Since the birth of Tilly, we have really tried to make an even more conscience effort to help Evan adjust to the arrival of his new baby sister and do activities that are designed especially for him. Of course, we have done the normal ones such as baking and lots of play. However due to limitations due to Coronavirus and being able to have a party, we took him to Thomas Land at Drayton manner as a delayed birthday treat.
Previously, I shared our experience of Peppa Pig World, I thought I would take the opportunity to share and compare this visit. At the time of the visit Evan had just turned 3 along with taking the pushchair for Tilly.
Due to uncertainties on restrictions and ensuring we would be able to get tickets, I took the foresight of visiting their website in advance to prebook our tickets. This was a very wise decision for two reasons. Firstly upon arrival we were able to access the park quickly and enter the park without any long queue, but secondly because it offered up the ability to book parent and toddler tickets – these are amazing and if you have the opportunity to go on a weekday during school term times it allows you (adult) and a toddler (up to aged 4) to have a ticket to the pack for the total cost of £25.
With Evan being older for this outing he did really well with all the walking associated with the day, however if you were going with younger children I would definitely recommend taking a stroller as tackling the park and zoo can become a little much for little legs.
Although this theme park is relatively close to where we live in the Midlands, I haven’t visited it in over a decade and even then it was never for Thomas Land, so this was a new experience for us all. Upon arrival to Thomas Land you can see all of the favourite faces as you walk through the iron gates and hear the familiar narrator speaking over with the tales Thomas and his friends. As you walk further round you also see many height charts dotted here and there. As a toddler designed park, I did not realise there would be so many height requirements for the different rides. Evan measured in at 98cm which resulted in him not being able to ride on a few of the rides at all, whilst other he just scraped by. Of course, as a parent I appreciate his safety is paramount but being a couple of centimetres short resulted in a sad little boy for parts of the day and it was disappointing that he couldn’t enjoy the day to its fullest.
Overall our visit to Drayton Manor was a great success, however, it was the park with the access to the zoo that made it. Thomas Land in my opinion was enjoyable and if your child is over 1metre would offer more choice and variety. However, due to Covid-19 there were aspects of the park that currently were not open so this did restrict our day and what was available for Evan, which possible didn’t help.
There are 19 rides that make up Thomas Land. Within these rides there are a range of different height restriction requirements. In order to have full access to all of the rides, your child needs to be over 1 metre. With a good mixture of rises that spun, went up and down, used water and went at various speeds there will be something to suit all dare-devil levels. As we went and use the parent toddler tickets this area of the theme park was quite busy and there were queues, however they didn’t last long and by lunch time they were nearly none existent.
Throughout the park there were various food outlets however in Thomas Land it was limited to one facility. Although this may limit your options, you can always step out of this part of the theme park as then there are vast options available to suit whatever you may fancy from pizza, fish and chips, too chicken and lighter bites.
Toilets And Baby Facilities
For this being a toddler designed park, I found this lacking. Maybe, it was due to Covid and restrictions, however I found it hard to spot any clear signs directing you to your nearest toilet or baby changing area. The website also stated that there was a nursing sections within this part of the park, however I did not find it. As a new breastfeeding mum this was particularly challenging as with a 3 week old baby we were still establishing latching and our feeding, so I personally found it quite challenging having to feed out in the open. And, yes I did ask staff for directions but they were unable to tell me where this was located.
As we went on a parent toddler ticket I felt the price was reasonable. Although we made a full day of it, I felt that it was the rest of the theme park that made the day and the experience magical and not specifically Thomas Land. So, although I would go back I would only do so with the tickets either being on an offer such as this. I would not pay the normal RRP.
Zoo And Play Area
In my opinion this was the best part of our day. With Covid, they had a great one way system in place which worked really well and ensured good access and view to the different animals as you walked round. Within the zoo there was also a dinosaur walk and lovely wooden play area. In this area there were plenty of picnic benches which was a great for me to sit and feed Tilly, whilst allowing Evan to run and burn off some steam.
Overall, I felt this offered a nice day out for the family, although I feel that once Evan is over 1 metre tall we will be able to have much more enjoyable day all in all.