So many children love dinosaurs, but I think N is a bit ambivalent to them. Sometimes he comes out with interesting facts (mostly gleaned from Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures on cbeebies), the rest of the time he’s scared of them or doesn’t care. So I wasn’t sure what he’d make of Dinosaur Adventure. It turned out he loved it and model animatronic dinosaurs are no longer something to be scared off. Whoop!
As it wasn’t Norfolk school holidays Dinosaur Adventure was quiet. Well, there were lots of pre-schoolers and mums having play meet ups, but we didn’t see too many older children even though it was a lovely warm day. It meant it was perfect for N to do everything he wanted to. What was brilliant was that children can go round the park collecting stamps in different locations, and then collect a medal on completion. It certainly kept N motivated.
Once we arrived we met a few dinosaurs first before N decided he couldn’t resist the play area. It’s a massive area as soon as you arrive. Obstacles, huge bridges, climbing frames, nets, and a smaller enclosed play area for 6 years and under. It’s not going to be long before N won’t be able to go in those any longer. He had a great time, only getting to the top of the netting and realising that it was a lot higher than others he’s been on, and that maybe he would get stuck. Backwards down he went again.
There’s a massive dinosaur slide as well, which is great being covered so it gives children some respite from being out in the sun.
We also both enjoyed digging (brushing) for fossils. N got very excited about this because he’s studied fossils at school so thinks he knows everything. Again, this area is under cover so still good for using in the rain.
We’d spotted a few of the stamps for N’s medal collecting page as we walked round but did get stumped by a few. We got waylaid by the Raptor Racers go karts and I had to have a go as well. Not easy when you’re lugging round a camera bag too.
There were plenty of other activities like crazy golf to try and a huge slide which N totally ignored. Instead we were on a mission to find the other stamps. Off to the rangers’ base camp, and then to the dinosaur trail. N really isn’t a walker – he’ll moan permanently, but give him a purpose to it, and he’ll be striding ahead, discussing what he’s spotted, giving his views and ‘studied’ knowledge (I’m not convinced much of it was that accurate). We discussed crocodiles and flying dinosaurs, getting up close to some interesting species that neither of us had heard about. I’ve decided that my dinosaur learning in my youth was severely lacking.
As you go round the trail there are ranger outposts, and (amusing) stories of what happened to explorers on the trail in the past. They do make it more fun for children, and there’s a few activities as you go round, before exiting next to the farm animals section. The trail took a little while to do. It is buggy friendly, but there aren’t many places to sit and have a rest if you’ve got very young children out of buggies. In school holidays there are signs that there are kiosks, but these weren’t open when we were there.
Then we arrived at the farming and gardens area. The deer safari wasn’t running out of school holidays/weekends, so we didn’t see that. The farm animals were a bit of a misfit for me. But it is nice to have another area to relax in. There’s a new restaurant being built, in the ‘garden’ area, and there’re plenty of picnic tables by the existing café which opens at weekends and peak season.
To get back to the main area we went through the Neanderthal trail, out of the woodland and into the sunshine. N was flagging a bit by this stage, moaning he didn’t feel well, and it was nearly time for lunch. We’d collected all of N’s stamps so he exchanged them for the medal of his choice. I think getting medal is a great idea, and all children love a scavenger hunt with an award at the end.
Then N spotted the soft play area and forgot all about not being ill. The equipment was a similar layout to that at Hatton Adventure World, with plenty of rope bridges and a choice of high slides. He stuck with the wavy slide, dragging his mat up each time. It was nice to be in quiet soft play (totally different to what it’s like at Hatton). There was plenty of seating and a café.
We ate lunch there. As with most soft play we’ve been to, the café wasn’t the fastest and the choice was confusing for the children’s lunch boxes. There was nothing to say how many items and what price it was, and the crisps were elsewhere so I wasn’t sure if they were included. N wasn’t feeling well enough for a whole lunch box so just had a drink, some jelly and a sandwich. But he then had to wait for my panini to arrive which took ages and was a bit oniony.
We headed off after a couple more slides. N didn’t want to see more of the park, although there were a few places we’d not explored. Unfortunately the splash park was shut for maintenance, but it looked good and I’m sure N would have been there straight away given the chance.
Dinosaur Adventure was a great day out. It’s not often we go to themed places because they can get a little tedious, but this was done well enough with plenty to do for all ages. Even the older children and teens are catered for with an obstacle course, Krypton Factor style. If you’re in Norfolk I’d recommend a visit there.
Have you ever been? Are you a fan of themed days out?