Our visitors love the wildlife at Honeypot House, but there are some animals you won’t find in the New Forest! So we set off for Bournemouth Oceanarium to look for some more exotic critters. Here’s our Operations Manager Steve with the story…
“We left the house after breakfast and headed to Bournemouth across the forest. It’s a lovely route for spotting animals – we were held up by two donkeys blocking a junction!
“Our Team Leader had prepared in advance an aquarium activity and quiz pack which each child completed throughout the day, with colouring, word searches and various quiz questions. Do YOU know the difference between a spiny and a common lobster? (We do now!)
“We just about managed to stealthily acquire enough tables in the café to seat everyone, with small invasion parties being launched at any table showing signs of imminent vacation. Children chose their own lunches from the menu (plenty of burgers and nuggets all round!). They also enjoyed some time in the play area adjacent to the café.
“The children really enjoyed their day and were particularly happy to spot sharks and a surprisingly large turtle. They also enjoyed watching the penguins being fed and learning about how penguins live.
“The oceanarium is right next to the beach, and the café has windows looking out onto it. While at lunch, a child on my table, looking out of the window, told me that she’d never seen a sandy beach before, and never touched sand on a beach. I promised her that before we went home she would be on that beach. So…
“By the time we were ready to leave, the weather was windy and wet. But a promise is a promise, so we took all the children across to the beach in the wind and rain for twenty minutes of sandy fun and nonsense. All the children enjoyed making sand ‘castles’ (ish), looking for treasure (shells) and generally zooming around like loons – and the girl at my table has now seen and touched a sandy beach. Some of which it transpires she decided to take home in her coat pocket…
“The children (and I!) had a fantastic and memorable day. As we walked back to the bus, a little girl whose hand I was holding told me in a quiet voice, “This has been a very special day for me, hasn’t it?”. If you’ll excuse the cheese, it had been for me too!”
A big thank you to Selwood for funding the whole trip – including those tasty lunches – and to BIC for the free parking!
Honeypot is the national charity for young carers aged five to twelve. We do not receive government funding and rely on your donations to keep running respite breaks. Please consider supporting us by making a donation, attending an event, or making us your organisation’s charity partner.