Wildwood – 4th September 2019

Rachel and I have decided we need to become more organised and plan our Wednesday day trips before Wednesday.

Rachel came round this morning like normal while I was trying to wake up. We were coming up blank with something to do though. Apparently Rachel had had a think about it before she came round but had come up blank. We had a think for ages but nope still nothing. Like usual in this situation we let Bella decide. Now it’s a little tricky when she’s only just starting to talk and make sentences.

Where I used to work in SEN at school part of my job was trying to find way to help children who wouldn’t or couldn’t communicate make their wishes know. We used to used communication boards and fans all the time. I’d used one with Bella before but I thought a communication board I could download on to my phone. I found an app called Symbotalk. It has ready made boards on it eg food, toys, feelings and places. The great thing is you can edit the boards to have the pictures of what you want on there.

I opened up the app and found their ready made places board. There were a few places on there that weren’t appropriate for choosing a day out eg school, hospital. I mean I don’t fancy a day out at either of those. So I edited it and added a few places such as the ball pit, a castle, going shopping.

We showed the board to Bella and she decided she wanted to go to the zoo. I told Rachel it was up to her to choose which zoo/wildlife centre. I mean there are several to choose from in Kent. Instead of choosing though Rachel put all of them into another app on her phone – I think it was a spinning wheel and then let Bella spin the wheel to choose which one we were going to. Apps were the life savers today.

I got Bella dressed and then myself. I made sure Bella’s bag was packed, that I had my bag and purse and jumpers and coats in the car before we jumped in ourselves. I had no idea where we were going until I jumped in the drivers seat. Turns out Bella had chosen Wildwood.

The drive down to Wildwood was uneventful. I was a little bit weary driving down but I don’t drive as often as I used too so it means I’m a bit nervous behind the wheel. It’s a shame I used to love driving – and I still do just need to get my confidence back.

We made it to Wildwood and it was dead. Last time we went to car park was packed and we ended up parking right at the back this time we could have parked in the first little car park but I didn’t want to. Instead we ended up parking on our own in the next part of the car park.

We walked in and Bella was excited to go see some animals. Once we’d paid the entrance fee we walked in and decided what we wanted to do first. Normally we start walking round but the route they take you means it isn’t the easiest to get back to the restaurant and toilets. As it was lunchtime we figured we’d go to the cafe, have some lunch and then walk around.

We had our lunch although Bella seems to have gone off her food again. I’m finding it hard to feed her proper food – dinner type foods. Instead she’ll happily snack. We all had baked potatoes but Bella didn’t eat much of hers at all. In the end I scooped all the potatoe out of the skin but she still barely ate any. I eventually convinced her to eat some baked beans but she only ate a hand full. Luckily we’d all purchased some snacks to have around the centre so I knew she at least wouldn’t go hungry.

We started to take a walk around the centre and look at all the animals. The first animals we found were harvest mice. Bella loved watching the little mice. She has amazing eyesight so was able to spot them easily. They were scampering in and out the reeds and twigs that had been placed in their enclosures. Rachel and I love harvest mice. I remember finding one in our rabbit hutch once and wanting to keep it. Obviously that never happened but their just so cute.

We said goodbye to the harvest mice and headed off to see what we could find next. As we were walking, following the Wildwood Trail Bella found one of those boards with the face cut out. She ran off to it wanting to have her photo taken with it. She soon realised she wasn’t tall enough so aunty Rachel to the rescue.

The next animals we came across were snacks, voles and tortoises. We weren’t able to find a little green lizard. It’s enclosure was full of green grass so very hard to hunt down a green lizard. Rachel was able to spot the adder inside it’s own enclosure, I had a little bit of trouble seeing it. Turns out it was hiding behind a log but it ws curled up pretty small.

We spent ages with the little tortoises. I love them. They were all chilling out along the side of their pool. Every now and then the tortoises were getting closer and closer to the water until one fell in.

We continued to watch the tortoises, especially the one who had fallen in the water. He was swimming up and down looking for a way back out of the pool. He finally crawled out but as he climbed out another tortoise jumped in.

We walked further round the Trail and discovered we were passing the birds of prey display area as it was coming up to their display time. We thought we would stop and watch. Bella seemed fairly interested in the display when it started. It was so cute, she was stood at the barrier with her baby showing her all the birds and what was going on.

They brought out 3 different owls to do the display. The first owl was a barn owl. It was so pretty. Bella, Rachel and I watched the handler send the owl from one perch to another while a member of staff stood behind us and told us all about the owl.

Bella decided that playing in the dirt with her baby was more fun then watching the owls. It didn’t bother me too much, she was happily playing and nice and quiet. I didn’t want her to be too loud just incase it affected the birds. She was getting filthy but oh well, what every keep you happy kid.

The next owl with was brought out was a tawny owl. This owl didn’t seem to want to play ball to much. The handler kept trying to get it to fly from one perch to another but the owl was having none of it. We got to see the owl up close though. Before each owl was taken back to it’s enclosure the handler would walk it along the fence so we could take photos and see the owl up close.

