Friday, 9 March 2018

A Family Day Out at Crealy Adventure Park, Devon

It can sometimes be hard to find some fun places to visit during the February Half Term. The weather is often cold and miserable and many larger attractions are closed until April, when the temperatures begin to improve. I was therefore really pleased to find out that Crealy Adventure Park in Devon, would be open during the school holidays, so we could go and enjoy some family fun and adventure, whilst also exploring somewhere new.

The attraction was well signposted from the main roads and it was very easy to find. We arrived shortly after opening time and had to wait in a short queue of cars to get into the car park, but everything seemed well organised and the traffic was guided through quickly with the help of some car park attendants.

After leaving our vehicle, we made our short walk over the entrance, where we collected our tickets using the self service computers. I noticed that there were also some staffed ticket desks for anyone that would rather collect them or purchase tickets in person. We found the computer system very simple though and within minutes of our tickets being printed, we made our way through the turnstiles and into the park.

First impressions were that everything was spread out well, with numerous rides and attractions for all ages. There was plenty of open space and everything seemed well maintained and tidy. Emma and Ben noticed the pirate ship straight away so headed over to the queue to wait their turn. Within a few minutes they were enjoying their first ride with big smiles on their faces. Next it was Riley's turn to pick a ride and he spotted a beautiful carousel in the distance that he wanted us all to go on.

As we approached the carousel, we could see many other customers enjoying themselves. It soon became apparent that this wasn't just because of the carousel, but more the ride attendant who was operating it. The young gentleman on this ride was named Jordan and I don't often single out individual members of staff, but he definitely deserves a mention. His positive energy, friendly personality and determination to ensure that all customers have a great time, was fantastic to see. We have visited many places where staff can sit there looking bored, but Jordan clearly enjoys his job and the kids all seemed to love him. Well done Jordan!

Once we had finished on the carousel, we were joined by Nana and Grandad, who had decided to come along for the day to spend time with their grandchildren. My dad has walking difficulties at times, but we found the paths to be very even, well maintained and there wasn't too far to walk between areas. There was also plenty of seating all around the park which made taking a rest easy.

Next we visited the Driving School area, which was very popular. Despite it being busy we only had a ten minute wait and both Riley and Ben enjoyed driving around the miniature roads, complete with road signs and roundabouts. I was a bit worried at first, thinking that Riley wouldn't be able to control his vehicle well enough, but he actually managed perfectly fine and felt very grown up. This was his favourite attraction at the park and we returned to the cars, several times throughout the day.

The rain began to fall and it suddenly became very cold, so we decided to go and grab a coffee and let the kids burn off some energy in Buddy Bears Kingdom. This was a huge indoor play area with so much for little ones to do. There was also plenty of seating, hot food available for purchase, as well as a Lavazza Coffee Shop. We decided to buy some coffees to warm ourselves up, they were really nice, although the service was quite slow. This caused quite a lengthy wait between ordering our coffee and then receiving it at the collection point. It wasn't a major problem though as the children spent a good hour in there having fun, so the delay didn't cause us any issues and I am always mindful that the staff could have been new and just getting into the swing of things.

Once the rain had passed, we were all keen to get back outside and enjoy the other rides on offer. Riley insisted on a quick stop at this lovely clean park on the way though and I can't blame him. It was lovely to see a play area that was so clean and modern.

Next to the Driving School was the Dino Jeeps where we could explore the Jurassic Jungle and see what dinosaurs we could spot. Both my boys loved this ride and kept shouting out the names of any dinosaurs that they recognised. It was a fun little ride that parents could enjoy too, so I sat safely in the back whilst Riley pretended to be the driver.

All the children then requested to go back to the big Gorilla that we had seen earlier in the day. There had been a few people getting their photo take on it in the morning, so Riley was eager to return so we could get a picture too. Whilst here, we also spotted that there was hardly any queue for the neighbouring Safari Express, so the whole family including Nana and Grandad enjoyed a nice train ride around the animal statues. Riley's favourite was the giraffe that stood very tall!

It wasn't long before the rain set in again, so we decided to have a look around Croc Creek and the Animal Barn. All of my children absolutely love animals, so it is always nice to get the opportunity to get up close to some exotic creatures and feed some friendly farm animals. There was a very cheeky goat that kept trying to chew Riley's coat, but he found this hilarious!

Nana and Grandad had started to get a bit hungry, so once we had finished visiting all the animals we made our way over to the Adventurer's Food Court and Bar. To be honest I wasn't expecting the food to be that great, however Grandad purchased a hot pork baguette with potato lattices and it was absolutely delicious. The children began to starting pinching the spicy potato snacks though, so we ended up purchasing a portion each for them. They weren't cheap, however the portion was a good size and it was something my children really enjoyed. Despite being very busy inside the food court, the service was very quick and there were plenty of places to sit.

After enjoying our food, we gave the children a few pounds each to spend in the Adventure Zone arcade area. My children love trying to win the cheap prizes on the 2p machines, so they spent a bit of money each trying to win a whistle and some keyrings. We didn't spend too long in here as it didn't take long for the kids to use up their money, so we made our way back to the other side of the park, so that Ben could enjoy a ride on the Go-Karts at the Crealy Grand Prix.

The Crealy Grand Prix carried an additional charge of £4 for a single kart and £5 for a double kart. The single karts weren't running that day, so my husband agreed (with very little persuasion) to be the driver of a double kart with Ben as the passenger. Personally I think he enjoyed it even more than Ben, as he did his best Lewis Hamilton impression around the racetrack, moving from 5th to 1st as they sped round.

We went on a few more rides, finishing off with the Maximus Rollercoaster, which was my daughter's favourite ride of the day.

Of course no trip to an attraction is complete, without a visit to the gift shop! Unlike other attractions where you are forced to make your way through the shop on exit, Crealy Adventure Park does not impose that on you and instead it stands separately, making any shopping trip entirely optional. My children had some pocket money they wanted to spend though so knowing their limits, I was more than happy for them to take a look around.

We found the shop to be well stocked, with plenty of items to choose from that suited all budgets. There was a range of pocket money priced toys, clearance products and some more expensive merchandise, but in general I though that the prices were reasonable.

Overall we had a fantastic time and despite the water attractions being closed (completely understandable in Winter), there was still plenty to see and do. We found the whole park to be laid out very well and found all staff that we came across both friendly and polite. The huge indoor play areas gave us a nice break from the cold outside and it also gave us the opportunity to enjoy a hot drink. My children loved the indoor areas just as much as the outside and it was great for them to be able to have the choice, making it an excellent all weather attraction. We would definitely return and hope to visit again in the summer months. Would we recommend Crealy Adventure Park?......Absolutely!

Attraction Details

Address: Crealy Adventure Park & Resort, Sidmouth Road, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DR
Telephone: 01395 233200
Facebook: @CrealyResort
Twitter: @CrealyResort
Instagram: @CrealyResort

Opening times: Opening times vary throughout the year, so please visit the Crealy Adventure Park website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Ticket prices: Prices vary so please visit the Crealy Adventure Park website to obtain the most up to date information. There are sometimes savings to be made by booking online as opposed to paying on the gate, so it is worth checking the website for any online discount that may be available.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of writing this review. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise. 

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