Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Day Trip to the New Forest

Since we're not going out of town anywhere this summer, we've been trying to make the most of day trips with the kids.  It's actually been a lot of fun and requires a lot less packing.

We're lucky to live near the beautiful New Forest,  so I recently enjoyed a day out there with the kids.  We packed a picnic, put Indigo Girls on, and set off.  I let Miriam navigate (no, she can't read maps yet or read fast enough for road signs as we drive past...she just picked whichever direction took her fancy).  It turned out to be a good choice as we discovered the New Forest Reptile Centre.  I had no idea that such a place existed, but it turned out to be good fun as we tried to spot the various frogs, lizards, and other animals.

There was also a RSPB centre there.  We went in and learned about wildlife in the New Forest and the different types of birds that live in the area.  Miriam made friends with all of the volunteers by telling them about the bird boxes at her school and our bird feeders at home.  Soon she had them stroking her invisible unicorn ponies (her version of an imaginary friend) and letting them play with the wooden display birds.

We decided to try out the "reptile trail" as well.  No, there weren't any reptiles (that we could see anyway).  It was a nice hike to do with young children, though, as there was a flat, easy-to-follow trail.  We found some little houses made out of sticks that the girls were thrilled about, and enjoyed spotting different plants and birds.  Anya was good at finding logs to rest on and sticks to use as pretend phones.  Even though it wasn't far from home, it really felt like we were enjoying nature and somewhere different.  As Miriam summed up, "It's pretty in the New Forest, and sometimes it's important to be alone and just see the trees and things.  It makes me feel happy."

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