On Jimmy’s birthday we were lucky enough to be invited to Drusillas Park which was an hour away from where we were holidaying. I’d heard of the park, which is primarily a zoo, and was keen to visit with my family – so to be able to try it out for the blog on Jimmy’s special day was brilliant! A friend who has been had told me she’d enjoyed it and had spoken highly of the ‘Thomas’ train which her son thought was brilliant, but aside from knowing that and that they had enjoyed it enough to go back, I really didn’t know much at all.
I picked up one of the leaflets where we were staying and as soon as we looked at it with Florence we knew that it certainly looked like something we would enjoy! My only reservation was the fact that Jimmy might have to spend large parts of the day being couped up in his buggy. I’ve been to theme parks and zoos before and this is usually what has to happen. As soon as we arrived at Drusillas, I could see that in fact, it was going to be the most perfect environment for him to get out and walk!
We found the park, which is situated in rolling beautiful countryside, very easily and with ample parking space we didn’t have a problem getting ourselves into what looked like the promise of a very enjoyable day indeed! As soon as we stepped foot over the threshold Florence and Jimmy were bombarded with lots of things to do! From the off there are buttons to press, interesting and interactive things for little hands to explore and the entire surroundings, totally aside from the animals, were colourful and a feast for little eyes! The first thing we did was weigh ourselves to see what animal we were on a par with! Florence came out as an otter, the little dot that she is and I won’t mention was I was most like but I will say it was one lighter than Daddy!
All the way round the park, which is clearly marked with yellow foot prints where there are areas to deviate off the main path, we found super fun activities! Florence loved going into a specially customised phone box to see how loudly she could scream and all the drawers, lids and hidey holes to poke hands in and feel items inside were just up her street!
We all particularly enjoyed the giraffe which is fitted with a periscope and enables you to see like a giraffe might and running along the track which told us if we were as fast as a cheetah! Despite trying very hard Daddy didn’t manage it but we all had a jolly good go!
Obviously the park is all about animals and although there isn’t anything majorly huge at Drusillas (animal wise), what there is, is super interesting and fun for little ones. Lots and lots of funny monkeys and interesting little creatures to see, touch and enjoy!
We all enjoyed the farm area where again there was lots of hands on stuff for the children. It’s a small area off on a little deviation from the main path and has a singing chicken to remind you to wash your hands amongst many other things to enjoy – of course there are some fab farm animals too!
As soon as you leave the farm area and it’s meerkat fun everywhere including a fabulously fun meerkat tunnel which probably wasn’t meant for mummies to climb inside but I did it anyway!! Florence is, as I often talk about, a big meerkat fan and she loved it!
I was very interested to read the story of Drusillas, which is depicted via decade from it’s start in the twenties when it opened as a tea room and charts the history right through to the noughties! It’s seen many transformations and because of the always dedicated families running it, which have changed, but only once, you can see how much time and care has gone into Drusillas over the years – as well as innovative ideas taken from inspiration all over the world. The meerkat tunnel was one of the first of it’s kind having been first seen by the owners many years ago in the States!
It was a beautiful day and we were very lucky to be able to picnic outside. There are places to eat and a cafe which looked pretty good but we had brought our own and found the large picnic area to be just the ticket with plenty of benches, big and small and lots to look at. We went out of season so some things were closed like the stage and some of the attractions which are at a small extra cost such as the bouncy castle but it didn’t detract from our experience at all!
After lunch and we had to see some more animals! Florence loved the birds which you can feed with nectar and after initially being a little scared and not wanting to do it, she quickly became very interested and was a dab hand!
And then we HAD to have a play on the extensive play equipment!
The only thing I would say about the play areas is that although there was a lot to do for Florence and more still for older ones, when it comes to the tiny tots they were a little bit limited. Still, there were things for them to do and I don’t think Jimmy felt like he missed out! He was very interested in watching the bigger children too!
Now I couldn’t write a Drusillas review without mentioning ‘Thomas’ and his friends! There are ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ things to see all round the park and then… The most fabulous train ride which would satisfy any little train fan! We had a brilliant time riding in Clarabelle and spotting things along the journey to answer the ‘Thomas’ related questions posed to us as we chuffed along!
All through the park things have been thought of to accommodate parents and children to the very best ability! Even the toilets and baby change facilities, which were sparkling clean, catered for little ones needs in a way that most places forget! I had to take photos because I was SO impressed!
The thing I think I was most impressed with, and going back to the beginning of my post, is that Jimmy was very able to walk for most of the day! He loved this and it gave him such freedom on his birthday! Everything was accessible for him and the right height, in a safe and enjoyable way! He smiled SO much and pointed and laughed all day and I’m so pleased he had his birthday at Drusillas!
We all had a wonderful day and right until the end of the day, when we had to go home, we had fun! I just wish we’d taken our swimming costumes to make use of the splash pool, although you can buy swimming gear there if you’re really upset that you’ve forgotten! There is a maze, mini golf… The list could go on for ages! We left knowing we could go back and do lots of things we just didn’t have the chance to get to but also feeling like we’d not been short changed in any way! If we’d spent the money on a family ticket we would have been very pleased with our purchase and not felt as though it was over priced in the slightest!
We had such a wonderful day, can you see it on our faces! Drusillas is based in Sussex, not a million miles away from Brighton. I thought it would be too far to drive to from London for a day out but having been once and knowing how brilliant it is, I would definitely do a day trip from the capital – it’s worth a bit of a journey for!
To find out more about Drusillas please see their website www.drusillas.co.uk.
I was not paid to write a review of Drusillas Park but I was offered complimentary tickets for the purpose of review. All opinions are entirely my own and we genuinely only have good things to say about the park.