Dino-mite Day Out: Why Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is the perfect day out
A couple of weeks ago I started having what can only be described as a first world parenting crisis. I never take my kids on big days out. I mean, yes we go out a lot. We go to the beach a lot, we go to the park loads and we’ve visited lots of cool places, especially those we’ve been to for Day Out With The Kids.
But we’ve never been to the really big places, the ones where the rides are all about tv characters and you need some kind of ticket to queue on your behalf. I did warn you, it was a very first world concern. I started to worry that bigger might always mean best and that by living in the South West where things are..ummm….often at a slightly slower pace of life, that my kids might not have the same days out that other kids do. Thankfully though our latest review reminded me that you don’t need to travel halfway across the country to have a good time.
Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park is in North Devon near to Ilfracombe and as far as days out with the kids go it’s pretty reasonably priced at £14.50 for adults and £12.50 for kids over 3. The park is a mixture of dinosaurs (some animatronics, some models) and animals including lions, meerkats, penguins and sea lions. At three and six years old I had wondered how my kids would respond to the dinosaurs, my son adored them and raced to see each one while my daughter was a lot more cautious at first. After a bit of a Daddy carry and cuddle we discovered this was because she thought the dinosaurs were real and there was a good chance of her brother being eaten but once we explained that - shhhh - they’re not actually alive she was fine and running along to hunt out the Triceratops.
As well as the dinosaurs the kids loved seeing all the animals, the monkeys were a big hit with my two monkeys and we caught most of a talk about meerkats which was good enough to get both of them to actually sit still and listen for ages - a pretty big challenge by normal standards. The park also has a really good soft play area, I’m not normally a huge fan of soft play as they inevitably smell of feet and one of my kids will manage to smack their head on something but the one at Combe Martin Dinosaur and Wildlife Park was spotlessly clean and both my kids were able to tear around it for ages without any problems while I sat and chilled with a cup of tea. With all the bad weather we’ve had recently it was great to have somewhere fun they could pop into for a while as the dark clouds passed overhead.
There’s one ride at the park, a train ride that takes you to see some dinosaurs and cavemen and while you dodge getting soaked. It’s an extra pound a person and I’m not a massive fan of paying for extras when I’m already somewhere but according to my kids it was the best thing there and they laughed and shrieked so much it was worth the extra expenditure.
Living in the South West might mean that we don’t go to the most well-known places, but that doesn’t mean that we’re having any less fun. Our day out at Combe Martin was pretty much perfect and we can have a great day out without having to travel too far from home then that’s good enough for me.