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An Island Of Fun
Coral Island (Blackpool)
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
Coral Island (Blackpool)
Advantages: loud and brash and fun
Blackpool is often said to be the North of England's Las Vegas and it is true that it can be brash with loads of flashing lights and slot machines everywhere you turn. Coral Island is Britain's largest amusement arcade and attracts a staggering 4 million visitors through it's doors each year. It means that it is the biggest and brashest amusement arcade out there but as well as being tacky it can also be a lot of fun.
Coral Island is on Blackpool promenade near to the tower and between central and south piers. You can't miss the building as the outside is decorated in the shape of a pirate ship with an enormous skull and bright green fish complementing this theme. The arcade has several entrances, each has notices trying to lure you inside whether they offer free use of the toilets, cheap meal deals in the family café or simply tell you to walk through as a shortcut as they are hoping that you will end up spending a couple of pounds once you are through the doors.
Coral Island is largely a family friendly amusement arcade, there is a section with the big prize machines roped off for over 18s only but on the whole they are trying to get families through the doors. The main attractions are a ghost train and a monorail train which rides high around the room and there are smaller coin operated rides for small children. They have a donkey derby where you roll the balls along a chute to try and score points and make your animal win the race which is 50p a shot and always good fun, winners can choose from a selection of prizes to take home.
There are plenty of machines which are suitable for kids, 2p push machines with small trinkets as extra prizes are especially popular and I know many adults love them too as they get to play without losing too much money in the process. They also have grab machines and dozens of games machines where you can win tickets to swap for gifts from the shop. The teenagers will enjoy playing classic arcade games or dancing on the dance mats and the whole family will enjoy the likes of a roulette or horse racing machine. The 2p machines seem to be set so that you can get a fairly long play for £1 worth of coins, you will lose your stake eventually but will enjoy several wins with a bag of 2 pence pieces.
The more serious gambler will enjoy the traditional slot machines which generally take 10p for a roll of the reels or play the drop machines with 10p stakes. I never visited the over 18's section as I am not a serious gambler by any means and prefer to stick to playing for a 2p stake!
I ended up playing Bingo in the hall at the back of the arcade, you simply turn up and have a seat and it is 20p a go. Luckily the machine detects when you win as someone who is new to the game like me will not be able to keep track of the numbers as they are called out pretty quickly and I also had trouble understanding the broad Lancashire accent. I was really surprised when I went and sat in the bingo section to be brought over a free cup of coffee and sandwiches, I suppose they want to get you settled into a seat so you keep feeding money into the game. Each win at bingo gives you half a ticket which you can swap for the likes of a tea towel or save for bigger ticket items.
Coral Island is loud and brash and a bit tacky, you are highly unlikely to win any great prizes and it would be very easy to spend a fortune in here but it is still great fun! The great thing about it is that it is all indoors so you can hide here if there is bad weather and the choice of machines means that there is something that will appeal to everyone in here. Of course you need to be responsible about how much you spend, set yourself a limit and as long as you don't have the expectation that you will win big prizes you will enjoy yourself.
Summary: Britain's biggest amusement arcade
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