When the nominations rolled in for the Little Vikings Awards, one name kept cropping up: Bushbabies. With so many people naming Bushbabies as one of their best things in York for kids, we had to check it out. The York-based Woodland Adventure Co runs a variety of sessions: Bushcraft for 6 to 11 year olds and Bushbabies Adventures and Bushbabies in the Park for 2 to 6 year olds. Having a three year-old to entertain, we booked in for a Bushbabies session in Rowntree Park and hoped that she wouldn’t be in one of her ‘I don’t want to go outside’ moods when the day came.
As luck would have it, after days of torrential rain and the park having been closed due to flooding the week before, we chose a lovely sunny winter morning to go along. I needn’t have worried about not being able to find the group as the gazebo (the normal teepee is in for repair), tarpaulin and gathering of little adventurers gave the game away. I’d heard a lot of good things about Adam Dove who leads the sessions and now I know why. As well as being a lovely guy, he’s brilliant with the kids and knows exactly how to relate to them. His energy is infectious and he doesn’t mind looking silly if it entertains the children.
Once our group had arrived (there’s a maximum of 12 per session), Adam told us that we were going to hunt out a pheasant called Phil to give him some medicine because he can’t fly. And so we did, but that’s not all. First off, the kids made camouflage vests so they could disguise themselves as piles of leaves so as not to be seen.
Then we headed off on our adventure, following a trail, hiding behind trees and looking for clues as to where Phil could be. We found various woodland creatures in the undergrowth that Adam had squirreled away (ha!) before we arrived and had even rigged up so that they moved. It was really magical; clearly a lot of effort had gone into the planning and preparation. When we finally found dear old Phil the pheasant, the kids took it in turns to shoot him across the park using a combination of woodland magic and one of Adam’s contraptions. It was hilarious. After all that exertion, it was back to the tent for hot chocolate and popcorn that Adam cooked in front of us over the fire. The kids then took it in turns to toast their own marshmallows.
So do you think we enjoyed it? Just to recap: a gorgeous winter morning in the park, a well-planned, fun and funny adventure, hot chocolate, fresh air and marshmallows. I’ll let you guess. Let’s just say that we can see why Bushbabies received so many nominations, and that they’re very deserving finalists (if you agree, you can vote for them – or anyone else – here).
Good to know – The Woodland Adventure Co runs a variety of sessions for 2 – 11 year olds throughout the year, with sessions in York and Harrogate. We took our baby with us (a year old) who enjoyed pottering about in the leaves too. They also do birthday parties which are incredibly popular – book early if you’re interested. All the details are on their website.
Thank you very much to The Woodland Adventure Co for having us. As always, our reviews are completely independent.