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Family fun this autumn half term

25th September 2019

Categories: Press Releases

A week celebrating autumn and featuring frighteningly good events to entertain all the family this October half term in Bristol

Half Term events

With the recent opening of Bear Wood at Wild Place Project, this half term is the perfect time to discover Bristol’s eagerly anticipated new attraction. The 150-acre suburban conservation park opened late July and the £5million attraction features a walkway that winds through seven and a half acres of woodland where brown bears share a home with the project’s five European grey wolves. Lynx and wolverine also roam the woodland as they would have done centuries ago. The immersive experience highlights the story of our native woodlands and is supported by a ranger station, classroom, interpretation space and café. Wild Place Project are also running special Autumn Discoveries (26 Oct – 3 Nov) to celebrate the season and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of autumn whilst exploring the woodlands (included in admission).

Continuing the animal theme, Bristol Zoo is hosting their Zoo Conservation Academy - an interactive two-day academy for children who love animals and would like to learn about working with and protecting wildlife at the Zoo (29-30 Oct, ages 8-12, cost £100). To book, call 0117 4285441 or email education@bristolzoo.org.uk 

Feast your eyes on autumnal colours with Golden Tree Walks at Tyntesfield, a series of self-guided walks around the National Trust estate. Or discover the links between Tyntesfield and the Peruvian guano trade with their current $tow High in Transit Photography exhibition by Olli Hellman. There is also the opportunity to travel back in time by taking a Victorian horse and carriage ride (26 Oct – 3 Nov).

More outdoor fun can be had at the Great British Autumn event at Longleat, which will once again be showcasing traditional seasonal activities including pumpkin carving (£2) and autumnal crafts, as well as daily displays of their parliament of owls. For a spookier experience, book a place on their Ghost Tour and explore unseen cellars and eerie corridors (26 Oct - 3 Nov, £10). Then finish off your day trip out with their Fantastic Fireworks display (25 and 26 Oct and 1 and 2 Nov).

Westonbirt Arboretum host their Inspired by Autumn event in October half term where visitors can discover why trees change colour and take home autumn-inspired artwork (28 Oct – 1 Nov 10:30am-3:30pm). Over the half term weekends, there are Autumn Spectacular Discovery sessions where visitors can find out about seeds, fungi and leaves as well as create an autumn bookmark.

For awe-inspiring indoor entertainment, We The Curious have their 3D Autumn Stargazing shows running daily (4 Sept – 2 Dec) in the UK’s first 3D Planetarium. Discover constellations of stars, explore mysterious Neptune, and fly to planets beyond our Solar System! The shows are aimed at adults and children over 8 years old, £3.50 per seat (members £1.75), in addition to standard admission. Or join We The Curious’ Expedition Earth spaceship and journey to find the perfect planet to live on through this interactive, family-friendly show. Free with standard admission, running twice daily on weekends and during October half term (check times on arrival).

To experience a more historical adventure, board Brunel’s SS Great Britain for their Sleepy Ship sleepover on 28 Oct (7pm-9am). Set up camp in the First Class Dining Saloon and take part in activities to become a ship-shape mate with a planetarium experience, a Captain’s Tour and opportunity to become a nautical navigator before settling down for the night. Sleepy Ship is for children aged 7-11 and all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian through the night. Costs £60 including breakfast.

Bristol Film Festival’s autumn-winter season includes a screening of 80s comedy classic Airplane! – under the wings of Concorde at Aerospace Bristol (October 30). Bristol’s aeronautics museum will turn Concorde’s hangar into a pop-up cinema for the evening, and ticket holders will get a chance to step aboard the iconographic aircraft. The festival, best known for showing classic films in unusual places, also presents a suitably horrid Halloween series: Catch The Addams Family and Ghostbusters at Arnos Vale Cemetery (26 October) or Hocus Pocus and The Witches at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (31 October). Age restrictions apply to some showings.

Halloween-themed events

Winner of the UK’s Best Scream Park award, North Somerset’s Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park presents FEAR at Avon Valley Scream Park – a hellish scream-park experience and Halloween festival mixing terrifying games, five scare mazes (including Phobia Rebirth), an escape room, extreme fairground rides, circus acts, fire shows and a twisted cast of stilt-walkers, theatrical freaks and strange characters. Featuring street food and music, Scream Park will be open during the dark hours of 18-20 October, 25-27 October and 29 October-2 November.  Not recommended for children under 12.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s winter exhibition plays on the spooky theme too, with Magic at the City Museum. It explores the role of magic, witchcraft, superstition, magical works of art, charms, amulets and objects collected from the altar of a practising witch.

