Geronimo Festival will also feature a huge array of arts and entertainment including live music, theatre and a literary zone. Arts and crafts, zip lines, tortoise greeting and den-building will also be there, among the hundreds of crazy and unusual activities for children under 12.
Last year I was due to attend Geronimo with my children, but unfortunately it fell just after my hernia surgery, so we couldn't go. Instead of wasting the tickets, I arranged for one of my readers who had entered my ticket giveaway to go instead with her family. Her name is Sara, and here's what she thought...
So, off we go today on an adventure. I think I am a bit of a mean mummy really. I never tell my girls if we are going for a special day out or off on holiday. Truth be told I can't be doing with the constant asking of how many days until/when do we go (it's up with 'are we nearly there yet'). So to prevent me loosing the plot, I just don't bother to tell in the first place. Bad mummy. That or my sanity I say. Anyway, so we're off on an adventure, it takes us (daddy driving, Megan age 8 and Lola age 7) about 50 minutes to get there. Traffic is a bit of a pain slowing us down, it's never good round that area, not much in the way of signage either, so we arrive a bit later than anticipated.
The event is separated into different zones, dependent on what you fancy taking part in, like the circus zone, adrenaline zone, groovy zone, and all aimed at different ages and abilities.
Having got in easily we go straight to the VIP area to see Katy from I Can Cook (who is super lovely and just like she is on the TV). We also met Cook and Line from Swashbuckle who were hilarious (I so wanna be a pirate now!).
The VIP area has indoor and outdoor seating, free Wifi, two small bouncy castles and a couple of large outdoor games like twister. If you do want to meet and greet the celebrities (you could also have also met Mr Bloom, Alex and a couple of others), this is definitely the way to do it, a very small queue and you're done.
We sat in the VIP area and had our home brought picnic (ever the money saver) and listened to Mr Bloom on stage (didn't want to get mummy too excited yet!). He was on for about 20 minutes and plenty of room to get to see him up close.
Then we had a wander round to see what food there was to offer in the eating areas. Always good to go after you've just eaten so no temptation if you're on a money saving mission or a diet, although daddy did think it would be rude not to try out a portion of curry and chips at £4.00. There was a good selection available from wood fired pizzas, Portuguese, Chinese noodles, Mac and cheese, Indian, hotdogs and burgers. The girls were tempted later by a children's cocktail at £3 each. There were a couple of ice cream vans dotted around and frozen yogurt cart.
We had a look then to see what stalls were around and there was a mix of clothing, sweets, muffins, photography, bracelets, charity stalls and even the chance to pay for a princess make over.
Over to the helter skelter then for a 10/15 minute queue for one go (not me of course, still sulking). Then we went over to the circus tent to watch a show which was great.
Time for a bit of physical activity now, the girls had a go on road bikes, and then mountain bikes (daddy had a go too!) then saw two awesome guys doing a mountain bike demonstration.
We made the mistake of leaving the monkey climbing area and zip wire to the end to let the queues go down a bit and when we got there at 4 o clock we were told we were too late go to on them (the event is on 100-5.00). Luckily the girls are old enough to understand but maybe not so good for younger children.
Right, onto one of my biggest irritations. Toilets. Mummies that have had children have weak bladders (well most of us anyway). Children have the bladder the size of a camel but leave it until the last possible moment and then are 'super duper desperate'. Toilet facilities were poor. Two blocks of four toilets for ladies (one full and shut by lunchtime, the other blocked by mid-afternoon), one block with four for men, and four portaloos. There were baby changing facilities available in a couple of portaloos.
Ok, now to ticket pricing. I've deliberately left this to the end as I do think this will be a major downside for a lot of families. An early bird family ticket for four is £86 or you can buy on the day at £25 per person, VIP entrance is available at a cost of £37.50 per person. For the VIP ticket extras there was only one separate food facility which was actually just outside the VIP area so anyone could have used it, and there was a bar (both not included in the price). There is a further £5 charge to park at Tatton itself. I personally don't think the extra money for being a VIP was worth it (sorry Geronimo) unless you really wanted to ensure you meet and greet the celebrities. I do think £100 for one day without any food and drink is a more expensive day out for many families with small children.
All in all a cracking day and we would love to go again but be more organised next time. The sun shone (I even got a little bit sunburnt) and our feet were tired. I would recommend a proper look at the map and areas you definitely want to visit, and if you want to do any of the meet and greets and activities check the timings. The area is nice and flat for buggies/prams and not too far to walk around. All the staff and celebrities were lovely. Nice one.
Geronimo is a family event aimed at children under 12 and their families. The event is focused on quality family time, imaginative play and the aim of the event is to encourage families to play, learn and have fun together.
Children aged under 2 can attend free of charge and do not require a ticket. All adults must be accompanied by a child. For a £5 ticket upgrade, visitors to Geronimo at Harewood can also access the State Floor (child upgrades are priced at £3.30pp).
For tickets and more information visit The Geronimo Festival Website.