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Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

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Young children love water and it can be fun for everybody, as well as great exercise. But it’s vital that you or another grown-up always watches your child when in, on or around any water, because drowning can happen quickly and quietly.

Toddler playing in pool with her mother

 

did you knowQuestion mark symbol

About 7% of child drownings happen in the bath. Stay with your child, even if she’s only splashing in a couple of centimetres of water in an inflatable pool or in the bathtub.

 

Drowning: what you need to know

Drowning is the number one cause of death for children under five.

Babies and toddlers are top-heavy, which makes them susceptible to drowning. If a baby falls into even shallow water, she cannot always lift herself out. Drowning can occur quickly and quietly, without any warning noises.

In Australia, children under five drown in:

  • swimming pools (16 children drowned in pools in 2009-10)
  • baths (five children drowned in the bath in 2009-10)
  • rivers, creeks and oceans (nine children drowned in a river or in the ocean in 2009-10)
  • dams and lakes (four children drowned in dams in 2009-10).

Children also drown in less obvious locations, such as nappy buckets, water tanks, water features and fish ponds – even pets’ water bowls. Four children drowned in these locations during 2009-10.

For every drowning, approximately three other children are hospitalised from a near-drowning incident, some of which result in severe brain damage.

Prevention and 100% supervision are the keys to keeping your child safe around water.

Water safety basics

It’s important to always stay with your child and watch him whenever he is near water – even when he can swim.

Supervision means constant visual contact with your child and keeping her within arm’s reach at all times. You should be in a position to respond quickly, whether you’re at the beach or the swimming pool, near dams, rivers and lakes, or at home when the bath or spa is full. Hold your child’s hand when you are near waves or paddling in rivers.

Supervision is not an occasional glance while you nap, read or do household chores. It is not watching your kids playing outside while you’re inside. It is always best for an adult, not an older child, to supervise.

You can also teach your child about water safety and how to swim. Many children can learn to swim by the time they are four or five.

First aid is an essential skill for the entire family to learn. Learning CPR and what to do in an emergency could save your child’s life.

Other practical tips for water safety

Around the house

The majority of drowning deaths in Australia result from a child falling or wandering into the water, particularly into a backyard pool. But a young child can drown in as little as 5 cm of water. Here are some tips to improve water safety around your house:

  • Remove any containers with water in them from around the house and make sure your child can’t get to any bodies of water, including the bath, on her own.
  • Use a nappy bucket with a tight-fitting lid and keep the bucket closed, off the floor and out of your child’s reach.
  • Always empty the baby bath as soon as you’re finished with it so older siblings can’t climb in.
  • Drain sinks, tubs, buckets, baths and paddling pools when you’re finished with them.
  • Secure covers to ponds and birdbaths and other water features with wire mesh or empty them until your child is at least five years of age.
  • Keep aquariums and fishbowls out of reach of small children. If you have an inflatable pool that is more than 300 mm in height, pool fencing laws apply. Outdoor spas also have to be fenced.

Outside the house – dams, ponds and tanks 

Children don’t always understand, apply or remember rules, especially when they’re distracted by play. So a securely fenced, safe play area can be an effective barrier between small children and water hazards.

A secure play area  can prevent your child from wandering near dams, creeks or other bodies of water, and gaining access to hazards such as farm machinery, horses and farm vehicles. FarmSafe Australia recommends a ‘safe play’ area, supported by family rules and supervison, as the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death to small children on rural properties.

  • Fence off the area between the house and any bodies of water.
  • Teach your child not to go near the dam, creek or water tank without you.
  • Secure a toddler-proof lid over any water tanks.
  • Fence off, drain or seal ponds while your child or visiting children are less than five years of age.
  • Make sure there are no trellises, ladders, windows or trees that your child could climb to gain access to the water tank.

Beaches, lakes and rivers 

  • Always stay with your child when he is playing in or near the sea, lakes or rivers. Hold your toddler’s hand near waves and when paddling in rivers.
  • Take your child only to patrolled beaches where surf lifesavers are present, and swim only between the flags.
  • Teach your school-age child what to do if she needs help: stay calm, float and raise an arm to signal to a lifeguard or lifesaver.

