The Gruffalo Spotters Trail at Westonbirt Arboretum
Being members of Westonbirt Arboretum, we are regular visitors there. We visited again last weekend in order to have a go at the Gruffalo Spotters Trail. Before we went, Rich downloaded the Gruffalo Spotter App. The idea is that you open up the app and point your phone at special markers on the trail. Then, the characters from The Gruffalo will appear on the screen.
At Westonbirt Arboretum, this trail goes through the newer Silk Wood. We don’t often venture into this part of the arboretum as dogs are allowed in this part and the girls are petrified of them. The girls were so excited about the trail, that we did our best to reassure them that they had nothing to worry about. Thankfully, there were very few dogs around on the trail so the girls were able to enjoy the activities available.
We did buy an activity pack for £3, but to be honest we didn’t really use it. There were several activities associated with each of the animals in the Gruffalo story. If your child knows the story, then guessing each animal is very easy. The girls really enjoyed it regardless!
Emily even faked surprise at the boards “revealing” each animal!
The boards that interacted with app were the highlight of the trail. Each of the characters appeared on the screen, and a screenshot was taken. This meant that the girls could have their photo taken with the characters. Of course, as the characters were virtual, watching Rich take a photo of the girls with them was far less exciting than the view through the phone’s screen.
These photo opportunities did create little bottlenecks along the trail, and I imagine at busier times it could be very frustrating for little ones having to wait in order to see the characters. The Gruffalo Spotters Trail is a lovely idea. It is a bit different to the previous trails, but at the same time I do feel a little bit sad about the idea of staring into screens whilst wondering through such beautiful surroundings.
It definitely did engage the kids though. Emily says she is scared of snakes – hence the fake “scared face” on the next picture. Therefore she absolutely refused to stand next to the board where the snake was going to appear on the app.
Because we don’t go into the Silk Wood on our usual visits, we also found some other interesting things within this part of the arboretum. Emily was fascinated by the totem pole. I couldn’t find anything about what it was supposed to represent, but Emily really wanted the little door to go somewhere.
We also found the Gruffalo’s Child! It seemed most appropriate for the Gruffalo Spotters trail to include her too. I’m not sure if the fact that, unlike the virtual characters, it was an actual statue caused Emily to be both excited and a little worried!
In other news, with our Easter trip to Coombe Mill fast approaching, I bought some new wellies. (Hush Fiona. I know that there is a perfectly well-stocked “borrow room” at Coombe Mill. I just fancied some nice new pretty wellies.) As is the case when you use social media and have new shoes, I took the obligatory photograph of my feet.
You may have noticed that there aren’t too many photos of Freyja from this trip. There was lots to enjoy about this trip, but we had to cut it shorter than we intended because of Freyja. For the most part of the trail she was in a foul mood. I’m not sure if it was because of her being tired, or the anxiety regarding the dogs or something else. We had a lot of stomping off, shouting and being told that we had ruined her day. I don’t want to show any photos of Freyja being stroppy in this post. Instead here’s a photo of Emily enjoying the Exploratree at the end of our walk.