The final owl we saw was a long eared owl. The little owl kept it’s eyes firming fixed on the handlers pack that had lots of dead mice in it. Again this owl wasn’t too willing to fly. Apparently they will only fly as long as they’re hungry. So once they’ve eaten enough they are not flying anywhere.

Once the display had finished we continued to walk along the Trail to see which animal we come across next. Turns out the next animals we came across we the otters. There was one happily swimming around and playing in the water. Bella was fascinated, although that didn’t last very long. Then she was rushing off to find the next animals.

The next animals we found we a few birds but ahead of us was the red squirrel enclosure. Normally you have to leave your pram outside these sort of walk throughs but not this one. Bella went running off round the trail. She was following someone in a mobility scooter and was so close behind them I thought she was going to attack him. Sadly we didn’t see any red squirrels but we did find a couple of ducks.

As we came out of the red squirrel enclosure there was a dump truck reversing. It had stopped to let us walk past and go through to the next section but as soon as Bella saw it she ran so she could stand in front of Rachel and I and shouted ‘STOP!’ holding her hand up. It was so sweet she was trying to keep us safe. We told her that the nice man had stopped so we could walk past and then he was going to start work again.

We were now in the water bird walk through where birds such as moor hens, ducks and storks were. Bella found a bench and decided it was time for a little break. We weren’t going to say no it that. We settled down on a bench and watched two storks in the water. It was lovely and peaceful. Bella even made sure baby made the most of the view by showing her all the birds we could see.

We carried on making our way through the park. We saw the pine martens running around and bouncing back and forth through their enclosure. They always seem to be jumping about. They seem to have a lot of energy. As well as the pine martens we saw the arctic foxes. They were having a little rest, all curled up in the grass trying to get some sleep. One of them has one front leg longer then the other so it means it’s very hard for him to walk. Poor little guy.

There were suppose to be some horses but we didn’t manage to see any, not sure where they were hiding but there’s always going to be some animals you can’t see. We definitely saw the wild boar though. They were having fun playing in the mud. Bella said they were stinky. I have to agree the mud did not smell nice at all.

Bella disappeared up beside the horses enclosure to see if she could see any. We didn’t have any luck but Bella did some little poses for me sitting on some logs. I managed to catch some cute photos of Bella with her baby.

We walked up past the sheep and wallabies. Bella liked the wallabies but they were asleep in the sun. It was a bit of a strange day. It kept going hot and cold but not too cold.

Opposite the wallabies were the bison. Not that I could remember what they were called. I called them buffalo as I walked up to them but was corrected by the sign above them. The bison we saw we believe was called Hades. He didn’t look anything like Hades from the Descendents films. At which point started a conversation between Rachel and I about the newest Descendants film. We feel Hades should have been featured move. I mean he’s great in the film just not seen very long on screen.

The next section of the park contained the deers and elks. We didn’t manage to spot any elk but we did manage to see some fallow deer just chilling in the grass.

We continued to follow the trail and came across the badgers and the polecats. The badgers seemed to be hiding. Normally you can find them in their set asleep but today they must have been hiding in a set they’d built out in the main enclosure, away from prying eyes. The polecats, however, we did find. They were curled up asleep together in their little home, all cosy.

We set off to find the bears. At Wildwood they have an amazing bear bridge across their huge bear enclosure. We experienced it before when we had come with mum. I hate heights but it’s a perfect way to see the bears. They tend to hide away from edges of their enclosure.

Today, however, as we walked up to the entrance to the bridge I spotted one of the bears round the back of their enclosure. I dumped the pram with Rachel and Bella who were looking at the wolves opposite and ran up to the back of the enclosure. It was wonderful being able to see a bear up close. They really do seem like teddy bears.

We decided it was time to hit the bridge. Bella followed Rachel up the stairs to reach the bridge. Bella was all ready to go across the bridge but she had freaked out last time we used the bridge so I told her she had to let Rachel walk in front of her. That way she’d at least have someone to follow if she started to panic.

Bella was so brave going over the bridge though, there weren’t any freakouts from her. Me, however, panicked a little. I noticed I could see the bear really easily from up on the bridge and wanted to try and get a few more photos of it. This meant I had to let go of the sides of the rope bridge and aim my camera lens through the netting. With Bella and Rachel still walking on the bridge, it meant it was swaying and caused me to freak right out. Even though I know I’m completely contained and there is no way I can fall out, my brain is still telling me I’m going to die.

Bella was steaming ahead on the bridge. She even took to walking without really holding on. That girl is brave and fearless but that’s how I want her to grow up. To know she can do what ever she wants as long as she puts her mind to it. She doesn’t need to have the same fears that I have. I don’t want her to let her fears hold her back.

To get down from the bridge there is another set of steps. Instead of walking down these steps though, Bella decided she was going to bump down on her bottom. Not the greatest of ideas. All the steps were covered in mental wire to prevent people slipping when they are wet. I had visions of her ripping holes into her jeans which I would not have been happy about. Thankfully she made it to the bottom with her clothes in one piece.

