Boda Borg is a questing adventure centre based in the stunning Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Co. Roscommon. The idea has come out of Sweden and the Irish centre is only one of two based outside of its native homeland. The other is in Boston.
I took my two girls (11 & 9) down to see what a Swedish questing adventure was when it was at home. I’m so glad I did. We had one of the most fun-filled days we’ve had together in yonks.
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Boda Borg at Lough Key
How Boda Borg Works
Basically the Boda Borg is like a physical version of a computer game. It’s not completely unlike the Crystal Maze, for those of you who remember that show. There are about twenty quests to choose from. Each quest is made up of between three and five rooms, each with different tasks to be completed.
What is really interesting is that there are no instructions given and you have to work together as a team (groups of 3-5) to complete the task before the time runs out. You are not told how much time you have, although most rooms give you between two and four minutes.
Should you fail in any room in a quest, you have to go back to the start and begin again. Sometimes it might take twenty attempts to complete a room. That’s all part of the fun. It’s so satisfying to crack a room after finally discovering its secret.
Because there are no instructions it is fabulous to help children develop their problem-solving skills and because almost all the rooms require team-work in order to be successfully completed, it encourages collaboration over competition. These are wonderful attributes to encourage in our children.
In six years of operation here, the entire course has only been completed thirty-two times. I set out with my kids hoping to make that thirty-three.
How We Got On In Our Boda Borg Quest
We arrived fifteen minutes before our allotted time and were met by friendly staff who registered us. All the people booked for our slot were then shown an introductory video which explained the basic concept of the Boda Borg. We were then lead into the quest centre.
I hadn’t known exactly what to expect. It was bedlam. Groups of hens and stags and children’s birthday parties were happily running around the corridors, up and down stairs and in and out of doors. The atmosphere was one of concentrated fun.
My kids got their bearings before I did and were quick to start a quest by running into a room marked ‘Farm’ which had a green light over the door which meant that it was free.
Once inside, we were alone trying to work out from the pictures on the wall and the furniture what we were meant to do. The kids started experimenting with everything while I scratched my head. Before I knew it, our time was up and we had to exit into the corridor. It had all happened so fast.
We ran around and managed to get back in before another group could beat us to it. This time we knew what to expect and we managed to solve the puzzle. A green light went on over another door and we went through into the next level. We were hooked.
For the next two hours we ran around the corridors, up and down stairs and in and out of rooms like kids in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. My kids were having a ball, so much so that when I accidentally made a mistake that caused us to be sent back to the start of a quest in which we had finally reached the third room, they didn’t mind and simply raced back to the start to begin again.
Try Again, Fail Again. Fail Better.
We didn’t manage to join the list of those who had conquered the entire circuit. In fact, we only managed to complete three quests, and for that I am grateful. It means we can return to do it again.
On our way out we noticed there are camping facilities in the park. I am now under serious pressure from the girls to return and make a weekend out of it.
How to Book Boda Borg at Lough Key
You need a minimum of 3 people in a team to participate in Boda Borg. The maximum number of people per team is 5. Groups of 6 people or more must break in to separate teams i.e. Group of 6 people: Two teams of 3, Group of 7 people: A team of 3 and a team of 4, etc.
In line with health and safety and insurance policies all guests must be aged 7 years upwards to enter Boda Borg.
You can book when you arrive but Boda Borg is very popular so it’s wiser to book ahead to avoid disappointment.