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Our Day At Drayton Manor

Our Day At Drayton Manor
Sarah and her family got to spend a day at the Drayton Manor theme park. Read about their fab day and what they got up to.

As we don't live far from Drayton Manor we decided to set off early and arrive for when the park opened at 9.30am. Directions were well sign posted. There is plenty of free parking and we were able to park very close to the entrance and saw that there were already long queues for tickets. Once the booths had opened however the queues did go down quite quickly and we were inside not long after 9.30am.
Dhian at the Zoo

We decided to visit the Zoo first as the rides didn't start until 10.30am. There weren't many people wandering the zoo to start with so it was nice to walk around at leisure taking our time with the animals. Dhian particularly liked watching the monkeys jump around their enclosure. We made our way around but a lot of the animals were still asleep or inside their huts, especially the larger ones that Samsher was racing around to see! We did enjoy seeing the penguins race around and the wildcat pace up and down his fence which all the kids were copying! Half way round our tour we spotted the dinosaur display. Samsher was really excited at this. He loved looking at the models along the windy path and all the information boards that told us what they ate, size etc. We decided to head slowly back through the zoo to the rides as we could hear they had begun. We passed the birds and Dhian wouldn't leave the macaw who repeated Hello to her. She was really surprised and found it very amusing!

Samsher in Thomas Land
First was Thomas Land ...... Samsher had been on about this since waking and couldn't wait to get there! We saw the biggest Thomas shop ever: absolutely everything Thomas you could ever imagine!! We could have spent ages and quite a few pounds in there but we dragged ourselves away. Jeremy's Flying Academy, Bertie Bus, Harold's Heli Tours, Diesel's Locomotion Mayhem and Classic Cars were all on out hit list. It was nice as the adults could ride with the children which was great as they were both a little unsure at first. We spent quite some time in Thomas land as Samsher and Dhian wanted to repeat rides.

Queues were approaching 40 minutes by lunchtime so we decided to take a break and look for somewhere to have our picnic. There were plenty of benches around the park and a lot of open grassy areas that people had put blankets on for picnics. We decided to eat on a bench by the zoo entrance and close to the toilets. Although we had packed our own lunch there were plenty of places to purchase a range of food from the Rainforest Pizzeria to hotdogs/burgers, licensed bar, fish and chips, snack stalls or sandwiches at the café, all dotted over the park. Toilets and baby changing were clean and easily accessible from most areas of the park - my only criticism would be that they need lower, smaller kiddy facilities. The wash basins were out of reach andthe hand-driers were too high for my 4 year old.

On the train...
After lunch Samsher wanted to try a few of the other rides so we explored the rest of the park. There were plenty of games stalls offering a variety of cuddly toys. We went on the Big Wheel, Vintage Carousel, Polperro express train and the Buffalo Coaster ( a family favourite!!) to name a few. We then headed up the hill to find The Haunting. Samsher wasn't impressed with this one! Although it wasn't overly scary for adults, he didn't like the room moving! Then there was The Wild West Shoot-Out - this was a similar concept to Buzz Lightyear in Disneyland where you had to shoot targets whilst travelling around a flat track in a car. It was a bit repetitive and boring so we moved on. Samsher and Daddy wanted to go on the cable cars next so we hiked up the steep hill following the cars but it was a non stop ride only boarding all the way down the bottom by Thomas land. Down the hill we went!

Sarah and the Kids at Drayton Manor
As the weather was warm and sunny we headed for the water rides. Samsher had been on Splash Canyon before and really enjoyed it and the leaflet said that children under 1 metre must be accompanied by an adult so we thought we were fine but when we got there we were turned away as Dhian was under the new height restrictions despite being accompanied. This meant Dhian and I had to sit it out as she wasn't tall enough any more! The children couldn't go on a few of our favourite rides which they had been on before. It was really disappointing but we understood the introduction of such limits - Splash Canyon did confuse us though.

The children were getting fed up of queuing by now so my hubby and I decided not to go on the larger rides as the queues were over an hour from very early on. The park got a bit quieter after 3.30 so we were able to repeat a few of our favourites after a nice ice-cream break. We left the park just before it closed and followed the signs out. These took us all around the back of the park and out of another exit which wasn't well signposted so we took wrong turns going home - Thank Goodness for Sat Nav!

We had a fabulous day but we didn't have time to explore all the park and rides so a return trip is planned next year. It was busy when we went as it was the Summer holidays but there were enough attractions to keep the kids occupied. We didn't rush round and we were fortunate with the warm weather. Hopefully, next time we'll be able to explore a little more!

Sarah Braich with Samsher (4½), Dhian (2) and Dad!
August 2011

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