For my birthday, I chose a simple, fun, family activity because frankly, who wants to drag miserable kids around doing what interests you (like visiting castles for instance) and being disappointed because no one could have any fun?
So we drove out to Inverness, picked up some pre-made sandwiches (which we can’t seem to find in the US) at a local grocery store and had a picnic. Then, we entered the magical playground of Whin Park. There are multiple climbing structures, including a large wooden airplane, and a lake with a little boat from which families could rent paddle boats & do Zorb balls (!) on the water, ziplines for kids, and a small train that takes you for a ride through the woods and over small bridge.
The kids were introduced to the Zorb balls during our visit to the Highland Games. This time, it was the adults’ turn. After all, it was my birthday! The kids were occupied on the play equipment anyway. Which brings me to an important point. This park is set up in such a way that though there are trees along the edge (with picnic tables), it is easy to see where your kid is. It was quite the workout, just managing to stand up in the thing, much less balance and move anywhere. So I alternated between attempting to run like a mouse and just flopping, floating, and rolling around.
Next, we hit the train ride, which my 5-year old son loved so much, he decided to have a fit when it was over.
Then it was time to hit up the ice cream stand (mentioned here as #2) at the front of the park and head to Crazy Golf-a surprisingly difficult miniature golf course at the beginning of the main park entrance.
One drawback of these European vacations is that, as evolved as my tastes may be…my traditional birthday cake is a Carvel Ice Cream Cake and they don’t seem to sell them in European grocery stores. Deep down, I am a creature of habit and it’s just not the same without it. But on the bright side, I was willing to settle for an ice cream profiterole cake from the frozen food section of Sainsbury’s (I think). It was fantastic. And of course, I will still get my ice cream cake when we return stateside.