10 Family events to book now for summer 2015

Jun 23, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. ET

If you're planning a staycation this summer consider catching one or more of these awesome family events. You'll love them just as much as the kids do.

1. Sunset Safari at ZSL London Zoo, until July 17

You can treat your kids to an extra special zoo visit this summer. London Zoo is opening until 10 p.m. every Friday until July 17, giving you the chance to watch the animals have their dinner and get ready for bed. Take in a Safari Trail, hear talks from the zookeepers and then finish the visit with a sunset acoustic guitar performance at Safari Base Camp.


Video: ZSL — Zoological Society of London/YouTube

Advance tickets £21 (adults), £15 (concessions); full price tickets £32 (adults), £22 (concessions). Visit the ZSL website for more information.

2. "Hatching the Past — Dinosaur Eggs and Babies," Glasgow, until Aug. 16

This exhibition is a must-see for every young (and old) dinosaur geek in the family. It has been previously shown in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the U.S. and makes its U.K. debut at Glasgow's beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Kids under five go free; visit the Hatching the Past website for more information and to buy tickets.

3. Pirate Days, Devon, July 2 to Sept. 9

If your kids like the idea of being pirates for a day (who doesn't?!) take them to the Old Fish Market on Brixham harbourside in Devon. Enjoy Soak the Pirate, balloon modelling, puppet shows, arts and crafts workshops, fancy dress competitions, live music and loads more.

For more information visit the Pirate Days website.

4. Manchester Children's Book Festival, June 26 to July 5

Now an annual event, Manchester Children's Book Festival is back for 2015 with a "time travel" theme and features workshops, author events and creative performances taking place at venues across the city. Organised and run by the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, the festival culminates in a Children's Poetry Weekend — two full days of readings and activities.

Visit the MCBF website for more information.

5. The Gruffalo Live!, London, July 1

The theatre adaptation of Julia Donaldson's much loved children's story The Gruffalo comes to London's Lyric Theatre this summer. Recommended for Gruffalo fans of all ages.


Video: hitthetheatre/YouTube

Tickets from £15; for more information visit The Gruffalo website.

More: Jamie Oliver's Big Feastival is another great family day out

6. Alice's Day, Oxford, July 4

The annual Alice’s Day celebration is a tribute to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was published in 1865. The one day event is organised by the Story Museum and offers themed activities including tea parties, croquet, storytelling and workshops.

For more information check out the Visit Oxford website.

7. Kids Week, London, Aug. 1 to 31

August is the perfect month to take your kids to the theatre in London with many theatres offering a free child's ticket with every full price adult ticket. Booking is now open for the RSC's Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, The Lion King at the Lyceum and Adventures in Wonderland at The Vaults amongst many, many more superb productions for children of all ages.


Video: Official London Theatre/YouTube

For more details and to book tickets visit the Kids Week website.

8. KidsFest, Essex, Aug. 9

KidsFest is a full day kids' festival at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park in Essex. Billed as "Glastonbury for kids," this year's lineup includes Mr. Bloom, Lloyd from Disney's Art Attack, Mad Science, Shaun the Sheep, Happy's Circus, an inflatable village and loads more treats for the little ones.

Tickets £20 online, £25 on the door; kids under two go free. For more information visit the Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park website.

9. Just So, Cheshire, Aug. 21 to 23

Most summer festivals cater for families nowadays but some do it better than others. Cheshire's Just So has a well deserved reputation for being a truly magical family festival. It has a fairy city, a programme of activities geared towards babies and toddlers, circus tricks, aerial artistry and lots more for all ages — with an emphasis on art, music and literature.

Kids under three go free; weekend adult ticket with camping £110 (plus booking fee of £7); weekend child ticket with camping £50 (plus booking fee of £3); day tickets also available. For more information visit the Just So website.

10. Shambala, Northamptonshire, Aug. 27 to 30

Shambala encourages audience participation from all guests, kids included, with fancy dress being par for the course. This hippy paradise has a kids' woodland play area, puppet cabaret, a storytelling yurt, craft areas and enchanted woods to get (safely) lost in.


Video: Shambala Festival/YouTube

Kids under five go free; visit the Shambala website for various other ticket options.

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