The Inventors' Ball @ Enchanted Parks 2017

Tonight was the night myself and my two girls Jessica and Emily, have been really looking forward to. The opening of Enchanted Parks.
This annual 5 day event, once again sees the already beautiful Saltwell park come to life in another after dark adventure.
Last year was the first year we visited, being too late to purchase tickets previously. I was surprised to see feedback that it didn’t meet its usual standard, we thoroughly enjoyed it. So this year I expected they may have upped their Enchanted Park game
This years ‘Inventors Ball’ themed event tells the story of Ursula – the eldest daughter of William Wailes and Heiress to the Saltwell Estate.
Ursula greets visitors upon the start of their magical adventure, and using image projection, Ursula is brought to life. Ursulas’ wandering mind reminds us all that ‘the body is a machine, a fleshy container for the intellect’, and whatever she thinks she is, she becomes, which she then goes on to demonstrate.  I was impressed already as I truly believe that, too.
Whilst mesmerised by the beautiful Ursula, thunder could be heard in the distance, along with lightning in the trees – and we could see electrical sparks and crackles projected upon the façade of Saltwell Towers.
This was probably my favourite piece this year. We spent a good while just watching and taking in the atmosphere felt by the excitement of both children and adults.

We then continued our adventure through the park, meeting many characters on our way which my children loved and stopped to speak to every single one of them.
Throughout the park we winded our way through many more beautiful installations, including giant illuminated bunnies, and night creatures down by the stream.
My girls particularly enjoyed walking up the winding path alongside flower stems which when we shook, fariesreleased a fairy.
My husband however, wasn’t impressed one of our girls was a little over enthusiastic and he suffered a few bumps on the head as Jessica gave it a shake shouting ‘Come on out, fairies. I want to see you’!!
Singing and dancing also filled the park, as we saw silhouettes of beautiful ballerinas, whilst enjoying the tones of a very cheerful pineapple.

The lake at Saltwell was lit up this year with the moon which Ursula cleverly managed to capture with a lasso to dazzle us all.
After walking thorough the Apothercarist’s Garden full of enormous illuminated plants full of healing properties, an animal menagerie of a string quartet playing by the waterfall and the flowers for Ursula,
we’d reached the end of our Enchanted adventure, and joined a crowd of visitors gathered together, anticipating what was about to happen as a clock in the trees displayed a countdown. Then as the timer hit zero, a character appeared and began to pace up and down with a machine producing smoke. And then, we watched as the Spirit of the Cyclone appeared before us.
This was spectacular and happens every 15 minutes. We had just over a minute to wait, which was fine. But please don’t be put off if you have to wait much longer. It really is worth it and would be a shame to miss and it ends the magical experience just perfectly.

Well done NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Gateshead Council. You completely blew it out the water with this magnificent event. My two girls aged 6 and 9 loved every single second of it as did I. My husband although tired after a long and cold day at work and hungry, thoroughly enjoyed it too.
Excited for next years already, although I have no idea how you can top this.
Thank you so much to Rachel Horton of Gateshead Culture Team, for the opportunity to blog about and share my experience of this fabulous event.
Tickets are still available for this event, running until sunday 10th December, and purchased here

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