Giraffe Hunting in Worcester
I love the trend in statue hunts around towns, cities and tourist attractions across the country. I think it is a great way to get children walking, and explore new places. Even a trail around a familiar area, can lead to new discoveries. This summer Worcester hosted a public art trail called “Worcester Stands Tall”, consisting of 57 giraffe sculptures. Giraffes are Freyja’s favourite animal, so we thought it would be a great way to re-discover Worcester.
There were 30 large giraffe sculptures and 27 smaller giraffe calves. These were dotted around within a 1 mile radius of the city centre. However, as the trail from giraffe to giraffe was approximate 6 miles in total, and taking about 4 hours to complete, we were doubtful as to whether would would see all the giraffe sculptures.
Things started well. It was a lovely sunny day, and the girls were keen to spot giraffes. I downloaded the map of the sculptures and the app on my phone, and we planned our route.
In the Crowngate Shopping Centre we also found some BookBenches which had been produced as part of a competition run last year.
Despite our great start, things started going downhill. We discovered there was an EDL march and counter demonstration in the city centre that afternoon. Rich and I changed our planned route in order to avoid any trouble. Emily decided she was tired of walking and didn’t want to do the trail any more. This made Freyja cross because she wanted to see all the giraffes. As a result, the two girls refused to be in any photographs together.
For the next part of our trail, the girls were happy enough provided that they didn’t have to have their photograph taken with a giraffe at the same time.
They both calmed down enough to even get a coupld more photographs together.
The calmer mood didn’t last long as they then wanted to have Daddy in the photograph with them. I am sure this was their way of winding the other up. Emily shooed Freyja away, and then got upset as Freyja grinned when she got a turn.
Rich and I did the only thing we know that is guarenteed to sort out such problems. We went to find somewhere to get a coffee for us and an ice cream for the girls. It definitely worked.
Having had a break and some refreshment, we planned a route back towards our car, taking in a few more of the giraffes. We avoided the city centre and walked down the river, taking a ride on a little ferry boat in order to get across.
Obviously the girls had featured in the majority of photos with the giraffes, so we decided to have a family selfie with one of the giraffes. You may just be able to spot the giraffe in the photo!
Once we had crossed the river, the girls started to tire again and were getting agitated with each other and us. So we decided to call it a day.
The trail was on for 10 weeks, so we decided to return to Worcester to see if we could finish finding all the giraffes. The girls had had their “back-to-school” haircuts, there were no marches or protests on in the city centre, and it was another lovely day. The girls also bought some of their money with them so we visited the Worcester Stands Tall shop soon after we arrived. Both of them bought cuddly giraffes. These would now feature in the rest of the photos.
This time, we did manage to get round to all the remaining giraffes. We even saw one that had had to be removed due to damage and had missed on our first visit.
We revisited a few of the giraffes we had seen previously. What was nice, was to see features that we had missed before. For example, Girafficorn in the Crowngate Shopping Centre, had a little squirrel hiding on the statue we which hadn’t spotted last time.
We were particularly interested in The Dreaming Giraffe, found at The Hopmarket. This was produced by Petr Horacek. The girls own a few of his books and we looked at the style he had decorated this giraffe and how it was so similar to the style in his books.
Our final giraffe was the one which was furthest away, by Diglis Bridge. We were worried as to whether the girls would cope walking that far, but we made it! Emily was tired by the end of our epic walk, so she rested whilst Freyja had a look at the statues. These are four metal cut-outs featuring Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist, Ernest Payne, founder of the British Medical Association, Sir Charles Hastings, and soldiers from the Civil War. If it hadn’t been for the trail, we would never have seen these.
The giraffes have now been removed from the city centre. They will be at their Farewell Event at Worcester Cathedral for the rest of this week before being auctioned off on the 11th October to raise money for St Richard’s Hospice. The Worcester Stands Tall trail has reminded me about what a great city Worcester is, so we do need to go back again soon, but it will be sad not to see the giraffes dotted around the place.