It's always heartening to see new stuff appearing on the Isle of Wight. Sure, we've had some painful losses in recent years (RIP Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Waltzing Waters, Bestival and Coleman's Farm).
But we've also been treated to new stuff, such as Tapnell Farm Park, Eklectica and Fairweather Festival.
This summer there's a good choice of new stuff to try out. Here's a selection that we've heard about - feel free to comment at the bottom if you know of others.
1. Jungle shenanigans at Robin Hill
Robin Hill is going for a jungley theme this summer, with a load of colourful treetop nets which were being built last time we visited.
This will undoubtedly lead to copywriters punning about 'going wild' and having a 'roarsome time'.
I shall avoid the obvious and come up with something a bit cleverer.
Er, "let's Flamin-go to Robin Hill"?
There will also be 'Jungle Fever' events on Tuesday and Thursday with 'the biggest fire balls you've ever seen' and 'life sized animal puppets'. I'd like to see the risk assessment form for that one.
They've also got this massive water slide which looks like it's been constructed by a weekend Dad who was desperate to impress his kids.
"Hey kids, I bet Mum's new boyfriend doesn't have one of these in his garden does he?"
2. Boro Beach Bike
Visitors to European cities will have seen these multi-seater bicycles being powered by beered-up British stag dos. The aim is to drink as much as you can without falling off your seat and then hoping someone will find the EHIC card in your wallet and take you to the nearest A&E.
Thankfully, the Isle of Wight takes a more civilised approach to such things.
According to the official blurb you can 'Choose from a range of themed rides: from Afternoon Tea to Fitness, Networking to Litter Picking, or our Original Tour which takes in the sights and sea views of Ryde and the Solent.'
3. Osborne Horse Trials
I take great comfort in the fact that Nick Skelton won a showjumping Olympic gold at the age of 58.
That gives me at least another couple of decades before I need to start training for my Olympic medal. Until then I'll just watch the new horsey eventing at Osborne.
4. Tapnell Farm
Tapnell Farm Park seems to add something new every time I turn my back.
For 2018 they've extended the go kart track and added some outdoor sledges. The indoor bits have also had a move around to make space for new bits and bobs.
And for anyone who knows what an FN-59 is, there's a new Comic book shop/cafe which has turned up in Newport.
Well why not?
One of my first jobs was stacking shelves at Sainsburys on the Isle of Wight for £3.06 an hour. We were called the 'Milk and Cookie Crew' because we weren't old enough or responsible enough to work on the checkouts. I planned a 10 minute toilet break into my two hour shift just to avoid the customers.
Still, it was worth giving up all my spare time for the weekly pay of £24.
One of my most familiar discussions with customers was where they could find the gravy which managers moved around the store like a mischievous elf on a shelf (end plinth, aisle 12 usually).
I was reminded of this at Tapnell Farm Park which we visited for the first time in a year recently. Like most Wightophiles, we were bursting with excitement a couple of years ago when we heard a new attraction was coming and have been returning sporadically ever since.
On our return, the hay bale slides had shifted across the play barn, the Tiny Tapnell bit for toddlers had moved to another building and a gift shop had appeared next to a new toddler area.
At Tapnell, I'm confident that this hasn't been done to confuse us but is to make space for new stuff. The go kart track has got bigger and better, there are dry sledges and a few other little additions.
On this trip my mother went off to get coffee, which often results in her spending 20 minutes getting to know the person serving her. This is a useful gift in life, unless there is a queue of people behind you.
Usually she returns to say that the person who brewed her coffee used to work with the grandson of someone she worked with in the 1990s.
On this occasion she returned with the news that the park had recently had its busiest ever day. The details became a little sketchy at this point with either 600 people or 6000 cars visiting in one day.
I fear the detail of the conversation wouldn't stand up to cross examination in court, but it's certainly heartening to see a high quality attraction growing each year and seemingly being rewarded with a full car park.
It isn't as vast as some similar attractions on the mainland but it's clean, well organised and priced about right in my opinion (around £10). It also has a realistic view of the UK climate, so there's a good mix of indoor and outdoor stuff.
It's also recently been added to a bus route, which will hopefully bring a bigger crowd through the doors over the summer.
We'll certainly be back, and hopefully there'll be even more new stuff for the owners to find space for.
We've teamed up with Hampshire's Top Attractions to give away a bundle of family tickets to three of the Isle of Wight's best-known attractions.
The prize needs to be used during the 2018 season and includes:
To enter, you just need to like the relevant post on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page and tag someone else who loves summer on the Isle of Wight.
The competition ends at 11.59pm on Sunday 8th July 2018. The winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday 9th July 2018. The prize needs to be used during 2018. There is no cash alternative.
The competition is running across our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts but there is only one bundle available.
*Yes, we know that the Isle of Wight isn't in Hampshire. Stop complaining and enter the competition.
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