Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge 2019 – coming to libraries on Saturday 13 July 2019

The Reading Agency and Libraries are excited to introduce Space Chase, Summer Reading Challenge 2019, an out of this world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

This summer, children will help our super space family 'The Rockets' track down books nabbed by mischievous aliens! As they read library books, they will solve clues and collect special stickers to complete their mission folder. Can they find the aliens in time to save the day?

Space Chase, the Summer Reading Challenge, starts in your local library on Saturday 13 July and will run until Saturday 14 September. You can sign up and then read at least six library books of your choice to collect special stickers and other rewards along the way – all for free. You can read whatever you like: fact, fiction, joke books or poetry, from our excellent range. You can even borrow audio books and listen if you prefer.

The Summer Reading Challenge is aimed at children aged 4–11 years and is for everyone regardless of their reading ability. Taking part is easy and free. Just visit any Surrey library to sign up. Borrow books through the summer and earn stickers and other free rewards along the way. You'll get a certificate after you've read 6 books.

Children's reading ability can 'dip' during the long summer holidays if they don't have regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure and this can be a problem for schools to put right in the new term. Taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge helps children to become more fluent, confident and happy readers.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a national promotion produced by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries.

Whatever the weather this summer, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience is the place to be

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience is the ultimate family day out now that both its Manchester and recently-opened London maze are open to ages 13 and over* for the very first summer. 

At this all-weather attraction, it doesn't matter if it pours with rain or temperatures soar, there will still be 75 minutes full of fun, challenges and laughter. It might be too hot, too cold or too wet outside, but it's always the perfect time to visit the immersive experience based on the 90s TV classic.

If you dread the thought of queuing during your summer days out, then you needn’t worry at the timed attraction as every team of eight is given their very own time slot to play a host of new games for real. What’s more, all mobile phones are seized during game play, giving the whole family that all-important screen-free time to bond.

Your team will be led around the attraction by a charismatic and eccentric Maze Master, who will guide you through the maze's four themed zones: Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic, with the ultimate goal of winning a crystal. Each crystal won means more time in the iconic dome, where the aim is to catch enough golden tickets to bag yourself a spot on the coveted leaderboard! 

Once you complete the maze, celebrate your successes and laugh at your failures whilst enjoying a drink and burger at all-new The Wildcat Bar featured inside the West End maze which overlooks Shaftesbury Avenue. 

All visits must be booked in advance by visiting www.the-crystal-maze.com

*Both the London and Manchester sites are open to ages 13 and over, but each party must be accompanied by at least one person aged over 18.

Bringing history to life: Guildford Museum out and about this summer

Connecting the past with the present and bringing history to life, Guildford Museum is out and about this summer, with lots of exciting free events around the borough. 

Lead Councillor for Leisure, Heritage and Tourism, Cllr James Steel, says: “We’re taking our museum out and about over the next few months linking the past with the present and bringing history to life. From creative fun in the Castle Grounds to family events and exhibitions there is something for all ages to enjoy - and there is no charge to join in with any of our activities. ” 

Highlights include: 

     • bringing medieval Guildford back to life with free family fun in the Castle Grounds on 15 June 
     • linking historic past and present objects with their location at Shackleford Village Fete on 22 June, and at Wood Street Village Show on 20 July 
     • People and Places - free exhibition at Guildford House Gallery from 20 July to 22 September 
     • Inspired By Alice – Family Fun Day - free entertainment based on Lewis Carroll’s famous character at the Castle Grounds on 3 August 
     • create an origami boat for free at our stand at Guildford-on-Sea Urban Beach from 8 to 10 August. 

You can also view a range of fascinating historic objects in our online collection at www.guildford.gov.uk/museumcollection

While the museum is out and about, the museum building itself is temporarily closed for planned, essential maintenance with an aim to re-open in the autumn. 

Adds Cllr Steel: “We’re always looking at new and inventive ways to share our arts and heritage and this essential work on our museum building gives us the opportunity to take our museum out and about. 

