From circus skills to spy school, there’s absolutely no shortage of things to do and see in South Yorkshire this half term.
So gather your little ones and try one of The Star’s top picks for the region:
- VISIT RARE PAINTED DOGS AT YORKSHIRE WILDLIFE PARK
An adorable litter of endangered Painted Dogs will be thrilling visitors at Yorkshire Wildlife Park this week.
Visitors will be mesmerised by the seven three-month-old African Painted Dog pups, who are already showing their mischievous charm as they explore their 8,000 square metre reserve, featuring pools, caves, woodland and dens.
The birth of Painted Dog puppies to mum Thabo was a landmark in the conservation programme, as they had become one of the most endangered canine species on the planet. Numbers have dropped from 500,000 in the 1900s to dangerously low levels of less than 5,000.
The jam-packed schedule at Yorkshire Wildlife Park this week includes fun activities for all the family, an all-day programme of ranger talks and feeding times that will bring wildlife conservation to life, and the new Big Bugs and Deadly Bugs interactive shows.
The park will also be celebrating International Polar Bear Day on Sunday, with a Polar Bear Trial to highlight the damage global warming is causing to their Arctic habitat.
A spokesman for the park said: “Victor, the polar bear, is in fine form after his recent health and dentist check up which was completed successfully with a 30-strong team, including South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue officers.
“The meticulously-planned two-hour operation saw the 18-year-old, who weighs in at 530kg, carefully lifted onto a special table for the veterinary team and specialist dentist Peter Kertesz, of Zoodent, to carry out extensive tests.
“Victor got a clean bill of health and, once the anaesthetic wore off after 30 minutes, he got back to life in the world’s biggest polar bear reserve as if nothing had happened.”
The amazing sights at the park this week continue with new stars, rare black rhinos, Hodari and Dayo, who have settled in at the extended African Plains reserve. There will also be the chance to see leopards and tigers, Bactrian camels, guinea baboons, grevy’s zebras, giant otters and the park’s tallest residents, the giraffes.
The weather proof 600 square metre Monkey Play Barn allows adults to sit back and relax with a coffee while children enjoy three levels of play with a range of climbing frames, dens, slides and rope bridges - in full view of the baboon reserve through a glass wall.
The brave can try the Zoom Super Slide Barn providing hours of adrenaline filled fun, with an Astra slide and two drop slides.
- JOIN MEADOWHALL’S SPY SCHOOL
Do your little ones have what it takes to be a Meadowhall Secret Agent?
Let them go undercover this half-term at the shopping centre’s Spy School, where they’ll have the chance to put on a disguise and choose a new identity before solving the clues around the centre on the Super Clue Trail. Once one mission is completed, they will receive a special Spy School certificate from Mission Control.
A spokesman for the centre said: “After booking their place, children arrive at the Spy HQ reception desk to commence recruitment procedure. They will be allocated a spy name, given a disguise and led on the trail to hunt down clues to catch the enemy. Once the enemy has been identified, it’s time to learn about fingerprinting in the craft area back at Spy HQ.”
Visit www.meadowhall.co.uk/spy to book.
- TWO DAYS OF GREENTOP CIRCUS FUN
Sheffield’s Greentop Circus is holding two days of circus activities this week, for children aged 8-16.
The activity days, Tuesday and Wednesday, will feature an assortment of aerial, dance, acrobalance and circus skills sprinkled with some fun warm ups, warm downs and games.
A spokesman for the event said: “Both days start with games and a warm up, with aerial skills including trapeze and silks in the morning and either dance or acrobalance with circus skills and hula hoop in the afternoon.
“There’s no need for any previous experience, we juyst ask that participating children wear comfortable clothing, such as leggings, a long-sleeve T-shirt, and indoor trainers or plimsolls.
“We also ask that children bring their own lunch, drinks and snacks to the sessions, which are held 10am to 4pm both days.”
Call 0114 244 8828 for details.
- VISIT CHATSWORTH’S WILD WEST!
Children will be transported to a Wild West themed adventure at Chatsworth Farmyard and Adventure Playground this half term week, with a variety of rootin’ tootin’ activities on offer for young explorers.
The bravest cowboys and cowgirls will be able to venture through Tin Can Alley and get up close with some famous Wild West critters including snakes and spiders, before hopping on a trailer ride through the park. It will also be the first chance to use the new Bird Hide which looks out from the paddock to specially created naturalistic feeding areas in Stand Wood.
- SHEFFIELD’S SCIENCE ALIVE!
Science Alive! is back in Sheffield this weekend, with tons of free fun science themed activities.
Ever fancied testing the toughness of chocolate? How about learning about edible DNA, or trying your luck on a solar system treasure hunt? That’s just scratching the surface of the interactive fun on offer at this year’s Science Alive!
Spark your imagination at Sheffield’s Winter Gardens this Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, for the event, hosted by Sheffield University Students Union and Sheffield Volunteering - and don’t forget your Sheffield Children’s University Passport to Learning. The activities are all drop-in sessions.
- ‘DISCOVER DAYS’ SESSIONS
Weston Park Museum, Tuesday-Thursday, 1pm-4pm
Learn about otters, their behaviour and habitats in creative drop-in sessions, and then take home your critter creation. You can also find out more about the signs and clues that otters leave behind, from footprints to poo! Sessions are free.
- ANIMAL ENCOUNTER DAY
Aston Springs Farm, Tuesday, 10.30am-4pm
Book on to a one-hour tour of all the animals at Aston Springs Farm, where you will get to feed the meerkats, cuddle a bunny, hold a chicken and collect their eggs. Places are limited, call 0114 2876699 to book.
- BAKE SWEET TREATS
Cannon Hall Museum, Tuesday, 1pm-3pm
Join the cook in the Victorian kitchen to make and decorate rainbow cookies and sweet treats to take home.
For tons of other things to do and see, visit www.littlesheffield.org.uk/events or check out Sheffield Mum Naomi Cooper’s blog for tons of terrific ideas, at www.tripswithatot.com
Happy half term!