We had earmarked the Martin Mere giant duck hunt for our Easter Half Term a few weeks beforehand so we were well prepared for it when the day came. We made a picnic, got in the car and headed off. When we got there (a little later than planned) and the car park was full, so much so, that the overflow was in full use. Now, busy places don’t fit well in my comfort zone, I don’t like having to fight for a picnic table or fight my way through crowds but Martin Mere is an enormous place and is well designed for lots of visitors. We had lunch in one of the indoor picnics rooms and then started our quest. We had a list of 25 named giant rubber ducks. 24 of them were hidden around the reserve, we had to find out which one wasn’t there. The kids found there first one after a few seconds and were very excited. Our 4 year old was using this task to show us the writing skills he has been honing at school. We walked every inch of the reserve looking for the ducks, some of which were genuinely tricky to find. The hardest one of all was one that was hidden at the back of the welly walk on the farthest side of the reserve. It’s thick sticky, deep mud back there, we didn’t have our wellies and it had been raining heavily, but we weren’t going to give up and after a lot of balancing and making a chain-linking together, we got it. After a few hours we were exhausted and finished. The kids were so proud of themselves.
When we got back to the desk (with just 10 minutes to spare) the little ones handed in their sheets with all 24 names written down, and more importantly, the missing name identified. They were beaming at the volunteer. “We did it! We got them ALL!” My 4 year old shouted. “All by our ownselves”, my 3 year old chipped in. The volunteer was impressed saying that we were one of the only few who had managed to get them all all week. I’m not surprised! The kids were handed their certificates which are now displayed on the wall at home with pride and devoured their Freddos (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that I never got one) and we left. Victory was ours… not even giant ducks can beat us!
Fun had (according to the kids): 50/10
Tantrum Level: 5/10 Charlotte started getting tired about 2/3 of the way round but nothing some dried banana chips couldn’t fix
Worth it: Yes but an earlier start would have been better as I didn’t realise it would take as long or be as difficult.
Worth knowing: I believe that prizes and certificates were still being given out even if the names were completed but on the off chance that wasn’t the case it’s always worth keeping a small chocolate bar handy for when you just can’t finish something like this so that the children aren’t too disappointed, especially when it isn’t their fault. If they have put the hard work in they should be rewarded for that.
50 Things acheivement: 44. Go bird watching, 50. Canoe down a river (not quite a river but with some artistic licence).
Cost: Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children 4-16yrs) £32.50 (giftaid) or £29.55 (without gift aid) click here for other pricing. Save 10% when booking online.