“We have exciting proposals to improve Guildford Museum in the future, transforming it into a major focal point for heritage and the arts. The proposed scheme would provide a new cultural destination linking with a wide variety of our own and other attractions across our area. Our plans are at an early stage, and this current essential maintenance work is part of our investment in the museum’s future. It must be carried out now to safeguard the collections and exhibits, and will be taken into account in any future redevelopment.” 

While the museum is temporarily closed, activities that usually take place there, like Coffee Time Talks, Saturday family Fun and Finds Identification will be at Guildford House Gallery on Guildford High Street. 

Look out for more information about the events and updates on our website at www.guildford.gov.uk/museum

Rescued emu becomes a father

Birdworld, Farnham are pleased to announce that rescued Emu, Forest is now a proud father. With a dreadful start to life no-one would believe that 5 years ago this emu was lonely and deprived of the life he should have had.

Back in 2014, an animal park in Scotland hit the headlines with a host of horrifying stories of animal suffering and welfare issues. Following the closure of the park to the public, the local council called in Specialist Wildlife Services (SWS) to work in conjunction with their officers to assess the welfare of the park’s 76 species.

Among these animals they found Forest, nicknamed by the keepers, he was found in horrendous conditions. SWS were horrified to find him alone and in a stable that was almost pitch black. With no access to the company of other birds or enrichment of any kind, he had developed the symptoms of sensory and social deprivation, and stereotypical behaviour such as head throwing, pacing and feather plucking. It was initially uncertain whether Forest had any vision at all as his reaction to movement was severely compromised and an early prognosis by the vets in attendance was that he may have to be euthanised.

After a comprehensive assessment, it soon became apparent that with considerable changes to the environment and the correct care and attention, Forest’s life could be turned around. Birdworld were contacted and immediately offered to help this poor suffering bird. With the knowledge from the Avian specialists working at Birdworld they were able to propose a plan to offer Forest the rehabilitation he needed in order to provide him with a new life in an open-air paddock with other Emu’s.

With extensive veterinary treatment, spacious housing and the correct diet as-well as additional enrichment programs the keepers at Birdworld were able to correct his stereotypical behaviour and gradually, he was introduced to the open-air paddock with two other female companions.

Since his introduction to Matilda and Maisie, Forest has maintained a healthy and natural life resulting in the female’s producing fertile eggs. Some of these eggs were sent to Beale Wildlife Park near Reading and have since hatched! 3 gorgeous Emu chicks are now in the care of the dedicated bird team and are expected to be fully grown in just 6 months. As the second largest bird in the world this species is known for their long, powerful legs and distinct grunting, booming and drumming sounds.

New bird box trail at Redhill Memorial Park - ideal for kids this half term

Help your kids step away from the screens this half term and head to Memorial Park in Redhill (Surrey) to have a go at spotting the birds nesting in 22 new colourfully decorated bird boxes installed around the park by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

The uniquely designed boxes and accompanying trail leaflets aim to encourage visitors to the park to spot the colourful boxes and birds nesting in them, while also benefitting the wildlife that inhabits the park. Keep your eyes peeled for blue tits, great tits, robins and thrushes, and even bats!

The trail – which is both wheelchair and pushchair friendly – was installed earlier in spring before bird nesting season began by the Council’s Greenspaces team. The boxes were created by the Men in Sheds Group at Furnistore in Redhill, and decorated by local artists and council staff, 

Cllr Alex Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “The 22 bird boxes make a wonderful addition to the park. Not only do they show off the skills of our many talented local artists, but they also encourage us to get back to nature and appreciate the bird life that our greenspaces bring to us as visitors to the park.

“The trail forms part of our work to encourage healthy lifestyles through making our open spaces more accessible, fun and educational. I would encourage residents to take time to explore the trail, see how many nest boxes you can find and spot what is living in them.”

The new installations follow the success of the Earlswood Lakes Bird Box trail in 2018, where 23 bird boxes can be found in trees around the lake. 

Find the trail at Memorial Park, London Road, Redhill RH1 1SZ. Trail leaflets are available to pick up at the Park’s pavilion cafe. To find out more visit: www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/memorialpark

If you visit the trail be sure to tag us in your pictures on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook on @reigatebanstead using the hashtags #LookUp and #SpotTheBox – we’ll share the best ones.