Whether you are the kind of mum who revels in the highs and lows of a theme park screaming louder than any child on a roller coaster, or whether, like me, you dread the whole thing – kids love ‘em and theme parks are here to stay. So when my theme park-loving friend suggested a day trip to Gulliver’s World, and my children all whooped with delight; I smiled through gritted teeth and agreed to go along.
I’d say Gulliver’s World is aimed at the under 10s. Parts of the park looked past their best, but my kids were certainly oblivious to this and had an absolute ball; taking in the rickety wooden Antelope roller coaster, the Pirate Ship, rotating Dinosaur eggs, the carousel, dodgems, a train ride and the Log Flume.
And I think I might have found the worst theme park ride in the entire world… The Snow Toboggan! Sounds good? It’s actually a large inflatable ring sliding down a big ramp on dirty carpet. The attendant kept shouting enthusiastically to “wiggle and it might go faster!” It doesn’t.
There are height restrictions on many of the rides at Gulliver’s World. Bear this in mind if you’ve got several little ones with you, most will need to ride with an adult if they’re under 1.2m tall.
We’d brought a picnic and there were plenty of places outside to tuck in. There were a couple of cafés on site, but they got very busy during the lunchtime rush. They all have microwaves for bottle warming, and baby food is available too.
When we were there the ZingZillas were doing a turn on stage, but our lot were happy enough racing around planning what thrill to drag me onto next. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and happy. For a first step into theme parks with small children, Gulliver’s is ideal!
Also at Gulliver’s, you’ll find Splashzone – best described as soft play meets waterpark, with loud disco music thrown in for good measure. The idea is that you stay on the sidelines enjoying a drink and staying dry, while your hair goes frizzy and your children disappear into a haze of water jets and slides (there is a one metre height restriction on the larger two slides). For older or more independent children this is great, but when accompanying younger ones you should go prepared to get wet! There is no standing water, it’s constantly draining away under your feet, so you don’t need to be able to swim. Adults can wear shorts and T-shirts or you can don your cossie if you want! Unfortunately you still won’t be allowed on the slide.
Gullivers: Opens 15th February, check website for up-to-date information on seasonal dates, opening times and online discounts. Adult and child £22.50, under 90cm free.
Splashzone: Opens 6th February, check website for up-to-date information on seasonal dates and opening times. Booking is essential and is for a two hour time slot.
Adult £2.50, Child over 90cm £5.95, Child under 90cm £3.95.
Gulliver’s World, Warrington WA5 9YZ Tel: 01925 444888. Also at Matlock.
Splashzone Tel: 01925 230088