The bears are back in town! A visit to Bear Town by Fran Mosco
I was really intrigued when I saw Steph posting about Bear Town on Exploring Exeter. Then when I clicked on the link I noticed something familiar about what I saw; the font, the colours. That bear! Synonymous with the Bear Trail, I quickly realised Bear Town has been set up by the same people that established the Bear Trail. Having previously blogged about the Bear Trail, I was even keener to get down there and see exactly how the “immersive”, “ultimate play experience” which supports the Early Years Foundation Stage would, quite literally, play out.
Situated at Westcott, there is plenty of parking and I found the online booking system simple to use. Tickets are astonishingly reasonably priced and booking ahead is essential as each session is time-bound and of limited numbers to ensure there is sufficient room to socially distance. There is hand sanitiser a-plenty and everyone is temperature checked upon entry.
Walking in is like walking onto a Disneyland movie set. The mock street instantly had kids running off to explore and I have honestly never grinned so inanely for a full hour and a half seeing how much fun everyone was having.
Each role-play area has various different interactive elements within it, and there is continuity between them which I really liked, as it felt like less of a sensory overload for the small people. Figure out how to work the conveyor belt at the Farm Shop and they’ll be dumping bricks in the skip at the construction site in no time! This is so much more than soft play and I was impressed by how each area has a QR code you can scan to reveal how different elements of the curriculum are being met. Although I must admit, I only did this once as I was far too busy being served cupcakes in the cafe, restocking the shelves in the shop, watching a show and having my hair washed at the amusingly named hair salon……all under my daughter’s instructions of course! When I asked what she liked the best, she said crawling through the hidden tunnel. See if you can find it!
Never one to decline a cuppa, I was also keen to explore the café, where everything is made freshly to order. It was nice to see more than just your average ham sandwich on the menu, and again, I thought it was incredibly reasonably priced. With loads of space, light and beautiful views of the rolling green hills, it was a really nice place to sit whilst the kids ran up and down the “street” dressed in capes and masks, fighting off the lunar zombies. The mind boggles!!!
Ten minutes before the end of the session I was bemused by the music coming from the loudspeaker, only to realise it was a song announcing it was tidy-up time. And all the children jumped to it! Incredible! Hot tip: It is available to download on their website!
Everywhere I go, it seems like someone is talking about Bear Town, and for good reason. It will be interesting to see how things evolve between now and then, as staff are super keen to receive feedback about what is working well, as well as things that could be improved.
Although if I’m honest, the only thing I think we could benefit from is some sort of loyalty scheme, as we have already booked to go again!
Bear Town is open seven days a week, with a choice of three, two hour play sessions per day:
9:15am -11:15am, 12:00pm – 2:00pm, 2:45pm – 4:45pm
Bear Town is recommended for children age 1- 7 years.
Located between Exeter and Cullompton on the B3181.
About the author: Fran Mosco
Introducing; Fran Mosco, Queen of keep-fit she’s the perfect blogger for sport and fitness activities in and around Exeter.
Fran moved to Exeter from Doncaster in 2005 for a new job, never having been this far South and not knowing a soul. Before moving, Fran was quite firmly told that once people move here they never leave, and it turns out those people were right! Fran loves the laid back way of life in Exeter and living in the middle of a city where you get glimpses of rolling hills and estuary. She also loves being less than an hour from the coast and the middle of Dartmoor. Exeter suits her active lifestyle perfectly, she regularly runs, cycles, walks and paddleboards, Fran loves to write about these experiences.Tags: Bear Town, devon with kids, Exeter, exploring exeter