Over the half term we took a quick trip up to Yorkshire. I have never stayed in this part of the country and it was very beautify helped along by a nice dose of sunshine!
We had decided on our way home to break up the trip with a stop off and visit York Dungeons. This was to be number 10 in our Merlin Park Challenge List
Now I will warn any of you that are thinking of going that it doesn’t recommend this attraction for under 10’s. The boy is 7 nearly 8 and I thought it was worth the risk, as we have our pass, and they said we could get out if we spoke to a member of staff.
The boy was very clingy and worried, he gets like this, but once we were through the first of the rooms this soon changed to nervous excitement!! The attraction is not like the other Merlin attractions. You are traveling as a small group through rooms and historical stories. We started with he Pague, moved through Viking York then Rome and into Victorian times with beheading, torture, witches, explosions and blood along the way.
Boys will especially like this and the boy came out very excited that he had learnt all about the Plague. So much so that we spent 2 hours of the journey home talking about the effects and googling various questions!
If you are of a nervous disposition, or don’t like being in front of strangers, then this is not the tour for you. But we really enjoyed it. If you imagine horrible histories but a bit darker. Its a bit like traveling back in time! I wont tell you exactly what they do as this would spoil it for those of you that might like to give it a try. But I can tell you that the characters are brilliant, and we laughed a lot too!
We give this 4/5 and are looking forward to the London Dungeons some time in the summer…
sorry there are no pictures for this one, but you are not allowed to take video or photos while inside.
The Scarborough Sealife Centre is the ninth park in our Merlin Park Challenge List. None of the family had been to Scarborough before, so we were all looking forward to this visit.
The sea life center is tucked quite away up the North end of the town so we chose to drive and park right up the end and walk back into the town later.
We are getting quite used to the set up of the Sea Life centres as they all follow a similar pattern. First you book in, collect your quiz card, have your photo taken (we skip this bit) and straight into the first room. Like all the other centres they have a great mix of different fish and animals to look at. This centre was a little different as outside it did had a seal hospital as well as penguins and otters.
The exhibit that we enjoyed the most was the Claws!
We had seen these horrid huge crabs in the Brighton Sealife back in January, but this centre has a room full of facts about crabs. We all enjoyed the information boards and the crab shaped tanks. You could even test your strength against a crabs claw, which the boy loved.
Like the other centres you can touch some of the animals, which the boy always enjoys. But this time he got to feed the sting rays. We were given (for a £1 donation) a pot of very smelly fish bits, and these we could dangle in the big tank. The boy loved this, and as something new was good fun.
We went outside briefly and looked at the seals but they only had one in the hospital, and this area was a little more tatty than the inside buildings.
Overall, I think this centre is worth a visit, and they had some good offers including 50% off with your car park ticket. We seem to spend about 2 hours and I think this is just the right amount of time.
We gave this Sealife 4/5 and I think our favourite so far would have to be the Weymouth one, just because of the behind the scenes tour. We still have a few to go so will have to see which one comes out the best at the end of the year!
Weymouth Tower and number seven on our Merlin park list, and a nice stroll along the seafront around Weymouth bay. Well I would imaging it would be beautiful if you pick a nice warm sunny day. The day we visited was cold and windy, but I have to say that didn’t put us off. We had parked at the Sealife Adventure Park and the notices said it was a 20 min walk. I think as someone who walks fast, this is a little bit on the lean side, as it took at least 30 mins, and we ran part of the way! But it is a beautiful view along the prom with a sandy beach and you could see the tower clearly in the distance. If you want there is a land train that goes along the prom about every hour, but as we had missed it and the next one wasn’t for 45 mins we thought we would walk.
When you arrive at the tower you have a boarding card, I think flights leave about every 20 minutes throughout the day, and it is much bigger close up.
You have to wait outside in a fenced off area, so in the winter bring your woollies and in the summer a hat and water. We were loaded into the tower bubble, which was not what I expected, its like a large doughnut with a continuous bench seat and thankfully is heated. There are no bad seats so you all file in and then when everyone is on board, the doors close and you head upwards at quite a speed! You have glass in front of you and just under your feet so you have a clear view in all directions and the tower turns (2 complete rotations) so you see from the bay and arcades right out to sea. The views were amazing, and once you are at full height I felt completely safe. We had a man who gave us a commentary of all the landmarks and took questions, which was interesting. Then all to quickly it was time to go back down. I thought it would move at a similar speed to the London Eye, but it is actually quite quick. We loved our flight, and the only shame is that there is no other part to the tower, no information room or boards to read. It is just a get on get off.
We loved out visit to Weymouth, and I think we will have to come back in the summer, as I love the beach and fancy a nice stroll along the prom and an ice-cream!
you can book tickets here for both the tower and the Sealife centre and they are good value if booked in advance.
we give the tower a 4/5 as it is something a little different
Park number six on our list of Merlin parks to visit was going to be Weymouth Sealife Adventure Park. After a quick skip down the motorway we arrived. The park is located just on the outskirts of the town, with a large car park. After a quick car picnic we headed inside. I have never been to this Sealife park before and was pleasantly surprised that it was quite different to the others that we have visited.
The first thing is that each different environment is in an individual building, so you follow footsteps around the park. You need to go outside, so wrap up warm! This I can imagine would not be so much fun on a wet day, but it was dry but very cold for our visit. There are also some fun splash areas and a mini pool, which I am sure is popular in the summer.
We followed our map through the usual fish, seahorse, shark stingray, and jellyfish tanks. As with the Birmingham Sealife we also had a quiz to follow.
The seahorses at this park are amazing and something a little special. They were defiantly my favorite, and something I would be keen to see again.
The park also has the added extra of a small ride area, Daddy and the boy braved the crocodile splash, but I didn’t want to get wet! The boys favorite ride the jumping jellybean was good and along with a couple of other rides made a nice addition.
The park is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, so there was a nice added FREE tour of behind the scenes. The tour is every 20 minutes and you queued up at a point just past the penguins. They give the first 15 people a quick briefing then whisk you off into the back of the buildings.
For me this was the best part of the park. The guy who showed us round told us a little about the history of the park. Along with details of breeding programmes, release schemes. Animal health and even the naughty octopus!
This tour is short 10-15mins but is so worth while. It was great to learn that all the fish and animals come through Weymouth before going out to Sealife centres all over the world. They health check all the animals before they go anywhere. We were told about how they try to breed all their stock. So less fish are taken from their natural habitats.
This is a great place to visit, and I can imagine is very popular on a sunny day. we gave this park 5/5 as it was so interesting and a bit different to the others we have visited. This park would have cost £22.50 adult and child. The website has some good offers including combined tower and centre tickets