Sunday, 25 October 2015

Half-term with sharks and ghouls

The autumn October half-term started in sunny weather and we first just enjoyed the leisurely existence in the park. Number One Son now masters the flying fox, so there was a lot of fun to be had. Although both I and Archaeologist Husband were busy juggling different duties. Archaeologist Husband was suddenly needed to cover for a lecture series after a course responsible had a concussion whereas I struggled with a job application in Swedish. I did make it in time but I am feeling for the panel when they have to read all 9 or so supporting documents.

The canalboats in Birmingham as photographed by Number One Son

When the deadline was passed, I took Number One Son to Birmingham to the National Sea Life centre. We had not been before, since I wanted to be sure that he will fully enjoy something, which can only be described as a pretty expensive experience. Now it was definitely the time and he wholeheartedly enjoyed seeing the fish, looking for the sharks and playing in the soft play area.

The Octonauts theme was spot on in the centre, but it was the penguins and the fish that were in the centre stage all the time. As is customary, some of the displays that you encounter in these aquariums is less impressive. They tend to have a mangrove shallow water tank, even if the fish are quite small and colourless. Well, it is one essential world watery ecological environment covered, but most people just walk by. However, everybody are cheering for the penguins.

The main feature is the ocean water tunnel where a huge ocean turtle is floating in the water together with different kinds of sharks and colourful fish. A huge lazy shark was first resting on top of our plasticky tunnel and then moved by our second round lying on the sandy floor. The little boys were totally mesmerised and running around spotting sharks and the turtle and shouting to each other when noticing a new stingray floating by.

This time around we travelled with a coach and found out that actually it is a wise choice for Birmingham. You are not exactly in the new New Street station and shopping centre - we did not have time to visit - but it is a stone-through away from Bullring. Coach takes about the same time as the train and is much cheaper, so it is a viable alternative. There is even a bus stop at the coach station on the route from our village. Naturally, we could not be without a visit to McDonalds and a walk through the ever changing centre of Birmingham. I just wonder how much of a Paradise the Paradise shopping centre will be. In any case, both I and Number One Son enjoyed popping into the commercial art gallery in the concert hall building and viewing work from Ronnie Wood, Bob Dylan and the art forgerer who now sells his fake Monets and Dalis in his own name while waiting our timed visit to the Sea Life centre to start.

The Leicester visit was to the Guildhall children's event. This had a ghosts and ghouls theme due to approaching Halloween, but since it was the October half-term, it was not as popular success as the knight one in the summer. Number One Son is not very much of a crafts person, so he was missing having small boys to run around the premises with. He quite enjoyed looking for the magical object cards in different rooms of the museum and he got his face painted, though. A quick visit to the teddy bear shop, Disney shop and poundshop rounded up a visit that made Number One Son nodding in the bus on the way back. Success!

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