Newest Review: ... adult or children over 2 on a peak day - under 2s are free. There are discounts for families of 2 or more and larger groups. See the websi... more
Brilliant fun for all the family
Drusillas Park (East Sussex)
Member Name: jazzypinkpuppet
Drusillas Park (East Sussex)
Advantages: everything is just perfect for children, Thomas the tank and hands on activites
Disadvantages: Needed an extra hour.
Yesterday my children and I had one of the best days of the summer holidays, we went to Drusillas park with my sister and her little boy and we all had a brilliant time -here is my review based on my visit yesterday (25/08/09).
What is Drusillas park? - It is a small Zoo, playground, soft play area, splash park, farm, train ride and fun fair all rolled into one. I will go into more detail of each area of the park further down the page.
It is suitable for children of all ages although I would say younger children aged 2-8 would enjoy most of the facilities to the full.
The Entrance - There is a large car park at the entrance of Drusillas, this is extended in the summer so I think you would always find a parking space. We arrived at 9:30 a.m and already the car park was starting to fill up. The park doesn't open until 10 a.m but by 9:45 the queue was getting quite long. Whilst you are queuing there are several activity boards to keep the children entertained, along with toilets and baby changing facilities.
Make sure you get in the right queue as there are two - Blue for day visits and Yellow for annual members only.
The park opened promptly at ten and the queue swiftly went down.
There are a variety of different entrance prices depending on what time of year and how many people there are. Adults and Children over two are the same price to get in, babies under two are free and there are reductions for disabled and senior citizens. During all school holidays it costs £13.80 however they do a 2, 3, 4 or 5 persons family ticket where you can save about 80p per ticket. For five of us it cost £66.50.
When you pay you are given a little map, keep this safe as it has all the feeding times, animal talk times and special event on it, it is also essential for finding your way around.
Here is a brief guide to the different sections of the park.
The Zoo - At the beginning of the park. be sure to pick up an 'animal spotters guide' as you walk through the zoo there are ink stampers at certain animals, when your child has seen them they can stamp their book.
Also pick up a zoo Olympics booklet, throughout the park there are different challenges such as how long can you swing on a bar for or how fast can you run? There is space in the Zoo Olympics book for your child to record their results - remember a pen.
The zoo itself is not very large, it is however spread over quite a large space and is full of hands on activities to make it seem bigger. You will see a variety of animals including Monkeys, penguins, lemurs, meerkats, bats and reptiles. There is a special bug house and bat enclosure so you do not have to see these animals if you don't want to.
There are several feeding times throughout the day, but get there early as they get very busy.
The farm and pet centre - The farm is a small enclosure with pigs, sheep, goats and hens. There is different activities going on such as 'milking a wooden cow' and 'egg hatching'.
The pet centre is lovely, it has a wide range of pets from giant cockroaches to goats, above each animal it has a little guide of how to look after them, how hard they are to keep and how expensive it is to care for them. There is no dogs or cats but they do get a mention on one of the boards. You can stroke some of the animals and there is a sink provided to wash your hands after.
The Splash park - This is a little lagoon style paddling pool, there are several benches all around the pool so you can relax while the kids have a splash, It is very shallow, the deepest part of it came up to my five year old sons knee. There is a shack style shop selling cold drinks, ice lollies, sweets and crisps. It also sells swimming costumes, sun cream and disposable cameras. I would really recommend you visit this area of the park first as it gets so busy by lunch time, we went here at ten and we were the only ones there until quarter to eleven when we were leaving. The children must have swimming costumes on or at least knickers, they are really hot on nude swimming or babies in just nappies.
The playground - This is huge, it is split into to main sections with loads of mini sections too. In the older kids section It has a great big adventure playground with ropes, cargo nets, slides and poles. This is more suitable for bigger children my nine year old was in her element yet my five year old found some of it tricky. There are big tyre swings, bannana boats, rope ladders, zip wires and round abouts all dotted around.
The younger section is great for under six's, it has a huge covered trampoline, swings, round about, mini zip wire and wooden adventure centre like the bigger one but smaller and more manageable.
There is also a big sandpit, but it is quite hidden behind a great big slide so it was virtually empty.
