Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Trail at Harlow Carr Garden

Since the children are off school this week (it's half term), we have been having adventures in the mornings. On the eve of Halloween, we went to RHS Harlow Carr Garden for their monster trail and spooky story time.

We arrived just after opening, so not many people were wandering around the gardens yet. We found the display of activities and picked up a map so we could find all the scary monsters in their various hiding spots. The map had a spot for stamping as we discovered each monster.

Lucy poses in front of the display

Initially, Jacob wanted to wander all over the gardens and not go hunting monsters. So we wandered on paths and grass, admiring the plants and the waterfalls.

The gardens with fall foliage

Gooseberry plants (hopefully the berries will be here soon!)

A small waterfall

A satisfyingly larger waterfall

Finally I got him back on task and we went after the monsters. The first monster was hiding in the Alpine Zone, which is named after the sort of plants there, not for the fabulous mountains. Jacob was the first to spot this three-eyed critter. The stamp for the map was on the little red post on the right of the picture.

Monster #1 and Jacob looking down the slopes of the Alpine Zone

The next clue on our sheet took us to the Scented Garden, where a thirsty bug who, according to the clue, is "Drinking nectar, or is it blood..glug glug?" Lucy said she thought he was drinking blood. He does have those hypnotic Dracula eyes.

Jacob, Bug, and Lucy who is perilously close to the blood-sucker

The scented gardens

We continued on the trail to the Kitchen Garden, where we not only discovered Monster #3 but also a little yard for hens. All the birds were hiding under a tree, maybe because it is warmer there.

Monster #3

Hen in good camouflage

The next set of monsters was across the gardens by the tree house and the log maze. Unfortunately, the log maze area still had a lot of the rain water from the past seven or eight days, which made it very muddy and very slippery.

We're all happy right now to find Monster #5 (who came before #4 through a geographical goof)

Jacob did slip here and got a little upset at being a mess, especially since his trousers were dirty and a bit wet. We had to go find the toilet to clean up. Fortune favors the prepared and I had the backpack with the spare outfits in it. We were able to change him to clean trousers. We went back to get our stamp from the one-eyed purple monster. Fortune changed her mind pretty quickly because Jacob slipped again and had to soldier on with dirty, damp pants. He wasn't as upset. He wanted to find the last monsters so we went faster but also more cautiously.

We found Monster #4 by the tree house. The ground was especially muddy and yucky here. We had to choose our path carefully. Unfortunately the picture did not come out. We then searched out Monster #5 who was just beyond the log maze. Jacob didn't want to go that way. We made a bit of a detour around the side and made it to the last monster.

Monster #6 poses with Lucy

Jacob asked to go home at this point and I agreed. We skipped the spooky story time in favor of our warm home and dry jeans. We had fun anyway, though I promised Jacob that future trips to the gardens would be after some dry weather.

And, of course, I had to do laundry when we got home:

Pantspocalypse, or mudpocalypse

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