50 things to do this summer in the Midlands
Another school year is over and the long summer holidays are finally upon us.
While happy children are celebrating having a six-week break stretching out before them, parents and carers may be worrying about how they are going to fill all of their time.
But there is no need to fret any longer.
Here is a list of inspiration to help you answer the inevitable daily question: What are we doing today?
There are plenty of activities and attractions on your doorstep, from sports and leisure, to arts and crafts, to culture and educational fun - with some things that you can do free in the great outdoors.
Also included in our guide are suggestions for day trips for all the family that you can make further afield and some simple ideas on how to keep young minds entertained indoors when the weather refuses to play ball.
Which is your favourite attraction? Let us know in the comments section below.
1 Go wild at a Dudley Zoo summer school. Children aged eight to 11 can sign up to Go Wild! Week, August 6-12 and 15-19. Zooversity is on offer for 12-15s August 22-26.
2 Take to the sky at Baggeridge Country Park. The Closer to The Edge woodland aerial ropes adventure course is 40ft above the forest floor. Participants can take the leap of faith and traverse through the rope course challenges in what is described as a real high-level adventure guaranteed to keep the adrenaline pumping. There are also 150 acres of country park to explore and a teashop.
3 Visit the animals at Northycote Farm and Country Park in Bushbury, Wolverhampton. Norfolk Black turkeys, geese, chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, Shropshire sheep, Hereford Cattle and pigs all call the farm home.
4 Explore the gardens on the Shugborough estate.
Seven secret doors lead to a magical place in the grounds. Maps are available until September 4.
5 Listen to live music in Bewdley's Jubilee Gardens. The Madi Stimpson Trio perform on August 7 and Ramblin Jack, August 14.
6 Discover more about life under the sea. The National Sea Life Centre Birmingham has teamed up with Disney-Pixar to celebrate the release of Finding Dory. Until September 11, visitors can follow an interactive trail and discover facts about the real life versions of the movie characters. Visit www.sealife.co.uk/birmingham
7 Discover your wild side at West Midland Safari Park. A summer school is running throughout the holidays. There are three different clubs on offer, all tailored towards different age groups, but all offering hands-on animal experiences and knowledge of the natural world. Visit www.wmsp.co.uk/summer-school
8 Sing along with Frozen at the Forest Arts Centre in Walsall on August 4.
Tickets are £3 and £2 from Forest Arts Centre on 0300 555 2898 or at the venue 30 minutes before the show, subject to availability.
9 Go pond dipping at Priory Park in Dudley between 2pm and 3.30pm on July 30. Places need to be booked on 01384 812474.
10 Try to crack the secret code at RAF Museum Cosford. Young detectives will follow a spy trail around the National Cold War Exhibition and in the process take in aircraft of all different shapes and sizes. Museum admission and the spy trail is free. Call 01902 376200 for details.
11 Enjoy forest school at Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge every Friday from August 5 from 11am. Book on 01384 815279, 07773078427.
12 Have a kickabout at Lightwoods Park, Bearwood – football coaching Wednesdays 2-4pm for over-7s.
13 Take on the 'The Big Friendly Read' Summer Reading Challenge. Sign up for free at your local library, read six books to complete the challenge and collect rewards.
14 See your favourite books brought to life at the Black Country Living Museum.
Listen to tales of faraway lands, scout out locations for Peter Rabbit, Lord of the Rings, Little Red Riding Hood and more and enjoy Roald Dahl themed games.
15 Train to be a Jedi Knight at Stafford Leisure Centre. Lammascote Road. Training sessions are available for five-to-11-year-olds. Put on a Jedi robe, meet a Stormtrooper, learn the art of the lightsaber, train with a Jedi Master, creep through the Death Star, develop blaster accuracy and enjoy an ultimate battle against Darth Vader. Visit www.staffordbc.gov.uk/stepinto for details.
16 Pick your own fruit and veg at Essington Fruit Farm's 50-acre Hobnock Lane site, from strawberries and raspberries to runner beans and broccoli. Visit www.essingtonfarm.co.uk
17 Hunt for treasure at Himley Hall and Park. Dress up as princesses and pirates for the trail from 11am to 3pm on August 3. Free event, aimed at youngsters.
18 Try your hand at leather crafts. Drop-in sessions every Tuesday at Walsall Leather Museum between July 26 and August 23. Items children can make include drawstring pouches, key rings and memory books with a different item each week. Cost: £1 per item; no need to book.
19 Browse the stalls at the Giant Bank Holiday Monday Market at Sandwell Valley Country Park on August 29. As well as various stalls, there will be donkey rides and face painting. Parking is £2 per vehicle.
20 Take on the National Trust's list of '50 things to do before you're 11¾'.
It's crammed full of fun outdoor activities to encourage kids to get mucky, discover their wild side and get closer to nature. Available at National Trust sites around the region.
21 Get into the carnival spirit at Oak House Museum, West Bromwich. Celebrate the Rio Olympics on August 2, 3 and 4, 1-5pm. There are carnival themed crafts including masks, garlands, and musical shakers as well as quizzes and trails. The Oak House Olympics on August 4 features games, races, and sporting activities around the house and gardens.
22 Explore 26 acres of wildlife-friendly grounds at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust's Wolseley Centre headquarters. It offers a range of activities and attractions including a play trail, boardwork and gardens. A network of accessible paths weave around grounds suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and little feet and there is also a visitor centre and shop as well as indoor and outdoor seating areas.