Learn about creepy creature anatomy, walk through the cobweb-covered boneyard, enjoy gruesome crafts and give your friends as scare with fearsome face painting at Bristol Zoo Gardens Skeloween event during the half term.

This Halloween (31 October) dress up in spooky outfits, bring the whole family along to Royal West of England Academy and experience the galleries by torchlight, with Halloween-themed children's art workshops, drinks, and nibbles. Explore the 167 Annual Open Exhibition - only in the dark! Take part in a spooky exhibition trail, or pick up a self-led drawing activity and take part in The Big Draw. Children must be accompanied by an adult, suitable for children aged 4-12. Please remember there will be will be low lighting and some spooky faces!

Bristol Old Vic and Brunel’s SS Great Britain are back this half term with a brand-new take on the iconic show, Spooky Ship  (31 October – 3 November), an immersive Victorian fright-fest on board one of the world’s most famous ships. Ghostly figures will roam the decks in a performance that centres on the true story of Captain James Hosken, whose fatal error caused the ship to run aground in Dundrum Bay. Once again, Bristol Old Vic and SS Great Britain are thrilled to welcome The Bath Academy of Media Makeup who will help bring the spooky characters to life. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o9a8qpbkz9773vd/AABfWLR3yrNoJjRvL8Tnhf2Ka?dl=0

More gruesome shenanigans are on offer at SS Great Britain with their Grizzly Cuts and Gruesome Scars event (26 Oct – 3 Nov) where the special effects makeup artists are let loose to create shocking seaworthy injuries on visitors, to scare all around. Then head below deck to learn about all the real injuries and illnesses the passengers and crew had, or visit Brunel Institute (11:30am-2:30pm) to hear gruesome stories from their diaries. Free with general admission.

At Bristol Aquarium, discover what’s lurking in the depths of the ocean, learn a few gruesome facts, make your own fish slime and meet some of the scarier underwater creatures – spider crabs and piranhas. Stay for an after-hours Torchlit Tour (19 October) to get the full ‘A-scary-ium’ experience. (26 Oct – 3 Nov)

There’s chaos at National Trust’s Tyntesfield Estate where one of the stone statue Hunky Punks has come to life this half term. Families are invited to book onto sessions that run at 10:30am and 1:30pm to track done the Hunky Punk, take part in some spooky crafts and then create their own clay hunky punk to take home.

Theatre round up

Theatre hit Disney’s The Lion King has thrilled a staggering 95 million people worldwide and will be at Bristol Hippodrome this October half term (7 Sep – 23 Nov). Book tickets for a truly unforgettable experience of theatrical magic that brings one of Disney’s biggest stories to life, together with those treasured songs we all know and love.

Pickled Image are back with a new puppetry show for children aged 3-8 at The Wardrobe Theatre called Woodland Tales With Grandad (27 Oct – 2 Nov). Following enchanting stories from previous popular shows Fireside Tales With Grandad and Christmas Tales With Grandad, this latest instalment has a strong environmental message for youngsters and families this half term.

Charmane at Tobacco Factory provides a subtle exploration into gender and identity for children aged 5 and over and their families. Through the story of Charmane who doesn’t feel like a kitten, even though that’s their appearance, this is a story of two best friends who learn about themselves, how they see each other, acceptance and who ultimately find their inner ROAR.

The Wardrobe Ensemble have teamed up with Wardrobe Theatre company to co-produce The Deep Sea Seekers, specifically aimed at children aged 3-8, showing at Bristol Old Vic’s Weston studio (30 Oct – 2 Nov). This song-laden, interactive show gives the audience control of the exploration into the deep seas, where creatures, unwanted plastic and new shores are found.

Big Games at Ashton Court Stadium:
For footie fans, Bristol City plays Wigan Athletic on Sunday 27 October (1.30pm kick off), and  premiership rubgy sees Bristol Bears versus Sale Sharks on Friday 1 November.

Coming soon

Surf slots are now on general sale for Bristol’s new inland surfing lake, The Wave. You can book surf slots now for sessions starting 18 November onwards. Discover the joy of surfing, in the first destination of its kind in the UK. The Wave is an inland surfing destination where anyone and everyone can surf on safe waves, all year round. It brings surfing, nature and a fresh way of thinking to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. For more information and to book your surf session now visit  www.thewave.com

For more information on Bristol news and half term events see https://visitbristol.co.uk/whats-on/october-half-term-events

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