When it comes to bringing fairy tales to life, the English do it right. Early in July, we loaded up the car with carseats, strollers, picnic baskets and high expectations and set off in search of BeWILDerwood. According to their website, it is “a huge, award winning forest of family fun and outdoor adventure. Treehouses, zip wires, jungle bridges, Crocklebogs, Twiggles and Boggles, storytelling, boat trips, marsh walks and really yummy food.” It was about a 90 minute drive though I barely noticed as Kathryn graciously offered to drive us in her fancy, new car (it talks to you and can park itself- what?!).
Kathryn and I may have been more excited than the kids as we started noticing all the little houses and hidden villages dotted within the forest. BeWILDerwood is home to a colorful cast of characters and as you start exploring the forest, you can learn more about each of them. First, there are the Twiggles who live in houses in the trees. Boggles live in the marsh and if you look carefully, you’ll see their little boats docked along the banks. There is also a Crocklebog named Mildred who likes to spray people riding on the boats in the marsh. As Lena gets older, I’m looking forward to reading the books with her and returning to the forest in search of all the Twiggles and Boggles.
After the long car ride, the kids were ready to explore. The play structures at BeWILDerwood are absolutely amazing and they even had designated areas for toddlers which we really appreciated. However, the highlight for the both the kids was definitely the zip line. The squeals of glee coming from our two little munchkins were absolutely hilarious. Here they are flying through the air. Despite how it looks, I can assure you they were quite safe and secure!
In between zip lining and swinging, there was lots of hand holding and kissing. Kathryn and I turned into emotional puddles of mush every time these two did something cute. And it happened pretty much all day long.
We had a delicious lunch courtesy of the chef extraordinaire – that would not be me. True to form, my favorite Aussie friend had brought along a delicious zucchini and pine nut tart and homemade banana chocolate bread. I love that woman. Meanwhile, I had packed some very fancy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which were refused by both children. Awesome.
We had hoped to enjoy a post-lunch cup of coffee while the kids napped but of course, the Diva had other plans. So while her lovely playmate snoozed in his stroller like the little angel that he is, she was playing dress up and dancing on the storytelling stage while the other children actually followed the rules. No stage fright in this one.
Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Kathryn and I decided it would be a good idea for us go on the zip line as well. I think our kids were really impressed at what cool moms they have. Or not. Little do they realize the embarrassment their future holds with us in the picture. I can’t wait. Oh and speaking of embarrassing, we witnessed what we thought was an adult son and his mother enjoying a day in the park. It seemed a little strange that they didn’t have a child/grandchild with them as it is meant to be a family part. So imagine our surprise when we saw them entangled on a park bench swapping spit and whispering sweet nothings to one another. I have no problem if someone wants to pull a Demi Moore – Ashton Kutcher but please, for the love of my eyeballs and nightmares, don’t mack on each other at a kid’s park! The guy appeared to be particularly uncomfortable but his mom/girlfriend was too busy vampiring his neck to notice.
After a full day of swinging, sliding and exploring, we were all covered in dirt and ready to head home. The kids were pooped and we commented that they were probably going to pass out in the car. You think by now, we’d both know better than to jinx ourselves like that. Apparently, our little angels had saved up all their crying and screaming for the day and had conspired to combine them all into the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums. Thirty minutes from home, the assault began. It was a slow and steady pace with first one child whining, then the other taking his place then full throttled screaming complete with snots, tears, and throwing of any and all objects offered in an attempt to console them. Never in my life have I experienced anything like this. We tried everything we could possibly think of to calm them down but somehow, our children had morphed into human torture devices. By the time we reached home, both Kathryn and I were showing signs of PTSD. It’s been weeks and I still don’t think we’ve fully recovered.
Thirty minutes from hell aside, we had a magical day and the kids were fantastic. Hopefully we’ll be able to share this with some of our family and friends as well if they bring their kids for a visit. And if you’re interested in learning more about the park or want to buy the books, here’s a link with all the info you’ll need!