Autumn 2013 Holidays Week 03…

This is Part 3 in our Autumn Holiday travels. (See Part 1 and Part 2.)

So it being the last week of the holidays, i decided we should take it easy and only visit 2 places – the Läderach Chocolate Factory and the Connyland Theme Park.

The day we visited the Läderach Chocolate Factory started as cloudy but turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. We took the train to Bilten, a little village in Kanton Glarus. It was a short walk from the Bilten train station to the factory which is one of the first buildings in a light industrial area. Ah… the smell of the chocolate upon entering the factory was amazing!!

Left: Outside the chocolate factory, Right: Beautiful view from the train.
Left: Outside the chocolate factory, Right: Beautiful view from the train.

It costs an adult CHF6/. to enter the factory/museum itself. Children up to 12 years old do not pay. Everyone is given a little white porcelain spoon with which you can taste all the chocolate you want :p You are also given a CHF 5/. voucher for chocolate purchases for every paying adult.

Left: Attempting to eat the fake cocoa bean pod, Right: Reading interesting chocolate facts.
Left: Attempting to eat the fake cocoa bean pod, Right: Reading interesting chocolate facts.

The museum is very small but interesting. They show you how the drying of the cocoa beans are done. There are several informative billboards to read in German and English, displays of some of the old chocolate making equipment to look at and a very well-done video explaining the whole process from cocoa bean arriving at the factory to the chocolate powder which is used by the confectioners to make the delicious chocolate creations.

What they used to make those delicious chocolate balls.
What they used to make those mouth-watering chocolate balls.
Left: Inside the factory, Right: Tasting yummy chocolate.
Left: Inside the factory, Right: Tasting yummy chocolate.

The factory only shows you the process up until the chocolate powder. The actual creation of the yummy pieces of wonderful-looking chocolate which are made by hand, every piece, is not shown.

Left: The difference between milk, white and dark chocolate, Right: the one chocolate fact which my boy loved is the one which states that chocolate enhances brain activity cos of the caffeine content, therefore justifying eating it ;)
Left: The difference between milk, white and dark chocolate, Right: the one chocolate fact which my boy loved is the one which states that chocolate enhances brain activity cos of the caffeine content, therefore justifying its consumption 😉

It didn’t take us long at all to finish the tour, about an hour if you read everything and taste everything. i would recommend going with the idea of buying amazing handmade chocolate and taking the factory tour as a bonus.

Shopping for chocolate and our spoils.
Shopping for chocolate and our spoils.

We had a lazy day at home after that calorie-loaded outing and then headed to Connyland the day after.

The highlights at Connyland are the animal shows. We went specifically to see the dolphins as this was the last season the dolphins will be there. i don’t exactly know why, i suspect it might have something to do with the facilities the dolphins are kept in. i’m not saying they are bad, from what i saw the dolphins were very happy and loving their trainers. Maybe animal rights groups were calling for the dolphins to be moved?

The amazing dolphins and their trainers!
The amazing dolphins and their trainers!

Anyhow, the dolphin show was fantastic! We LOVED it! It was fun and really showed off what the dolphins can do. They stressed at the beginning and at the end of the show how important clean seas/oceans are for the survival of the dolphins. They also stressed that all the tricks the dolphins do are what they already do naturally, they just trained the dolphins to do them on cue.

(Note for visitors who are not German-speaking – all the shows are conducted in German but are entertaining enough even if you don’t understand the words.)

The rides and activities we did try.
Some of the rides and activities we did try.

The park itself is not big when you compare it to places like Europa Park or Disney Land. A full day is enough to cover the whole place. There are a good number of rides, catering to both older and younger children. The rides are placed quite closed together but still within safe distance i think.

We didn’t do all the rides. We skipped the rides for younger kids and just did ones we thought were interesting for us. Tobias’ favourite ride was the bumper cars – he went on 4 times! The second favourite was the cable chair ride. It is a single person chairlift high above the flamingo lake.

There were 2 water rides (log ride and voodoo island) we went on, both of which we got splashed upon but it was fine. The voodoo island ride is fun if your fellow-passengers in the next float are game to shoot at you and get shot back.

Tobias climbed about at the Space-center to blow off some energy. The long slide on a mat was a little disappointing, as was the Dino-Attack ride. There were also remote control boats to play with, near one of the eating places.

The rides we decided not to go on.
Some of the rides we decided not to go on.

The Jungle Adventure was actually like a big indoor playground with trampolines, a maze, slides and climbing structures. The big thing in Jungle Adventure was the rope-park-like huge structure in the middle of the whole place. You wear a harness and get hooked up to line which slides around the whole structure above your head, keeping you safe as you negotiate the obstacle/rope course. This is a very popular attraction and we waited for 20 minutes and decided to come back later. We went half an hour before closing time and had the place to ourselves. So be warned. For the other rides there was only a very short wait or no wait at all. Maybe it’s because we went at the end of the season?

The sea-lion show was great! It was entertaining and funny, and engaging for the audience too. The 2 females were in a talent contest to win the affections of the big male, Oscar. i liked how sporting the trainers were to also join in the dancing and bum-shaking with the sea-lions.

The very funny sea-lions and their sporting trainers.
The very funny sea-lions and their sporting trainers.

The last show we caught was the parrot show. It was entertaining but the parrots weren’t very cooperative that day so it was a little draggy as she tried to get them to work with her. The trainer also spoke rather fast and was a little unclear but i think that had to do with the poor sound system in that tent rather than the trainer herself.

The slightly stubbon but very cute parrots and their trainer.
The slightly stubborn but very cute parrots and their trainer.

Oh, we gave the comedy show a miss this time but maybe next time. It was a super day out and we will likely head back to Connyland at another time.

So that’s the end of our holiday travels for autumn 2013. Till the next holiday – hehehee 😉

syc

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3 thoughts on “Autumn 2013 Holidays Week 03…

  1. Perhaps they stopped using the dolphins as they kept dying all over the place in this facility… Dolphins look happy because of the smile on their face. Unfortunately, they still smile being miserable or sick. So what you see says nothing about their well being. :/

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    1. Maybe you are right, maybe the dolphins are not happy. But i believe that an animal´s behaviour is very telling of their relationship with their owner or trainer. And it seems to me that they do respond positively. With regards to the animals “dying all over the place”, i trust the Swiss government who has done a fair job with their animal protection programs so i´m sure if the animals had been dying like you described they would have shut the whole place down long ago.

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