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It’s Summertime! That means that parents have extra time to spend with their children and what better way to engage in classic fun with family and friends than to visit an amusement park. We asked Travel Channel fans to tell us their favorite water, amusement and theme park picks. Take a look at your these fun picks — perfect summer trip ideas to fit every budget.
1
Cedar Point

 

Cedar Point

Sandusky, Ohio

Touting itself as the roller coaster capital of the world, Cedar Point’s 17 coasters will ensure you’re riding all day. Enthusiastic reader Alicia Goettemoeller describes the park as an “adrenaline junkie’s paradise,” while reader Nick Schuyler says it is “built for grown-up kids.”

2
Knoebels

 

Knoebels

Elysburg, Pennsylvania

This old-fashioned amusement park is a must for nostalgic types as well as the budget conscious – admittance and parking are free of charge. Reader Tracy Ginsburg Maier says “a family of 4 can eat, swim and ride all day for $100” at Knoebels.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Lake Buena Vista, Florida

No list of amusement parks would be complete without the happiest place on earth, Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Transport yourself back to your childhood with a trip to Space Mountain, or say hello to one of your favorite Disney characters.

4
Schlitterbahn Water Park

 

Schlitterbahn Water Park

New Braunfels, Texas

Spread across 65 acres, Schlitterbahn has held theAmusement Today title for best water park for the past 13 years. It features an uphill water coaster ride, beaches, surfing, and more.

5
Universal's Island of Adventure

 

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Orlando, Florida

Although most people associate Universal’s Islands of Adventure with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the park also has a number of roller coasters, 3-D rides and nearby restaurants and nightlife. Don’t forget to try the wizarding non-alcoholic beverage, butterbeer!

6
Six Flags Magic Mountain

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Valencia, California

This park kicked Cedar Point out of its top spot ranking as the amusement park with the most roller coasters. Six Flags Magic Mountain has 18 coasters, including the Green Lantern. Located near Los Angeles, the park also has plenty of Hollywood flair for those who prefer to stay on the ground.

7
King's Island

 

King’s Island

Mason, Ohio

King’s Island is one of the most visited theme parks in the US, with more than 3 million visitors per year. The park is especially known for its family-friendly attractions, such as Snoopy Island. Tickets to the main park also include admission to the nearby water park, Boomerang Bay.

8
Wisconsin Dells

 

Dells Water Parks

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells is a water park aficionado’s dream, with dozens of indoor and outdoor water parks to splash around in. One of them, Noah’s Ark, is the largest outdoor water park in the US. Many are open year-round.

9
Hersheypark

 

Hersheypark

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Originally created as a recreation area for employees of the Hershey Chocolate factory, today Hershey Park boasts plenty of chocolate paraphernalia, as well as roller coasters and a water park. Tickets include admission to the nearby ZOOAMERICA.

10
Knott's Berry Farm

 

Knott’s Berry Farm

Buena Park, California

Originally owned by the Knott’s jam producers, Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park is one of the older parks in the US, Knott’s Berry Farm is a classic for those looking for thrill rides, water rides and family fun.

The Top 10 Theme Parks in the UK

 
Blackpool Pleasure Beach remains the best-attended amusement park in the UK.

Theme Park Tourist’s guide to the top 10 theme parks in the UK – which should be top of your list to visit?

After last week’s article, in which I compared Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, two of my personal favourite UK theme parks, this week I’m running the rule over the whole of the top 10.

Unlike the previous duel, this list will be primarily based on attendance – the most popular amongst the general public. However, these figures are often a little shaky; some parks elect not to publish full attendance figures, and many parks are free to enter, but operate a pay-per-ride scheme – so I’ll factor some common sense in too.

10. Lightwater Valley

The Ultimate is Lightwater Valley’s leading attraction.
Image © Lightwater Valley

This last spot on the list was hard to pick; there are a number of theme parks in the UK which host some very good rides and attractions, such as Fantasy Island in Skegness, but I felt the Yorkshire’s Lightwater Valley deserved it most. The park has struggled just to remain open in the past decade but it must be credited for its resilience and determination to continue to add new rides. The most famous, of course, is The Ultimate, a bizarre steel hybrid coaster that stretches across the park on a 7 minute, 7,442-feet-long trip (it is the second longest coaster on the planet) through forests and over hills. More recently the park has focused on some stunning theming; the aging Rat Ride was rethemed to Raptor Attack in 2010, and has been met with rave reviews, and a new pirate area was installed in 2011.

