7 things to do and places to go this February half-term
- Credit: IWM / Paradise Wildlife Park / Archant
Looking for something to do as a family or places to go during the February half-term holiday?
Here's 7 suggestions of things to do during the school break in Hertfordshire and across the county border in Bedfordshire and South Cambridgeshire.
Go to the zoo
1. Whipsnade in Action at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
This February half-term, families can get a peek into what it’s like to work with the world’s biggest and tiniest creatures at Whipsnade Zoo’s Whipsnade in Action trail.
From Saturday, February 12 to Sunday, February 27, children and their grown-ups will be able to explore some of the coolest jobs in the world, as the UK’s largest zoo reveals the secrets of life as a zookeeper, zoo vet, zoo gardener and member of the zoo’s transport team.
Make your way around the Whipsnade in Action trail or stop to enjoy one of the talks and activities.
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Play 'Whose Poo?' to see if you have what it takes to be a zoo vet, take the animal quiz to see if you are zookeeper material or test your memory to see if you could remember a script like a zoo presenter.
You can discover what it takes for zookeepers to care for four-tonne, endangered, Asian elephants as well as miniscule, extinct-in-the-wild, La Palma Pupfish.
See if a love of learning and the ability to stay calm under pressure would make you the perfect zoo vet.
Find out what type of branches the zoo’s gardeners prune for giraffes and rhinoceroses to munch on, or how a team of sheep and goats help them care for the plants!
Best known for its colossal beasts that graze enormous enclosures, like the zoo’s herd of Asian elephants, the conservation zoo is home to hundreds of species, from leaping lemurs to adorable otters.
Six-month-old rhino Nandi can currently be seen galloping around with her herd of Southern-white rhinoceroses, and the zoo’s ever-boisterous, young Amur tigers are always a delight to watch.
Explore the Whipsnade in Action trail and talks, alongside the zoo’s almost 10,000 animals at Whipsnade Zoo this February half-term by booking at zsl.org
2. World of Animals at Paradise Wildlife Park
Following its temporary closure in January for necessary groundwork and construction work, Paradise Wildlife Park reopens to visitors on Saturday, February 12.
The popular Hertfordshire zoo in White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, has hundreds of animals to see in the World of Animals – from penguins to lions and meerkats to adorable red pandas.
In the Year of the Tiger, why not see the magnificent Amur tigers in the bespoke Land of the Tigers habitat?
Also opening on Saturday, February 12 is the new Bamboo Kitchen restaurant.
Walking with dinosaurs
3. World of Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park
While at Paradise Wildlife Park, kids can also wander around the life-sized animatronic attractions in the neighbouring World of Dinosaurs.
This attraction features 30 moving, snapping, roaring dinosaurs. From cunning Velociraptors, to vast Brachiosaurus, from terrifying Spinosaurus to the mighty T Rex, they are all here.
Visitors can also experience a dinosaur train ride, the ‘Rex Express’, through the World of Dinosaurs, where every twist and turn reveals a new prehistoric surprise.
Paradise Wildlife Park tickets must be pre-booked. To book your trip, visit https://www.pwpark.com/
Let it snow...
4. Snowdrops at Benington Lordship
The picturesque gardens at Benington Lordship near Stevenage are opened every year in February when they are carpeted in a spectacular display of naturalised snowdrops around the remains of the Norman keep and surrounding moat.
Hellebores, aconites and winter flowering shrubs are also in flower, as well as the coloured stems of acers, cornus and willow around the ponds.
The snowdrop walk, which runs along the wall at the top of the moat, was planted in the early 20th century by the present owner’s family.
Opening the gardens at snowdrop time became an annual tradition which has continued to the present day.
The gardens are open for viewing the snowdrops from Saturday, February 5 to Sunday, February 27, daily from 11am to 4pm.
Admission costs £7 adults (£8 on Sundays). Children under 16 years pay £3 and it is free for under threes.
To book, visit beningtonlordship.co.uk/snowdrops
5. February Frolics at Willows Activity Farm
It's that time of the year to enjoy lambing season and some February Frolics at Willows Activity Farm.
Enjoy a baa-rilliant family day out this half-term at the activity farm in Coursers Road, London Colney.
Running from February 12 to February 20, visit the Lambing Marquee to see the farm's newest born lambs.
Tuck the Shepherd will be on hand to help out and there will be bottle feeding demonstrations throughout the day, too.
Visitors can also meet Bo Peep in her very own show with a fun hunt to find Bo Peep’s lost sheep and a fleecy headband to make and take home.
To book tickets, visit www.willowsactivityfarm.com
Take flight to the museum
6. Half-term fun at de Havilland Aircraft Museum
Based at Salisbury Hall, London Colney, the aviation museum devoted to preserving the heritage of Hatfield's de Havilland name has activities planned for the half-term break for children.
The museum will have a quiz trail with a lucky-dip for the finishers, games, and crafts activities as well as aeroplanes within the hangars and on the aircraft park for everyone to enjoy.
Among the exhibits at the museum are three Mosquito aircraft, including the prototype designed and built at Salisbury Hall during World War Two.
For full details, check the website of the UK's first aviation museum at www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk
7. Family activities at IWM Duxford
IWM Duxford in south Cambridgeshire is another good place to visit with children for half-term family activities.
Put your paper plane making skills to the test as you try to beat the world record with Flight Academy and head to the American Air Museum and build your very own bespoke cockpit in Cockpit Control or help restore the hacked system in Airforce Action Stations.
Spitfire Engineers will be held daily throughout half-term and weekends until February 20.
Included in the price of admission, get approved for take-off by exploring four activity stations dedicated to the iconic Spitfire inside IWM Duxford’s Conservation Hall.
Families are invited to grab a pre-flight checklist and get hands on with practical challenges.
Discover the science behind wing design, the forces of flight, fuel consumption and engine power, before making and testing a propeller.
Spitfire Engineers will enhance the Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon exhibition experience for families.
Another free event included in general admission to the museum is Forces of Flight.
New to Duxford this February half-term, this is running at Europe's largest air museum on Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, February 27.
Families can discover more about the science behind how flight is achieved. Experience exciting chemistry show demonstrations and practical challenges from the SkyLab STEM team as they explain the aerodynamic forces that keep aircraft flying.
Then, get the whole family to join in the Aim High activity and build your own model planes before putting them through a gruelling flight test.
For more, book your visit via IWM's website at www.iwm.org.uk/visits/iwm-duxford