We’ve had a fantastic day out at Stockeld Park in Wetherby. It’s been on our bucket list for the past six months and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Stockeld Park is about an hour and a half from our house in Durham but I’m sure it will be a bit faster when they eventually finish the road works on the A1! We left at 8:30am and arrived just before 10am which is when it opens. It’s £12 per person (over 2) however you can get a career in free with a careers card or DLA letter. The entrance fee covers the enchanted forest, adventure playgrounds, go karts, roller skating, maze and indoor play areas. You can also play extra to hire a 3-wheeled electric scooter and travel around the forest which looked like fun but Teddy was too little.
Check out their video –
As we were one of the first familys in we headed straight for Farmer Foster’s Barnyard and we had it pretty much to ourselves! There was lots to climb and explore. Toby also had a turn on the bouncy inflatable slide as there was no queue, however later in the day it was too busy for him.
We then headed in to the Enchanted Forest which in my opinion is the best bit! The Enchanted Forest is a loop of the park which has several adventure play grounds, talking statues, musical play equipment and lots of amazing things to explore. Toby loved it. He loves forests (I think it’s the darkness of the trees which helps him to feel safe and enclosed)
We did two loops of the Enchanted Forest as the boys loved it so much. The first time we did it we were the only people in the playground (see first and second pictures above) the third picture of Toby climbing was taken when we went back for the second time. As you can see it’s a bit busier and he is wearing ear defenders as he was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I would definitely recommend getting there as early as possible (especially if you have a child like Toby who struggles with crowds and people!)
We then carried on through the forest which was full of great sculptures, statues and fairy gardens! Some of the displays do make noises which Toby was not too impressed with – a giant who says, “fe fi fo fum I like little children in my tum!” And a bridge that makes a comments like a troll from the three billy goat’s gruff and a singing Rapunzel are a few that come to mind. These can not be avoided as they are triggered by movement sensors but they can be passed quickly if needed!!
The next adventure play area was the Tangle Tree Climb. This one is a bit like a high ropes course with lots of challenging things to climb on. Toby thought it was great as he loves wobbly bridges and being up high – Teddy (20months) found it a bit too challenging but wanted to copy his big brother! Again first time around we had the whole playground to ourselves! However second time we skipped it as it looked too busy!
We continued our adventure through the forest and arrived at Woodsands Cove which was probably our favourite! It’s a large open playground with a Noah’s ark, pirate ship, lock ness monster swing and a newtons cradle (which Toby loved!)
Check out how quiet it is in the collage picture! These photographs were taken about 11am when it was still really quiet – perfect for a child with asd! Again second time around it was much busier which was quite challenging as Toby has very little social awareness and so just tries to climb on swings when other people are on or tries to steal other people’s picnics and drinks and he has no understanding of other people’s property (everything he sees is his as his world revolves completely around him!)
We then had our own picnic near some lovely Toadstool houses and found a teapot slide which was pretty cool! Toby didn’t eat much as he just wanted to be off playing on the slide! However I didn’t manage to get a picture of him but here’s one of Ted.
Afterwards we enjoyed exploring the rest of the forest – Toby wasn’t particularly interested and just sat in his pushchair but Teddy loved exploring all of the houses and interactive displays. The forest is transformed in to a Winter Wonderland for Christmas which I think will be amazing and that’s a possible trip later in the year.
We then spent a little bit of time indoors which by this point was really busy (it was lunchtime!) Toby loved the indoor jumping pillow however it soon became too busy. Teddy loved the indoor train and the giant building blocks – especially trying to knock other people’s towers down!
We didn’t have chance to visit the maze or the go karts (and roller skating wasn’t really for us!) so we left those for another time. We left about half one – so a good 3 and a half hours which I think is a record for us as Toby usually only manages an hour! So all in all a fantastic family day out that was very ASD friendly (if you’re there early!) and we will most definitely be back soon!