Half term is usually spent at home, with some very early morning visits to the park and soft play. This half term I decided to do some research into autism friendly places to take all 4 of the children out together. I came across some great things to do, but on looking into them they were all fully booked. So we decided to skip the autism friendly tag and just look for somewhere local and book to take them. We decided on Gullivers World in Warrington, which is about 40 minutes from where we live. I booked a minibus to take us, as none of the children travel well on public transport and 2 buses and a train would have been a bad start to a stress free day out.
When we arrived at just after 10.30am there was a large que of people waiting to get in, but the que moved really quickly and as soon as we got inside the doors a staff member noticed our disability buggy and guided us to a wide aisle with no que. The lady who sorted out tickets asked if we needed facilities for changing and went on to explain were the disabled toilets were. I was immediately impressed as these are things we would normally have to find out for ourselves. The children couldn't wait to get started and we headed off for our first ride.
It is the first time we have braved a fair ground since Mr L had a massive meltdown at Wales 2 years ago, the noise levels were too much for him. But he went to Gullivers with his primary school in July and had a blast. I was concerned about how Miss S would deal with the noise and brought some ear defenders with us for her to use. She was a little reluctant to get out of the pushchair at first, bit with a little encouragement she came on the teacups with us. She kept her ear defenders on and wouldn't let Mr L spin the cup, but she loved it. This triggered something inside her and she spent all day smiling and laughing, she was requesting to go on rides. Her particular favourite was the bumper cars.
We got to a point where the 3 ASD children were getting a little over stimulated and needed to calm down, so headed for some lunch. As we sat and chatted I said to Dave and my Mum how lovely it was to be doing something 'normal', days like this for us and once in a blue moon. As we sat there with all the other families eating lunch, no one could have guessed what a big achievement this was for my little ones. We were no different to the other families there sat eating lunch and it was lovley to feel just like everyone else for a change. I do hate to use the word normal, because who defines normal!
I am so pleased we tried as the children loved it and we now have another place to add to our list of places that they children can tolerate.
I think for an Autism family Gullivers is perfect as there is a good balance of rides and outdoor play areas, so if you need to go and chill out there is somewhere to go and do it.
We had booked our minbus to collect us at 3.30, but they were on stand by should be need to go earlier. As it happens the clock creeped round quicker than we ever imagined and it was soon time to go home. We still hadn't been to one of the areas in the park and nobody was ready to go home........ que the only meltdown of the day. I wasn't bothered by it though, at least the meltdown was because nobody wanted to go home and not because nobody wanted to be there. We managed to bundle them all into the waiting minibus with the promise of a return visit soon, and I for one cant wait for the next visit!
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