Norfolk’s best half-term family fun

Newborn lambs are sure to be a big hit this half-term

Newborn lambs are sure to be a big hit this half-term - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2011

What is it really half-term already? Yes, it seems like only yesterday they went back after Christmas, but schools are out again. Fear not though, SIMON PARKIN has plenty of ideas for events and activities to keep the kids happy.



Banham Zoo, February 16-24, open daily from 9.30am, £11.50 (£10 cons), £8 children,

Rosie the Ranger needs help from some little explorers on her mission to discover exotic and wonderful animals. Enjoy a whistle-stop tour of the animals of Southeast Asia, make a mini telescope and even get a fantastic animal face paint.

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The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, February 18, 10am-2pm, free admission, 01603 630000,

A day of fantastic family activities. Take part in free dance classes for ages from 18 months upwards. Join the audience for an enchanting puppet performance (pre-book for this) and much more.


Bure Valley Railway, February 16-24, £12, 01263 733858,

Join the Bure Valley Railways new mascot for a half-term week of fun. There will be free travel for every child who brings his own teddy when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (maximum two children per adult), plus a kids competition to see how many teddy bears can be spotted on the journey and teddy themed food in the Whistlestop Cafe. Trains depart Aylsham 10am, 12.40pm and 3.30pm; Wroxham 11.10am, 2pm and 4.40pm.


Time & Tide Museum, Blackfriars' Rd, Great Yarmouth, February 24, 11am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01493 743930,

Worms might be slimy but they can also be cuddly! Wiggle your way around the 'Art & Play' exhibition and then make wriggly worms and colourful creatures to take home.


Bewilderwood, February 16-24, normal admission prices, 01603 783900,

Guess the wishes of your favourite Bewilderwood characters, warm yourself around the Bewilderwood bonfire and make your wish for the coming year the secret Boggle way at this half-term special event. Can you work out which wish belongs to which Boggle or Twiggle? Find the wishes and match them to your favourite characters to win a prize.


King's Lynn Corn Exchange, February 20, £10, 01553 764864,

Join Andy Day from Andy's Wild Adventures (CBeebies) and his comedy partner Mike James as they go on an adventure in a time machine which sends them on a quest to collect the things they need from the past to help a very Old Andy in the future. Suitable for ages 3+.


Norwich Puppet Theatre, February 21, 10am, £7.80, 01603 629921,

This pre-school workshops focus on the adult working with the children developing their creative and making skills to make their very own puppet. Instruction will be given on the basic building of the puppet and then lots of time to get messy with the glue adding features and decoration using a vast array of materials.

AGES 5-10


Norwich Castle Museum, February 18-22, 11am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm, normal admission prices, 01603 493625,

Help create your own mystical and fantastical world as part of the Magic Worlds exhibition at Norwich Castle. Throughout the week we'll be constructing a large 3D artwork with artist Emma Jarvis. And there will be roving magic with local magicians Martin and Joe (Feb 18/20). Can you guess the secrets behind some of the tricks featured in Magic Worlds?


Sainsbury Centre, February 19-24, 11am-4pm, free admission, 01603 593199,

Each holiday the Sainsbury Centre offers free activities for families inspired by objects in the collections and a booklet packed with fun facts, drawing and trails for you to do in the galleries and when you get home. This half-term it is inspired by Alberto Giacometti's The Tree. Make a Giacometti flick book, build a tree sculpture with our bits of wood, relax on our soft, squidgy landscape, play games, hear a tree story. Plus lots of colouring-in and drawing materials available.


Norwich Arts Centre, February 18, 10.30am-3.30pm, £35, 01603 660352,

Does your child have a talent for stories and a flair for language? Norwich Arts Centre holds this fun and dynamic workshop which will introduce the basic structure of stories so they can?turn fertile imagination into narratives. Each child will take home a simple book made, written and illustrated by themselves. Suitable for ages seven to nine. Booking is essential.