The soft play - This is a medium sized soft play area, your children must, must, must have socks or they will not be allowed on the equipment, socks are for sale at 70p a pair. There is several tables and chairs inside and more of a picnic area in the enclosed garden. There is a cafe where you can buy hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, sweets and biscuits. You cannot eat your own food in there. The actual equipment is pretty standard, a couple of slides, ball pond and one huge big drop blue slide. There is a smaller enclosed area for under fives.
There is no time limit although as there is so much to see and do twenty minutes or so is more than ample.
Train and fun fair - The train is one of Drusillas main crowd pulling factors, as it is a full size Thomas the Tank engine. You can ride on Thomas as many times as you like for no extra charge, the queue can get long but it does move very quickly.
Thomas takes you on a ride around the whole park to the theme tune of Thomas the Tank, you will see the animals, park and other Thomas characters along the way such as Cranky, James, Bulgy and The Fat controller. At the end of the ride everyone is given a sticker saying 'I rode Thomas The Tank' There is a space at the back of the Animal spotters guide to put the sticker at the end of the day.
The area where Thomas starts is set out like a fun fair, there is several attractions that cost extra, dino dig - which is basically a sand pit where the children dig for treasure - £2.00, Bouncy castle side £2.00 for five slides, Climbing wall - £2.50 (children must be five or over, they are provided with all the equipment) and panning for gold - £2.50, this is where your child digs for buried golden nuggets, at the end they receive a medal. There are other ride on's and pay per go activities like mask painting, tattoos and face painting. These vary in price from £2-£4.
This is where the main picnic area is, there are loads of picnic tables and a large grass area.
If you are going on a character day, this is where they will be.
Shopping and Eating, There are two main cafes in the park, the Explorers cafe situated behind the lagoon and the Oasis cafe situated in the playground. We bought a picnic so I can't comment on food but I saw a menu and the prices seemed reasonable such as Jacket potato with cheese and beans £4.50 or Lasagne and chips £6.50.
There are other food outlets around the park selling snacks, drinks and icecream. Prices are what you would expect for this kind of place i.e bottle of coke £1.50, ice cream £1.50, hot chocolate £1.45.
There are three shops in drusillas, the big main shop is situated in the funfair area, it sells all sorts of merchandise such as cups, rulers, plastic animals, notebooks etc. Prices were a little expensive but again the norm for this type of venue. Another shop is by the playground this sells sweets and icecream, all those high E number, tacky tooty sweets like toxic gum and spray candy, childs heaven, parents hell.
The last shop is on the way out, it sells everything you could ever want to do with Thomas the Tank, trains, hats, bubbles, pencils, lunch boxes, soap. You name it they have it.
Where is it, I want to go!
It is situated just off the A27 near Alfriston. They are approximately 6 miles from Eastbourne. The post code for sat navers is BN26 5QS.
I think it is quite a trek by public transport, there is a bus stop outside but I am not sure where it goes. Drusillas suggest looking at www.travelline.org for transport information.
Additional extras and must not forgets -
Drusillas is very accessible and has wide paths, ramps and plenty of disabled toilets. There are toilets and baby changing rooms in most of the areas.
Top five things to bring
1) socks - for play area
2) Swimming things - for lagoon
3) picnic - enjoy the outdoors and save some pennies
4) a pen - for the activity booklets
5) a camera - to catch so many magical moments.
We were one of the first through the doors and one of the last out at closing time (6 P.M during summer), all three children had a brilliant day, it was manageable, varied and so much fun.
Summary: A must do brilliant day for all children especially Thomas the Tank fans.
More reviews in the field of Theme Park / Zoo National
- White Post Farm Centre (Farnsfield)
- Wetlands Animal Park (Nottinghamshire)
- Tayto Park (Kilbrew)
- Marine Aquarium (Lyme Regis)
- Crocodiles of the World (Oxfordshire)
- Paignton Zoo (Devon)
- Theme Parks in the UK & Eire in general
- Pleasure Island (Lincolnshire)
- Crealy Adventure Park (Devon)
- Twycross Zoo (Warwickshire)