In the north-west corner of Cardiff there is a (not so little) treasure. Up until recently, we haven't been able to partake of its resources because The Boy has been a little bit too young, but now that he's becoming more and more curious it's ideal.
St. Fagan's Natural History Museum is an outdoor museum that houses a multitude of buildings from different times throughout history. It's also set in beautiful woodland with lots of areas to explore and a farmhouse with some animals in the yard. This was originally why we went, but we gained so much more! (We actually popped in on Saturday for an hour before closing, and decided to go back on Sunday as there was so much more to see. As it's free entry, it's a good day out)
It's called a museum but it's so much more than that. A museum is not traditionally somewhere children can immerse themselves in the past by being in the place, but at St. Fagan's that possible because of the reconstructed buildings. The newest addition is St. Teilo's church which was originally thought to be five hundred years old (until they found paintings in it that were three hundred years older than they first thought), and my favourite is the Rhyd-y-Car Ironworkers' houses, which is a row of six terraced houses and gardens, each decorated as they would have been at various points from 1805 to 1985. It makes Mr. TBaM and me chuckle to see the huge video players from our childhood.
The Rhyd-y-car houses were one of the things that The Boy found most interesting, the houses of 1955 (when nanny was a little girl) and 1985 had recognisable features to him: Did nanny have those lights?Is that what a tv was like when you were little mummy? It was an excellent way to introduce him to the concept of history in a way that he can equate to as most of the time he has difficulty remembering what he had for lunch! He was horrified at the concept of outdoor toilets!
We had great fun pretending to be chickens in the cockpit (we glossed over what the chickens would have been doing there), buying bread from the old bakery using flour ground on site, sitting in a Celtic roundhouse and pointing out he wouldn't like to live there because 'it's silly!' (which we went onto discuss meant different), and exploring the woods. The real gem was finding out there was a small, hundred year old, vintage, children's funfair there: his first go on the swingseats!
As it's a museum it's free, although parking is £3.50 a time. I actually bought a year parking permit for £17.50 because I can see us going there lots of times over the forthcoming year to explore the many different buildings, take part in the arts and crafts at different celebrations, explore the woodland, or just for a picnic and a play in the excellent playpark there.
Linking this up to the fantastic linky 'Country Kids' over at Coombe Mill. Fiona does an excellent job of promoting and encouraging us to get outside and play with our children, and her linky is one year old this week!