Monday 9 May 2016

3 Generations of Family Fun at Drusillas, East Sussex

We've had a couple of enjoyable review visits to Drusillas in recent years, including celebrating my 40th birthday there, which is not what everyone would choose but we had a fab time, as family means everything to me.

This visit was a little different as we took my mum with us, so the ages of our group ranged from 8 to ... Nanny and I'm not going to give her age away but suffice to say I'm nearly 43 and she's my Mum so you do the maths. I was interested to see if Drusillas would hold enough interest for us all to have a three generational day out and I'm pleased to say it did, our all girls group had lots of fun together. Sadly my son wasn't feeling great today so he stayed home with Grandad and on reflection I don't thin this was a bad move as at nearly 13 he is probably getting a bit old for most of the fun that s available at Drusillas. If I think of the kids that I saw there today they were predominantly toddler to about 10 years.

Hello Kitty's Secret Garden
Having been a couple of times before we knew it would be a smart move to do the park backwards and to see the animals later in the afternoon. So we headed straight for Hello Kitty's Secret Garden where there are three exclusive rides that my twin girls love. Just look at them enjoying themselves.

Mum and I decided to enjoy a coffee whilst the girls played and it is genuine Starbucks coffee on offer, so very enjoyable. It cost me £5.40 for two medium lattes, which I don't think is bad for their size and the fact we were at a tourist attraction. The girls got to have loads of rides in the time we drunk these are there were no queues and in fact hardly anyone around, it was very pleasant.

Water Fun
We had gone to the park prepared with swimsuits and towels but the sun stayed firmly behind the clouds so the girls decided not to enjoy the Explorers Lagoon or the new Get Wet! splash pad that just opened at Easter this year. Many people did decide to get wet and brave the waters and they looked as if they were having a ball. In the interest of respecting people's privacy I didn't take any picture of the water areas, but you can see from Drusillas picture that the new 200 metre square water attraction is great fun. I bet the girls will have a go if we go back in the summer.

Play Areas
Instead of the water play the girls wanted to have a long play in the Go Wild! and Go Bananas! play areas. I've said before that there really are superb facilities for the kids to play on at Drusillas. Dozens of slides, climbing frames, swinging apparatus, zip wires, banana boats, a trampoline climbing structure, roundabouts, swings and bucket swing.

This area can get busy so you need to keep an eye on your younger children but for the older kids like mine it is great as there are loads of benches for the adults to sit on and you can chat whilst they play. The play equipment is right by a candy shop, ice creams, fast food, water fountain and toilet facilities. There are also large lockers for those who might need them.

We decided to treat ourselves to some lunch at Drusillas but we couldn't agree what to have, so we headed up the Explorers Cafe where there is a wide variety of foods available. Miss M and my Mum fancied a slice of pizza with chips (or you could have salad) for £3.99 and Miss E and I had jacket potatoes. The child's one was a half with beans and cheese for £3.99 and mine had coronation chicken and I choose my own salad for £5.95.

There were also various hot meals available such as fish and chips for £7.10, a kids packed lunch bag including an animal mask for £4.50 and many children's meals, each costing about £3.99.

We all enjoyed our lunch and I felt my jacket with as much salad as I was fancied was great value.

Clockwise from back left: kids jacket potato with cheese & beans, pizza with chips,
jacket potato with coronation chicken and salad
As well as the cafe where we ate, there are also a number of other eating outlets offering everything from fresh doughnuts to burger and chips, to salads and lunch boxes.

The Animals
After refueling we were ready to take on a new challenge the girls said they'd like to see the animals and stamp the spotter books that are free to pick up at the entrance. There are over 100 species of animals at Drusillas, most of them are fairly small as this isn't the biggest zoo but I always think that what they have done with the animals and especially the educational aspects are excellent.

In March a baby sloth was born and it was great to see the babe attached to his mummy's tummy. Sadly I couldn't get a good shot as they were up in the air. Probably my favourite animals to watch on this visit were the Lars Gibbons, such fun to see the little one tormenting the bigger ones and getting them to bounce around instead of just relax.

We got to take a walk through Lemurland and see all the Lenurs at play at just an arms length from us and whilst the rainbow lorikeets at Lory Landing were beautiful to look at the girls were a bit sad that they were fully fed by the time we got to them at 2.30pm and we couldn't buy any nectar to feed them.

There are variety of keep talks throughout the day but we didn't manage to get to the right place at the right time on this visit. The girls did watch a mini-zookeeper-for-the-day feeding the pigs in the farmyard and they got to pet the baby lambs and small ponies and donkeys.

For our family no visit to Drusillas is complete without having a go at some of the zoolympics challenges. My personal favourite is always the 'how loud can you shout' one and I managed 101 decibels this time, whilst Miss E got 107 and Miss M 110 - the verdict? We really are a very noisy family!

We finished our visit today with a sort stop in the Amazon Adventure, the state-of-the-art indoor soft play centre. I was very pleased to get inside and find that it must be air-conditioned as it was far cooler inside on this stuffy day than it was outside and due to the nice weather it wasn't so busy either.

We spent about five hours at Drusillas on this visit but if this had been our first visit or it had been nice enough to use the water play we easily could have stayed a lot longer, so definitely leave yourself a full day for your visit and get the most from your money.  Talking of money, with regard to tickets - for a family of 4 if we had booked tickets in advance online the cost would have been £64 for us all or £72 if we paid on the gate. I did also notice that you can exchange your Tesco clubcard vouchers for entry tickets via the deals, which is something I am always interested in.

We found Drusillas to be a really well kept park, it is very green and surrounded by the beautiful South Downs. There is lots of free and safe parking on site and the park itself if well signed and easy to access from the surrounding areas.

There are plenty of bins everywhere, some dedicated smoking areas and lots of toilets. There was working water, soap and dryers in all the toilets we tried and they were all clean. Many of the toilets had childrens seats, low door bolts and coat hooks and there were baby change areas.

There are a couple of nice shops in the park and they offer a variety of items for a whole range of prices. My girls love the cuddly animal gift shop and would happily be going home with a £130 teddy if I let them have their way!

Thanks so much Drusillas for a great time, we'll be back to see you again.

Disclosure: We received free entry to Drusillas for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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