Reviewed by Rachel Osbourne
When we arrived at Twinlakes in Melton Mowbray on a very blustery day during the half term holiday, we were greeted by a very enthusiastic superhero team, who soon got the children high fiving and pretending to fly like superman. The kids had worn their best superhero pants over their trousers to take part in the special Superhero event, which was running over the school holidays. Our party consisted of 3 adults and 3 children aged 7, 8 and 10.
As we entered the park, we were given a map and a leaflet with a list of activities and events which were running through the day, such as meeting baby lambs, feeding goats or meerkats, ferret racing, and the falconry show. There were also superhero themed activities including making ID badges or masks, a treasure hunt style search for super heroes around red rooster farm, and a superhero training school.
As it was so windy, we headed for the first indoor play area that we came across. On the way, we stopped for a group photograph, which were later available to buy, along with keyrings and other gifts containing the photograph to remember your day by. The prices of these, although not cheap, were what you would expect to pay for items of this type.
The play area we entered was the Buccaneers Island Zone. Although this contained mainly areas for children younger than 6, we did have a ride on the floating barrel ride. There was also a mini pirate ship, mini drop ride and a mini big wheel, as well as soft play for the younger children. Upstairs there was a ‘master blaster’ area for the older children, where you could fire sponge balls through air cannons. This was over 3 levels, and the girls really enjoyed this.
In both the Buccaneers Island Zone, and also the Labyrinth Venture Zone which was the other big indoor play area which catered more for the older children, there was plenty of space to sit while the children played. These areas were all self clearing, so that you could either buy food from the food outlets, or bring your own food. Although it stated these were self clean, and there were plenty of bins available, there were still members of staff clearing away anything that had been left behind. The food outlets themselves were reasonably priced, we hadn’t brought lunch with us and it cost us just over £30 to have a meal and a drink, which for 6 of us, we thought was very good. The children’s sandwich lunch boxes we thought were particularly good value. There were also plenty of places to sit and eat outside, had the weather been better.
The Labyrinth Venture Zone was a big hit with our girls and we easily lost an hour and a half before we even realised. We could have spent the whole day in there. The big soft play area, with drop slides, and a large wavy slide was amazing, although the wavy slide could do with a bit of polish to make it more slippery, as we got stuck half way down. There was also a mirror maze, which was very disorientating but great fun, a swing chair ride, and the Trauma Tower drop ride, which took you up 3 floors (40 ft) before dropping down, leaving your stomach somewhere above you!
Unfortunately, as we were having so much fun, time got away from us and we missed the falconry show, where we would have seen a variety of birds including a golden eagle, peregrine falcons, and owls. We would definitely make a point of seeing this next time.
When we eventually managed to drag ourselves outside (after promising that we would return later in the day), we went to the farm area, which was home to a vast array of animals. As well as the usual farm animals there were also Alpacas, Llamas, Meerkats and Marmosets and too many others to list, all guarded by an army of peacocks roaming freely! There was the opportunity to feed the baby lambs, although as this is very popular, you need to collect a token for this from the gift shop allocating you a time.
Next we headed for the train which takes you from the Dragon Zone, round the edge of the park, past the twin lakes, to the Canada Quays zone. On the way we all went on the mini rollercoaster, and then the Icarus Skyflyer which was great, it reinforced my lifelong dream of being able to fly!
Being the beginning of the season, there wasn’t an awful lot to see on the train ride, but you can see where they have been planting over a million bulbs, around the train route and all over the park. Once these are in bloom, it will look absolutely stunning.
In the Action USA adventure Zone we went on the rollercoaster, the bumping boats, the toboggan run, the assault course, the dizzy dune buggies, indy karts, all big hits with us all.
In the Excalibur adventure zone, I went in the dungeon maze on my own, which was very dark and disorientating, a bit too scary for the younger ones. After a good 5-10 minutes in the pitch black, I was very impressed with myself managing to find my way out, even if I did manage to somehow exit from the entrance! While I was doing this, the children went on a spinning cup type ride, which they loved and then we made our way to the Black Knights Castle. As in the inside play area in the labyrinth zone, the children could’ve easily spent all day in this huge play area. They then had a ride on the mechanical horse ride.
Throughout the day, the staff were all extremely friendly and helpful, and all looked happy to be there. Even on the way out, the superhero team were there to say goodbye and looked like they were really enjoying themselves. On all the rides where height restrictions were in place, this was clearly stated, and members of staff were there checking the heights of all the children before they were allowed on. While some areas of the park perhaps looked slightly worn, everywhere was clean and tidy, there was no rubbish around, and there were also signs of maintenance and refurbishment being carried out in some areas.
We had an amazing day at Twinlakes. The variety of areas and things to do was excellent, no matter what the weather is like. I would say that children up to the age of 9 or 10 would get the most out of this venue. There is also a large outside waterplay area, which wasn’t in use when we visited, but when this is open I’m sure it will be great fun. There was more than enough to keep everyone entertained for a full day and more. Even though we were there from opening to closing time, we still didn’t manage to do everything we wanted to. Throughout the day, we all found ourselves saying ‘when we come again we’ll…’ So a return visit is a definite! If we lived closer, it would definitely be worth getting an annual pass, which is excellent value for money, but even the day tickets are fantastic value and well worth every penny.
For more information or to book tickets online visit www.twinlakespark.co.uk and take a look at their upcoming Easter events.