Bank Holiday Monday was the geekson’s 6th birthday, and we’d been given press tickets to attend the Geronimo family festival at Tatton Park, just up the road from our home. This seemed like a perfect birthday treat family outing for him. The geekdaughter and I had attended last year (and you can read our review here), but the geekson had been poorly so had to miss out. I was really excited for both him and the geekdaddy to experience the family festival this year.
Last year the first Geronimo was held at Tatton Park, and this year the festival expanded, with a new venue of Harewood House in Leeds being added for the early May Bank Holiday, followed by a welcome return to Tatton over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. The geekdaughter and I had loved the festival last year, but as we got closer to our visit some of the things I read on social media made me a little nervous. There had obviously been some challenges with the Harewood House venue, which were apparent via the comments on the Geronimo Facebook page, and it also looked like the first day at Tatton was very busy with a huge turnout, which again gave some challenges.
I was actually rather pleased to learn that tickets for the Monday when we went were not sold out, and that things were less busy than they had been the previous day. Whilst I want to see the festival do well so that it will continue to run, I also didn’t want the queues to be too bad. And when we arrived all my concerns melted away. Yes, there were clearly more people there than had been last year, but the festival had also been expanded and there were several areas where queues were shorter than they had been last year.
The layout felt very familiar to the geekdaughter and myself, being largely the same as last year. The stage was in the same location, a great natural amphitheatre which made visibility very good (and there was a giant television screen added by the side of the stage this year to give a close up view of all the action). The geekdaughter was pleased to see her favourite activity from last year, Monkey Do, back again – a series of large cargo nets strung between the trees for kids to run riot on. I remembered that booked up fast, so our first stop when we arrived was to hotfoot it across the site to get both kids booked in to a slot. With that done we set about the serious job of exploring.
The geekson was dressed appropriately for the day. Pretty subtle we thought?
The first thing the kids found to do was some tightrope walking, and the geekdaughter showed herself to have pretty good balance:
The tightrope walking was right next to the zipline. This was another activity which had been at Geronimo last year, and the geekdaughter and I had missed it out because it permanently had a very long queue. I was fully expecting it to be the same, but as we walked past we noticed that there weren’t actually that many people queuing this time around, so we decided we’d try it. The queue took longer than I expected, giving the geekson time to go on both bouncy castles that were nearby whilst we waited. There were plenty of things to watch whilst we waited, so neither of us got too fidgetly.
We both really enjoyed the zipline. They gave us the option of a second go, which we both leapt at! Here’s the action shot to prove I actually did it:
We did a little more exploring, and then it was time for lunch. We headed over to the food area, which, whilst busy, wasn’t too bad in terms of queuing. There was a good selection of options. The birthday boy opted for a cheese toastie, the geekdaughter had a hot dog and the geekdaddy and I went for burgers. The food was fairly typical festival prices – it wasn’t cheap, but at the same time I didn’t feel it was extortionate. The kids meals were in the £3 – £4 range, the burgers were about £8 if I recall correctly.
After lunch we headed over to the stage area to see what was on. We managed to catch some of the Swashbuckle pirates in action, and the geekdaughter made me laugh by pretending she was too cool to sit with us to watch, and moving a little way away. She was still watching though!
The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and soon the kids were begging for slushies – the geekdaughter’s keen eye had spotted the stand that allowed you to pick your own flavours and serve yourself!
One thing that struck me about Geronimo this year was how much bigger it was. Last year the geekdaughter and I had managed to get around and see/do pretty much everything, but this year we didn’t even try. I think this is why I like this festival so much – there is so much going on that you can pick and choose and do whatever suits you. The packed stage schedule meant that if you wanted to you could just sit there and watch the great entertainment from the CBeebies stars all day. Or snooze in the sun, if you felt so inclined…
There was a new big arena in place this year, with a great schedule. I missed out on the jousting knights because they were on at the same time as we were queuing for the zipline, but we did manage to catch some of the motorcycle display team, who were fabulous. Again, if you were that way inclined, I got the feeling that you could set up camp around the arena and enjoy the entertainment there for the whole day.
I was pleased to see the Pasture zone back again this year, with a selection of animals for the kids to get hands on with. The geekdaughter queued for a pony ride, but just as she got to the front of the queue it was time for their break (there was a sign explaining that they needed to rest for 15 minutes each hour), and she decided she didn’t want to wait any more. There was still plenty to see though – we enjoyed getting up close to the owls
and the geekson and I enjoyed watching the ferret racing, and meeting the ferrets (who all had cute little hammocks to sleep in)
As well as the large entertainment areas there were plenty of smaller things to see and do as we made our way around the site. Like musical instruments made out of old fire extinguishers:
And the geekdaughter now wants a hammock for the garden…
The highlight of the day for the geekdaughter was watching Dick and Dom on stage. She now considers herself to have grown out of CBeebies, but is a big fan of CBBC. And when Dick and Dom came on stage she became a little groupie, leaving us to go and stand right at the front of the stage so she could join in! There was a great atmosphere, and I didn’t worry about her being out of sight at all.
All too soon the time came for us to do our final activity, and we headed back over to the Monkey Do area. I knew my little daredevil daughter would love it, having seen her do it last year, and I was right:
I was a little more concerned about my birthday boy though. The geekson can be a little more timid than his big sister, and climbing in cargo nets in the trees is not an activity I would have thought he would enjoy. However he has decided now he is 6 he is going to start challenging himself a little more. He threw himself into the climbing, and had an absolute whale of a time. Here is is about to roll down one of the nets:
Despite spending the whole day at Geronimo, there were areas we didn’t get to explore because we ran out of time. We managed to miss the circus shows throughout the day, which was another thing the geekdaughter and I had enjoyed last year and I had hoped to do again. We also didn’t make our way to the My Little Pony friendship bus until right at the end of the day, when it was already closed. And I missed my chance to have my photo taken with Tiny Clanger in the 3ft and Under zone, which both kids decided they were too old for now!
But at the end of the day, we didn’t really feel like we’d missed out on anything. We’d had a great day out as a family all together. We’d had loads of fun. I am definitely pleased we went on the less crowded day, as it didn’t feel overly busy, and we got to do everything we wanted. I really hope Geronimo comes back to Tatton Park next year, as it’s a great day out.
Disclosure: I received a free family pass for Geronimo for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own.