As you might have gathered by now, our jaunts round London aren’t always child-led. I don’t remember Reuben opening the A-Z at New Cross and looking pleadingly at me till I gave in.Sometimes Mummy just has to go somewhere and Reuben has to follow. This, if not the rest of our lives, is something I have some measure of control over.
So, yesterday’s destination of choice was Crystal Palace. The reason being that I was meeting some friends to discuss some Hen Party-related matters (not mine, sadly, although I did have one six years after being married so that leaves me quite some scope for another one, no?). Roo whinged and protested all through our meeting and made for the door whenever he had the smallest opportunity but despite this, he still got to go and see the dinosaurs. Yes, you heard that right. In this corner of SE London there lurk some prehistoric beasts. Beware dinosaurus.
These are not the dinosaurs you’re looking for, Reuben! As you can see from the picture above, he got distracted by the playground long before we found any Victorian dinosaurs. And let’s be fair – it was a good playground. A massive sand pit with dinsoaur-themed artefacts in it, swings, a level-access roundabout and the big, friendly plastic dinos to climb on. There was also a frame with two, different sized slides. Obviously Roo went for the bigger, scarier one…and loved it. It looked pretty uncomfortable but he kept saying “again” and going back for more so it must have been good.
Eventually, I managed to peel him away and we wandered off in search of the elusive dinosaurs. And there they were, grouped round a lake, being heckled by the local youths. They are a bit of a curiousity. Built by the Victorians, to their odea of what dinosaurs look like, weather beaten and with Iguanadons mingling with giant stags they are unrealistic in the extreme but somehow lovable. Roo seemed momentarily impressed with them before turning his attention to rarer beasts – namely a choo-choo and some doggies. Worth having a look at, but not somewhere you can really linger for long.
Then it was a long walk back through the park and up a realllly steep hill to civilisation. As per usual, we only saw a fraction of what there was to see but felt like we’d walked for miles. The stylised maps that didn’t face north and gave you the impression that you could parade straight through the stadium didn’t help. I’ve never been so glad to see a number 3 stop.
VERDICT: A nice park and the dinos are definitely worth a visit. Take a compass or googlemaps just in case you find it hard to get out.