“ Strathclyde Country Park / Motherwell / Scotland / ML1 3RT / Tel: 0870 112 3777. Amazonia is Scotland's largest indoor rainforest attraction. „
**Initial review on Ciao last week..lots of pictures over there***
M&Ds is a theme park in Motherwell, Scotland. It can be reach from Motherwell, Bellshill and Hamilton and the best access is into Strathclyde Park at junction 5 or 6 on the M74.
Amazonia is located within the grounds of M&Ds. It is described as being "Scotland's indoor tropical rainforest packed full of exotic animals". Amazonia has a controlled temperate of 27c throughout to maintain the quality and livelihood of the animals and tropical plants. Amazonia is based around the Amazon Rainforest but indoor! Amazonia is fully wheelchair accessible and has toilet facilities and baby changing in the shop area.
Amazonia is based within a huge, warehouse type building with roof windows allowing natural light in. There is a reception desk, a gift shop, interactive room and the main rainforest area. The main area is home to the various rainforest creatures. It is arrange to resemble a rainforest with large trees, soil, bridges and a path running around the room. There is a huge pond in the centre that can be viewed from various angles and a replica cliff at the far end where the free flying birds can sit and look down at everyone.
Amazonia is home to a whole host of rainforest creatures. They are either kept in their own enclosures, cabinets or allowed to roam free. Most are kept behind glass panels though some aren't. Amazonia has various plaques giving information on what creatures are living there and about their eating habits and natural habitat. The main area is home to different types of toucans (within their own space), Goeldi's Monkeys, caiman crocodiles, marmosets, tarantulas and a few other creatures. There is also python snakes and so much more.
The pond is home to various fish types include carp and terrapins. Fish food is available for 50p. There is a Nocturnal area which is of course darkened and features bats, ants and snakes. Feeding and handling talks are carried out throughout the day at regular intervals. There is a shop selling toys, stationary and teddies from 60p to over £10.00 and you can purchase ice lollies and juice here too.
The interactive room is new for 2011 and is based within the shop area. It allows visitors to enter a room and have full control over an interactive wall program. It features various information about the rainforest and allows the visitor to control what they want to see. This is included in the regular ticket price.
~Opening Times and Prices~
Amazonia is opened every day throughout the year (except Christmas and New Year). Monday-Sunday it opens at 10am and closes at 6pm. The last entry is 5.30pm. Your hand is stamped allowing you to return any time throughout the day. Tesco clubcard vouchers can be used.
On the door ticket prices :
*Adult - £5.95
*Child - £4.50
*OAP - £4.50
*Disabled and carer - £3.95
*Family of 4 - £17.35
*Under 3 - free
*Handling session - £1.00
*Nursery visit - £98.50 for 90mins
*Amazonian Range for a day - £76.95
*Parties - from £4.55 (extra for food deals)
There is a discount if purchasing online and proof of purchase is required.
We visited Amazonia yesterday as part of a holiday treat for our son. Amazonia is easy to locate at the far end of M&Ds and can be recognised by the huge toucan outside! We paid at the main entrance and for 2 adults and 1 child, we were £16.40. We arrived just before 11am and it was fairly quiet. The centre is quite big but rather enclosed when inside. The lady on the reception desk was very friendly and pointed us in the direction of the board detailing which talks would be on. This was my 2nd visit to Amazonia but my sons first.
~Wow It's Hot!~
Entering the main building, the heat hits you. It is humid and very noisy! Whilst the room isn't overly smelly, you can tell there are a lot of animals there! There is sufficient room for pushchairs and wheelchairs to move around. The room is bright and all the creatures can be seen clearly. We arrived just in time for a parrot talk which was carried out by a professional member of staff. I can't quite remember the parrots name but she was beautifully coloured with the most amazing blue hair (not sure of right word!). The talk lasts 15mins or so and was interesting as the parrot was trained to do whatever the lady said and was quite funny. Younger children including my son got restless and wanted to move on.
~Meeting The Creatures~
It would take far too long to discuss all of the creatures in Amazonia so I will discuss the ones which I noticed most. I wouldn't say I am terrified of many creatures but I did appreciate that they were enclosed. The free flying birds were of various breeds and went about their business. A few appeared to be having a conversation in the far end of the room! My son wanted to run around looking at different things but I found it interesting to read the plaques about the creatures and learned about creatures I didn't even know existed! This is a great place for school groups as there is so much to learn and take in.
