IT is rare to find all three of my children sitting quietly at the same time.
But the jaw-dropping sight of a brontosaurus, four metres tall, waddling majestically in front of us was enough to do it.
We were watching the brilliant new Animals v Dinosaurs show at Butlin’s seaside resort in Bognor Regis and the kids — aged eight, four and one — were transfixed.
This was the first performance of the innovative show by the Animal Guyz, a trio of animal experts who skillfully use puppetry and special effects to convincingly bring to life magnificent creatures, from elephants to the prehistoric triceratops.
Their knockabout comic delivery teaches little ones about the natural world while cleverly avoiding the need to use live animals in shows.
Who knew a snail had more teeth than a T-Rex?
This was one of several engaging new shows we enjoyed on our half-term weekend break to Butlin’s — and not one disappointed.
We’d been on many family trips here before and keep coming back partly because the entertainment is frequently refreshed.
New pantomime Goldilocks And The Three Bears was another family favourite, featuring impressive set changes, a classic boo-hiss baddie and a fabulous panto dame whose frocks were as outrageous as her one-liners.
The fairytale classic has been modernised expertly with some song-and-dance numbers based on pop hits by Billie Eilish and Lizzo.
What most excited my eldest son Henry, though, was the futuristic light circus, Electric City.
Commissioned by Butlin’s two years ago, the mesmerising glow-show features a unique blend of street dance and circus skills. Much of the performance takes place in the dark, as brightly coloured dancers and acrobats tumble across the stage in LED light suits that change colour with their movements.
“Wow Mum, this is amazing!” whispered Henry. He was not wrong. The spinning lights and glowing shapes were an impressive sight even for the adults.
If you enjoy a bit of audience interaction, the Musicals Rock theatre show, featuring singalong favourites from a range of jukebox musicals, is for you. The talented vocalists wouldn’t have been out of place in the West End.
As the chilly rain drizzled outside, we were grateful for the endless choice of live entertainment, which could have easily kept all five of us happy for the whole weekend.
But it would be a waste not to investigate the other indoor activities while you are there.
For starters, there is the £40million Splash swimming complex with its safe, shallow toddler zone, as well as high-adrenaline slides and a wave pool older kids will love.
Back on dry land, my children enjoyed a sand art class, mini-archery, pottery painting, ten-pin bowling, soft play and a silent cinema where viewers are equipped with headphones.
There is also a fairground, mini-golf and Laser Tag, which comes at a small extra cost.
Most activities no longer need to be booked in advance, although shows still need to be reserved on the Butlin’s app.
Another app, B-Serve, lets you order drinks and food in bars, venues and restaurants straight to your table — handy when you are with small children.
To take any stress out of mealtimes, it is worth booking the pre-paid hotel dining plan, which meant our breakfasts and dinners at the Shoreline Hotel were taken care of.
Our two-bedroom room there had a good-sized twin room for the boys, with pop-art decor, flatscreen telly and plenty of space in our room for a cot.
All the fun was right there on our doorstep too . . . and it seems like the fun never ends.
Butlin’s has become a holiday favourite with my family but with so much on offer to see and do, no two trips are ever the same.
More importantly, we never hear the half-term refrain every parent dreads: “Mum, I’m bored!”
Go: Bognor Regis
STAYING THERE: Butlin’s offers a four-night Showtime Midweek break featuring Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Thomas & Friends staying at the Shoreline Hotel from £112 for a family of four.
Dining packages start at £21.75 per adult per day and £10.90 per child per day.