had suddenly gone shy!
The brave boys and girls that did go up on stage had a brief chat with the man himself and were then made to close their eyes before meeting some truly terrifying creatures…….. well that’s what they were made to believe anyway.
We really weren’t expecting what happened next and we got to practice our “duck” maneouvre from the earlier warm up as Vultures swooped in low over our heads.
Steve Backshall explained how important these creatures are in the wild and how they use the thermals in the air to carry them around.
They are not the most beautiful of birds but even I have to admit they are very elegant in flight.
Finally it was the turn of the Kites to put on a real show as Steve Backshall fired food in the air for them to catch mid-flight. We were lucky enough to get an autograph in Isaac’s book before heading back into Longleat to get some lunch and explore some more.
We have never explored the house before so headed inside, but it was clear that the kids wanted to be outside so we made our way to the gardens to let them run around and stretch their legs. I bumped into an old friend from when I lived in Sussex so it was good to have a catch up whilst the kids played.
We then noticed that the queue for the River Boat ride was fairly short so headed to join the queue. We boarded fairly quickly and were very excited to spot Longleat’s two hippo’s who were out enjoying their pasture. I have visited Longleat a number of times but have never ever seen them, so this was a rare treat.
We were also introduced to the new Gorilla colony who were quite happy to say hello, whilst old favourite Nico took to the shadows. The Sealions were a firm favourite with the little ones as they played alongside the boat hoping for a fishy treat.
Last but not least it was Safari time.
The kids couldn’t wait to start and although we stopped to look at the Giraffe and Zebra it was the monkey’s they most wanted to see. Last year the monkey’s stole my aerial ball and ripped off my rear windscreen water jet so we entered wondering what they were going to steal this time.
They seemed intent on picking on the BMW in front who had gone in with a roof box on top of their car and although they managed to rip the catches off, they didn’t manage to get inside…………………….we then heard the patter of tiny footsteps. They had boarded our car. Thankfully although they did pull the water jet off again, they kindly left it on the roof so we could re-attach it when we had finished.
We continued on our journey and were treated to both lion’s and tigers walking in front of the car, but my highlight was definitely a close encounter with Anne the Elephant.
A day full of magic moments!!