We adored the toucan, well both of them. Their enclosures were really big and featured different activities and hidey holes for them to play peek a boo from. The prettiest toucan had a gorgeous, colourful beak and had no reservations about showing off. This was known as a Toco Tucan and he was called Tootsie. The other toucan wasn't so adventurous but a notice informed us he was a rescue toucan and you could tell as his beak was badly chipped. I felt sorry for him but he liked to just watch what was going on.
I wasn't keen on the spider area but they were under lock and key! A huge tarantula appeared to be taunting me from its cabinet I had to move on quickly! Bees are welcomed from outside and fly in through a pipe to leave some honey in a cabinet..it is quite interesting to watch and I have witnessed this behaviour at Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow. The flying frogs didn't want to play which was disappointing. I was entranced by the few butterflies fluttering about and they did like to get up close. They were beautiful creatures.
Another parrot enclosure led me to speaking to a delightful green bird who looked like he was understanding me then done his business..not pleasant and very rude I think! His name was Diego. The monkeys aren't your usual swinging from the tree tops monkeys. They are tiny little things with huge tails and extra cute with black fur. They are cheeky and like to put on performances of leaping around their spacious enclosure and coming up close to the glass to have a good look at who is visiting them. I'm not keen on snakes but my fiancé and son spent some time looking at the Burmese Python. It was massive and slimy in appearance..gives me the creeps to be honest!
Our favourite area of Amazonia by far was the fish pond. Absolutely stunning and packed full of fish. A few visitors were feeding the fish which brought them right up to the surface. The fish were very colourful and bright. They were a true treat to watch as one particular fish had his mouth wide open and bobbing on the surface to make sure he got some grub!
We had a wander around the nocturnal area and we understand it needs to be dark but it was far too dark to get to have a decent look at the creatures. There was some red lighting but it wasn't strong enough. I did get up close to a rather huge snake who was cheeky enough to stick his tongue out at me. We wondered where the one of the creatures had gone (can't remember its proper name but it was like a monkey) and I just about shat myself when I heard footsteps above me. It had its own tunnel and I could only make out the outline of it! The bats were cool and just hung there with not a care in the world.
~Interactive and Shop~
We didn't know how the interactive area would work but we were sent in quite quickly. Basically it is a large room with screens at 2 ends and a projection. We were asked to stand against a line at the back and show how tall we were before it started. Suddenly out images (if a bit grainy) appeared on the screen and we could choose different options with our hands. Think Xbox Kinect but bigger! It was rather cool and enjoyable.
The interactive display was really informative and gave background information about monkeys and butterflies. It was easy to operate and we got to play a game to see how many butterflies we could catch. The display is clear and responds well which is brilliant. We also got to go above the trees and start a rainstorm by clapping our hands. It lasts 15mins and was a great way to end our visit. I learned some interesting facts about the Amazon rainforest and again, ideal for school visits. Your photo is taken at the end and can be bought for £3.00.
The next handling talk wasn't until early afternoon. We decided not to participate as we were hungry and had a grumpy toddler. The cost of £1 is reasonable and the talks are carried out in a separate room with a professional member of staff. The handling sessions for later in the day included the spiders and I believe there was a snake handling session too. Pictures can again be bought for £3.00.
The choice in the shop is great and it is well laid out. There are plenty of expensive toys to tempt younger children but being short of funds, we convinced Ryan to settle for something cheap. He went for a toy truck at £1.99 which isn't exactly related to the rainforest but he was happy with that! The toilets are well stocked and spacious as well as being clean.
Had Ryan been a bit older and more in to the educational side of the visit as well as the fun, we could have spent around 90mins in Amazonia. He was impatient and complaining of being peckish so we spent around an hour. I feel there is enough to see to be worthy of the entry fee and it is ideal that you can visit and go back later on as some of the creatures were sleeping or hiding during our visit. The creatures appear well cared for and live in a comfortable, clean environment with friendly staff.
It is a fun way to spend a short while. I do think the addition of the interactive area is a good choice. Whilst we loved wandering around and checking out the creatures (whilst constantly being aware of the flying birds potential to drop one on our heads), we had great fun in the interactive area. I can't really fault Amazonia and it is certainly different from other places to visit in the area.
I can recommend a visit if in the area.
