“Do you actually know where you’re going, mum?” asked Hope, my youngest. “Not exactly, I’ve never been here...” but before I could finish my sentence, the object of our quest hove into view. We had arrived outside Cumbernauld Outdoor Activity Centre and the World of Wings visitor attraction in rural North Lanarkshire.
As my directional sense had been vindicated, I was calling the shots about which of these neighbouring fun palaces we would be visiting first. So it was off to vent some steam, with a spot of non-combat, target paintballing. You can also experience full-on wargame paintball, corporate team-building days, archery lessons, off-road Land Rover and blindfold driving. The axe throwing also sounded appealing, but that particular activity is for over-18s.
Luckily, paintballing is suitable for anyone over five, and you can just turn up. Equipment hire is free and all you need to pay for is your ammunition. You are then carefully supervised and are shown how to operate the gas-powered guns safely. The object is to hit a series of targets in a grassy range, and it’s seriously addictive. Turns out mum’s not too bad a shot, and there were smiles all round when the girls hit the bull’s eye on the blue barrel targets.
Next we headed over to the neighbouring World of Wings to take a closer look at the 70-plus feathered friends who call this place home. The first colourful pair we meet are a green-winged macaw called Coco and his friend, Basil, a blue and gold macaw. They are rescue birds and, although they do speak, they remained tight-beaked on our visit.
We had arrived just in time for one of the flying displays which was held in the indoor area, as the weather was so inclement. First we were introduced to Oak, the tawny owl and then a black barn owl named Ash. The girls were delighted to be able to take part in the display as the birds landed on their arms. The falconers are really knowledgeable about their charges, and the girls bombarded them with loads of questions. However, the highlight of our visit was meeting the young black vulture called Einstein as his comedy antics had us all in stitches.
• Ammunition for target paintball costs £1 for 5 shots to £13 for 200 shots. World of Wings flying displays are held at 1pm in winter. Tickets cost £5.45 for adults, £3.45 for children and £4.45 for students and concessions. Opening hours 10am until 5pm, for further information on both sites see www.cumbernauldoutdoor.com