Time & Tide Museum, Blackfriars' Rd, Great Yarmouth, February 20, 11am-1pm, 1.30pm-3.30pm/10am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01493 743930,

Meet an award winning puppet-maker and make a special sock-faced character to take home. Bring your own sock! Then work alongside a spooky puppeteer, make a shadow puppet and put on your own puppet show. Pre-book.


Sheringham Park, February 19, 10.30am/2pm, £3.50 children, £2 accompanying adults, 0844 2491895,

Learn about the animals that live in Sheringham Park and make a plaster-cast animal print on one of two Animal Tracking sessions. With a guide, follow tracks to check a camera trap and look for the animal signs' prints, feeding signs and, ahem, droppings. The walk is around two miles with some rough ground making it unsuitable for pushchairs. Pre-booking essential.



Norwich Theatre Royal, February 18, £12.50-£5.50, 01603 630000,

A high energy, foot stomping, totally interactive production featuring all the very best hits from High School Musical 1, 2, & 3, Hannah Montana, Camp Rock and Glee. The hyper-active professional cast promise the ultimate party to celebrate all of these awesome teen sensations in one concert. Don't forget your dancing shoes and be prepared to rock out!


The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, February 19, 7.30pm, £7.50, £5 children, 01603 630000,

You're in love, exams are over, summer is here and the party has started. University and big decisions lie ahead, but everything is suddenly about to change. A young man tells the story of a night to remember, with consequences he'll never forget. With an original rap soundtrack, this compelling, witty and intimate play explores the harsh realities of growing up, independence and the consequences of a journey which will change lives forever. Suitable for ages 14+.


Norwich Theatre Royal, February 17, 7.30pm, £21-£5.50, 01603 630000,

The mesmerising and dynamic Yamato drummers from Japan return to the UK. Yamato are master performers. They take the ancient art of taiko drumming. Yamato's nine performers display their breathtaking expertise on over 20 drums from huge barrel-like Odaikos to hand-held instruments. The company has been touring the world for 20 years and has been seen by over two million people.


The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, February 21, 7pm, £3 adv/£3.50 on the door, 01603 630000,

Norwich's longest running showcase of urban talent returns with the freshest MC's, dancers, beatboxers and musicians. Think you've got the talent to take to The Garage stage? Pop along to have a go and get yourself an audition. Slam Sessions also offer the chance to work with professionals to develop your skills.


Norwich Arts Centre, February 16, 10.30am-3pm, £25, 01603 660352,

Learn how to craft a beautiful piece of artwork simply using paper and a scalpel blade with artist Su Owen at this workshop for ages 16+. No experience necessary. All materials and lunch provided.


Rackheath Village Hall, February 20-23, 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee on Feb 23), £7 (£5 cons), £5 under-14s, 07552 086982,

Rackheath Players celebrate their 60th birthday with the feelgood sci-fi musical. Join Captain Tempest and his fearless crew on their voyage into hyperspace as they dodge asteroid storms, contend with mad scientist Doctor Prospero, and battle with a foul space monster – while still finding time to sing numerous rock'n'roll.The show

takes the 1956 film with plot taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest.



Wroxham Barns, Hoveton, from February 16, open daily 10am-5pm, admission to Junior Farm £5.75, under-2s free, 01603 783911,

The spring lambs arrive at Junior Farm at Wroxham Barns this weekend and daily indoor bottle-feeding sessions will begin on February 11. The lambs are all the smallest of triplets from local farms and are currently in quarantine, but will be ready to meet visitors throughout half term. The lambs will consume more than 5,000 litres of milk during the bottle-feeding season, so there is plenty of feeding to be done. There are lots of other activities too, from feeding guinea pigs, rabbits and pygmy goats, to taking part in pony grooming and collecting eggs at the hen house. The Piggy's Play Sty playground, fun fair and mini-gold will also be open throughout half-term.


