I’m sitting in a darkened, still room as I type, recovering from the rigours of a tricky Monday.
Tricky Tuesdays are what, I believe, Eden Project staff call rainy Tuesdays over the summer when staff are in full force to handle large quantities of visitors. Today was a Monday, but still tricky.
The girls and I arrived at Eden at 9.30am, when it opens, aiming to make it into Orange car park (the closest car park open to the general public). Almost, Lime was the next one. We ran down the hill, determined to see dinosaurs before the hoards arrived. We did pretty well. Ankylosaurus – tick, several T-Rex – tick, Deinonychus – tick and Edmontosaurus – tick. Fluffy dinosaurs — who knew?
This year’s Dinosaur Uproar features more dinosaurs and includes a hologram of prehistoric sea-life. It was fascinating. The girls were particularly interested in the hatching Edmontosaurus being watched by a predatory Dromaeosaurus .
Morning snack-wise, we plumped for toasted brioche in the Mediterranean biome; most civilised. The calm was broken by a raging T-Rex, jostling like a mobile Rod Hull emu. At this point Saskia (and several other toddlers’) nerve broke: ‘I want to go home!’ she cried, bottom lip quivering. It was nothing that the remains of the brioche with strawberry jam couldn’t settle.
We returned to the dinosaur exhibit to learn about (and practice) excavating fossils, make a 3D dino-jigsaw and to train as dinosaur experts. This involved games like ‘Grandmothers Footsteps’, rejigged as ‘Sleeping Dinosaurs’ and ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ revisited as ’T-Rex, Velociraptor, Pterodactyl’. It was great fun and the Eden staff made it inclusive and enjoyable for children from two to teenagers. All dinosaur-related activities were recorded with stamps in each child’s adventure journal. It’s a nice souvenir with information on your visit and some dino facts for children to take home.
By 12.30pm the Eden Project was rocking with visitors. There were plenty of options for lunch (including pasties, burritos and the main cafe) but it was crowded and quite stressful. After lunch we mooched around the garden but the vast numbers of families, complex of gardens and activities and Saskia’s toddling pace meant that I lost Bathsheba. I have never lost her in seven years so it was a shock to both of us. She ran ahead and Saskia and I couldn’t keep up. After calling and looking, I approached the nearest member of staff. They were very helpful and — as Bathsheba had the good sense to do the same — we were reunited in five minutes.
It was a memorable day, but it would be worth going on a sunnier day or from around 2pm to reduce the hassle factor.
The Eden Project’s Dinosaur Uproar runs from 24 July to 2 September 2015. http://www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/dinosaur-uproar
Ashlyn, Mrs Farmer Tim