Having been open for almost 20 years, our adventure park has continually evolved and grown to meet our many visitors’ needs in that time. 2023 has been a big year for Active Kids, probably our biggest yet, with the opening of our brand-new indoor playground, café and toy shop.
It’s hard to believe that back in 2005, the park began with a very small outdoor play area with a few slides and climbing frames.
Rhona Morton is our longest serving member of staff. She joined the team back in 2006 and has lots of lovely memories and stories about her time here.
“I’m originally from Bankfoot, but came to live in Stanley when I got married and moved into the cottages just a few fields over from Active Kids,” says Rhona.
“I got to know Kerr and Suzanne who run the farm here and took the decision to diversify by opening Active Kids. It always suited me to work here as it was so nearby. My kids used to cycle up and down the road to the park playing with Suzanne and Kerr’s kids.”
Over the years, you name a role and Rhona has likely done it, from cooking and baking in the kitchen to cleaning or looking after the customers coming through the park. “Back when Active Kids was first open, it was a small team, so we used to do a bit of everything. I always enjoyed getting a chance to have a chat with customers, and I still enjoy that now. That never changes.”
As Rhona’s two daughters got older, they came to work at Active Kids part time while they were at university, so the Morton family’s connection to the park has continued down the generations. Now, Rhona takes her grandchildren to the park regularly.
What’s lovely for Rhona is that now, in 2023, she sometimes sees people who came here to play when they were kids taking their own children to experience the park.
“It’s nice to see people coming back,” says Rhona. “This year, we’ve seen quite a few who were keen to see how the park has changed after the renovations.”
One of Rhona’s absolute favourite memories from over the years was the annual Christmas party. “It was the highlight of the year,” Rhona remembers. “We always finished the last day of the year before we closed for Christmas with a huge party. There’d be about 80 children and Kenny the Clown – as long as he wasn’t stuck on the oil rigs, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of people who remember him! And, of course, there’d be Santa too. There’d be singing, dancing, food and lot of fun. It was brilliant.”
This year, we are hosting the big man himself with a series of Breakfast with Santa events. Families are welcome to come together for breakfast before meeting Santa in his grotto. Breakfast with Santa starts at 9am on 9th, 10th, 16th,17th December and tickets cost £7.99 per adult and £12.99 per child. Tickets are available via our website here.