9. Paultons Park

Cobra was the first step in a series of investments at Paultons Park.
Image © Michael Miller

Paultons Park is punching well above its historic weight in this list, but there is no doubt it deserves a place based on recent performance. Until 2006 the park was unheard of apart from those living nearby, but Paultons took the brave decision to invest in a major ride as it constructed Cobra, the UK’s first Gerstlauer Bobsled roller coaster. Rides of this type have been received very well over the world – they are not thrill rides by any means, but pack some pretty impressive speeds and forces into their small layouts. Cobra is no different and set a marker for the park.

The next step came when Peppa Pig World was installed in 2011, featuring seven small rides and a number of other attractions based on the children’s television show. Attendance has sky-rocketed during the past year and has let Paultons Park establish itself on a national basis.

8. Oakwood Theme Park

Oakwood’s natural beauty is only just eclipsed by the quality of its rides.
Image © MGBS4

Many people won’t have heard of Oakwood simply because of its location: it’s hidden away in the south west corner of Wales. This, unfortunatelym means that it garners only a fraction of the customers it should, and as a result the park has struggled at times. All the more the reason to visit!

The incredible wooden roller coaster Megafobia is the fundamental key to the park’s success, being by far the most “airtime”-laden ride in the UK. Nearby, the huge Gerstlauer Eurofighter roller coaster Speed is one the biggest rides of its type in the world. Similarly, Drenched (formerly Hydro) stands out amongst all water rides considering its colossal 120 feet, near-vertical drop. Unlike many other parks in this list, Oakwood is a very pleasant place to be; the Welsh countryside is beautiful and the lack of marauding youths is always a plus.

7. Drayton Manor

Apocalypse is one of the best drop towers in the world. Image © Matthew Wells

Drayton Manor has the misfortune of being in the shadow of the nearby Alton Towers, athough this possibly helps rather than hinders its visitor numbers. In terms of roller coasters it should have a big advantage over Alton Towers in that there is no height limit imposed on it. However Shockwave, the stand up coaster, is rough and short, and G-Force, the high tech X-Car, is possibly the worst ride I have ever been on. But the bad points end there!

Drayton Manor uses the height advantage fantastically with Apocalypse, the 180-feet-tall drop tower, which is no doubt one of the finest in the world. Maelstrom, a Frisbee style ride is also full of thrills, as is Storm Force 10, an incredibly well themed water ride with three powerful drops. However, the recent rise in popularity has not been down to the addition thrill rides, but as with Paultons Park, due to the addition of major children’s attractions. Thomas Land (Thomas the Tank Engine, that is) was received very well in 2008 and last year Ben 10: Ultimate Mission was added too. It’s one area in which it can realistically surpass Alton Towers, and so far it’s doing it very well indeed.

6. Chessington World of Adventures

The Vampire roller coaster interacts with impressive theming.
Image © Kevin Geraghty-Shewen

Chessington World of Adventures was once one of the biggest and most up-to-date theme parks in the country, but has since been eclipsed by the expansions of its sister parks, Thorpe Park and Alton Towers. However it remains a top quality theme park and recent additions show that it is really pushing to become a well-rounded attraction.

The park aims to please families and younger children, and therefore doesn’t have a great number of big thrill rides, but this is perfectly justified. Dragon’s Fury, a fantastic Maurer spinner and Vampire, a classic Arrow suspended coaster still provide surprising thrills for their small statures. Chessington puts a big accent on nature; there is a fantastic zoo, the recently opened Wild Asia area of the park also holds a bird sanctuary, and plans have been revealed for a Rhino Rally style safari ride for 2013.

5. Flamingo Land

The beautiful namesake animals make up a part of the stunning Flamingoland Zoo. Image © Nick Fletcher

Like certain other parks on this list, Flamingo Land is a late bloomer. In the nineties it was more of a large funfair, akin to Margate’s Dreamland or Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but of course without the coastal element. The rides were decent, but many of them only temporary. In 2002 a massive expansion began with the construction of Cliffhanger, the S&S combo drop tower. Since then five roller coasters have been added, including a pair of Vekomas ; Velocity, a booster bike, and Kumali, a suspended looping coaster, and Mumbo Jumbo, an S&S El Loco which briefly held the world record of steepest drop at an impressive 112 degrees. If recent rumours of a wooden roller coaster prove to be true we could certainly see an even greater rise for this Yorkshire park.