Love snowdrops? Once again a host of local gardens are throwing open their gates for your to enjoy the sight of these harbingers of spring. On February 17, Hoveton Hall Estate has another Winter Wonderland Walk (10.30am-3.30pm (last entry 2pm), £8, ages four-16 £4, which includes refreshments. And the

snowdrop season continues at Raveningham Gardensto March 1 (Mon-Fri 11am-4pm/Sun 2pm-4pm) £4 (£3.50 cons), under-16s free. Walsingham Abbey Estate has 20 acres of snowdrops to see every day this month (daily 10am-4pm), £4, £2.50 ages six-16.


Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, near Fakenham, February 16-24, 10am-4pm, normal admission prices,

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Gardens have a Nature Explorers event to take part in over the half-term break. Learn all about the Spring migration and what to look out for. Fun self-guided trail around the reserve, playing games and answering questions along the way. Event included in admission price.


Aylsham Town Hall, February 21-23, 7.30pm (2pm matinee on Feb 23), £6 (£5 matinee), 01263 731430,

Half-term theatrical fun by the (ice) bucketful as the Aylsham Players present their 2013 pantomime. A wedding to a handsome Prince should be a happy day, but not when there's a jealous Sister around who will stop at nothing to take your crown. Princess Gotya persuades the evil Wizard 'Smirnoff' to kidnap the Ice Queen Princess Katya.


The Forum, Norwich, February 17/24, £7.50 (£6.75 cons), £6.15 children (7-15 years), pre-book on 0370 9011227,

What goes on in the BBC's Norwich outpost? The BBC offers a fantastic chance to gain access to the rarely seen world behind the TV and radio programmes on its behind-the-scenes tours every Sunday. The events include a visit to the Look East TV studio and production gallery, a peek into the presenters' dressing-rooms, a wander through the Radio Norfolk studios while they are broadcasting, plus a look at the new purpose-built Open Studio that gives the chance to try a hands-on interactive studio experience.


Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, February 18-22, 10am-4pm, normal admission prices, 01362 860563,

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, a couple of miles north of Dereham, reopens for the weekdays of February half term, with lots of family fun activities. It's Jonny's birthday and Mrs Clackett is busy preparing for his party. She has so much to do and needs some help! Come and lend a hand, meet costumed characters, get creative in Art Attack and find out about buying items in a time before supermarkets and internet shopping.


Lotus, Hethel, February 20, 2pm, £39, 01953 608547,

We'd all like to get behind the wheel of a Lotus but how about behind-the-scenes of how they are made? The company's hi-tech manufacturing facility at Hethel, is where the world class, high performance sports cars are all individually hand built. The company hosts one of its regular factory tours that shed light on the history and heritage of Lotus as well as seeing the cars being assembled, painted and checked.


West Stow Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village, near Bury St Edmunds, February 16-24, 10am-5pm, normal admission prices, 01284 728718,

Meet an Orc, an Elf and a Rangers as the ever popular Ring Quest family challenge event with a Lord of the Rings theme returns to West Stow with new clues to follow and runes to collect before you can solve the puzzle and save Middle Earth. Your family could win the big prize at the end of the week. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Norwich Castle Museum, February 19/22, 11am/12pm/2pm/3pm, normal admission prices, 01603 493625,

These ingenious early projectors have been around since the 17th century and still delight today. Listen to fascinating stories and see beautifully coloured and animated pictures projected in the darkened lecture theatre.


Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, February 18, 7pm-11pm, £3.50, £2 children, 01603 270449,

It's nearly spring (hurrah!), so celebrate with Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden at South Walsham by looking out for signs of spring in the woodland garden to win a prize. Drop-in any time between 10am-5pm over half-term to take part. Free with garden entry.


Lakenheath Fen Reserve, near Hockwold, February 17, 10am-4pm, 01842 863400,

It's National Nest Box Week so why not go along to RSPB Lakenheath Fen Reserve and make your own nest box (£6 per box) for your garden? Discover which birds might use it and how to look after it, materials and guidance provided. Drop-in between 10am-4pm, no need to book.