Fun For All The Family! We Review The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham

Already stuck for ways to keep the kids entertained this Easter holiday? Ditch the TV and video games and get the family moving with an adrenaline-packed day out with The Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham.

If you want to know what it’s like to be intrepid explorer Bear Grylls for the day then take the plunge into the deep dark depths of the diving tank and take a nail-biting dip with our sharks, feel the wind beneath your feet during a breath-taking climb along Europe’s highest outdoor free roam ropes or feel like you are free falling with the iFly indoor sky diving experience!

The kid’s are always on the look out for something to do and as our eldest child had already been on a school trip to Bear Gryll’s Adventure Park and thoroughly enjoyed it I decided to take a trip out with the younger ones so I booked myself, 2 twelve year olds and a ten year old in for a Sunday treat.  Based at the NEC it’s easy to find and just a 5 minute walk from the East Car Parks, it’s a stand alone complex on the outside of the NEC halls so we didn’t have to navigate through the mass of people inside.

It’s kitted out as you’d expect, mesh and trees to make it look forest like and despite it being fairly dark on the inside it felt open and not at all dingy.  We checked ourselves in and were given thorough information about our visit and given a wristband that operates the lockers – not quite the highlight of our visit but the kids loved these!

We arrived in plenty of time for our first activity – the escape room, so we joined the queue for the assault course which comes free with any activity booked.  The member of staff greeting us here was friendly and funny as she talked us through the course and the safety rules, she said to push yourself and try everything as that’s what the Bear Gryll’s adventure is about.  This ethos is backed up by all the motivational signs around the complex.  After a quick warm up we were ready to go and race in our pairs – it was great fun and I discovered whilst I’m fairly fit I’m not particularly agile.  Scaling walls and scrambling under nets is hard work, but that I didn’t mind, for me the worse part was the scratchy grass – my knees were left red raw.  Mental note – thicker leggings required next time (or knee guards!).

It was time to head to the Escape Room – we’d never done one before and as we headed into the room to be briefed I wondered what I’d let myself in for – just me with three kids!  My mistake here was not taking charge and taking time to read through the clues properly, it was quite stressful as we ran around like headless chickens and the member of staff had clearly taken pity on me as he popped his head in numerous times to say “read the clues”! We finally made it through to the next room and made it out.  To be honest, having never done an escape room before, I felt a bit underwhelmed, we came out and it took me a brief moment before I realised that it was game over!  Still, we made it out and the kids enjoyed it.

We had a little wait before our High Ropes adventure was to start, but not enough to do the assault course again, so we hung out by the tank watching all the fish which kept the kids occupied.  There are water based activities that can be booked and my daughter told me a number of times she’d like to do them so this could be a gift idea for the future as gift vouchers are available.

Getting ready for the high ropes is kicked off with a safety video and pep talk from Bear (via video of course) before we were kitted out with harnesses and hard hats.  The high ropes boast they are the most extreme and highest in Europe with 36 obstacles, but to get to them we first had to zip wire from a chinook helicopter which is great fun, although a little scary as you walk towards the edge knowing you’re about 20 metres high.

Once we were down, a quick change of rope was required before we headed up onto the high ropes where there are 4 levels of obstacles and each obstacle has a different degree of difficulty.  Like many high rope courses it’s free roaming which means you don’t have to follow a route so we were able to choose our own way around the course at our own pace.   The kids did every obstacle on every level, whereas I stuck to the ones where I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off and that for me is the attraction of this activity – we can all do it together even though we all have differing abilities.  However, in true Bear Gryll’s style I pushed through to the top only to be met with the biggest gust of wind and a downpour of sleet. As I looked around all 4 of us were hanging on waiting for it to pass, I knew we were all safely attached because the harness fitting is so thorough with checking and double checking so I the best thing was just to stay still.  By this stage our session was almost over so we headed back down and the kids revisited the obstacles on the lower levels before we headed back inside to get warm.

Although we’d snacked throughout the day we were all ready for some food so we headed to the dining area in the centre of the adventure zones, aptly named The Hub where they serve a selection of sandwiches and paninis but my lot saw that pizzas were available so the choice was made. We had a couple of 12” pizzas which were nice and at £10.95 were good value.

One last time on the assault course for the kids, as they’d already been on they were let through to demonstrate what to do to the people in the queue.  They raced in a three this time and I think had we not needed to leave they would have been quite happy to keep going on it.

We were there for four and a half hours and the time flew by, would I go again? Yes I would as we’d all like to try a different adventure.  There are offers so It is best to book online and you do receive further discounts when booking more than one activity, however when you arrive upgrades are advertised so if there’s availability you can book in for additional activities – you just have to remember to leave at least 30 minutes between activities.  There is also discounted parking, I only paid £6 – you just need to remember to validate your parking token.

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