The October half term break is over. The trees look all glam in their burnt oranges and crimsons. Fingers and ears are crying out for gloves and hats. Yep, we’re well and truly into autumn. Or, my favourite Americanism – fall. Americans do this time of year so well. I’m so jealous of my Yankee friends when their Insta feeds fill with cute pictures of their kids down on the pumpkin patch. So when I found out that we actually have a real life patch near us I was crazy excited. At the pumpkin patch at Arnprior Farm we could finally live out all my fall dreams!
My two older boys had not one but two weeks off for the October break. To say cabin fever was taking hold by the end of the second week would not be exaggerating. Middle Son can get a bit stir crazy, so for family sanity I try to get him outside most days. As soon as I heard about the pumpkin patch at Arnprior Farm, we pulled on our wellies and off we went.
down on the pumpkin patch
The pumpkin patch at Arnprior Farm was just as I had always hoped a pumpkin patch would be. We were allowed to wander about and choose our pumpkin, and Middle Son loved looking at all the different colours, shapes and sizes. It took him a while to make up his mind.
In between wandering around the pumpkins, we let ourselves get lost in the Kale Maze. We had to admit defeat though, and double back! There were hay bales to climb as well (with a little help from mum), and you can even dig your own potatoes or pull your own turnips. We refuelled with hotdogs from the food truck, before lugging our carefully selected pumpkins home.
the pumpkin patch at arnprior farm – the details
There’s still time to get down to the pumpkin patch – it’s open this weekend, 28-29th October, 10am-4pm. Parking is free, but it gets really busy so check the Facebook page to make sure you can get in. It’s free to get in, you just pay for your pumpkins (the kale maze is an extra £1). The pumpkins are more expensive than the ones you get in the supermarket, but worth it for the experience!
There was a Scottish twist on an American classic though – mud. Lots of mud! Sadly, crisps autumn days are often overshadowed by rainy ones here. Rain plus a lot of welly-clad feet makes for a very squidgy terrain. I can’t stress this enough – w e a r y o u r w e l l i e s !!! And if you’re precious about them, don’t wear your finest Hunter ones.
Also, bring a bag to carry your pumpkin in. It makes it easier when kid wrangling, and also means less mud all over your hands. Baby wipes and alcohol gel are a must too, especially if you plan on grabbing some food.
We can’t wait until next year to go again!
This isn’t a sponsored post. We just think this place is amazing!
Today our four year old turns five. What with him starting school a few weeks ago I’m fresh out of emotions at milestones, so I’m coping just fine! Five suits him, and I remember from the teen that five is a good year. Less tantrums, more personality. Though this kid has personality by the bucketful already, I’m not sure I could handle any more! We didn’t throw him a party this year, as he doesn’t know all the kids in his class yet, so instead we took him to Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
It’s a dreary Monday and I’m the bad (good?) sort of mum who makes her kids go to school on their birthdays. He opened all his gifts before school – a street sweeper, mini bus, log lorry, crane and sea plane in a variety of Lego, Playmobile and Sika…he’s a total vehicle geek. Another thing he geeks out over is dinosaurs. He geeks out over those hard. We’ve seen every dinosaur movie possible, our house is over run with books and toys, and the little dude can tell you facts about the most obscure dinos (as well as pronounce their names).
So when I first heard about the Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens I knew we had to take him. Animatronic dinosaurs would blow his little mind. I had the tab open on my browser for months until the tickets went on sale, and yesterday it was finally our time to experience the magic.
getting there, getting in
I’ll get the bad bits over with first. The tickets for Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens weren’t cheap – for a family of four it was over £10 per perso. The customer service is poor to non-existent too. I raised a request via Eventbrite and got no response, and on Facebook had to chase for a reply which was curt to say the least.
I also didn’t like the booking process. If you’re thinking of going when the tour moves on to other areas of the country, don’t book as soon as the tickets go on sale. I did that, only to find that a discount code was released the next day. Not a nice way to treat your most keen customers. The tickets are also non-refundable, which isn’t great when you’re buying in advance for children. Better hope they don’t come down with chicken pox or something on the day!*
Obviously if you catch the tour somewhere else this one may not be an issue, but specific to Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens there is no dedicated parking. We didn’t see that as a problem but I thought it was worth a mention here. We got parked on Byres Road, which was free and unrestricted as it was a Sunday. There are also a couple of car parks nearby. But I would guess the car parks would fill up quickly, and they aren’t free. On-street parking is restricted and most of it is residents only, so I’d recommend public transport if at all possible. Our friends got public transport, which is great to that part of the city.
the dinosaur experience
The dinosaurs are laid out at points along a route through the Botanic Gardens. The route was well sign-posted and was fine for pushing a pram along, though due to where it is there were hills and part of the route does take you out on to a road.
