When we asked the girls if they wanted to enrol in a witch and wizard school they jumped at the chance, as they love Halloween. The venue for this spooky family friendly event was at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, located in Keynsham between Bath and Bristol.
It was our first visit to Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, and we didn’t really know what to expect but we were surprised just how much there was for families to enjoy including outdoor playgrounds, indoor soft play, animal encounters and a model railway.
For Halloween the park had been given a spooky makeover, and we had our first taste of what was to come when the girls received their witch and wizard passports on arrival at the reception desk plus a wristband for pumpkin picking and carving.
We arrived at the park early after an overnight stay at the nearby Doubletree by Hilton Bristol North, and when the girls caught a glimpse of the huge outdoor adventure playground it was difficult to coax them away.
What did the trick was when the announcement boomed out of the PA system that Headmistress Broomhilda was ready for her students.
Headmistress Broomhilda welcomed each pupil by name as we entered the large marquee which has been transformed into a Witch and Wizard School. As we took our seats, it was so well themed with smouldering cauldrons, well trained actors and giant school house badges draped on the walls you actually forgot you were in a marquee. The girls said they felt like Mildred Hubble a witch from the Worst Witch novels.
After a brief introduction from the Headmistress and other staff on the rules of the school, each pupil received their witch or wizard hat and were allocated into one of the three house groups, each named after the Latin name for fox (Vulpes Vulpes), Badger (Meles Meles) and Deer (Meles Meles)
The girls were placed in the Vulpes Vulpes house (groups and family members are kept together) identified with a fox logo set on an orange background, put on their witch hat with orange ribbon which indicated that they were in the Vulpes Vulpes group and set off with their head of house to their first class of the day.
Each group had no more than 10 children, so there was plenty of room for the group to enjoy and fully take part in the activities.
As we entered a library themed room their first lesson was the ‘SPELLS’ class training and all pupils were given a wand and were taught some magical spells one of which was how to move a ball across the table.
As magical as it did seem from a distance Holly did work out the method telling me “Mummy, I know how they did it, it was a magnet moving the ball!”.
We had to keep our magical passports ready as at the end of each class, students receive their achievement sticker for their passports. There are three stickers to collect as they go through their training.
The favourite class for the girls was also the messiest – the ‘POTIONS’ class and how to make slime (which is in fashion in school playgrounds at the moment!) that glowed in the dark under UV lights.
As the girls followed instruction from their teacher they got to mix and stir their magical ingredients together until they produced some gruesome white slime. Chloe and Holly are both massively into slime just now, so this captured their attention especially when they got to test its magic as it glowed in the dark under the UV lights, the look on their faces was priceless!
There was a potion written on the wall, with the list of ingredients and instructions if you did want to try making it at home.
By the time we got to our final class of the day ‘BROOMSTICK SKILLS’ the girls were in their element as they were having such a great time. Each student is given their own broom to decorate and turn into a magical broomstick.
Boxes of troll snot (green ribbons) and troll hair (pink ribbons) were on hand for the children to personalise their own broomsticks, which was great fun for Holly and Chloe.
After using chalk to personalise their witch hat we joined up with the other 2 house groups outside for the Broomstick Flying School. As the children completed this mini assault course on the back of their broomsticks they had to prove their flying skills before being awarded with their very own flying licence.
The two hour witch and wizard experience ends with the pupils following Broomhilda for their graduation ceremony. It was a lovely touch at the end of the event to receive a certificate and flying license for completing this jovial curriculum.
What we liked about Avon Valley Park was there was so much to keep families entertained and next on our list was visiting the pumpkin patch. On arrival we were given pink wristbands which included free pumpkin carving and lantern making located in another marquee in the park.
The girls spent ages here as the lure of small wheelbarrows to push around and filling them up with pumpkins was great fun. We did manage to whittle down the pumpkins to just one, which they took back to the marquee to carve into their spooky creations.
This area was well equipped and all utensils you needed to carve your pumpkin and plenty of staff members on hand to get you started.
The range of activities on offer at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park is what adds to its unique charm, after pumpkin carving Holly picked the winning pig in the pig race followed by having great fun on the huge drop slides at the indoor soft play.
There were lots of things that we didn’t get to see and it would be great to come back in the summer months to make the most of the outdoor activities like boating, climbing walls and the outdoor adventure play park.
We had a really good time during our 3 hours at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park, and it’s definitely an attraction we would return to in the future.
The week before we were visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter but in its own unique way the witch and wizard school offered the girls an experience just as interesting and engaging.
The Halloween magic was built throughout our visit and I wasn’t expecting the girls to leave with so many items which included their witch’s hat, their personalised broomstick, pot of slime and spells, flying licence and a graduation certificate – it was really good value for money.
Opening Hours and Pricing
The park is open daily from 10am-5pm and the Halloween event us running up until 29th October. The cost of the Witch and Wizard School is £15.00 per child and £9.00 per adult. After the event you have the whole park to explore.
There are three intakes per day (11am, 1pm & 3pm) with up to thirty pupils (three classes of 10) in any one session. The recommended age range is 4-9-year olds. With my children being 6 and 9 it was the perfect age range.
You can purchase tickets online in advance on the Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park website.
Rather watch than read?
Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park
Pixash Lane, Bath Road
Keynsham, Bristol, Somerset BS31 1TP
We were invited as guests of Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park for their witch and wizard school