Published on Thursday, April 6, 2017
Drayton Manor Park kicked off its summer season last weekend with the opening of a new ride in Thomas Land, which TravelMole's newest recruit, four-year-old Jemima, was super keen to put to the test.
Just one look at Jemima's face as we whizzed around on 'James and the Red Balloon' told me everything I needed to know: the new ride was going to be a hit.
Is it the best ride in Thomas Land? That's hard to say as Jemima spent five hours pelting non-stop from one to the next, as fast as her diddy four-year-old legs would carry her, and she declared them all equally "FANTASTIC".
Thomas Land has been designed with little ones in mind and most of the rides, from Harold's Helicopters to the Jeremy Jets and the merry-go-round are suitable for even the youngest children. That's not to say that they're not fun for adults too because, honestly, even I found the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster pretty awesome.
"Just hug me if you're scared Auntie Linsey", Jemima shouted as our carriage inched ever so slowly up the steep incline. I'm not ashamed to say I took her up on that offer as we plunged back down, hurtled round the bend, twisted to the right, twisted to the left and back to the right again before gliding to a stop.
Mums and dads and older kids who want more adrenalin-fuelled fun will find plenty of high-octane rides within the main area of the park with fear-inducing names like Apocalypse, G-Force and Shockwave. Jemima's dad braved Maelstrom, where you're strapped onto a spinning disc that swings nauseatingly high into the air. When he arrived back on terra firma, he had a grin to match Jemima's.
I preferred the more sedate attractions of the park's zoo, where you can see wildlife such as swivel-headed owls so enormous they don't look real, a Sumatran tiger prowling in his pen, ever-curious meerkats and, coming soon, penguins. There's also an adventure playground, where Jemima could have spent the entire day if there hadn't been so many mechanical rides to choose from.
Drayton Manor Park is a great day out for Easter, or indeed, at any time, and I'd especially recommend it to parents desperate to get their kids off their screens. Given that even toddlers seem to be glued to gadgets these days, it was refreshing not to see a single child or teenager even so much as glancing at a mobile phone - not even to take a selfie - the whole time I was there. Now that's got to be worth the entrance fee.
Drayton Manor Park's season runs until October 26. Tickets cost from £20 when booked in advance, toddlers go free. For more information, go to www.draytonmanor.co.uk.
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