Half-term fun with a Halloween twist

Any other year, tourist attractions across the Black Country and Staffordshire would be gearing up for a busy half term full of family-friendly activities.

Halloween at West Midland Safari Park
Halloween at West Midland Safari Park

But this year, many of the region's tourist spots are having to compromise on what they can provide to ensure they are Covid-safe for visitors.

However, there is still lots of autumnal fun to be had at countless attractions as they gear up for half term and a Halloween like no other.

Francesca Cox at Walsall Leather Museum

Walsall Leather Museum will be running a number of online craft activities for families.

Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader of Walsall Council, said: “We will be offering a range of half-term online themed craft and creative activities for children and families to enjoy from home and while the museum meeting room is not in use due to the need for social distancing.

"Look out for posts in the coming days on the We Love Leather Museum Facebook site.

“As with all museums and galleries across the country, visitor numbers are relatively low at the moment, however our virtual options and wider online choices of family craft activities to engage with at home are proving as popular as ever.”

Wild Zoo in Bobbington, near Wombourne, will be running bird shows twice a day.

Director Zachary Hollinshead, with a bald eagle, at Wild Zoological Park, Halfpenny Green

Zoo director Zac Hollinshead said: "We're having to work within reduced capacity, so all bookings need to be made in advance, but we are continuing our Big Bird shows throughout October half-term, taking place twice a day, and there will be our wild wonders animal displays which, again, are twice a day.

"It's business as normal for us and while we're not doing anything for Halloween this year, we are planning to do a Christmas experience.

"Again, as we're on restricted numbers, we aren't planning anything extra during half-term, but we are still running the biggest bird show in the country every day.

"We reopened as soon as we were allowed to in line with the government recommendations and we're operating at a third of our normal capacity, so the maximum we can have in is 126 out of a usual number of 400.

"In terms of Covid safety, we've installed extra hand washing facilities and new sanitisation stations on literally every corner, our staff are in masks and we do recommend that even though we're mostly an outdoor venue that visitors wear masks.

"They're also essential to wear indoors for people above the age of 11 as well, plus we have plastic screening, no contact areas and a one-way system throughout the indoor area.

"So far, we've had no problems. Everyone's been abiding by the rules and recommendations, and I can say so far, so good."

Halloween at West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park is getting ready for a pumpkin-packed celebration this Halloween with its annual Spooky Spectacular event.

It includes a new interactive trail, Mystery of the Pumpkin Thief, where children must help Grenith the Witch and her family members find out who is stealing their prized pumpkins from the park’s new Pumpkin Patch.

Head of marketing Vikki Green said: “We are super excited for this year’s Spooky Spectacular!

"Not only can guests see our incredible animals out on safari enjoying the Halloween season including our new Indian rhino calf, they can also meet our favourite family of Witches and Wizards, The Grimleys, who have taken over the Discovery Trail.

“This year also sees the addition of the park’s very first pumpkin patch installation, which will likely become an iconic photo point this Halloween for guests.

"The discovery stage has also been transformed so visitors can take a socially distanced selfie with the park’s witches and wizards.”

To celebrate the spookiest of seasons, the park will be themed with more than 1,100 pumpkins and 55 illuminated scarecrows, which guests will be able to see in all their glory when they are illuminated after dark during the park’s extended opening hours on weekends and half term.

Brave guests will also be able to experience the Adventure Theme Park and Land of the Living Dinosaurs in the dark

The meekats at Dudley Zoo and Castle get into the spirit of Halloween and a taste for a pumpkin

And at Dudley Zoo, the animals are already enjoying spooky carved treats.

Keepers at the Castle Hill-based attraction are using the hollowed-out fruit as seasonal enrichment for many species across the 40-acre site, including its 15-strong meerkat mob.

For visitors, there are also spooky-themed fun and games during half-term, including a contactless Halloween Hunt around the zoo’s eerie site, passing some of its most haunted areas along the way.

RAF Cosford museum and Dudmaston Hall are also open for exploring during half-term.

Bike rides in the woods can be enjoyed at Dudmaston while visitors can look out for wildlife on the water or be inspired by the National Trust’s '50 things to do before you’re 11 and ¾' activity ideas.

A '50 things' activity chart can also be collected from reception on arrival and create their own fun.

Dudmaston is open from Sunday to October 29, from 11am to 4.30pm, and November 1, from 11am to 4pm.

A spokeswoman for Dudmaston said: "Now, more than ever, we need to enjoy time together outdoors and soak up all the beauty that autumn brings.

"Whether you’re planning a misty morning walk at Dudmaston or a family bike ride through the woods, take time to pause and cherish the changing colours of the season."

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