The Gruffalo Experience in Milton Keynes

Friday, 25 March 2016

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood...

Well a whole group of mice in our case (called a 'mischief' which I like the sound of!), went on a journey through the wood as part of The Gruffalo Experience that's currently running at thecentre:mk.

For Gruffalo fans this really is a must as along with a storytelling adventure through the woods, you get to meet the Gruffalo himself!

When you arrive you are given your mouse ears - adults and children! Then there's a waiting area with some themed activity sheets to keep the kids entertained until your time slot.

Our Guide came round and introduced herself to each family, taking the time to chat to each child which was a good way to build up a rapport with them.

Then it was time to start our stroll through the woods. The scenery is really great - it is as if you've stepped onto the pages of the picture book. The Guide introduced the animal characters - fox, owl and snake - to the kids by bringing out large puppets one at a time. She made it interactive by asking lots of questions for the kids to answer and going around letting each child stroke the puppets. 

The highlight for us during this bit was Little Miss A being brave enough to volunteer in front of everybody and having the snake puppet coiled around her!

The only negative about our time in this section of the Experience was that the Guide doing the storytelling in the room next door was too loud and it was hard to hear our Guide over him. I'm sure if you were in his group then he was great but it spoilt our first 10 minutes there.

Once we'd met the animals, it was time for us to go deeper into the woods coming into another clearing. Again, children participation was encouraged as they had to find the different parts of the Gruffalo's body which were stuck on boards around the room. Then everyone had to stay seated whilst the Guide told the whole story with the Gruffalo making his appearance!

I loved seeing Little Miss A's reaction when he came out - she even waved at him!

Once the story was over we were led out into another room to wait for our chance to meet the Gruffalo. There were a few games and a small climbing frame to keep the kids entertained whilst the parents queued - really great to see that they'd thought of this.

There were actually two Gruffalos (sshhh, don't tell the kids) in two small rooms which sped the queuing up quite a bit! When it was our turn Little Miss A was straight in there giving the Gruffalo a wave, a high five, the lot! We didn't feel rushed during our time with the Gruffalo which was good so we asked to have a variety of photos - including one with her Nana & Pops (who had very kindly paid for us to do the Experience!).

It was then time to say goodbye and head out to review our photos and of course purchase a couple!

You are not allowed to take any photos whilst within the Experience itself. I was itching to get my camera out and it would have been great to have a picture of Little Miss A with the snake around her! However, it means there's no visual spoilers for others doing the Experience!

Little Miss A is definitely at a good age for this type of thing. She was getting involved with the participation parts without any encouragement from us needed. A few of the younger children in the group didn't seem so keen on the whole thing, even in the first section.

The Experience lasts around 40 minutes in total. I thought the whole thing was very well done and I liked how much interaction was encouraged with the children to keep them entertained throughout.

We definitely had a 'Gruffalo' day as we'd watched the TV animation in the morning before going, then when we got home we did a Gruffalo puzzle that my Mum had given Little Miss A today and then read the book!

I'm really glad that we did this Experience. Little Miss A has actually gone to bed with her Gruffalo soft toy tonight and keeps talking about her snake encounter, so I know for sure that she thoroughly enjoyed it.

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