The arium nursery in Leeds has fairground rides, a well stocked craft table, and story time over the February half term; Best of all, it’s all free! This means you can save your pounds for a scrumptious treat in Cafe arium.
The activities run through February 18th with a special pancake day on Tuesday the 13th when pancakes and a selection of toppings will be available in the café. Although you wouldn’t want to plan to spend the entire day here, there’s plenty on to fill a pleasant morning or afternoon with the family. We visited the first Saturday of half term, and here are seven reasons you will want to stop in with your little ones.
1. Free fairground rides
Normally rides on a day out means spending a few pounds per child on two minutes of fun. Repeat this two or three times, and suddenly you’ve spent the price of a theatre ticket on ten minutes of entertainment.
Happily, over the half term The arium has two small fair rides that visitors can ride for free. As neither my five or six year old like ‘scary rides’, the carousel and other small ride were perfect for them. We visited in the morning and had the rides almost to ourselves!
Be sure to dress warmly if you go on a rainy day like we did. The kids would have loved a few more rounds, but I was freezing watching them in my poorly chosen shoes!
2. Free craft table
The craft table at The arium was very well stocked and also free to use. It is unmanned but there were lots of markers, stickers, card stock, rubbing trays, crayons and glue. Both of my kids love a bit of crafting. This is a recent development for Leo, but Lily has always loved making things.
We probably spent and hour at the table in total as they kept requesting that we go back. I left with a bag full of Valentine’s Day cards, drawings, and even a pair of hand made cat masks.
The arium’s first storytelling session of the day is at 10:30. The kids were read a variety of stories with gardening and nature themes while they sat on brightly coloured pillows. It was informal and easy-going, so children could wander in and out of the session as they liked.
4. Book swap
I wish we had remembered to bring some books for the book swap, as there were some great looking books to trade for!
5. Child friendly cafe
We had ourselves a cake and coffee at Cafe arium to refuel. There are plenty of sweet treats to choose from as well as hot chocolate and coffee. All of the goodies are handmade locally.
There are also hot breakfast and lunch options as well as a child’s meal box (£4).
The seating area for Cafe arium includes sofas and soft chairs as well as lots of high chairs for younger visitors. The relaxed setting gives it a nice feel for dining with kids.
The kids are adamant that we return to The arium ‘when it’s warmer’ so that they can properly enjoy the playground. As it was raining during our visit, they didn’t get to go down the slides, but they still had a good run around.
The equipment is bright and new and there is plenty of variety for both littler and bigger kids to play on so we’ll be back soon in better weather!
7. Flowers & gifts
The arium has a good variety of gifts and goodies for the foodies in your life. I gave the kids £3 to pick their dad out a Valentine’s gift and they certainly had plenty to choose from including artisan cheeses, interesting chocolate, and luxury biscuits to name a few.
Of course, being a garden centre, there is always plant shopping to be done as well!
If you’re planning to visit The arium it’s worth noting that my Google maps led me astray. It sent me into a farm yard further down the road. If you’re following a SatNav, be on the lookout for Thorner Lane where the aruim is located as there is no sign on the main road.
If you do go let us know what you got up to in the comments below!