Woodlands Family Theme Park – Devon

Typical opening line of any great story of a British holiday day out – it was a rainy day, so we were looking for something to do that had indoor space. The Woodlands Family Theme Park in south Devon was a great find with both a great outdoorsy, adventure park thing going on outside and giant softplay areas and animal barns for when the ever-familiar downpours came.

Highlights:

OWLS! Just about the most amazing thing Weasel has ever seen, the owl show was well worth going to. Getting to have owls practically land on you and having your toddler just shout owl happily over and over again; this was definitely the highlight of our trip. She has now however developed an owl obsession.

Softplay: Although I was knackered by this point, Weasel enjoyed running around the 3 story toddler softplay area with husband and they braved (most of) the older kids’ one too. Thankfully they decided not to go down the 2 story vertical drop slide (I am not exaggerating). And they had these photogenic lockers that I couldn’t resist taking photos of, and she couldn’t resist putting poor Gravel in every locker she could reach.

Rides and animals: There were just too many to give justice to this place; this park is truly ginormous. One of the naffest though had to be the dinosaur tractor ride. Originally a tractor ride, the new dino version had opened the week we arrived to much fan fare. How did they go about transforming this wondrous ride into a dino adventure? They put statues up and had speakers roaring. Naff, but enjoyed by the toddlers with a little bit of scared from the older one.

Food: Not great. It is in fact probably one of the most old-school style theme park menus I’ve seen in a while, with crappy fries and watered down soft drinks. I’d bring a picnic if the weather allowed next time. I tried to give Weasel her first Cornish (err, Devon?) pasty, which came in Styrofoam (seriously, people still use that?) and it was completely ignored. And you always know it’s going to be bad when you have to pay for sachets of ketchup.

Verdict:

-Food needs greatly improving, along with the eating areas themselves (heaters on high with doors open and freezing rain? In 2012? Really? The highchairs could really do with some industrial strength cleaning too.

-Rides and animals are awesome in rain or shine. I suspect you would get a totally different experience in the sun, and there is enough to do to justify going back a few times.

We’ll 100% go back again and highly recommend this place to anyone. Just maybe take some food with you to avoid the time-warp to 1970’s British theme park cuisine.

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