Friday 20 March 2015

A roarsome day out

I love going on day trips out and it's one of my fondest memories as a child. We were always going on coach trips or visiting museums and I very much want to introduce Ethan to as many experiences as possible.

On our last Mummy and Ethan Wednesday, we were invited to go along to a brand new attraction opening at West Midlands Safari Park, one of our favourite places in the Midlands to go to as a family on a day out. The only information we were given in advance was it would be something pretty special and very different to anything else the park had done before.

We were certainly intrigued and had one or two ideas from the invite we were sent but nothing really prepared us for just how special this new attraction was.

When we arrived, we headed for the Discovery Trail, first saying hello to the penguins which we both love, before heading off to explore the Lorikeet Landing, which is a heated indoor home to a flock of 52 lorikeets. Ethan was in awe of these beautiful birds and when two landed on my head, he kept pointing at me saying 'Mama, hat!' which made me laugh no end.

We then wandered down to see the hippos and meercats before arriving exactly as the new exhibit was opening for its previews.

But what was it?

Well, we had a little clue as we walked closer and saw something unusual in between the trees...

Dinosaurs! But not just any dinosaurs, as we were soon to discover.

No, the new attraction, Land of the Living Dinosaurs, features 38 life size dinosaurs that all have moving mouths, necks, eyes and, in some cases, tails.

You may know that we have a little dinosaur fan in our house. Well, it's more a case that hubs and I have loved dinosaurs since a young age, but Ethan too seems to like them, although he calls them 'roars'.

At least, I hope he likes them, seeing as he has a dinosaur themed playroom...


I've seen a few dinosaur attractions before but nothing that's come close to this new feature. Honestly, I thought it was fantastic. Roarsome, you might say (sorry!).

First of all, there are lots of dinosaurs to see. Lots. Not just a handful, well spread out, but lots of different types to see and all done to scale, based on the knowledge archaeologists have, and organised through the four ages that they walked the earth - Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, for the geeks out there.

Second, there's atmospheric sound effects and music throughout the Jurassic safari which really add to the feel of it all, and the 'caution' signs dotted around really made me smile as they were a funny take on the 'don't feed the animals' type notices you see in 'real' animal enclosures.

Thirdly, this attraction is pretty large so you can really take your time walking around, reading the informative signs and spotting fossils as you go.

When we were there, two school groups were also walking around and it was really good to see the children really so into the feel of the place - they were even hesitant walking underneath the swooshing tails of the large dinosaurs!

Ethan wasn't scared at all, which I did wonder if he would be when I saw how authentic the park was trying to make the attraction feel. Instead, he pointed enthusiastically and kept saying 'rooooaaarrr!' all the way around.

Another great addition was the chance for visitors to interact with 'real' dinosaurs, in the form of a baby velocirapter called George being cared for by a park ranger and another dinosaur that walks about and says hello (forgive me, I forget his name).

Towards the end of the trail, we found an archaeological dig site which looked a lot of fun and we had to make a trip into the Dinosaur Trading Co. to pick a souvenir, which was quite hard to do as there was so much to choose from.

Ethan did manage to pick two friends in the end to bring home with him - luckily, they don't bite.

There was one more dinosaur left to meet before we left, and he was pretty hard to miss...

Ever the hero, Ethan waved goodbye to the big roar as we left.

It was a real shame that hubs couldn't join us on the day we went but we're planning on going back soon. As the Land of the Living Dinosaurs is included within the entry ticket price for the whole safari park (£19.99 adults, £14.99 children 3-15 years, £17.99 concessions, under 3's free), with a free return ticket included also, it makes this an even better value day out for the family.

The investment they made into this attraction (around £2.5m) really shows and whilst the real animals you can visit and tour around on safari are always going to be the stars of the show, the dinosaurs are certainly not to be missed.

* Thank you to West Midlands Safari Park for inviting us to the preview - we both thought it was T-rexcellent!


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