We had a staycation at East Thorne in Cornwall over the Easter holidays, but being so close to the Devon border we did pop over a few times for days out, and one of my favourite ones was definitely Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. It was also the boys favourite!
When we arrived there, we had to park in the overflow car park which was an extremely steep walk down to the park, and a challenging one on the way back, but worth it. We hadn’t been there before, and decided to go there last minute on a whim so I didn’t do my usual research before hand, so had no idea what to expect.
Well what we got was a brilliant day out, and a request from the boys to go again next time we’re near Devon. We had lunch as soon as we arrived, a little early but Fin’s blood glucose dropped so we thought we might as well combine lunch with treating his hypo since we’d need to sit for at least 15 minutes anyway.
The cafe had trees in it….obviously not real ones, but trees nonetheless and they added to the atmosphere of the place. The food was cheap and cheerful, and we of course ate healthily. Okay we all had chips, I had a huge burger as well, and it was delicious. The service was quick, they had an extensive menu to cater for even the fussiest of eaters, and the staff were friendly.
After lunch we were just in time for the Sea Lion show, and I am so glad that we were. The Sea Lions were huge, powerful and mostly well trained. On the day that we watched the show it was unintentionally hilarious, as the day was so hot the Sea Lions kept wanting to cool off by getting back in to the pool when they were supposed to be doing tricks, and ignored the keepers more than I imagine they usually do!
When they were listening though, they were brilliant ‘clapping’, bowing and even collecting hoops. Now for those who are about to say how cruel it is to have them putting on shows, they genuinely seemed to enjoy it and the keepers (who were brilliant) explained to us that they teach them how to do most of the tricks for reasons other than entertainment, such as to make it easier to examine them when they are unwell or need injections etc.
Walking around the park, there are different dinosaurs that you can spot, some of which move and make noises, which the boys loved. Admittedly though one did make me jump, much to everyone else’s amusement.
I loved the fact that they had keepers giving talks about the animals at certain times, and not just the usual ‘watch us feed them for five minutes’ that you get at a lot of zoos and wildlife parks, we actually learned a lot.
The keeper for the White Hudson Bay Wolves was really interesting to listen to, and he was telling us that wolves aren’t actually as dangerous as you might imagine, and about some of the history of where big bad wolf tales come from, and lots of other interesting facts. The wolves were beautiful, and had all come from other zoos where they had been rejected from their packs.
You can actually go in with the MeerKats at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, and feed them. We didn’t though, as there was a bit of a crowd waiting and we didn’t fancy queuing, but I’d imagine it’s good fun to do. Some of the other animals there include Lions, Penguins, and Baboons.
There is also an Egyptian exhibit there, which sneakily (cleverly) gets you to exit via the gift shop. The Egyptian bit was good other than one thing, in some parts they have made it a little bit too atmospheric, in that it’s so dark you can’t see what it is you are meant to be looking at. Still fun though!
We walked through the small dinosaur museum, which the boys whizzed through, but I really enjoyed reading all the information in there.
Now for a little confession, there is a huge indoor play area there apparently, but Si and I told the boys it was shut as we wanted to leave to be back in time for tea, but ssh if you don’t tell them I won’t and I can apologise when they’re older and reading this blog for fodder for their teenage angst.
We had a brilliant time at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, and we will definitely be going back at some point in the future. I really recommend it as a great family day out in Devon. Have you been there before?
If you want more information on and directions to (NEVER ask me for directions, my internal compass has never worked) Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, then pop to the Combe Martin website.
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