This year we were invited to the launch of The Eden Project Winter Wonderland. Being very new to Cornwall, I had yet to visit the project, and from all I had heard my expectations were high. So I borrowed my niece and nephew and we set off to see what we might find.
And what we found more than met my expectations.
The Rainforest bio-domes were lit in a beautiful wintery blue, and as we made our way down the steps to we caught a glimpse of the ice rink with its glistening chandelier and the ever changing colours of the lighting warming the icy room.
We picked up a tasty hot chocolate and the children had waffles with chocolate sauce and cinnamon mini doughnuts. And then Ice skating commenced.
It was the first time the kids had ever been ice skating so we were a little dubious as to how well this would go down, but with the help of Poppy and Poldark the Penguins they were loving it. The fear of falling that comes with being an adult was no where to be seen and replaced with the joy of this amazing slippery fun game. The room was large with lots of seats, for those of us who are coordinately challenged and don’t feel like jumping onto the ice, and you can wrap yourself up in one of the many warm blankets placed around the room for spectators.
Soon it was time to go and get warmed up, so we left (somewhat reluctantly) the icing ballroom and made our way across the park towards the Rainforest bio-domes.
We decided, as we knew it would be warm inside, that we would hang up our coats, a very handing tip there! But as we did we began to get hints of what was to come as we watched people leaving the Enchanted Rainforest with what looked like snow on their heads and shoes. Our excitement could no longer be contained, and we headed towards the entrance.
As we reached the doors a message began to come through on the large tv screens, a message from the Future, a future where Christmas is no longer celebrated!! The man sending the message is called the Professor and he and a team of Ark-ivists have come to us from the future to try and save the future of Christmas.
As you make your way inside the rainforest you are greeted by the time travellers who invite you to take part in games and tasks to try and discover the meaning of christmas and the smells of christmas. It is our job to show them what christmas is all about.
With snow falling amongst the tropical palm leaves and christmas songs being sung all around the search for the meaning of christmas is wonderful and intoxicating for those young and older! I don’t want to give away too much, as I think that somethings are just best left as a surprise. But as we wandered around the Enchanted Rainforest not knowing what we would find around the next corner it was magical.
Time travel, Christmas games, Christmas smells, Snow, it was certainly the actors from the Cornish Theatre Company Wildworks who put so much effort into their performances to make all who were there believe that they really were from the future. So constant in their parts that not once did they slip into modern life and all the children truly believed that these time travellers did not know what a balloon was or what the smell of christmas might be.
The final stop on our Winter Wonderland evening was the visit to meet Father Christmas. I knew that the children would be excited about this, but what I didn’t expect was that I would enjoy it just as much as they did. Inside Father Christmas’s tent you will find yourself transported into his Grotto. With books on the shelves, beds for the elves, maps of the world and trains that take your message to the big man himself and finally an open fire to keep us all warm. Each adult and child was greeted with warm smiles from the Elves and a seat to sit down and watch the performance. The children were all given a small little envelope package and instructed that they must keep tight hold of this and give it to Father Christmas when he asked for it.
There were stories and singing and wonderful explanations of how does Father Christmas deliver tricky sized gifts, or what if there are dogs there, or how does he drive his sleigh with so many obstacles in the way. It truly is a magical experience that children and their grown ups will love.
Booking for meetings Father Christmas is strongly advised as this magical experience is understandably very popular.
Overall I think that I enjoyed my evening at The Eden Projects Winter Wonderland just as much as the children and it truly did get me in the Christmas sprit.
All Winterwonderland performances are from 4pm and the cost is included in your Eden Project admission ticket. But please check The Eden Project website for full details on the times and prices;