Top Picks: October half term in west Dorset
It doesn't seem that long ago that the summer holidays were still in full swing.
But schoolchildren across Dorset are given their first breather next week, with a host of activities and opportunities on offer across Weymouth, Dorchester and West Dorset - including spooky Halloween fun.
1. Abbotsbury Swannary will be hosting spooky fun during half term. The Halloween celebration will include free face painting and a free prize draw for children in fancy dress. The event will take place in the Subtropical Gardens between 5pm and 8.30pm between Friday October 26 and Wednesday October 31.
2. Corfe Castle will also be celebrating Halloween. From Saturday October 27 until Sunday November 4, brave explorers can find ghosts and pumpkins on the family trail and enjoy other hair-raising activities a the popular attraction.
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3. Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre near Wareham is offering a week packed full of Halloween fun. The whole family can enjoy the exciting Halloween Trail, as little terrors can make their way through the park, finding spooky clues. Entry to Monkey World will be free on Halloween to those in fancy dress, with prizes for the best costumes.
4. The Swanage Railway will be offering on-board entertainment and a host of special steam trains to excite kids this half term. There will be exciting brake van rides at Swanage and colourful face painting at Corfe Castle.
5. Wareham Rugby Club will be hosting a spectacular Halloween fireworks display and torch procession. Taking place on Friday November 2, the event will include live music, food and drink and fairground rides. The procession will start at Wareham Town Hall at 6.30pm.
6. Youngsters in West Dorset can take advantage of free BMX jams during half term. Open to those between eight and 16 years old, the jams will take place at leisure centres, with sessions taking place on a mobile skate park. They event will take place at Dorchester Sports Centre on Monday October 29, between 10.30am and 12.30pm, Gryphon Leisure Centre, Sherborne on Tuesday October 30 between 10am and noon, Budmouth Sports Centre on Thursday November 1 between 10am and noon and at N-Fit Leisure Centre, Beaminster on Friday November 2 between 10am and noon.
7. Kids can keep active through half term with a range of activities at Purbeck Sports Centre, Wareham. Five days of intense swimming lessons will be on offer, as well as a range of sports including football, lacrosse and gymnastics. The Kool 4 kids Club will return for children aged between 5 and 14, offering a host of activities for £17.50 per day or £9.50 for a half day.
8. The Sea Life Adventure Park, Weymouth is challenging youngsters to face their fears this half term as they venture through a maze of creepy crawleys, completing challenges along the way. Brave kids can get their hands of snakes, tarantulas and cockroaches with the park open daily between 10am and 5pm.
9. Children can help build a hotel for bugs at the RSPB Wild Discovery Centre, Weymouth. Visitors are encouraged to build different homes for a range of wildlife between October 27 to November 4, between 10am and 3pm.
10. Hardy Country near Dorchester is offering a day of Halloween fun for the family. Visitors are invited to the birthplace of Thomas Hardy to take part in apple bobbing, pumpkin carving and enjoy a shadow theatre on October 31.