EN­TER­TAIN­ING THE kids

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

IT IS a fact of life that, un­like our pic­tures, the sun won’t al­ways be shin­ing on Ar­ran. But at least there is plenty to do to keep the chil­dren en­ter­tained on a rainy day. There’s no gran­der place to shel­ter when it rains than Brod­ick Cas­tle, which can be seen over­look­ing Brod­ick Bay as you ar­rive on the ferry. Cas­tles al­ways seem to hold a cer­tain fas­ci­na­tion for young chil­dren and this one cer­tainly won’t dis­ap­point. The tall, dig­ni­fied build­ing beck­ons you in with the glow of its warm red sand­stone. As you walk through the build­ing cas­tle guides will point out se­cret doors and tell mes­meris­ing sto­ries of ghosts and grand ladies to the bud­ding young his­to­ri­ans. There are self-guide quizzes to do as you make your way around, as well as spe­cial events and ex­hi­bi­tions in the sum­mer and the Ranger Cen­tre hosts ex­cit­ing classes for chil­dren rang­ing from bird box mak­ing to Young Nat­u­ral­ist events. There are three swim­ming pools on Ar­ran – two at the Auchran­nie Ho­tel and Spa Re­sort in Brod­ick and one at the Kin­loch Ho­tel in Black­wa­ter­foot. Both the spa pool at the Auchran­nie and the Kin­loch fa­cil­i­ties are open to the public all year round. Young­sters can splash away the hours while you sit and re­lax by the side of the pool. The Auchran­nie also has its Play­barn, which is guar­an­teed to fill a rainy day with hours of fun for younger chil­dren. Even bet­ter, par­ents of younger chil­dren can re­lax with a cof­fee or a snack while the kids play in safe sur­round­ings. For older chil­dren there is also loads to do in the games hall, which can be hired out for bad­minton, ten­nis, squash and count­less other sports. The Fam­ily Fun Park at the Balmichael Visi­tor Cen­tre in the Shisk­ine Val­ley, which opened last year, has var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties for kids on a rainy day, in­clud­ing a Amer­i­can-style diner and cin­ema, as well as a whole host of out­door at­trac­tions in­clud­ing bouncy pil­lows, ice rink, go-karts and a ter­ri­fy­ing pole drop. There’s an in­ter­est­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of arte­facts and a record of is­land life through­out the cen­turies at the Ar­ran Her­itage Mu­seum in Brod­ick. The plethora of in­for­ma­tion about Ar­ran is well suited for all ages, so chil­dren should en­joy learn­ing about the is­land just as much as adults.

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