A Jam Packed Day at The Bear Grylls Adventure, Birmingham
Ever wanted to go skydiving? Test your fear on Europe’s highest high ropes? Try climbing or archery? Swim with SHARKS? You might think you’d have to get on a plane and leave the country to do all these amazing experiences…but what if I told you that you could do them all in one place and that place is at the NEC in Birmingham!
Nestled in the middle of resorts world you’ll find The Bear Grylls Adventure, Merlin’s newest attraction. A place where you’re invited to test your fears, try new adventures and basically just have a LOAD of fun! I went along before their official launch to have a go at two of their hero activities – Skydiving and Scuba Diving with Sharks!
Walk through the main doors that sit underneath the army helicopter nestled into the side of the building and you find yourself in the middle of a jungle! With airplane sounds flying overhead, muddy footprints in the ground, tyre tracks underfoot, giant trees, abandoned vehicles and more – it’s pretty darn impressive! All of the hero activities and basecamp are under one roof including a restaurant too! It’s amazing how they fit it all in but Merlin have created yet another well oiled entertainment machine.
We started our day with Basecamp – a series of family friendly activities that you can book on their own or for free when you choose one of Bear’s hero activities. First a survival maze which contained small spaces, loud noises, darkness and an eating challenge of the bug variety – ew! It’s incredibly family friendly so there’s no need to be scared, but it was entertaining none the less and similar to a less scary Alton Towers Scarefest maze.
Next – an escape room! Battling against the other half of our group we had 7 minutes to crack a code and make it out…which we didn’t, it’s TRICKY!!! But again it was a fun one to get involved in before the Assault Course which is based on the assault course used by the Royal Marines! Here you’ll find yourself faced with walls to climb, monkey bars, army nets and more – can you beat the Royal Marine trainer rocked speed of 55 seconds? We certainly couldn’t!
Last but not least we got to try out hand at target archery which was a LOT of fun, and surprisingly tricky – Katniss Everdeen is a talented lady making it look so easy! The team made everything safe and very fun as we whizzed round all these activities posing for photos along the way which you get a digital copy of for free at the end!
After Basecamp we stopped for lunch at the restaurant which had a good selection of cold sandwiches and hot food such as pizzas fresh out the oven…and scorpions! Yes, scorpions! Which were surprisingly tasty with the shot of spicy tomato gazpacho on the side! Food was around the same price as you’d expect from a Merlin attraction with two hot drinks, a BBQ pizza, a nut bar and a bottle of water – with the extra scorpion – coming in at around £20.
After Basecamp it was time for our first hero activity – an indoor skydive!!! I had no idea what to expect with this one and I was really nervous but our instructor was super friendly and made us feel totally at ease. We donned our flight suits and got a lesson in how to fall and we were off!
You get two minutes of flight time with this activity split into two which gives you chance to try it out and then adjust yourself and improve for the second round after a bit of recovery! It feels like a lot longer than a minute when you’re in there and it’s an incredible feeling. What an experience!
Diving With Sharks
Last but not least it was the experience I was most excited for – my first ever scuba dive…IN A SHARK TANK!!! With this activity you leave with your preliminary PADI certificate in diving meaning you are now qualified to dive out in open water at the next level. Usually you do this in a swimming pool, at Bear Grylls you do it in a tank surrounded by sharks, stingrays and other amazing sea life!
Again our instructors were amazing – making sure we were well informed and comfortable before even getting in the water and again before we went down into the tank. I felt incredibly calm, safe and excited throughout and it was just amazing! The sharks swam around the top of the tank leaving us mostly alone but the sting rays loved the bubbles from our tanks and swam so close around us as did the curious little fish bobbing around in front of our masks. If you don’t feel like diving you can snorkel in a cage at the top of the tank in one corner which is a lot easier (and cheaper) but certainly not as immersive.
We got about 20 minutes in the tank and walked along the bottom with two instructors looking after us the entire time. Afterwards we were able to shower in the changing rooms before our debrief – just don’t forget your swimsuit and a towel!
What an amazing and fun-packed day – I still can’t believe we crammed so many new experiences into one Saturday! The theming is awesome, the activities run smoothly and there’s just so much to do. I’d say The Bear Grylls Adventure would be AMAZING to do with a group of mates or with your kids(over 11) depending on what you fancy trying out and you can always hit the restaurants and bars of Resorts World afterwards too – what a weekend!
Check out their packages and other hero activities AND get 10% off all activities on their website!