Thanks for reading x
Amazonia is scotlands largest indoor rainforest situated in M and D's theme park (strathclyde country park) in motherwell. There is a vast variety of animals ranging from spiders to fish to marmoset monkeys. This experience is definitely not for anyone who doesn't like butterfly's or birds as they fly around freely within the rainforest, which we did not know until we were inside and my mum got the fright of her life when a bird flew right over her head as she hates anything that flutters about. Luckily my husband does not mind them as when he was standing looking at the koi carp fish a giant butterfly landed on his head! It sat there for a few minutes before fluttering away again luckily as when this happens you are not supposed to lift them off, you just need to wait till they fly away!
There are several types of spiders such as a Goliath bird eater which can sometimes be difficult to see as they tend to be at the back of the tanks and under foliage or logs. There is a dark section which is towards the rear of the rainforest which houses creatures such as bats, caiman crocodiles and scorpions which were a particular favourite with my son. Also there is a snake (unsure of type) which is in the dark section which we were lucky enough to see being fed! Another favourite of my sons was the marmosets and red bellied tamarin as they are very friendly and were often jumping about next to the glass and being very playful with each other which was amusing to watch particularly for children.
If you are not scarred of touching or holding a spider or snake then the daily handling sessions which are carried out at several times of the day are a must and they are an extra £1 added onto the entry fee. General admission prices are £5.25 for adults over the age of 16 and £4.25 for children and senior citizens and kids under 3 go free. There are group discounts and family of 4 deals and also if you book your tickets online you will get them cheaper! So if you know what date you are going on I would advise booking online as although the prices seem ok we never seem to spend any more than about an hour in it. The rainforest is open daily between 10am-6pm with the last entry around 5.30pm. Once you have been in the rainforest you are free to entry as often as you like during that day with is good as this allows you to look around the rest of M and D's theme park and then return to look at the animals again before you leave.
Overall I would say amazonia is good to go to as part of a day out as you will only be able to spend about an hour or so inside it therefore I would advise making it a good family day out by visiting the theme park and also amazonia.
The Main Attraction
Amazonia is an indoor rainforest attraction situated within M and D's theme park. We visited M and D's on a pretty cold day and it was lovely going inside to warm up even if the humidity made my glasses steam up! There are a number of animal, bird, fish and insect exhibits set amongst jungle foliage and butterflies and birds fly freely around.
The insects are thankfully all behind glass, I don't think I would have coped with a giant bird eating spider or massive millipede on the loose! The different coloured tree frogs were a massive hit with the kids, especially when they walked up the inside of the glass using the sticky pads on their feet. The different species of monkeys were lovely to watch but I felt sorry for them being stuck in such small enclosures. The koi carp swimming around seemed to congregate near to the place where the food vending machines were sited and for 50p you can buy a small handful of food to throw to them.
I found the ant rope fascinating. The leaf cutter ants make their way from one side of the bridge where leaves for them are placed to their nest on the other where you can see them composting the leaves. Its amazing to watch the tiny insects carry leaves bigger than themselves and see them all working together in that way.
There is one part of the exhibition which is darkened and contains amongst other creatures a cayman and fruit bats. I have always loved bats and have seen them flying outside many times and I really enjoyed seeing them all nesting and occasionally swooping down their enclosure for a piece of food.
For a pound per person, you can go to one of the many daily handling sessions. There were around 20 people in the room and you had a chance to handle two different types of snake; a corn snake and a python, a tarantula and a terrapin. I found the limited choice of animals for the handling session slightly disappointing as I have been to other handling sessions where they had more species. However, the keeper did talk about each of the species at great length and had an obvious love for the animals. I love how snakes feel when you hold them and the corn snake decided it was going to try and slither up my sleeve!
I have a massive fear of spiders but had a deal on with my daughter that if she got over her fear of heights and went on a rollercoaster then I would hold a spider. I actually find tarantulas less scary than the average spider, probably because it looks fluffy and cute. I was still pretty shaky when I put my hands down for it to walk over them but managed to not freak out. Let's hope I show as much courage the next time I find a spider in the bath!
I loved Amazonia and could have spent hours in there just taking in all the sights and sounds within this oasis of calm more fully. However, the boys (aged 6 and 7) were more interested in getting back outside to go on more rollercoasters! Once you have paid, you are free to leave and re-enter all day. I would recommend this as an add on to your day at M and Ds but you cannot really spend more than an hour in there so the stand alone prices are pretty expensive. I would love to go back there again without the kids so that I can really appreciate it.