4. Thorpe Park

The monstrous Swarm makes its debut this March at Thorpe Park.
Image © Neil Zone

Thorpe Park is on the rise. The level of commitment to investment from owner Merlin, has been unbelievable and unprecedented in the UK. It is now firmly established as one of the top 5 UK theme parks and has the potential to be even further up the list. With LEGOLAND Windsor and Chessington nearby, Merlin have focused the park solely on the teen and young adult market. This means the large-scale additions always hit the news and create a lot of interest. The latest installation, The Swarm, is set to open next month, and will become the UK’s first Bolliger & Mabillard Wing Rider coaster. The Surrey theme park has regularly been condemned for its lack of attention to detail when it comes to theming, but if the plans and construction are anything to go by then The Swarm will certainly right this.

3. LEGOLAND Windsor

A wonderful scene of London in LEGOLAND Windsor’s Miniland. Image © Ashworth_Rich

LEGOLAND is an often-overlooked park, mainly because it doesn’t attempt to cater to the adrenaline-junkies amongst us. Despite its very specific target market, the pre-teens, it still boasts visitor numbers heading towards 2 million. The LEGO brand continues to be a major draw, and rightly so. One of the most incredible parts of the park is the famous Miniland, a recreation of the most famous sights around the world made from nearly 40 million bricks. LEGOLAND Windsor also doesn’t shy away from investment; you may not often hear of the additions it installs, but almost every year there will be a new attraction of some sort. The sheer number of shows, rides and attractions, as well as the recently built hotel, make LEGOLAND Windsor stand out.

2. Alton Towers

There’s no doubt that the coasters are the biggest draw at Alton Towers. Image © Phonnita Nakasint

Alton Towers is a one-of-a-kind sort of place, and many would claim it deserves an even loftier finish on this list. The stats don’t lie, however, but still the Staffordshire resort pulls in a hefty 2.5 million visitors a year. The main reason for its continuing popularity is simply the fact that it caters to everyone. It boasts the best collection of thrill coasters in the UK, as well as a variety of fun family rides and a plethora of smaller shows and attractions for the little ones.

The primary reasons that Alton Towers doesn’t quite top this list are its out-of-the-way location and relatively high entry price. Personally, I believe the range of attractions justifies this, but you can see why many people would go elsewhere when you have to dish out up to £42 per person just to get in through the gates (unless you’re usingTheme Park Tourist’s Special Offer Watch, of course).

1. Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Classic coasters such as Grand National add to the Pleasure Beach’s nostalgia. Image © Matthew Wells

Surprised? This historic amusement park has really dropped off the radar in recent years (or decades?) and been overshadowed by its Merlin-owned rivals. However, clearly it remains hugely popular with the British public due to its long history and being part of the entertainment and holiday district that is the Blackpool coast (charging only £5 for entry doesn’t hurt, either). It certainly needs a lick of paint here and there, and aside from the relocated Infusion, a Vekoma suspended looping coaster, there have been few additions of note in the past 12 years.

However, Blackpool Pleasure Beach still has one of the largest collections of coasters in the world, including a record 5 wooden coasters, and many cannot resist that nostalgic funfair, seaside atmosphere. The centrepiece attraction is The Big One, a colossal 213-feet-tall Arrow hypercoaster, which remains the UK’s tallest ride 18 years after its debut. Many criticise the Pleasure Beach, and even more hope for a serious revival, but there’s no doubt it’ll be at near the top of the pile for years to come.

Which is your favourite  theme park? Let us know in the comments 

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where_do_babies_come_from_by_hotamr-d4m0a0y

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here

~George MacDonald

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A lot of work goes into making a good sand sculpture. Sculptors need patience and endurance to create their masterpieces from thousands of tonnes of sand.  They can take up to two months to build and span up to 10 metres in height.

Sculptors use a special kind of sand that is also used on building sites and was most likely used in the foundations of your home. It is called heavy sand and is different to the sand you see on the beach because each grain is square, which means it sticks together better, like building blocks.  The sand on the beach is smoother and rounder so it doesn’t stay together quite as well.  Some beaches are located near the mouths of rivers have better sand for sculpting as it isn’t worn down by the surf.

The most important part of making a sand sculpture is the preparation, or what sculptors call “pound up”.  Pound up involves building wooden walls in a square or rectangle shape.  These walls are called “forms” and are about two feet tall.  After the forms are built they are filled with sand, like a giant sandpit, right to the top.  When the forms are full, sculptors set to work making sure that the sand is pounded down as hard as possible by whacking it, jumping on it and watering it.