We were greeted by a colossal Brachiosaurus as we made our way up to the start of the route. The wee guy was a bit nervous at first! The dinosaurs make noises, and he wasn’t too sure about that. He soon warmed up though, when he saw some Pterodactyls in the trees. After that he excitedly ran from dino to dino, getting up close and really enjoying himself.
The models themselves were really good, and there were facts about each one. A lot of them moved and made sound so it was a lot of fun being roared at! It was really busy when we were there, but the models are spaced out well enough that there’s plenty of room to see them and pose for photos.
We were lucky enough to get a typical Scottish summer day for our visit. The heavens ripped open and torrential rain pelted us before we even got halfway round the route. We’d worn our trusty waterproofs, which was lucky as there is very little shelter. Feeding the baby under a bridge while rain thundered down and a T-Rex growled menacingly at us is a memory I wont forget. It was like being in our own version of Jurassic Park. We just needed an upturned car to complete the scene. Make sure you check the weather and dress appropriately so your trip isn’t spoiled by soggy socks!
Highlights of Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens for us were the Raptors snacking on another dinosaur, the Euoplocephalus and of course the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex! It was also nice to see the Botanic Gardens, which I haven’t been so since I was a kid. We’ll definitely be visiting there again once the dinosaurs have moved on.
facilities and extras
There were portaloos and catering facilities at the mid-point, although we didn’t need to use them. There was also a merch trailer selling all things dinosaur. Our little guy chose a plastic model Pachycephalosaurus (he can pronounce it, I can’t) which was £9. I actually didn’t think the toys on sale were too badly priced.
There were ride-on dinosaurs and a VR experience, both which cost extra. The wee guy wasn’t interested, so I don’t know if they were worth the money.
There are also an egg and a dinosaur’s jaws near the entrance, to use as photo props. They are free, but the queue for these was pretty long so we didn’t use them. As you can tell from his pained expression in the photos, the birthday boy wasn’t in the mood to pose!
overall – is jurassic kingdom at glasgow botanic gardens worth it?
Given the bad experience with booking, I was really worried that Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens was going to disappoint. I’d read some less than positive reviews from other stops on the tour, especially about the condition of the models. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. The models were all working and all looked great.
In terms of value for money…are these things ever value for money? But I didn’t feel ripped off as we walked around. Sadly the weather was pretty awful for us yesterday. But we were waterproofed up enough to still enjoy it and see everything there was to see. We could have easily made a day of it, with a picnic and going round the route more than once, had the weather been at least dry. We’d love to do it again for that reason, though not at the current price.
The tour still has some places in the UK to visit. I’d recommend it if you have a little dinosaur nerd like ours, particularly if they’re under the age of ten. Though I did see childless adults enjoying it just as much as our crowd!
*They say they’re non-exchangeable too, but Eventbrite do let you change the names on the tickets. So if you are unable to go you could always sell your tickets to someone else.
We are lucky in that we live in a very beautiful part of Scotland. We’re close enough to cities like Glasgow and Stirling to enjoy all that they offer but far enough into the country that we’re surrounded by natural beauty and opportunities to get out and about.
So that’s just what me and the boys did recently, to kick off my maternity leave. Despite the rain, we headed to a local farm, who were having a fairy woodland weekend. There were games (racing rubber ducks using water pumps was a clear winner, and even the teenager joined in for that), crafts and a hunt through the woods to find fairy doors.
We also went on a tractor ride around the farm to meet the animals. I don’t think I need to say what a stupid idea it was for a heavily pregnant woman to ride through fields on a trailer…this would be obvious to anyone. Except me, it would appear. It was only as we set off and the first few jolts knocked me that I started to worry about my waters breaking. But we made it through intact and the four year old was made up to have gone on it, so at least I scored some mum points.
Living in the west of Scotland – possibly one of the wettest places on earth – we’ve come to embrace that saying about there being no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. And actually, I’m usually glad when conditions are a little less than perfect on a day out because there are less crowds to bother with. Clouds over crowds…I should get a t-shirt made up with that on it.
The other great thing about a bit of rain is that I think there’s something beautiful about nature when it’s wet – the colours and smells just seem to be a bit more alive. Plus, there’s nothing quite like being slapped in the face by a wet branch as you race after an intrepid explorer on the hunt for fairies.
From my point of view it was quite an emotional day too. As we tucked into some lush home baking in the farm shop, I said to the boys do you know, this is the last time we’ll have a day out just the three of us. Struck by the fact that next time there’ll be another little person in our gang soon, that this was the end of an era for us, I thought that was kind of a big deal. The mum, please looks I got back from the teen and the four year old told me I was alone in the moment though, and they got stuck straight back into their obscenely large strawberry tarts. Maybe it was for the best, it would have been a bit cringe if I’d burst into hormonal tears and hugged them to me in the middle of the café.
We had a lovely day out, and I’m hoping that once the baby arrives and the school holidays start our summer will be full of more adventures to share on here.