As the weather very slowly starts to improve, my daughters and I are starting to have the confidence to plan day trips out and about in our lovely county. Many visitor attractions close down during the winter months, either totally or just during the week, so I would have a look at their individual websites before venturing out.

One that does stay open throughout the year is Eureka! The children’s museum in Halifax. It takes around an hour to get there from Harrogate but it is well worth the drive. It is a most amazing, hands-on, informative and fun place and my girls regularly ask me when we are next going!

The admission fee is incredible value as you pay once and then get free admission for the following 12 months. The museum houses a number of fantastic exhibits, including a mini supermarket, where the kids can shop, or pretend to work in. There is a garage for the budding mechanics, a desert area, an underwater zone, a sound garden and lots more. The largest attraction, the My body area has been closed over recent months but is due to re-open this spring after a massive face-lift so I will be looking forward to going back to check it out.

A little closer to home is the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream farm near Bolton Abby. I’ve mentioned this place previously in my column however this winter they have extended the play area to include two huge outdoor play barns.

They are open-sided so can be quite chilly, but they are under cover so make the place much more appealing if the weather is poor. One side is for the younger children with a selection of wooden climbing frames, the other side is for the older children with a variety of adrenaline pumping activities like rope swings, and slides. The diner continues to serve up delicious American style food such as hotdogs, burgers, pancakes and sundaes. The staff at the ice cream farm always come across as particularly friendly and helpful which ensures that we visit time and time again.

A recent new discovery for me is the lovely little visitor’s farm in Esholt, near Bradford called St Leonards Farm Park. It is open throughout the week other than on Mondays. The farm itself has a nice range of animals and a small petting area where you can hold a rat or something similar, should you have the desire!

There is hay barn for playing in, peddle tractors and electric ones for the bigger kids. There is a nice partially covered picnic area and a lovely little café if you’d rather eat indoors. An added bonus on this farm is a great big indoor soft play area, complete with a four lane slide where the kids can run off any remaining energy! Unfortunately rumour has it that this fab little farm is closing to the public after this September so I’d recommend that you check it out while you can!

What’s on?

Friday, March 15

9.15am-noon Football Tots, Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon. The classes are a great way for children and parents to enjoy time together and develop the essential skills needed for starting school. Classes also on a Wednesday. Contact Brian on 01765 620374 or 07595 297639 for booking info and specific class times.

10am-noon Stay & Play and Toy Loan Session run by the Harrogate Toy Library at Harrogate High School.

Friday, March 15-Sunday, March 24

10am-5pm Invention & Discovery Science Trail at Harlow Carr Gardens. Get your brainbox whirring for National Science Week and find out how science and maths relate to the garden on this thought provoking trail.

Saturday, March 16

11am-1pm Child Safety Event. Families with children under the age of five are invited to attend the event where they can meet the fire service, police and ambulance service staff and their emergency vehicles. Bring their bike to be security marked for free by the police. Receive child safety information and advice from the children’s centre staff. Receive resources from the Child Accident Prevention Trust and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Have a look around the children’s centre building, meet the staff team and find out more about services available for families in the local area. Free refreshments will be served. Arranged by Nidderdale and Rural Children’s centre in the grounds of St Cuthbert’s Primary School, Pateley Bridge, HG3 5LE.

Tuesday, March 19

9.30-10.30am Rugbytots for two-five-year olds at Jennyfield Styn Community Centre. Call Andy on 0845 3136708 for details and to book a free taster class (classes also on a Saturday and Thursday (Ripon))
Wednesday, March 20

10-11.30am Tots and Toys Toddler Group (term time) at Mowbray Community Church Westmoreland Street Harrogate HG1 5AT