So I will be honest, the recent restrictions for Covid-19 have been really difficult for us. We love our family days out and not being able to get out and about left us counting down the days until we could explore a bit.
When All Things Wild announced they were reopening I was straight online to book tickets for our Father’s Day outing. Whilst this is a little drive away from us, we visit a couple of times a year as there are more than the animals to see.
Some of you may have seen my review from last year. For those of you have not been to All Things Wild before, it is a Nature Centre that has animals from all around the world taking from Africa to Australia and several million years ago to the time of the dinosaurs. Seriously though, if you have a dinosaur fan in the house and not yet been to All Things Wild you are missing out. This place is a must. In normal times there are also large areas inside including a good size soft play and more dinosaur and underwater features.
However, we are not in normal times which meant that there were large areas that remain closed at the moment, including the soft play. So what has changed…
For starters, you now need to pre-book your visit in advance on their website. This includes annual pass members. You can choose a timeslot and you have half an hour within that timeslot to arrive. This was really easy to do and to pay online. You receive an email confirmation but you only need your name on entry. Entry was quick and easy upon arrival, however if you do need something from the shop, you will need to do this before you enter as you cannot buy any snacks or drink inside.
The park itself is operating a one way system which most people who were there when we went respected. The route takes you around all the parts of that are open but you are able to skip sections like the dinosaur walk around if you wish to stick with the animals.
We loved seeing all the animals even if you could not get as close as you could previously (the goat walk through and the Meercat hides are closed). There are some new additions this year too, I never knew how cute Prarie Dogs were. We managed to have a good look at everything and had time to walk around again if we wanted.
The number of people inside were quiet enough that you could have a good look without feeling crowded or the need to get too close to other people. Of course, being full of young kids on Father’s Day there were exceptions when the kids got a bit over excited but on the whole it was quite easy to have fun and feel like we were safe.
The playgrounds and inside areas are all currently closed. There is still the large field with the nature walk which is large enough to have a great run around and even kick a ball around if you bring one with you. We had not done the nature walk before which is a short walk around a part of the field – it is mainly wild areas but they have a few little things to hunt down whilst you are walking which my 3 year old enjoyed spotting.
We were really happy to see our favourite part of the park is still open, the dinosaur walk. The train was not running when we went but I understand that it is now open (if you have not done it before it you get to see bits of the dinosaurs not accessible by walking). The only thing a bit different about the dinosaur walk is you are now asked not to climb some of the dinosaurs where this was previously permitted. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we visit, the girls absolutely love the size and variety of dinosaurs you can see – its an absolute must for any dino fans.
As I mentioned, there is nowhere inside that sells food or drink at the moment. We took a picnic and there were loads of picnic tables to sit at and plenty of space if you take a blanket. If you do pop to the shop for drinks before going in, it is worth noting that the shop only sells cans (including water) for environmental reasons. If you rather take a bottle of something to drink there is a Co-Op a short distance away.
This was our first proper post lockdown day out and I must admit it was great to get out and we all really enjoyed it. Yes, it isn’t the same and we did not spend anywhere as much time as we would normally do there. It may take time to get used to this new “normal” but All Things Wild was the perfect place to start and I would recommend it as a visit.