Bella chased us back round to the pram, pretending to be a scary bear. Rachel and I ran away from her pretending we were scared. She chased us round past the foxes, giggling as she ran.

We made it back to the pram and Bella decided she wanted to sit in the pram now. Sadly that only lasted two minutes because we arrived at wolf enclosure and the bridge into their enclosure. Rachel hurried off up on to the top floor of the bridge where you can look down over the wolves. Rachel absolutely loves wolves. I even paid for an adoption of a wolf at Wildwood for Rachel’s Christmas present one year because she loved them so much and I was struggling for present ideas.

All the wolves seemed to be chilling out in one corner. Rachel and I stood and watched them while Bella was running up and down pretending to be a wolf.

We then went to see if we could see any wolves through the windows in the lower level of the bridge. Sadly you couldn’t really see any of the wolves. Bella loved looking out the big windows. She was a little bit weary of how dark it was under the bridge but she was still enjoying looking for the wolves.

We carried on round the trail. We ventured into the bee zone. Bella was fascinated by the bees. I explained to her that the funny looking boxes that were dotted around the area were actually where the bee’s live and make honey.

They have a hive that you can see inside of. Bella and Rachel both stood, looking into the hive to see if they could see the queen bee. I don’t think they actually had any luck though. Bella then came and sat with me and we watched the bees going in and out of the hives.

The rest of the animals didn’t seem to really want to be found. We carried on along the trail but only managed to see the reindeer from a distance. Bella was starting to get grumpy and hungry. I gave her the snacks we had bought while we were having lunch.

The last area we really saw animals properly was in the reptile house. We went inside and found a few snakes. We also found a toad, he was trying to hide though. It was very tricky to find him. He was extremely dark and there was hardly any light in the house.

As well as those, there was a couple of tarantulas, a scorpion and a giant centipede. Bella wasn’t a huge fan of the reptile house though so we didn’t stay long. I struggled to get the pram out though. It was definitely time for the L plates but we made it out of the house in one piece.

The last animals we came across were the rabbits and chickens. Bella liked the rabbits but I was worried there was going to be a stand off between Bella and a chicken. Bella came up close to the fence and this massive chicken came marching over sizing up against Bella. That could have been interesting.

Next to the chickens is the play park. Bella was getting a bit panicky, like we weren’t going to take her into the park but we had already told her she could go to the park after we’d had lunch. In we went to go and explore.

It was great. We had the park to ourselves. It meant Rachel and I could get away with climbing all over the place. First up Bella and Rachel tried this kinda dome shaped section. There was a climbing wall, a couple of slides and a cargo net to get up and down off the dome.

The dome linked onto two climbing frame towers. I decided I was going to explore this section. There was a massive climbing wall that went to the top of this tower. That was a bit scary to look down. To get down I decided I would use the tube slide. I took the view if I got stuck it was my own fault.

I encouraged Bella to come join me up on these towers. She tried the baby climbing wall. And she did it all herself. I was on the climbing frame already so I wasn’t behind her to push her up. She used the little climbing wall blocks to push up with her feet and pull herself up by. I was so proud of her for doing it all by herself.

She came back off the climbing frame by going down the little slide. Rachel had landed on one of those big basket swings and Bella ran off to join her. While they were swinging I decided to have a go on the zip line. Best to make the most of it when there is no one else around. I mean you only live once so I wanted to be a big kid.

The zip line was obviously made for lighter people than me. As it went down the run and bounced back I ended up with my butt being dragged through the dirt. Once I’d had my go Rachel decided she wanted to have a go. Good to know I’m not the only person who ended up in the dirt.

They have a massive castle climbing frame that I wanted to have a go on. I set off exploring with Bella following me. I wanted to see what was at the top of the towers so I set of climbing. It was a bit claustrophobic. There wasn’t a huge amount of space between the floor and the ceiling. I was sure I was going to get stuck. I made it though. And there was nothing at the top of this tower. There had been no point in me crawling around so back down we went.

I wanted to see what the other two towers contained. I noticed one had a huge twisty tube slide and I wanted to give it a go. I was kinda hoping Bella would come down it with me. She had other ideas. She didn’t really want to go up the towers so instead she went down the little tube slides that came of the sides of the castle.

With Bella back with Rachel I set off to complete my mission. I made it to the top of the tower and set about getting ready to slide down. I noticed there was a little passage through to the tower next to it but again the ceiling was only 2 foot away from the floors so I didn’t explore that tower.

I headed off down the slide. It was an extremely twisty slide. It felt like it went on forever. Eventually I made it to the bottom where Rachel and Bella were waiting for me.

We decided it was time to call it a day and head home. We’d had a wonderful idea at Wildwood. We saw lots of animals, had a nice lunch and had great fun running around the play park together. We’re planning on taking a picnic with us next week but we need to decide somewhere to go first. This time we will have a destination by Tuesday.

So night all and let’s see what adventures tomorrow holds for us

Love CiCi x

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