We've never taken the kids to a theme park, nor a fair so taking them for the first time is a big deal for us. I love theme parks the fast rides are my favourite - my husband not so much but the kids have been excited seeing theme parks on a few TV programmes recently and have wanted to go. We need something that was ideally geared towards younger children instead of the parks that I love where the rides are BIG, FAST and very SCARY but with some fast rides that could introduce them to roller coasters and other styles of theme park rides gently would be good.
Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World - A Family Theme Park
Paultons Park in Hampshire home of Peppa Pig World is ideal - with a range of children's, family and thrill seeker rides as well as Peppa Pig World (a favourite Character of T's) it's big enough that you can't do everything in a day but there is plenty to do and see.
Armed with a family ticket (they offer family of 3, family of 4 and family of 5 tickets each with a great discount especially when brought in advance) we headed off. Arriving was just like going to one of the big theme parks in the USA - the car park was attended with labels so you could easily find and return to your car and entering was through gated entrances walking out into a open area.
Complete with park maps that T and J loved looking at whilst we planned our day. We're fortunately past the stroller stage but there were single and double strollers to hire for the day. You could also hire lockers for £1 (each time you opened the locker) at 3 points around the park - something that if we returned we would most definitely do.
Heading to the newest attraction of Paultons Park - Peppa Pig World we found rides perfect for the kids especially T - we got to ride on one of George's dinosaurs - kids under 110cm are to be accompanied by an adult, Fly in one of the Hot Air Balloons and they did fly as well as visit with Peppa and Family in their home.
As the crowd increased in Peppa Pig World (I am not a fan of lots of people - and the crowds were nothing compared to other parks I have been at) we headed to the rest of the park. Our first rollercoast ride ever - the map is really useful it contains height information for each ride and beside each there is a chart to show the heigh requirement and we were able to quickly see that the kids would be able to go on all but 4 rides (those that would be ideal if you were a family with kids from teens down to tots - the older kids would LOVE them) the rest being suitable for them.
The biggest attraction for us a family visiting in the summer was the two splash zones within the park - without extra payment the kids were able to cool off either in a Water Kingdom or in Muddy Puddles within Peppa Pig World - I'm so glad we packed bathing gear and towels for the kids although there were lots of people driers around.
With hot sunny days you need shades and the gardens were fantastic including a dinosaur land walk through where it was great to get out of the sun. The gardens had cages with exotic birds in as well as picnic benches and lots of space so if we had a brought a ball we would have been able to have a kick around.
There is a choice of restaurants as well as lots of little snack bars serving hot food like fries, burgers and hot dogs as well as the essential ice creams and ice lollies - perfect to cool us down further.
With our first visit to the Park we picked up a Photo Pass - £20 for 4 photos from any of the rides and got pictures of the kids first roller coast rides on the stinger - T and I on George's Dinosaur ride and J and hubby on Wave Runner - got to love his face in that one.
I know bathroom breaks are important when you have young kids - the baby changing facilities at each toilet block also included a microwave ideal for heating baby food up, and in the main toilets each toilet had a child's seat attached that could be lifted for an adult or lowered for a young child to use.
This is one theme park that we will be return to next year - the kids loved it we loved it and it was a great way to spend quality family time ticking off the first of the big kids things with the kids (Riding a Roller Coaster). After our visit here's our Top 5 Tips for a Pautons Park Visit
Top 5 tips for a Paultons Park Visit
Arrive when the Park Opens
And head straight to Peppa Pig World - the rides are virtually empty and you will be able to get on 3 or 4 before the queues get too big. Then head to the rest of the park - there is plenty to do there and the kids will love all of the other rides.
Take kids swim wear and towel
You won't be able to walk past the water kingdom or Muddy puddles without the kids wanting to go in - or even when they look at the map stop the arguments about not getting wet and go prepared. It was a fantastic way to cool off.
Hire a Locker
There are 3 locker stations around the park - by the entrance, by the wave runner and then by the water kingdom even if it's just whilst you enjoy these rides it stops one of your party sitting by the exit waiting for the others.
Check your kids height
Most of the rides have the minimum height requirement of 85cm - if you want the kids to get the most out of it for their age they need to be at least above that, 90cm is another big height and 95cm the latest before you get onto the Thrill Rides. A big bonus though is if your kids are under 1 metre then they go in free - so go between when they are 90cm and 1 metre and they can enjoy the rides but get in free as well.
Visit Peppa Pig World at the End of the Day
Didn't get to see all of the things in Peppa Pig World at the beginning of the day - head back after 3 and you will find the queues have virtually gone and the kids will be able to revisit or go on the rides that they missed the first time around.
We received tickets from Paultons Breaks in exchange for this review but the thoughts expressed are all our own.