Water is REALLY important; the water helps the sand stick together and helps it to set hard as it dries out.  Successive forms are built on top of the first and compacted down so that eventually you have what looks a bit like a wooden pyramid of forms, as high as is required, all filled to the brim with sand that has been pushed down into them.  When pounding up a couple of thousand tonnes of sand, this process can take weeks but care is very important because if the sand isn’t compacted hard enough the sculpture might collapse later.  After the sand has had time to set the sculptors climb up, take off the top form, and begin to carve into the sand block left behind.

When you are on the beach this summer you might not have the time (or equipment!) to make forms but a bucket is the next best thing.  Fill your bucket with sand that is damp, not too wet and not too dry but somewhere in between is best, then push the sand down as hard as you can into the bucket.  Be careful of the strength of your bucket because too much pressure can crack it just as forms sometimes do when too much pressure is exerted on them.  Once you are happy with your pound up, find a good spot on the beach, flip your bucket over and very carefully remove it, leaving the sand behind on the ground.  Now you have the beginnings of your sculpture.  If you want to go the extra step ask your parents if they have an old bucket that they can cut the bottom out of, that way you can start with your bucket upside down and fill the sand in from the top.  This allows you to build up on top of each layer that you pound up with cups and containers like the professionals do with their smaller forms.

Now the fun part – carving.  Carving gives the sculpture all of its detail and character.  You can use almost anything to carve and most of the professional sculptors actually use cooking and dental utensils.  You better ask your parents before you start using their icing scraper at the beach though.  There are loads of tools you can use to help you carve out a work of art from icy-pole sticks to house keys (again you better ask before you try that one) and even water pistols can be used to cut a hole through the middle of your pile.  Try to visualise what you want to carve out before you get started and then go wild!

If you can get one, a water spray bottle is a great idea to have handy while you are carving to keep the sand damp.  Every once in a while, give your sculpture a couple of sprays so it doesn’t dry out. The rest is up to you.  Try using stuff you find on the beach like sea shells and sea weed.

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cartoon_man_relaxing_while_on_vacation_at_the_beach_0515-1011-1516-2024_SMU

7 Tips for Keeping Your Things Safe and Secure at the Beach

To keep your things safe and secure at the beach, make use of a waterproof backpack, use waterproof cases to protect your gadgets, limit the items you bring to the beach, bring only the things you are willing to lose and break, use a water-wallet to take valuable items with you, put your valuables in unattractive bags or containers, and take safety precautions.

How do you keep your valuables protected from the water, as well as from possible theft amidst the crowd at the beach? A wonderful adventure at the beach can turn sour when you damage lose your something important. Here are some smart tips that will help you keep your valuables protected, minimize your stress, and let you simply enjoy your stay at the beach:

Use a waterproof backpack

To keep your belongings from getting wet during a beach outing, carry a waterproof beach bag or backpack. These types of bags will keep your things dry while you are on the beach. Some specialty waterproof beach bags are even 100 percent waterproof and will keep your items totally dry. They also float in the water in case you drop them while boating or fishing.

Use waterproof cases to protect your gadgets

Cellphones, cameras, and other gadgets you bring to the beach must also be protected in waterproof cases, such as those from aquapac. Not only will these cases avoid damaging your gadgets if they get wet, but also prevent exposure to the sand. There are a variety of waterproof cases you can find in specialty shops for gadgets of all sorts.

Limit the items you bring to the beach

Aside from damaging your things, you might also be worried about losing your belongings thieves among the crowd. To minimize such risk, limit what you bring, especially if you are not going to the beach with a group. the less you bring, the less important it is to keep an eye on your stuff. If you are staying at a hotel near the beach, leave your valuables in your room or hotel safe.

Bring only what you are willing to lose or break

If you are going to the beach alone or with a partner, no one will be able to look after your belongings while you go swimming. In this case, it would be better not to bring your valuables. It is better to take with you only what you are willing to lose or break.

Use a water-wallet to take valuable things with you

A handy solution that allows you to take your valuables with you to the beach is a water-wallet. You can hold your mobile phone, money, credit cards, driver’s license, and car key in this waterproof wallet which usually comes with a neck or waist strap for more convenience. They are reusable and a great investment if you are an adventurer or a frequent traveler.

