Last year, during our first experience at Center Parcs, we didn't prebook any activities. This year, we booked an activity for the kids on every day of the trip and this was a huge hit.
On the first day, we woke up early and headed to the Ranger Ramble, a two hour family walk through the woods, guided by a ranger.
Unfortunately, five minutes before we were set to leave with the ranger, my step-son vomited all over the visitor's center entry way. Seeing that we clearly had a sick kid, Center Parcs was wonderful and fully refunded us. A lot of activities only take place once or twice a week. so we could not reschedule the Ranger Ramble for a different day. Next time.
A majority of the kid's activities took place in the kid's section of the indoor sports complex. We brought the kids here for face painting and Center Parc's version of Build-A-Bear. We booked a dance party, where the kids burned off some energy and loaded up on sugary treats. They decorated their own cupcakes in the Craft Worx Studio.
They decorated four cupcakes. Three of the cupcakes an instructor walked them though a particular design. They made a monkey, a pig and a swirled ice-cream cone. The final design was of their own choosing. As you can see from the pictures, my step-daughter proved to be a very talented cupcake designer. My step-son was more interested in eating the icing.
Next to the Craft Worx studio, was the Art Worx Studio, where the kid's did pottery/wood decorating. They were allowed to decorate three items each and could utilize various stations for paint, stickers, markers, glitter, et...
We had booked a family photography session. I had a sinus infection and had to skip it (no amount of make-up was going to cover my cold), but the photographer took some amazing family photos of Dan and the kids. I highly recommend adding this activity.
Our final pre-booked activity was an animal show called Mammal Magic. I'm the animal lover, so this was probably more for me than for the kids. We sat on folding chairs in a semi-circle and the team leading the show explained the animal, then brought out two of each animal type. They split the audience in half and walked around, so that we could all touch and see the animals, without stressing out the critters. They did not rush the interaction. The emphasis was on small animals that are popular pets and the pros/cons for each animal. This was a great show for both animal lovers, but also for families interested in getting a pet. My favorite animal was the sugar glider.
We didn't prebook all of our activities. The weather is unpredictable in England, so it made more sense to take our chances with the outdoor activities. We were lucky and it didn't rain during our week at Center Parcs Elveden. The weather was warm and sunny. We were able to book all of the outdoor activities on the spot, without any problems.
We did the very popular, Treasure Island Adventure Golf.
We went on the lake twice, first in a pedalo and the second time in a Catacanoe. I prefer arm to leg powered boats!
One other last-minute activity that we did, was indoor bowling. If you enjoy bowling, book it early. It was so busy, that we couldn't book a time slot for a full game.
Our visit coincided with Center Parcs Elveden's twenty-fifth anniversary. They had a party with free ice cream and a BBQ to celebrate.
One of the best parts of Center Parcs is just walking around the beautiful grounds. The complex is massive and filled with nature trails.
I really liked the environmental quotes on all of the Center Parcs' vans. With the exception of loading and unload on arrival/departure days, the only vehicles allowed on the grounds are emergency vehicles and the Center Parcs vans.
Besides all of the activities, we also visited the Subtropical Swimming Paradise complex every day. The kids were much stronger swimmers this year, which meant that we could go on more slides. Zoe was even strong enough to do the rapids body slide that spans nearly the entire outdoor perimeter of the pool complex. It's easily the most fun slide at Center Parcs!
Next time, I will report on our experiences at the Center Parcs Elveden restaurants. We ate well on the trip, trying a majority of the on-site offerings.
I will leave you with a picture of the talking plants.