Mummy Diaries | Soggy Saturday at Tring Natural History Museum & Festival of Light

Tring Park, Festival of Light, Autumn,
Saturday 26 October 2019

I originally saw the Tring Park Festival of Light advertised on a Facebook event and immediately bought tickets. Last December, we did the Christmas @ London Zoo event, which was truly magical. I didn’t know what to expect, but I envisaged it being a smaller-scale version, minus all the animals. How wrong I was.

After some research and finding that we’d park near the Natural History Museum, I decided we make an afternoon of it. We had booked tickets for the first slot of the evening, 5:30pm and after seeing my friend’s lovely photos of her son at the Natural History Museum, we visited there first. It looked quite small from the outside, but looks are deceiving and while it wasn’t as good as its London namesake, it made for a lovely hour-and-a-bit and I would definitely go back.
Tring, Natural History Museum, Africa, Mammals, Giraffes,Camels, Rhinos,
The museum is on three floors and there was so much to see. As we entered the ground floor room, Alfie was immediately drawn to the lion and kept running up and down the corridors, returning to it and shouting “lion – roar”. I spent most of the time chasing after him, so missed a lot of the animals on the floor. Although we did manage to eventually prise him away to see the penguins and later, bears. There were quite a few birds in the cabinets, which I didn’t particularly like – I think I’ve inherited my mum’s phobia!

The next floor was a square shape with narrow walkways. There were displays of mini-beasts, which Alfie loved: butterflies, moths, beetles and so much more – all hidden behind wooden doors, which of course, he had to open and shut. In the middle were different African mammals, like giraffes (my favourite).
Tring, Natural History Museum, Moths, Butterflies
On the top floor was an interactive area, with a screen which played various videos. Unfortunately, this was at child height and a little boy in front of Alfie kept putting on a video of a mouse being dissected, which wasn’t particularly pleasant. I managed to get Alfie away and he had more fun climbing on the benches and playing with a wooden dinosaur game, spinning the giant cubes as fast as he could. The top floor housed domestic dogs (all different breeds), as well as reptiles and amphibians. By this point, he just wanted to run about, so we made a beeline to the cafe.

The museum closes at 5pm, so we had some time to kill before our walk. I had the dreamiest Cadbury’s hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and chocolate dust, while Alfie had a carton of milk and Satsuma. We sat down for about 10 minutes, before going to the park, via the car for the umbrella.

Despite our tickets being for the 5:30pm walk, there were members of staff on the gate that let us in and begin the 1.5km circuit of the park. Being quite early, the sun hadn’t set, so we weren’t able to appreciate the lights in their full glory. I was also a bit put-back that one of the ladies deemed my brown boots ‘unsuitable’, actually saying “I don’t mean to be patronising, but are you going to wear those?” before adding “don’t you have a spare pair of shoes?”. The terrain wasn’t a problem at this point and by the end, my shoes were hardly muddy, nor did I feel like I was going to slip or miss my footing at any point. Maybe it was a problem later in the evening, due to the ongoing rain and sheer number of people treading on the same land.
Tring Park, Festival of Light, Autumn,
Unfortunately, Alfie didn’t enjoy himself – he was in suitable shoes and a raincoat, but it was too cold and wet for him. About halfway round, we carried him and eventually power-walked to end so we could shelter and get him dry and warm. Thankfully, I booked a table at a local pub for dinner.
Tring Park, Festival of Light, Autumn,
There were a few food and drinks vans/stalls as we walked around, but we didn’t stop at any of them. We did, however, go in the Woodland Trust tent, which was great for children. There was a table about the work the trust do, a table about all the autumnal/winter wildlife (like foxes, badgers and hedgehogs), a comfy seating area with beanbags, face painting and a craft table. We tried to get Alfie to make a paper lantern but he wasn’t interested so instead, Ash and I made it. I’d have been happy to spend more time in the tent walking around and checking everything out. But we were soggy and dinner definitely called!

I think had the weather been better and we had booked a later slot, or Alfie was able to understand and enjoy it more, we’d have had a better time. By the end, I just wanted to get out as soon as possible ensuring Alfie was okay – and I needed to thaw out myself. The photos of the later slots (when it was dark) did look more impressive than the ones I took. I don’t think I’d go back again for that particular event, but would imagine a springtime walk around the park would be great!

Love, Lucy xx 

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Love, Lucy xx

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