Living just over the Norfolk border, the Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure theme park, near Norwich, was always on our list of places to take the boys. From an early age they, like many children, were really into dinosaurs, but we’d never managed to get there.
With Ollie approaching 8 years old and his thoughts turning to football, not dinosaurs, I’d started to think we might miss the boat. So, when I was asked by the park to write a review during the February half-term, I was delighted. In the end, I needn’t have worried about Ollie’s age; there’s easily enough to excite young children up to pre-teens.
We went with Mum on Tuesday of the half-term holiday – a chilly day unlike the week before, but we did see some sunshine & blue skies.
The park’s half-term promotion rewards any child dressing as their favourite fantasy character or dinosaur with a 50% discount on their ticket price. A bargain, considering most children are more than happy to dress up!
We had a look at the park map and hatched a plan to make sure we saw as much as possible. The boys are crazy keen on go-karts so while it was quiet we went to the Raptor Racers. They loved trying out the various-sized racers, with varying success!
Crazy Golf was next. Lots of high swinging from Ben and club dodging from me and Mum. Again, I think it pays to try these activities early on in the day when the park is quieter.
The Neanderthal Walk takes you downhill past a family of Neanderthals, huge woolly mammoths and other ice age mammals amongst a carpet of snowdrops. At the bottom you have a number of activities: book onto a Deer Safari, say hello to the donkeys and pygmy goats, or head to the Secret Animal Garden, which is what we did first.
A beautiful feature is a red-brick wall framing the area, which I’ve since discovered is part of an original Victorian walled garden – makes sense now! It’s a clean space for the animals who looked well cared for; even the pigs didn’t smell!
Inside the Animal Barn are various cold-blooded creatures such as lizards and snakes, and some cute and cuddlies: rabbits, rats & guinea pigs. There’s a list of animal encounter opportunities that take place In the adjoining barn. They happen throughout the day and there’s no additional cost.
You have some choices for lunch in this area: the new Explorers Restaurant which in warmer weather opens onto a large terrace, or Nautilus for fish & chips. I was pleased to see an abundance of picnic tables which is not all that common at attractions like this.
After his high rope experience at Go Ape last year, Ollie was disappointed that the Predator High Ropes weren’t open – I didn’t think to check beforehand. They are open from Easter to October and they look like great fun – although, I still don’t think we could tempt Ben to conquer his fear of heights. Don’t know who he takes after…
Next to the Waterside Garden is the home of some pygmy goats. You can walk above them by following the three wooden bridges, and even climb down some steps to get down to eye level.
We headed back to the main area of the park and the boys burned off a lot of energy on the Adventure Play Area. This large space is complete with assault course, slides, swings and a dedicated area for under 7s.
In the corner is the Lost World A-Mazing Adventure. It’s under the tree canopy, but it isn’t an enclosed maze and it’s suitable for buggies and little ones. It could perhaps do with a few more dinosaurs, and I’m sure those there would feel happy with a little dino-makeover 🙂
Next stop for us was X-tinction where you can let loose your inner palaeontologist. In three areas are hidden dinosaur skeletons and giant ammonites for you to discover in the sand.
There was a lot more to the Dinosaur Trail than you’d think by looking at the map. You definitely shouldn’t miss it. It’s quite long and winding, and slightly hilly in places. There are places to stop and get a dinosaur selfie. Look through the trees for a glimpse of the Norfolk landscape beyond.
Dinosaur Stamp Trail: It’s always useful to have a trail at theme parks; it gives the children a reason to keep going when they might be feeling tired. There were eight stamps to find and the reward was a little medal.
We didn’t manage to see everything on our day, and some of the attractions are more suitable for younger visitors. The Dinomite Indoor Play Area has everything for the timid to the brave and features an area dedicated to under 5s. The cafe seats 200, and in the centre of its outdoor space is the impressive Pterodactyl Treehouse.
The Splash Zone is open from April to end of September, and I think this must be very popular! It’s a nice size and accessible with plentiful picnic tables alongside.
We didn’t do the Deer Safari as I felt the boys would get more out of the activities within the main park. It looks like it’d be worth doing, though. There’s a cost of £1.95 per adult and £1.50 per child. It’s open during February half-term then holidays & weekends from Easter to October.
Mum & I only spotted the Stone Age Road Race as we were on our way home. I feel like a terrible mummy for not telling the boys – they would’ve loved it. I guess it’s an excuse to come back.
The car park is well laid out and despite the heavy rain we’ve had recently, it wasn’t too muddy. At the entrance are three ticket booths and on the day we went, the staff were quick to get everyone through.
The majority of the site is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs; there are some hilly bits so prepare to exert yourself just a little bit 🙂 Toilets for everyone are dotted around the park so you’re never too far from one. Some of the snack outlets were closed as it was low season.
We would never describe ourselves as eco-warriors, but we do what we can and it was good to see that the park minimises the amount of waste going to landfill, as this photo shows 🙂
You could tell that some areas of the site were either new or had been recently updated, and other parts were well-loved. Adds to the character, though, and it’s certainly of a higher standard than some attractions we’ve been too.
I was able to send photos from my phone to Rob throughout our day, without any delay. Rural Norfolk isn’t known for its internet connectivity, but this destination certainly doesn’t seem to be affected. Good for us town folk 😉
I particularly loved how the day captured the boys’ humour & imagination: Ollie crouched underneath the giant Brachiosaurus’ rear foot and Ben found a stick to poke the dinosaur to free his brother; Ollie boldly spoke on the CB radio in the field tent – it had a recorded message and he answered in a clipped, 1950s accent! 🙂
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure definitely proved itself to be a fantastic family venue for all ages. I don’t imagine this will be our last time here.
Ollie’s favourite bits: crazy golf & adventure play area
Ben’s favourite bits: fossil hunting & dinosaur slide
Mum’s favourite bits: crazy golf & maze
My favourite bits: fossil hunting & dinosaur trail
Bye for now!
Our visit was during February half-term 2019. For details about future opening times and what’s on, please take a look at their website.
Disclosure: Our visit was complimentary and we bought our own refreshments. As ever, all opinions are my own.