Put your valuables in unattractive bags or containers

Another way to avoid losing your stuff at the beach is to put your valuables in unattractive bags and containers. Putting your stuff in containers, such as cartoon character-themed bags and food containers, will lead people to think that items inside  are for kids or are food. Furthermore, avoid bags which are bright and attractive to deter the attention of thieves.

Take safety precautions

The best way to protect your belongings from theft while at the beach is to take precautionary measures. As much as possible, take turns when swimming. Make sure your stuff is within your line of sight so you can regularly check on them.

Breaking or losing your stuff at the beach need not be a distressing concern. As long as you know how and where to keep your valuables and the important safety measures to take, your beach outing will surely be enjoyable and stress-free.

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Come along, come with me,
Take a dive in the deep blue sea.

Put on your gear, let’s explore
All the way to the ocean floor!

See that snail wrapped in curls?
Look! An oyster wearing pearls!
Watch the octopus oh so dark,
But don’t you dare to pet the shark!

Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!
Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!

Now we’re very far below,
The lantern fish are all aglow.
Is that a tiny shock you feel?
You just met an electric eel!

Giant blue whales start to stir,
Bigger than dinosaurs ever were!
Wave good-bye to the squid and sponge,
This is the end of our deep-sea plunge!

Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!
Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!

by Meish Goldish

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110751

 

The sun is couched, the sea-fowl gone to rest, 
And the wild storm hath somewhere found a nest; 
Air slumbers–wave with wave no longer strives, 
Only a heaving of the deep survives, 
A tell-tale motion! soon will it be laid, 
And by the tide alone the water swayed. 
Stealthy withdrawings, interminglings mild 
Of light with shade in beauty reconciled– 
Such is the prospect far as sight can range, 
The soothing recompence, the welcome change. 
Where, now, the ships that drove before the blast, 
Threatened by angry breakers as they passed; 
And by a train of flying clouds bemocked; 
Or, in the hollow surge, at anchor rocked 
As on a bed of death? Some lodge in peace, 
Saved by His care who bade the tempest cease; 
And some, too heedless of past danger, court 
Fresh gales to waft them to the far-off port 
But near, or hanging sea and sky between, 
Not one of all those winged powers is seen, 
Seen in her course, nor ‘mid this quiet heard; 
Yet oh! how gladly would the air be stirred 
By some acknowledgment of thanks and praise, 
Soft in its temper as those vesper lays 
Sung to the Virgin while accordant oars 
Urge the slow bark along Calabrian shores; 
A sea-born service through the mountains felt 
Till into one loved vision all things melt: 
Or like those hymns that soothe with graver sound 
The gulfy coast of Norway iron-bound; 
And, from the wide and open Baltic, rise 
With punctual care, Lutherian harmonies. 
Hush, not a voice is here! but why repine, 
Now when the star of eve comes forth to shine 
On British waters with that look benign? 
Ye mariners, that plough your onward way, 
Or in the haven rest, or sheltering bay, 
May silent thanks at least to God be given 
With a full heart; “our thoughts are ‘heard’ in heaven.” 

William Wordsworth

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Attention all students! Attention all kids!
Hold onto your horses! Hold onto your lids!
We have just exactly the thing that you need
whenever you’ve way too much homework to read.

The Marvelous Homework & Housework Machine
will always make sure that your bedroom is clean.
It loves to write book reports ten pages long,
then put all your toys away where they belong.

This wonderful gadget will do all your math,
then mop up your messes and go take your bath.
The Marvelous Homework & Housework Machine
is truly like no other gizmo you’ve seen.

It hangs up your clothes on their hangers and hooks,
then reads all your boring geography books.
It brings you a pillow to give you a rest,
then brushes your teeth and prepares for your test.

This thing is amazing. I’m sure you’ll agree.
It feeds you dessert while you’re watching T.V.
There’s only one thing this device will not do.
It won’t eat your Brussels sprouts; they’re, like, P.U.

–Kenn Nesbitt

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5.0.2

“I hate the thought, but I suppose

That desperado, Rusty Rose,

he scratched his horse’s ear.
He said, “I see you curl your nose
whenever I am near.

it’s got to be this way
So up ahead, I’ll shed these clothes

and take a bath today.”

They came upon a riverbed
beside a ragged tree,
and Rusty said, “Now bow your head
and say a prayer for me.”

He grabbed a crusty bar of soap
and stripped down to the skin.
And then without a shred of hope,
poor Rusty stumbled in.

