It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since I first visited BeWILDerwood. The park had only just opened and we celebrated my Mum’s birthday there. This was way before I had Adam but I instantly fell in love with the treehouse adventure playground. I have returned several times over the years but I knew the place would become extra magical once I had my own children. Adam’s first BeWILDerwood experience was when he was 18 months old and I have lost count of how many times we have now visited this amazing place. You can read our previous review of the lantern parade. BeWILDerwood is simply our favourite family day out adventure. We were therefore delighted to be invited to celebrate the BeWILDerwood 10th anniversary party.
Our 10th Anniversary Colourful Cake & Costume Party invitation requested us to dress up. Although Adam is not usually a fan of dressing up, he loves the BeWILDerwood story and subsequent characters.
He couldn’t wait to dress up as Swampy, his favourite marsh Boggle. Nana created a felt waistcoat for him, complete with mushroom buttons and a flower pocket, whilst I made him a stick crown inspired by Mama Miss. Adam has owned a hand puppet of Mildred the Crocklebog for many years and it wouldn’t be a trip to BeWILDerwood without bringing her along.
We couldn’t let Adam have all the fun. Nana and I wore Ox-eye Daisy Chains (inspired by Colourful Crafts), plaited bulrush necklaces and a bouquet of wild buttercups. We were ready for the anniversary celebrations.
The party was kick started by Tom Blofield, author and creator of BeWILDerwood. His passion for children to be able to play in a natural and safe environment shone through his speech.
The books and subsequent theme park were devised because he wanted children to explore some of his childhood experiences of the Norfolk Broads. The park is centered around families playing together and nurturing a creative spirit in this mystical land.
We were also told of the exciting BeWILDerwood expansion. There will soon be another adventure park based on the BeWILDerwood stories set in the historic Cholmondeley Castle in South Cheshire. The environmentally sustainable attraction will include tree houses, boardwalks, a boat ride and a huge climbing frame that sounds amazing. Despite having BeWILDerwood on our doorstep, we shall certainly be visiting the Cheshire expansion.
After seeing the huge cake being cut, we enjoyed an ice cream and the delicious party food that was provided. Adam had fun playing with the bubbles and getting a cuddle with the real Swampy, before we entered BeWILDerwood.
Each time we visit, Adam becomes more engrossed in the imaginative side of the park. He is now linking the landmarks to places within the story and can spend ages studying the BeWILDerwood map.
From an early age, BeWILDerwood was the first tourist attraction that Adam felt comfortable and confident in. Before his autism diagnosis, we had no idea why Adam struggled with public places. However, BeWILDerwood was different. He excelled in the physical aspects of climbing and felt at home in the woodland landscape. I wanted to thank Tom Blofield for creating a place where Adam could be himself. Tom has a son who is on the autistic spectrum and he gave me some wonderful advice whilst signing Adam’s favourite storybook.
Our day was filled with visiting our favourite places. I lost count how many times Nana went down the Slippery Slopes, how quickly Adam can now do the Sky Maze by himself and how fast he can run along the Broken Bridge.
There were two additions to our usual fun packed day out. There was a birthday themed interactive storytelling session which ended with Mildred being in the giant sized birthday cake. Adam also got to play with new games including the Thornyclod Twig Trap and Minty’s Moon Spoons Balloon Dash. Take a sneak peak at our BeWILDerwood 10th Anniversary Party in our short video:
Remember to check out our previous review of BeWILDerwood at the Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade – an event that happens during the October half term holiday.
Disclaimer: We were given tickets to attend the press event to celebrate BeWILDerwood’s 10th Anniversary. All thoughts and opinions are our own. A huge thank you to Yare Food Services for also supplying the amazing food!
If you looking for other toddler friendly days out around Norfolk then take a look at our Adventures of Adam around Norfolk posts: