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Coral Island (Blackpool)
Member Name: baby-cakes
Coral Island (Blackpool)
Advantages: Something for everyone
Disadvantages: Sometimes a little too busy
Blackpool is one of my favourite places (if not my fave) to go and manage to go several times a year. One of the attractions there is Coral Island, which is Britains largest amusement arcade - it is said that it attracts an unbelievable 4 million people per year!! Over recent years Coral Island has seen major investment and it was totally revamped and refitted in 1999, and is now one of the most modern and exciting arcades that caters for all ages.
As you approach Coral Island, the first thing you see is a huge skull and pirate ship with CORAL ISLAND above in flashing lights. This may frighten young children initially as a pirate skull can appear a little scary. There are several entrances to the arcade and in each entrance you will find some small rides for the little ones, most of these are 50 pence each. Also there are several cranes, full of some lovely teddies.
Now we get into the main arcade - it is absolutely huge!!! There is literally something for everybody in here. There is a parrot monorail ride that goes all the way round the arcade and as the children (as well as big kids!) go round there is a sort of laser quest game to play. Along with the ride there are many many games that young children can play and in the lower end of the arcade there is an area that is some rides and a ticket collecting area. The ticket collecting is great fun for children (and some of us big kids too - i love it!) there are many ways of winning tickets, from "slot machines" like Aladdin and Snakes and Adders, to ball games, coin games and much more. Each machine pays out tickets rather than money and the idea is to save up the tickets and there is a large kiosk in which you can trade them in for a huge range of things - from small things like keyrings to mega things like a Sony PSP or mountain bike. I think this is great as you are actually getting something for your money, however it can take a while to save up a good amount for something decent and there isn't really much for young children to get, i would say from about the age of 4 is best for toys.
There's the usual arcade games, racing games, cranes, slot machines and a decent sized area dedicated to guitar hero. I recently had my first experience of this and to say it was embarrassing is a bit of an understatement!! I was useless - in my defence it was my first ever go (mental note to have a practice at home on my brothers before trying again!!). There are some huge cranes with massive teddies in, some with Me To You Bears (that retail at £50.00!!) so if you are lucky you can win one for just a pound! Some of the other big bears are Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters, they even had huge Gremlins!!
In the centre of the arcade is a very large area for the over 18's with a good range of different slot machines so again there is something for everyone, from the standard XOX machines to new games like Rainbow Riches and even Deal or No Deal!
A good range of coin games (2p and 10p) machines can be found in this arcade for those 2p game addicts like my mum!! There is always little prizes to be won in them, mainly keyrings or badges but you can win tokens for a free cuddly toy also which you need to go and collect from the Bingo area. We must have a huge range of keyrings from there by now!!
Located at the far end of Coral Island is the Prize Bingo area. Its 20p a go for 2 cards or if you want the extra option of the gold card its an extra 10p - the gold card has special deals on and if you win on the lucky line (for example the red line) you may win up to 100 tokens. There are some decent prizes to be had, but again i don't think it caters enough for children which i appreciate can't play but it would be nice to be able to choose something for them. As you are playing bingo, the friendly staff come round and offer drinks and biscuits which i think is a lovely touch.
There is a very large cafe in the arcade, its very popular. They do the usual tea, coffee, cold drinks, and several meals. I've only ever tried the chips but they were ok, and i have heard from others that a great meal can be had for a fiver and that the portions are very generous. Also they sell baby food in jars which i think is really good. As well as the cafe there is a fish and chip shop attached which i think is really good.
All in all i think Coral Island is brilliant. The only downside to it really is that it is always so so busy but this is testament to how good it is and how much effort has been spent in making it into the attraction it is today. You can easily spend a couple of hours in here if not more as there is so much to do - the only problem is its so easy to spend a huge amount of money here!!! When me and my friend take our children we always come in Coral Island and have a go and saving tokens up so the kids have something fun to take home. One thing i managed to get was a novelty Hello Kitty phone which i have since seen for sale for almost £50!
In a nutshell i think its great, and would say to anyone who is visiting Blackpool to definately have a look in here!