A bullfrog fled without a trace,
a fish came up for air,
as Rusty washed his hands and face,
his legs and feet and hair.

He dried off with a gunnysack
and hung it in the tree.
He climbed aboard his horse’s back,
his hat upon his knee.

“We’ll leave the soap besi

when we come back next year.de the path,”

said Rusty with a sneer.
“I might just need another bath”

by Eric Ode

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Whether you’re in the mood for an adventure or a peaceful stroll, there are lots of things to do in the woods. Follow the links below to find the perfect activity for you.

If you try any of these activities, we’d love to read about it on our blogs. Simply find a wood to visit, try the activity and then return to the wood’s page to write about it share and your photos.

 

Walking
We’ve found some of the best woods for enjoying a walk in. Check out these downloadable guides and information on woods with way-marked trails.
Kids activities
Keep the kids entertained no matter the weather with these free activities, from spotter sheets to parkour and much more.
Adventure
Woods are the perfect place for adventure lovers and adrenaline junkies. Check out these activities to fire up the imagination and get the blood pumping.
Peace
Get away from the hustle and bustle of modern lives. Getting back to nature with these stress-busting ideas will help you unwind.
Health and fitness
Escape expensive and gyms and get out in to nature’s free gym. These free activities will help you improve your health.
Nature
Learn how to identify trees, plants and animals and watch wildlife with these free nature spotting activities.

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Top 10 UK Holiday Parks
Holiday Parks UK 

Summer is upon us. The fresh air of the great outdoors seems to call out to us, tempting us to believe that wishes for clear skies and sunshine just might come true. What better way to make the most of the fair weather season than to take a break from the humdrum of everyday life. Holiday Parks in the UK offer all the amenities for the perfect getaway, and the home-away-from-home setting means that you’ll feel yourself relaxing as soon as you’re on your way.

Holidays are taken less often than they’re deserved and with a long weekend coming up at the end of August, why not take the opportunity to explore the unknown or head for your old favourite spot. Essential Travel has put together a guide to the Top 10 Holiday Parks across the UK to cater to your every desire.

If you have a favourite UK holiday park, we would love to hear about it. Let us know on Facebook or drop a comment in the box below.

For First Timers

Perran Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall

Perran SandsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

The untamed beaches of Cornwall make for a surfer’s paradise. And Perran Sands, with direct access to the beach and surfing school, is the perfect holiday location for anyone keen to catch a wave. The holiday park also offers heated indoor and outdoor pools and, for the less aquatically inclined, a sports court, paintball, adventure golf, kart hire, circus school and nature walks to explore Cornwall’s natural beauty. With the wide range of facilities, the convenience of a variety of restaurants and bars and the exquisite views, Peran Sands might just become your new favourite holiday destination.

Devon Cliffs Holiday Park, Devon

Devon CliffsImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

This five-star holiday park sees guests returning year after year. Nestled on the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, many caravans overlook the sea and sandy beach below. Despite the exquisite cliff-top location, the award-winning beach can be accessed directly from Devon Cliffs, so the only difficulty will be deciding just how to make the most of your time. The holiday park boasts an indoor pool, a multi-level pool complex, boat trips and a luxury spa, as well as a variety of other activities, such as abseiling, archery, ice-skating and Laser Combat. There is also a range of restaurants and bars, and almost-around-the-clock entertainment to make sure that your holiday park experience is everything you could ever want.

For Families

Church Farm Holiday Village, West Sussex

West Sussex offers families the perfect getaway. With a holiday park operating there for more than 70 years, Church Farm is the expert in happy holidays for the whole family. The five-star holiday village has direct access to a nature reserve, lagoon and shingle beach so all the wonders of nature are just a few steps away from your comfortable self-catering accommodation. For the sporting enthusiasts, there’s Crazy Golf, gyroscopes, bungee trampolines, indoor and outdoor heated pools, tennis courts, a bowling green and a nine-hole golf course. If that isn’t enough to get you packing, there is also an array of day and evening entertainment – a large part of which is catered entirely to kids. To top it all off, Church Farm is pet-friendly to make sure that every member of the family gets to be part of your holiday experience.