Amazonia is situated within M and D's theme park near Motherwell. An adult ticket costs £5.25, a child ticket is £4.25 and a family ticket is £15.45.
We bought our tickets as an add on to the cost a wristband to M and Ds which cost around £2 per person.
Facilities inside are basic, just toilets and a small gift shop but there are various eateries within the main theme park.
For more info go to http://www.ama-zone-ia.com/website/home.html
***What is Discover Amazonia***
Amazonia is advertised as being "Scotland's largest indoor rainforest attraction" and promises to offer an insight into life in the tropical forest.
Originally established in 2002 it was closed down again in November 2003 when the property landlord announced its closure. In 2005, with the backing of M&D's Theme Park in Strathclyde Park where they are currently situated, they were able to re-open to the public.
Discover Amazonia is found within Strathclyde country Park in the West of Scotland.
Amazonia is open all year round however the opening hours differ between the summer and winter.
Winter: 7 days 10am-6pm
Summer: Mon - Fri 10am-6pm Sat - Sun 10am-7pm
I don't mind paying above the odds if I am getting something in return. I found Amazonia, although reasonably priced for a couple hours out didn't really deliver enough to justify the price.
Adults: £4.95 (£4.45 if part of a group of 10 people and over)
Children: £3.95 (£3.45 if part of a group of 10 people and over)
Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children): £14.95
Amazonia is quite stunning upon entry although the humidity hits you as soon as you path through the heavy plastic sheeting that hangs from the doorway. A series of wooden paths and bridges (think oriental gardens) take you through a jungle of tropical plants, flowers and trees. The colour on display is really quite striking - not only from the brightly-coloured flowers but also the collection of butterflies throughout the place, including the Queen Alexandria which has a wingspan of up to 12.5 inches.
In-between the foliage are tanks and cages holding an array of amphibians, birds and small animals such as Toucans, Amazon Parrots, Pythons, Boa's, Gecko's, Poisonous Toads, Pygmy Marmoset monkeys and red-bellied Tamarins. There is also a lovely pond well stocked with beautifully coloured fish which shine as they swim through the water. My personal favourite were the adorable and misunderstood fruit bats. Having been adopted by a baby bat when I was a teenager, I have grown quite fond of these snub-nosed wee beasts and hope that having the opportunity to see them up close will do some good for their image.
There is a separate area which is kept dark which contains a variety of tanks filled with a variety of spiders including the Mexican Redkneed tarantula and the Blue Martinique. There is also an assortment of scorpions and other insects of interest on display.
* Animal handling sessions*
There are daily animal handling sessions where trained handlers introduce the animals (snakes, insects, spiders and monkeys) to the visitors and can answer any of the questions you or your kids may have.
The shop is strategically placed so visitors not only have to enter through the shop they also have to leave through it. They have plenty to appeal to your kids and to empty your wallet. There are plenty of educational toys which relate to the rain forest and the animals and plants on display. Equally there are books, toys, stationery sets and even lollipops shaped like Insects.
There are toilets situated within the shop. They are basic but clean if not somewhat drafty! They do include baby changing facilities.
There are no facilities within Amazonia for eating, however, being within the M&D's Theme Park compound, there are several burger vans and several sit down restaurants nearby including the American Greasy Spoon style, Downtown USA and Themed Bar/Restaurant, Bizarre.
As the car park serves the entire theme park it is more than big enough to accommodate any visitors.
All entrances are ramped and the toilet has disabled facilities however, the paths and bridges throughout the place are quite narrow and navigating a larger wheelchair may prove difficult
This was an interesting and beautiful place to visit and the exhibition has been put together with care making it an enjoyable experience. The animal enclosures seem to be in good shape and the animals themselves seem happy enough.
However at a stretch this will only occupy kids for roughly 20-30 minutes and I am not sure this is worth £15. The problem with bringing your family to a place like this is you are then left with time to kill and an amusement arcade and theme park to pass through before leaving which will obviously mean more expense. I challenge anyone to bring their kids along and have them leave Amazonia quite happy not to be lured in by any of the attractions around them.
In conclusion, yes, this was an enjoyable visit and if you are planning to make a day of a visit to M & D's then it is worthwhile making a stop at Amazonia while you are there if you are prepared to pay the money. However, I wouldn't suggest planning Amazonia for your main attraction for the day as you will find it doesn't deliver long term.