Half term Edinburgh: what to do with the kids

Shrek the Musical - Edinburgh Playhouse
Shrek the Musical - Edinburgh Playhouse
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THINKING of fun and interesting activities to keep the little ones entertained during school holidays is no mean feat.

But thankfully there are people who have already carried out the legwork and produced an action-packed programme of events to keep kids amused during the October break.

Creepy crawlies at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Creepy crawlies at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Whether animals, crafts, sports, science or history is their thing, there’s something to suit all ages and tastes.

Creepy Crawlies, October 10 to 25, Edinburgh Zoo (free with zoo admission)

Edinburgh Zoo’s insect-tacular exhibition is back and this time it’s prehistoric. The Creepy Crawlies exhibition runs daily from 10am to 3pm throughout the October school holidays. Discover the links between dinosaurs and modern-day creepy critters: which creepy crawlies outlived the dinosaurs? Which evolved from prehistoric creatures? Just what was bugging the dinosaurs?

Visitors will be able to get up close to the creeping, scuttling, slithering and wriggling creatures that live at Edinburgh Zoo, including crickets, beetles, stick insects, spiders, cockroaches, giant snails, giant millipedes, crabs and much more. There will also be talks, arts and crafts filling the Budongo Trail Lecture Theatre.

See more at www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/events.

Half-Term at Holyroodhouse, October 12 to 18, 11am to 3pm

Get ready for Hallowe’en at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Use your eerie activity trail to uncover terrifying tales as you go in search of ghoulish gargoyles in the abbey, investigate a tragic murder, and unearth the mystery behind its resident ghost – former witch, Agnes Sampson.

During your investigation, visit the Family Room and make a masterpiece inspired by spooky stories from the palace – part of the Big Draw, a worldwide campaign to encourage drawing and creativity.

Once you have bought a ticket, you can use it again to go back for free for a year, making it a great way to fill the school holidays at no extra cost.

Frogtober cycling event, 
October 13, Davidson’s Mains Primary School

Come and try out a Frog bike on a special pump track – for free. The hands-on Frog’s demo fleet will be available for one afternoon only. A special bike pump track will be available for children aged between two and 12. No matter what age, there’s a Frog bike to fit – from teeny Tadpole balance bikes, to Team Sky racers. There will also be a Sustrans bike obstacle course, professional bike and helmet fits from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative’s kids’ squad, games, competitions and some great freebies.

Shrek The Musical, October 20 to November 8, Edinburgh Playhouse

Based on the award-winning DreamWorks animation film, Shrek the Musical is this year’s must-see show for all the family. Join the unlikely hero and his loyal pal Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits, and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around!

Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, Shrek the Musical brings all the much-loved characters to life, live on stage, in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. Join the adventure. Recommended for ages five-plus.

Science and history events, National Museum of Scotland, various dates

n Superhero Science Show, October 12 to 17

Watch live 
experiments and exciting demonstrations in this new interactive science show suitable for ages seven-plus and their families. Part of Explore Your Universe.

n Time Hop Challenge Trail, 
October 10 to 18

Customise your very own time travel medallion. Follow a trail round the Scotland galleries to collect all the time travel markers to power it up.

n Macastory’s Time Tunnel, October 11

The year is 2215. Ron and Ferg from the Museum’s department of Timetravelology have travelled back through time to allow you, people of the present, to explore the wonders of time travel. Using the Museum’s own “Time Tunnel”, they will give you the chance to visit the past or future, dressed up to fit right in. Prepare for a “blast from the past” or a “future shock”.

n The Studio

Drop in to the Victorian photographer’s studio to find out what was involved in posing for a portrait. Try on costumes and take your own family souvenir pictures.

Peter Pan goes graphic: meet illustrator Stephen White, October 14, 2.30pm to 3.30pm, Edinburgh Central Library

Edinburgh-based illustrator and comic artist Stephen White has created a graphic novel version of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan. Stephen goes back to the very heart of Barrie’s original tale to create a story that is dark, magical, charming, and authentic, with stunning illustrations drawing on original, authentic features from the locations that inspired Barrie including Moat Brae House in Dumfries and the garden where he played as a boy. This free event is suitable for people of all ages from nine years upwards interested in illustration, graphic novels, comic art or simply charmed by Peter Pan.

Edinburgh Leisure camps (throughout the holidays)

Lots of different sports, arts, crafts, drama and challenges on offer at Craiglockhart Leisure and Tennis Centre, Drumbrae Leisure Centre, Gracemount Leisure Centre, Royal Commonwealth Pool, Tumbles at Portobello and EICA. For a full programme, visit www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/courses.