Primrose Valley Holiday Park, North Yorkshire

Primrose ValleyImage source: Haven Holidays /CC BY-SA

UK Holiday Parks make for the perfect family holiday experience. The wide variety of activities and entertainment mean that there’s something to suit everyone. Primrose Valley is the epitome of this – set in coastal Yorkshire with exquisite views of Filey Bay, an array of activities to keep you entertained and direct access to a sandy beach, you’re guaranteed a memorable holiday. The nearby lake offers you the opportunity to take a boat trip or to try your hand at fishing. Sporting enthusiasts can head for the zipline, climbing wall, multi-sports court or Crazy Golf. The whole family can take a leisurely bike ride to explore the natural beauty of the surrounding area or get your hearts racing in Laser Combat or at the Funfair. With so many activities to choose from, the hardest part of your holiday might be deciding what to do next.

For Young People

Pleasure IslandImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

Thorpe Park Holiday Centre, Lincolnshire

Surrounded by fields and nature trails, and less than 200 yards from a sandy beach, Thorpe Park is the perfect getaway for anyone young at heart. Take the time to explore Lincolnshire’s natural beauty or make use of the great variety of activities on offer right at the holiday park. From dune buggies, paintball, abseiling and zipline to golf and lake fishing, there’s something for everyone. Head nextdoor to the Pleasure Island Theme Park to get your heart racing or wind down the day at one of the restaurants or bars while enjoying the live music and other entertainment. Thorpe Park is a favourite time and time again.

Bideford Bay Holiday Park, Devon

Bideford Bay is Devon’s answer to a memorable holiday experience. A short drive from Westaward Ho blue-flag beach and surrounded by the peaceful woodland area, this holiday park offers guests the perfect combination of exquisite natural beauty and an array of activities to ensure that you’re in the holiday spirit from the moment you arrive. Relax at the Spa Bath, head to one of the heated pools or experience the excitement of the flume or hydrodome. Sporting enthusiasts can enter the five-a-side Festival of Football and the nearby horseriding facilities are a great way to explore the area. So get your family and friends together and head to Bideford Bay for the holiday you deserve.

At The Beach

Seawick Holiday Park, Essex

What could be better than a holiday at the coast with the beach less than 500 yards away? Seawick Holiday Park is proud to be situated near to a number of beaches and offers guests the chance to really experience Essex’s beautiful coastline. There is also direct access from the park to St Osyth Beach, where Seawick Holiday guests are welcome to make use of any of the facilities. And after a day at the beach, you can head back to the holiday park to take a dip in the heated pool or try your hand at the many activities on offer. The adventure playground and on-site funfair are the cherry on top. There is also a selection of restaurants as well as breakfast and half-board available, to ensure that your holiday is completely hassle-free.

Peppermint Park Holiday Park, Devon

Dawlish Warren BeachImage source: GaryReggae / CC BY-SA

Devon’s Jurassic Coast draws tourists year round. The rural scenery and picturesque setting see holiday park guests returning year after year. Surrounded by beaches, sand dunes and lakes, and close to the ever-popular Torquay, Peppermint Park is one of the UK’s top coastal holiday parks. With the added convenience of choosing between an on-site holiday home or to bring your own caravan and with the pet-friendly atmosphere, Peppermint Park is the perfect place for a beach holiday.

For Outdoor Activities

The Orchards Holiday Village, Essex

Orchards PoolImage source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA

For an outdoor adventure holiday, head to the Orchards Holiday Village. Just outside St Osyth with a beach and nature reserve on either side, the outdoor activities are almost endless. The holiday village has direct access to a sandy beach, there’s a fishing lake with the chance to get fishing coaching, a boating lake for boat trips and pedal boats, a nine-hole golf course, crazy golf, a putting green, a bowling green and indoor and outdoor heated pools. And after an action packed day, you can head to one of the on-site restaurants or bars or enjoy relaxing to the sounds of the live music show or tribute band.

Allhallows Leisure Park, Kent

Close enough to London to escape for the weekend, but far enough to feel like you’ve had a holiday in the countryside, Allhallows Leisure Park is one of the UK’s top holiday parks. And with a variety of outdoor activities to keep you entertained, it might just become your favourite getaway destination. Guests can partake in horseriding or throw out a line at the lake. There is also a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a multi-sports court and a bowling green, amongst other facilities. And for the water lovers, there is direct access to a sandy beach, as well as indoor and outdoor heated pools with inflatable slides and turbo paddlers. And with a variety of on-site restaurants and bars, including a pub on the banks of the Thames, you’re guaranteed activity-filled days and nights.

Allhallows Fishing Lake
Image source: Haven Holidays / CC BY-SA


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