Why a giant beached 'whale' is coming to Valley Gardens as part of half term activities in Harrogate district

A week of free entertainment and family themed activity is coming to locations across the Harrogate district this half term including the Valley Gardens, Ripon Market Square and Knaresborough Castle.

By Graham Chalmers
Monday, 7th February 2022, 10:28 am
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 10:48 am
A gigantic 18 metre whale accompanied by its scuba diving hosts will entertain and educate families about sea life preservation at Harrogate’s Valley Gardens.
A gigantic 18 metre whale accompanied by its scuba diving hosts will entertain and educate families about sea life preservation at Harrogate’s Valley Gardens.

The events will include fabulous street entertainment, including interactive installations such as a gigantic 18 metre beached whale in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, an animatronic tortoise plus a fascinating recycling themed art installation, live music and lots of creative activities.

The theme for the week’s activities will explore the wonderful planet that we live on and the topical issues of the environment, sustainability and recycling.

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Gemma Rio, Head of Destination Harrogate said: “Our Planet, Your World is the perfect family-friendly event to kick off what we hope will be an exciting year of live events across the Harrogate District. Events like this increase footfall to our town centres, and attract visitors from further afield, which in turn helps support our local businesses.

"I would encourage everyone to come along this February half term, enjoy the events, celebrate the world we live in and learn about how we can protect it.”

The six-day extravaganza will take place across the District with activities taking place in Boroughbridge, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge and Ripon between Monday 21 and Saturday 26 February. Our Planet, Your World will be delivered by Harrogate Borough Council and is funded by the ERDF and HM Government Welcome Back Fund.

The fun will kick off in Boroughbridge on Monday, February 21 with earth themed interactive storytelling sessions designed to spark the imagination.

Held in Boroughbridge library between 10am and 1pm, the sessions will take place every 30 minutes and children will be invited to come in their favourite dressing up costume.

On Tuesday, February 22, Masham Town Hall will offer children a sea inspired craft activity between 11am to 4pm.

Each child will be given the opportunity to create their very own sea themed craft which they can then keep and take home. Children will be welcomed to attend in fancy dress.

Ripon’s Market Square will play host to lots of family themed fun on Wednesday, February 23.

An awe-inspiring animatronic polar bear will roam the Market Square with its keeper and appear at regular slots throughout the day.

The stunningly lifelike beast will also be available for selfies and pictures.

Those looking to share some creative expression will be encouraged to help create a powerful visual about the urgent plastic crisis in the oceans.

Working alongside an artist, visitors to Ripon can help to create a 5ft sculpture from plastics and can bring their own recycling from home to add to the sculpture.

Once complete, the sculpture will be donated to a local school to act as an educational legacy.

Those interested in homing the sculpture are invited to contact Visit Harrogate on [email protected]

And if that wasn’t enough, live music, face painting and crafting activities will also be available free of charge between 11am and 4pm.

Harrogate’s Valley Gardens is the venue for Thursday, February24 with enough events taking place to keep the family entertained between 11am and 4pm.

People won’t be able to miss the gigantic 18 metre whale accompanied by its scuba diving hosts, who will entertain and educate families about sea life preservation.

Two life-size kangaroo impersonators, The Roo’s will be bouncing around the paths causing mischief and posing for pictures, whilst a huge lifelike animatronic tortoise will fascinate visitors.

There will also be a Sea Fairy Globe with a magical sea fairy encased inside and Bob the Lobster to entertain the children and put a smile on their faces. Craft activities will also be located around the Valley Gardens offering heaps of fun and helping to keep those nimble fingers busy! Live music and face painting will complete the fabulous day out.

Friday, February 25 will see a crafting activity take place at Pateley Bridge. Located beside the play area, the crafting session will have an earth theme and will be available for families to enjoy between 11am and 4pm.

The last day of activity will take place in Knaresborough Castle Grounds on Saturday, February 26 from 11am to 4pm.

Boat-About will see a life size boat cruise around the grounds entertaining families. Crafting activities will also take place and free face painting will delight the smaller children

Some of the attractions and activities are weather dependent so people are advised to keep an eye on the Visit Harrogate social media channels and website for any event changes before visiting www.visitharrogate.co.uk/ourplanetyourworld.

Our Planet, Your World will be delivered by Harrogate Borough Council and funded by the ERDF and HM Government Welcome Back Fund.

For further information and details about the event visit: www.visitharrogate.co.uk/ourplanetyourworld. For more events and things to do in the area go to www.visitharrogate.co.uk.

Our Planet, Your World: Events timetable

Monday, February 21 Boroughbridge Library, storytelling sessions* 10am – 1pm

Tuesday, February 22, Masham Town Hall, sea theme crafting activity*, 11am – 4pm

Wednesday, February 23, Ripon Market Square, animatronic polar bear, interactive art sculpture, face painting, craft activities for children and live music, 11am-4pm

Thursday, February 24, Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, 18 metre beached whale, animatronic tortoise, roaming entertainment acts, craft activities for children, face painting, live music and much more 11am – 4pm

Friday, February 25, Pateley Bridge play area, environmentally themed crafting activity for children11am - 4pm.

Saturday, February 26, Knaresborough Castle Grounds, Boat About, crafting activity for children, face painting 11am – 4pm

*Places are limited, people are advised to arrive