23 Make a collagraph print at Walsall's New Art Gallery. Youngsters aged four-plus can create a detailed map print on July 28, 11am-12.30pm and 1-2.30pm. Places must be booked. Cost £2.50. Visit www.thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk
24 Give your thumbs a rest at a non-digital games day from 11am until 3pm on September 1 at Haden Hill House Museum in Cradley Heath.
25 Learn more about animation at Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford. Nick Davis will be running a seaside themed workshop from 10am until 1pm on August 3.
It costs £3 per child aged six or over. Call 01785 278345.
26 Try your hand at golf at Warley Woods. Free coaching summer camps are on offer to youngsters from Sandwell on August 1, 3, 8 and 10 from 10am to midday for five to eight-year-olds and 12.15pm-2.15pm for nine to 14-year-olds. Youngsters living outside of Sandwell can also get involved on August 17 and 19. Cost: £8 per child per session. To book call 0121 429 2440
27 Enjoy the magic of the Wizard of Oz. Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Lion and Tinman on their quest to follow the yellow brick road during the summer panto at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Shows run August 24 to 27. Tickets are still available for the evening performances. The production follows last year's sell-out smash hit Beauty And The Beast. Tickets are £9 for adults and £7 for concessions. To book call 01785 619080.
28 Make your own puppet at Bantock House in Wolverhampton. Join a workshop which mixes puppetry and animation on August 2. It will run from 12.30pm and costs £4 per child. Places need to be booked by email firstname.lastname@example.org
29 Get close to nature at RSPB Sandwell Valley's Wild Wednesdays. Each week there will be a different theme. Runs every Wednesday until August 31 from 11am to 3pm – £5 per child or £4 for members.
30 Tempt your tastebuds at Cadbury World. Entertainers to suit the whole family from magicians to ventriloquists and photograph opportunities with characters including Fredo and the Caramel Bunny. Running until September 4. Tickets need to be pre-booked before arriving at Cadbury World to guarantee entry.
31 Have a go at glass crafts at the Red House Glass Cone in Wordsley. Families can work in the glass fusing studio to make an array of glass treasures. Items will be fused in the kiln and available.To find out more and to book call 01384 815571 or 01384 812381.
32 Get crafty at Wightwick Manor on Thursdays and Fridays in August for crafts inspired by fairgrounds.
33 Join Dudley Canal Trust staff every Thursday for a 45-minute boat trip and craft activities.
Also, help to make bunting based on the different theme each week.
34 Get on your bike at Cannock Chase on some of the country's best bike routes with plenty to suit all ages and abilities, ranging from relaxing family rides through picturesque valleys to the singletrack of Follow the Dog and the Monkey Trail for enthusiasts.
35 Compete in the Teddy Bear Games. Bring along your treasured cuddly friend to Beacon Park in Lichfield on August 10. Entry is free and the day features games, rides, inflatables and stalls. Children can bring along their teddy bears and compete in races to win prizes. It runs from 11am until 3pm at the park, which is in easy reach of the city centre.
36 Travel by steam on the Severn Valley Railway. Take a trip along the 16-mile line from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth.
Family tickets are available from £39. Regular summer events include fun days, with different themes at the Engine House in Highley on Wednesdays from July 27 to August 24.
37 Take a dip at the splash pad at Walsall Arboretum, usually open every day from 11am until 5pm during the school holidays until September 4.
38 Try to guess whodunnit at the Museum of Cannock Chase which is hosting Hound of the Baskervilles on August 19 and 20. Fired Up Theatre will present this classic tale with a new twist. Only the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, can find the truth. To book tickets call 01543 877666.
39 Watch traditional Punch & Judy shows at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery on August 4,
11am until 3pm.
40 Delve into the past at Dudmaston for the Festival of Archaeology which runs from July 24 to 31, young visitors can throw their own piece of pottery or make a fossil in the Discover Dudmaston trail. Visit nationaltrust.org.uk/dudmaston for opening and event times.
41 Show your creative flair at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Draw, paint and make every Sunday 11am-1pm during the holidays. Every week there will be an activity inspired by animals and nature.
42 Learn more about moths at Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve on August 5 from 9pm until late.
43 Grab your cowboy boots and hat for a county and western festival at Stourport Riverside
from noon to 8pm on August 20 and from 11am to 6pm on August 21.
Admission is free.
44 Join the Holiday Club at The Way in School Street, Wolverhampton. Activities on offer include climbing, gym, dance, art, crafts, football and games. Running from July 25 to September 2, each day starts at 8am and finishes at 6pm. Breakfast and lunch are included. For details call 01902 328290.
45 Take a dip in the region's only brine pool at Walsall's Gala Baths – it' warm, salty waters are wonderfully relaxing and therapeutic. Swimmers can also make a splash in the main pool and there is a busy programme activities on offer. For details and opening times call 01922 653150.
46 Make a splash at the Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge at a water disco every Friday afternoon from 3.30pm to 6pm. The leisure pool complete with slides, waves, bubble seat and rapids is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and from 8am to 6pm on Sundays.
47 Visit the vintage fleet at Aston Manor Transport Museum in Aldridge. Open between 10.30am and 4pm on Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays.
48 Enjoy a day at the races. Free children's entertainment and pony rides are on offer at Wolverhampton Racecourse on August 8, entry is £11, children free.
49 Hit the Wyre Forest walking trails on a waymarked route from the Discovery Centre, in Bewdley.
50 Tempt your tastebuds at Stafford Farmers Market, August 13.
Fare on offer includes bread and cakes, plants and flowers, wines, jams and preserves, fresh meat, sausages, bacon, black pudding, chicken, eggs, fruit and veg, fish, pastries and chocolate.
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