I don’t think it’s a secret that in our family we love dinosaurs! Max is a huge fan of them, and I recently redecorated his room with a dinosaur theme. So when we were invited to Paradise Wildlife Park, which is also home to the World of Dinosaurs, we jumped at the chance! We love a trip to a zoo or a theme park – it’s one of our favourite things to do as a family and Paradise Wildlife Park is only about an hour away from us, being located in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
We headed there on what must have been one of the hottest Sundays of the year – it was definitely a sun hat, sun cream, and ice cream day! After a somewhat difficult start getting there, where first we had to turn back home to get a forgotten sunhat, and then had to top up the air in the car’s tyres, we finally arrived and made our way into the zoo section of the park.
I loved this huge gorilla figure, but Max was too scared to sit on him! My husband is a bit braver 🙂 The zebra was a less intimidating one for Max.
The park is literally divided into two sections, the zoo and the World of Dinosaurs, with a road down the middle separating them. We headed to the zoo first, where we saw my favourite, ring tailed lemurs, and lots of snakes in the reptile house, which Max found far more appealing than I did. He also loved the alligator, although he was a bit sceptical as to whether it was real. We had to wait ages to see whether it moved (it did eventually!)
I always love seeing otters, but I often find at zoos they can be quite shy. We were in luck here because we managed to see them sunbathing and swimming too. They always make me smile!
Max loves the meerkats, and they loved him too – happy to come up and say hello and pose for a photo.
Max was also really keen to see the “parrot show”, so we headed down to the Bird Arena, which is an outside arena with stepped seating, where there is a bird display. The keepers invite one bird out at a time, and we saw Grey Owls, parrots, and a buzzard. The parrots work their way around the edge of the area, which means you can see them right up close which was brilliant.
Unfortunately the midday heat meant that a lot of the animals were hiding away, other than this camel, who was enjoying the hose!
We bought some ice creams and then decided we would head over to explore the World of Dinosaurs.
The World of Dinosaurs
I knew that the World of Dinosaurs would be a big hit with Max – he’s such a huge dinosaur fan! It’s laid out in a circular one way trail, which takes you through the park, with lots of different dinosaur sculptures along the way. You enter through a huge gateway, and then head down a path lined with dinosaur teeth – it’s all very well done. The figures are great – remarkably lifelike, and with movement and noises which really bring it all to life! Max had to confirm with me, “They just pretend Mummy?”
I loved all the little touches, like the signs that read “One Way Only: Shortcuts are for wimps”, and “Children left unattended will be fed to the dinosaurs”. There are numerous photo points around the route, the main one being this jeep with T-Rex chasing behind you – I had to get a photo of the boys in it. The roaring noise the T-rex made as he shook his head was actually pretty terrifying!
It took us about 30 minutes to complete the dinosaur trail, taking time to see all the dinosaurs moving, and stopping for the occasional photo. At the end of the trail there was also a shop, cafe, and dinosaur digging sandpit, which is somewhere Max can spend hours in if I let him!
The World of Dinosaurs is also home to the Rex Express – a miniature train, which takes you on a short route around the park. It costs an extra £2 per person to ride, but a little train is Max’s favourite thing ever – how could we refuse? We ended up doing it twice and we all loved it (even Ben, despite the apprehensive look on his face before we started moving!)
The thing that I wasn’t expecting from Paradise Wildlife Park was the excellent play areas. Max clocked the park as soon as we got there, as you pass it on the walk from the car park, and he was keen to go there all day. Luckily we managed to persuade him to do other things first, as he could easily have spent all day there! We discovered numerous play areas around the park, and of course we had to try out each one. Never underestimate the appeal of a fire engine – there were numerous old fire engines, made safe for playing in, and both the boys absolutely loved these, pretending to drive them for ages.
We had the best day out at Paradise Wildlife Park. We were there right up until it closed and we still didn’t manage to do everything it had to offer! I often think you never get the most out of a visit to a zoo on a really hot day, as so many of the animals are sleeping or hiding away, which was the case on our visit this time. We did manage to see most animals, but the big cats especially were quite sleepy and we didn’t manage to see them particularly close up. But the fact that there is so much other than the animals at Paradise Wildlife Park means that it doesn’t make your day a disappointment. As well as the dinosaurs, there is also an indoor soft play area, and a splash park, which I know if I’d let Max in, we would have been there hours!
It’s lovely to discover a new place to add to our favourites for a day out – thank you for having us Paradise Wildlife Park!
Disclosure: We were invited to visit Paradise Wildlife Park for the purpose of this blog post.