Under 5s informal science learning directory, Southwest England

 Please note that this list is not exhaustive and details are subject to change. Science from the Start is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Southwest England


Anchor Road

0845 345 1235


At-Bristol run regular Toddler Takeover days (whole days full of activities for under 5s), plus other events such as Planetarium shows for under 5s. See their under 5s page for upcoming events

As well as reduced entry on Toddler Takeover days, there are also lots of toddler-friendly facilities, including:

  • High chairs
  • Indoor picnic area
  • Buggy parks
  • Nappy changing facilities
  • Bottle warming facilities


Bath City Farm

Kelston View

01225 481269


The Roots and Shoots toddler group for under 5s and parents/guardians runs every Tuesday morning. Children can feed the animals and explore the farm, nature and gardening. The cost is £3 per child, with discounts and concessions available – see the website for details.


Discover Wistlandpound

c/o Calvert Trust Exmoor
North Devon
EX31 4SJ

01598 763719


Wistlandpound Reservoir is listed as one of Forestry Commission England’s Top Ten Natural Play Areas, and has easy-access trails.


Dobbies Garden Centres

Dobbies Garden Centres run free-to-join Little Seedlings gardening clubs on the first Sunday of each month, which can be attended from the age of 4. Local centres can be found here.


Eden Project

St Austell
PL24 2SG


The Eden Project has the following facilities for young children:

  • imaginative children’s play areas
  • impromptu storytelling
  • free worksheets to keep them busy
  • interactive exhibits
  • giant garden sculptures
  • children’s menu in our cafés
  • trails around site featuring shortcuts and hideaways, stepping stones and sandpits
  • unique events programme for children throughout the school holidays

as well as online play resources.


Forest Schools

Some Forest Schools run parent and toddler groups – Forest Schools can be found by region here.


Forestry Commission England


At various times family activities, such as themed trails, which are suitable for under 5s may be available in forests – please check the website for details.


Haldon Forest Park


01392 834251

Haldon Forest Park is listed as one of Forestry Commission England’s Top Ten Natural Play Areas. At various times, other activities, such as themed trails, which are suitable for under 5s may be available (check the Forestry Commission website for details).


Hidden Woods

Near Norton St Philip


The Saplings outdoor toddler group is for parents and children aged 1-5 years. Each week the group take a short walk to one of their camps, where they take part in natural crafts, games, swinging in hammocks and on rope swings, camp fire cooking, singing, free-range play, relaxing by the fire or playing a mud kitchen. Please note that pre-booking is essential.

Mini Professors East Bristol


Classes for preschoolers with experiments, singing, stories and loads of fun.

Mini Professors East Bristol is run by Emily Hellewell – please see the website for more information.

Moors Valley Country Park

BH24 2ET

023 8028 3141

Moors Valley Country Park is listed as one of Forestry Commission England’s Top Ten Natural Play Areas. At various times, other activities, such as themed trails, which are suitable for under 5s may be available (check the Forestry Commission website for details).


National Marine Aquarium

Rope Walk


The National Marine Aquarium is a charity dedicated to driving marine conservation through engagement. They encourage everyone to play a part in the conservation of our ocean, and the Aquarium’s wide range of activities are focused on enabling as many of our visitors as possible to get involved and help protect our seas.

The following opportunities are available for pre-school children within the National Marine Aquarium:

Daily: throughout the aquarium they have a team of “Host” staff who will talk to visitors, answer questions and are on hand with interactive exhibits and fun activities. There is also a daily programme of talk, shows and feeds.

Weekly: Toddlers Mornings”.  Every Tuesday from 10.30 -12.30. With themed activities every week pre-schoolers can learn more about their oceans through games, activities and crafts. These drop-in sessions are free to Aquarium Members and for adults with Day Plus passes or general entrance to the Aquarium the sessions are £1 per child.

Term-time:  “Mermaid Challenge”  For visiting groups from nurseries and pre-schools: Prior to the visit children receive a letter from the resident Mermaid, Marina, inviting them to visit her. On the day of the visit the children are met by one of the Host team. The children then go off in groups led by their own staff, but at pre-arranged times for each group they “find” Marina and have a 20 minute interactive session with her where they have a  story, can ask her questions and can write/ draw some postcards. Based on pre-booked groups of 12 or more children, the cost is £5.75 per child.

School holidays: during all major school holidays and during half terms they run a series of themed activities for children, suitable for all ages. These include treasure hunts, crafts, themed activities/shows and competitions.

The building is fully accessible and has a café with soft play area.


Slimbridge Wetland Centre

Slimbridge Wetland Centre

01453 891900


Wetland Centres have a range of activities suitable for children – check their events pages for daily and one-off events (please be aware that some activities are listed as not suitable for children or for under 2s – they should be checked individually).


Woodland Adventurers (including Westonbirt National Arboretum)



“These sessions are deliberately flexible and child-led, aiming to enable your child to explore and use their imaginations through free play in a positive, safe and natural environment without high levels of structure.

The sessions are about building your child’s self confidence, self-esteem and self-belief, as well as social skills, in a relaxed environment.  The sessions aim to encourage, nurture and motivate children to explore their own learning through sensory experiences that are at one with nature.”

Box Address:  Woodland Adventurers®, Quarry Hill, Box, Wiltshire, SN13 0NS.

Westonbirt Arboretum Address:  Woodland Adventurers®, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QS.

Marlborough Address:  Woodland Adventurers®, West Woods, near Clatford, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8


Westonbirt National Arboretum



01666 880220


As well as hosting a Woodland Adventurer’s toddler group, Westonbirt National Arboretum is listed as one of Forestry Commission England’s Top Ten Natural Play Areas. At various times, other activities, such as themed trails, which are suitable for under 5s may be available (check the Forestry Commission website for details).


Wild Things Bath

Alice Park


Wild Things Bath run parent and toddler group for 2-5 year olds where they see fruits, vegetables and flowers being sown, growing and being harvested. They can be contacted at wildthingsbath@gmail.com.


Windmill Hill City Farm

Philip Street

Farm Adventurers Stay and Play

Mondays 9.30am to 11.30am

For families with children under 5 years.

Drop in with space to accommodate 10 families at any one time – places are allocated on a first come first serve basis.

Cost: £5.00 per family (up to two children), £1.00 for any additional children (max 3 children per family).

These sessions are a fantastic introduction to Farm Adventurers.

Farm Adventurers

Tuesday to Friday mornings 9.15am to 12.15pm
Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons 1 pm to 4pm

A unique, all-year-round opportunity for children aged 2-5 years to experience nature play, including forest school, farming and growing and for parents to access courses and workshops at the City Farm.

More information is available in the Farm Adventurers flyer.


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