We visited the Park on Easter Sunday, as it was the only decent day weather wise for a bank holiday weekend and they had recently opened the Dinosaur area, so we were intrigued.
We arrived just after opening (9.30) and there was plenty of parking and no queues to get in, which is always a good start, although there's plenty of parking so I doubt this is an issue. The prices aren't much different to the likes of Whipsnade or Woburn and it is a lot smaller, but has a surprisingly good selection of animals and things to do and has the added bonus of not having to walk to the moon and back with two kids (5 & 18 months) and the various paraphanalia that comes with them, to see something they were excited about but now just need the toilet which is back where you have just come from, so I think the size of the Park is perfect.
First up you'll hit the Dinosaur area. Now I'll be honest I was expecting some tacky fibreglass models with an annoying loop tape of ripped off Jurassic Park theme tunes playing everywhere, but I was pleasantly surprised; the models were fantastic!! They are all anamatronic models with moving limbs, heads, mouths, replicated breathing, even eyelids and eyes were moving and they had some fairly decent sound effects for each with a info plaque near each model. The kids loved them and so did we, so much so we ended up going round again later on in the day.
As for the rest of the Park, it's brilliant for such a small site. The enclosures for the animals are not huge, but substantial and best of all you can get pretty close to most of them (safely) and get some really decent pictures which is normally lacking in the bigger Zoo's. There is also a good selection of animals to see which again surprised me.
I am absolutely no expert on how to care for a wild animal like some people claim to be on here, but from what we saw the animals seemed well looked after and were obviously fed and whilst the enclosures were not huge they are obviously big enough or the Zoo wouldn't exist. As for 'enrichment' that everyone seems to be banging on about, you don't see a lion on a David Attenborough show playing with a multicoloured plastic ball in the middle of the Savannah, so why should they play with one in an enclosure.... sort your lives out.
A couple of the sections were closed on the day (nocturnal and part of Big Cat being developed) but these were due to expansion or improvement and were noted on the website and made no difference to the enjoyment of our day in fact it was good to see the Park is developing.
Best part about this park is that, even though there were a lot of people there, you weren't fighting to see the animals and having to elbow people out of the way so the kids could get a glimpse of something; one of the things I despise in the other places.
Food.... As is always the case with any attraction like this, the food is normally extortionate and terrible.... in this case the pricing wasn't horrendous although still a bit on the pricy side, but it was actually pretty good. The kids and the Mrs had burger, chips and beans, which were very nice , for around £7 which included a drink and I had a jacket potato with salad,m pulled pork, bacon and cheese which was £7.90 again, including a drink.... and this was really well cooked and not like eating a cricket ball like I expected. My advice would be , if you are going to the main eating hall near the entrance, get there around 11.30 or earlief if you want to eat inside or just eat outside if it's nice, as it gets rammed really quickly and nobody wants screaming hungry kids who can't sit down anywhere, whilst listening to a cacophany of other people's screaming kids in a packed food hall that's getting warmer by the second......... alternatively bring a packed lunch, it'll save you some money and there's plenty of benches about, but the food there is good.
There is also a shed load of things to do for the kids if/When they get bored, in the big play area just Inside the entrance, there's also a mini golf area, fire engines to sit in, slides, swings etc, etc plenty to keep them entertained anyway.
The only small gripe I had was some of the staff could be a little bit more enthusiastic and show a bit more urgency when doing things and have a bit more of a rapport with the paying punters. A lot of the time waiting in food/drinks queues was either due to lack of staff or lack of competent staff, but this is a very small blot on an otherwise brilliant day.
Would definitely recommend this to anyone with a young family who wants the Zoo experience, but not the marathon that goes with it and has something a little different to the rest.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.