During the Easter holiday we took a trip over to Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham, East Sussex. We've been before (check out my review here) and the girls had a fabulous time, but I'd never been on a weekend or on a school holiday before and wow, it was busy. As we drove up we were directed to an overflow car park and if I'm honest, I started to feel a bit of dread at how busy it might be, but despite it being super busy I have to so I was pleasantly surprised and we had a great day. The girls were able to get one everything they wanted and the queues were nothing like I've experienced at theme parks like Legoland.
I won't go into all the attractions that are available at Knockhatch (you can have a look at my review, I've linked to above if you fancy more insight), but there are loads and they seem to be really good at adding extra attractions and offering more value. This year they've added a great new wooden Dragons play castle and high wire experience. The basic ticket on an orange day (high season) is £12.99 before any discount is applied and if you book online, you get 20% discount, or my favourite is to use our local 1066/ Town City Card and get 25% off.
Costs and Booking
The great news is that when you are going along to take part in one of their experiences the entrance to the park is included and you can use the park for the whole day. We got a 2 for 1 Meerkat experience via Red Letters Days and the cost for this currently is £49, which is a super bargain, as this allowed both girls entry to do their experience and up to two adults (17 years plus) can go along as their responsible adults/ spectators. So that is £49 for entry for four and two of those got to spend 30 minutes hands on with the meerkats. They have a few experiences available and we would definitely book for another one as we found the meerkat one excellent.
When I booked last year, I had to ring but I see now you can book online for the experiences. To get a weekend date I needed to book about 3 months in advance. There are two slots for the meerkat experience each day 10.30am and 4pm, each lasts for half an hour and it will only be your party, which feels really exclusive. The price to book direct with Knockhatch is £48 for one person and £64 for two people.
Once booked you're advised to wear long trousers, sleeves and closed in shoes for the experience.
The Meerkat Experience
When we arrived in the morning we were asked to report back to reception ten minutes before our 4pm experience time. When we headed back at that time they radioed the keeper and he was busy clearing up so they asked us to wait 5/10 minutes. About 4pm Mark arrived and greeted us, he was really friendly and chatted happily to the girls about their day so far.
He took us straight through to the Meerkat enclosure and we were all able to go in. The girls went right into their enclosure with them and I stood the other side of a stable door, so could get really good pictures and videos but not actually interact with the meerkats. They really are very sweet little animals and super friendly.
As soon as we arrived they knew we were there to feed them and they started to scamper around Marks and my girls feet. The girls were encouraged to sit down and handfeed them with vegetables such as green beans, carrots and squash. Miss E took to it straight away but as the meerkats are super friendly they start to climb up you straight away and Miss M was a bit more reserved and worried.
It didn't take long for her to be coaxed into joining in though and after the vegetable starter the meerkats were fed with baby chicks. Both girls took a couple of chicks each and hand fed the meerkats them, I was quite impressed that they were not being squeamish.
The meerkats love to get as high as possible, so the sentinel can keep watch, so they go for your head a lot, which just make the girls crack up with laughter, as you can see.
Mark was a font of knowledge and he gave us all sorts of information on the meerkats - what they eat, who the most important one is, what a group of them is called (mob or gang, in case you're interested), how they keep look out and even their toilet habits. Prompted by questions from my tweens of course!
We had just over 30 minutes in with the meerkats and the girls really loved it. The general public were still walking by the enclosure and the girls enjoyed chatting with them and answering their questions. I think they felt very special that they were in the enclosure with the meerkats.
Once our time was up Mark walked us back to the reception area and he showed the girls were the hand washing facilities are and asked them to wash their hands well whilst he got a couple of certificates ready for them. He then came back out with a certificate and a meerkat keyring for each of them and they were made up with those. It really was an excellent experience and we would highly recommend it.
I'm linking this post up with Louise for Country Kids.
Disclosure: We used a Red Letter Days voucher to pay for this experience. The voucher was gifted to me last year but there was no obligation to write about this, we just had such fun that I wanted to. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.