Last weekend we headed up to Stockeld Park after a tip off from a friend that they were having a Harry Potter weekend. After checking it out online we thought the boys would enjoy it and there were a few free events, so off we popped.
We eventually decided (upon arriving) to get a family day pass to the park, as there was a show in one section and a maze in another that we'd have had to pay for. That was the only negative of the day really, that getting into all the parts of the park was a bit cha-ching, and it wasn't really checked. We could definitely have gotten away with at the very least just buying a pass for me and Ethan. We were only checked twice, once on the way in to the 'Enchanted Forest' and once at the bean planting station (which would only have cost £1 without the pass). The maze and sorting weren't checked at all, which was a bit irritating after we forked out for it!
Anyway, back to the good stuff!
First off we had broomstick training, with 2 wizards and a witch from Hogwarts. They were brilliant. An aside, all the... actors? characters? anyway, they were all from Make a Wish Entertainment (facebook here) and they were amazing. More about them later.
This is Wesley Wizzo, who looks and acts freakishly like my brother-in-law Jonny. So much so that Sam shouted his name. Ethan did some magic spells, the group fought a swamp monster, practised flying, and helped a wizard earn his golden hood.
There he is flying around, with adults acting as quidditch hoops and the whomping willow. He had a blast, and it was good imagination exercise!
Next there was bean planting, with very dry sparkly soil - points for lack of mess - and a white bean, planted with a wish in a small pot. Simple and enjoyable.
In the same area was an animal rescue/welfare group who'd brought some owls along for the event, and they were lovely about the children touching the owls and they both even got to hold the smallest one.
I can't adequately convey the pure joy this brought them, especially Sammy.
After this we stopped for a snack, and then went into the Maze. We were given a quiz and the answers were hidden in the maze, but, being Harry Potter questions, I knew them already ;)
We loved it, it wasn't too difficult, if you looked at the maps posted here and there throughout. There were a couple of bridges and a tower to see the maze from above too, which was fun. We made it through in about 20 minutes, though we did pass an arguing family who'd been in there an hour!
After the maze Ethan went for sorting, which was fab, the hat's face moved and it spoke, and he loved it. He got Gryffindor, so was made up. After this we had the Harry Potter Catwalk, which I have no pictures of because I was Sam-wrangling. All the dressed up kids basically did a fashion parade, with a guy introducing each one. I was impressed that they both had a crack at it, Ethan struck a spell pose, and Sam raced up and down. They were both outdone however by the only girl dressed up as Luna Lovegood. She was spot on, stripey tights, tutu-esque skirt, sprectre specs. She strutted down the catwalk, turned, and dropped into a perfect split. Naturally, she won, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
Quick stop to hug a reindeer (Sam is slightly obsessed with these kind of costumed people), and then off to the Harry and Hagrid show in the Enchanted Forest. The show was fun, though Rich had to take Sammy out. When Hagrid called on Harry, he kept shouting "No Hagrid, I Harry Potter!" So they went off to look at the lights in the forest and Ethan and I watched the show. It was great, the actors were absolutely spot on, little bit of magic and great rapport with the kids.
Ethan was so excited, it was very cute.
After we went through the Enchanted forest it was time to head home. There was a small ice skating rink, but it was busy and we needed to get back, which was a shame. Anyway, on our way out to the car, Harry and Hagrid were waiting for a pick up off somewhere else when we bumped into them and another witch (Polly Potions, from broomstick training) and the second we approached, they immediately turned it back on, and were more than happy to spend a few more minutes with the children. They were absolutely brilliant, and made the day. Very good with the children, really happy, enthusiastic and just seemed to really enjoy their work.
Then it was home to bed where two sleepy boys went to bed without Daddy washing off any Harry Potter scars :)
Make a Wish Entertainment apparently do parties and events, and I would absolutely recommend them and as soon as I can afford it I'll book them to do a birthday for Ethan!
Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!