Sunday 2 June 2013

Bournemouth Family Adventure Festival

I love active outdoor sports, not that you’d know it! I do very little but mainly because when you have kids you either don’t get the opportunity or if you try to get them involved it gets very expensive. However, if I’m ever going to get the opportunity again it’s good to get the kids interested early! We are lucky enough to have a skate park in the park behind where we live where the local kids ride their bikes and scooters. Callum loves going there to watch the older boys (not seen any girls there yet) and he can have a little scoot around and vows he is going to do stunts like they do when he gets bigger. I told him he needs to get a little braver first as there’ll be lots of falls before he masters any of the tricks and I started showing him YouTube clips of the professionals to show him how they fall off and jump straight back on again!

As a result I found out there was going to be a Family Adventure Festival at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) and the Animal Bike Tour was going to be there. Callum was very excited so I purchased a couple of tickets. An adult 2 day pass was £9 (£5 for a day) and under 5’s were free which I thought was very reasonable so I purchased the 2 day tickets.

It opened at 10am and we got there on the Saturday about 11am. There were stalls and displays going on across 2 rooms which included High Ropes (Go Ape style), vertical slide, climbing wall, the Animal Bike Tour display, Bush Surival demonstration, the Animal Man talk, Slacklining display, plus various stalls providing information on various activities, opportunity to buy clothing etc. Outside they had a Zip Wire.

This is how we spent our day:

  • Vertical Slide (took Callum a monumental effort to climb up to the top of the slide but he was fearless going down)Chinchilla.
  • The Animal Man talk – fantastic show where the kids got up close to a number of animals - Giant African Snail, Tarantula (yes I did say Tarantula), Snake, Bearded Dragon, Pancake Tortoise, Meerkat, Owl, Chinchilla, Skunk. The Animal Man, Nick, really engaged the kids and would ask for a couple of volunteers to go up and hold or touch the animal – including the tarantula. The kids were very brave and the animals were so well behaved. Here is a poor photo of Callum stroking a Chinchilla.
  • IMAG8277Animal Bike Tour – we caught the end of Martin Ashton, Blake Samson, James somebody on the bikes and another guy demonstrating parkour (free running). As this was the main attraction for Callum we went back to this again later to see the whole show.


  • Zip Wire – we then headed outside to the zip wire. This was free to festival goers but also open to the public for £3 a ride. The queue wasn’t too long but we did have to wait about 20 minutes as it took time to put the harness & hats on everyone. Callum was so brave and followed instructions from the guys really well. Here’s a video of him coming down the wire and as soon as he got off he asked if he could go again. We didn’t immediately but we did go back to it at the end when Stuart went on it too.

Callum going down the Zip Wire


  • Lunch – we ate in the cafe at the BIC outside of the exhibition. It filled a hole! Nothing amazing!
  • IMAG8290Climbing Wall – Callum had a couple of goes trying to climb the wall. Both times he started well and managed to get to about 7 ft high before getting stuck but I’m really proud of him for trying and the lady said he was probably the youngest child they’d had on the wall.
  • Slacklining – Portlebay UK Slackline Open competition was being held on the day we visited where ‘trickliners’ each performed their best high skill tricks against one another to compete to win a cash prize.
  • IMAG8325
    Animal Bike Tour – we left the slacklining competition to catch the full bike display. Having been to the bike tour down on the beach at the Bournemouth Airshow a couple of years ago, the display itself was much the same but with a few additional tricks and the extra couple of guys added a bit more diversity to it. I don’t think Callum really remembers seeing the show at the airshow anyway so he enjoyed it. Blake Samson was also kind enough to pose for a photo with Callum.
  • Zip Wire – just before leaving we headed back out to the zip wire so Callum could have a second go. He insisted Daddy went with him this time and Stuart agreed that it was good fun!

We didn't visit many of the stalls as we weren’t interested in buying anything or signing up to any subscriptions or clubs. There were a number of freebies being handed out during the festival too. There was a bag with a few sample waterproofing products as we went in, a few freebies being thrown out to lucky people during the bike tour and you got a free waterbottle if you entered their competition to win a bike, there was a free bottle of the really good (in my opinion) P20 sun block and packets of flavoured popcorn (the bacon and maple syrup was rather salty but quite tasty) and juice were the things we picked up.

I would have liked to have caught the Bush Survival demonstration as they were showing how to skin an animal but then I’m rather gruesome like that. Otherwise we were happy with what we had seen when we left around 4pm. I did feel a bit sorry for Millie who had to just sit in her pushchair and watch – although she seemed happy enough to play with Callum’s balloon for a bit. I was a bit gutted there weren’t more activities that the grown ups were encouraged to try as, after all, it was a ‘family’ adventure festival not just a kids one but Callum said he enjoyed himself.

Although we had a good day, we felt one day was adequate and so gave away the tickets for the Sunday. Unfortunately, the feedback was that the demonstrations weren’t so good on the Sunday so sounds like we picked the best day, just a shame my friend and her family didn’t get to enjoy their visit as much as we did.

The Festival also held a number of free ‘fringe’ events during the weeks leading up to the main event in nearby Bournemouth boroughs. Callum and I headed to the Boscombe event being held on the Wednesday the week before where Callum got recorded throwing a tennis ball at 18.6mph (very good for a 4 year old apparently) but I wasn’t overly impressed with the small number of activities happening in the fringe events but the main event more than met expectation.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own (or those of my family).

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