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Aerial Adventures in an old forest
Landmark Forest Theme Park (Carrbridge)
Member Name: yellowroses
Landmark Forest Theme Park (Carrbridge)
Advantages: Education, Adventure and Excitement
Disadvantages: The weather maybe
I remember visiting Landmark as a child myself so it was one of my first choice days out last weekend. It combines learning about nature, where we get our wood from, micro organisms with a whole load of fun.
My son is 5 and very active, getting on with his reading and very interested in science and bugs and doing what a 'typical' boy would do - stuff worms in his pockets, collect twigs and pine cones so this is the perfect place for him to be a kid.
*******Where is it and How do you get there *********
Landmark Forest Adventure Park is in Carbridge (look for the B9153) which is Just of the A9 around 23 miles south of Inverness and 7 miles North or Avimore. Carbridge itself is a small village but the Landmark Park is sign posted well from the A9 in both directions. Cutting through the Cairngorns we managed to get there in 2 and a half hours from Aberdeen but I suspect using the busier roads would take longer.
****** Tickets ******
Day Tickets for adults are around £9.50 and for children £7
Season or weekly tickets are also offered making the rate reduced slightly but for the amount of things there are at the the park the prices are reasonable. It really is a place you can stay at all day and still manage to keep the kids (and the bigger kids) amused.
After buying your tickets your hand will be stamped and you will be provided with a map of the park.
***** Opening Times *****
Between November to March 10.00 - 17.00
April - October 10.00 - 18.00 (19.00 in mid July - August)
The last admission is one hour before the park closes but in my opinion you really wouldnt get to experience the park with only an hour.
For more information see www.landmarkpark.co.uk
***** What is there to do *****
The Landmark Forest Adventure Park is built around the oldest remaining forest in the region.
Tree Top Trail - has been designed to be accessible to all - it is a wooden planked trail suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs which takes you into the forest. You get to walk through the branches of the trees and experience the forest from a new hieght (but not too high). Along the way you might see some of the local brids and squirrels.
Red Squirrel Trail - Again this route is accesible to all but doesnt climb into the branches. It is called the Red Squirrel Trail as at several intervals along the way there are information boards (designed to keep the little ones entertained) that provide educational facts about the age of the forest, the wildlife which uses the forest and information about the dangers the forest poses and succums too. There is a wildlife feeding area where you can identify and watch the native birds and red squirrels feeding while they are undisturbed by the wooden fencing (with small windows) seperating you and them.
Trees to Logs - a building in which you walk around explaining the processes both old and new of logging. Here they have on display a range of saws dating right back to the first mechanical saws and chain saws. There is also an exhibit on safety.
Forest Tower- I have never been up here myself because of mobility issues but my friend took my son and it is apparently well worth the climb. It is the tallest timber fire tower in the country and a free telescope is provided at the top. It would be the perfect place I imagine to get photos of the surrounding area.
Timber Trail- This trail isn't quite so accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs although it is relatively flat and people were managing. I guess it would depend on the weather. This trail once again takes you into the forest where you can see the Cone Kiln- thats where the heat up the pine cones in order to extract the seeds. You can cut your own log (watch out for times on the board) on the activities area, and learn how to count the rings on trees to age them. Also can you tell the difference between your wood by the sight and weight of them? There are also various machines that are used in the forest to look at such as swamp excavators.
Then you can walk along to the working steam powered saw mill and watch them in action, the staff are really friendly and didnt seem to mind a barrage of questions. Here you can also meet Lex, the working Clydesdale and give him a pat.
***** Adventure Land ******
This is the part the kids are probably going to begging to go to, or mine was anyway. Here they have two playparks, one specifically for toddlers which is set back a bit from the excited older children. Then there is Ant City Olay are with scramble nets and slides and things.
The aerial adventures all provide saftey harnesses and experienced staff to help. It just depends if your brave enough to attempt them.
The sky dive is one I can personally say I wouldnt do, but I guess it would be a good cure for vertigo. Kids from about 8+ were climbing up the tower and jumping off, the adults seemes to scream th loudest.
The Pinnacle is a rock climbing wall which can take eight people at a time. My friend was able to go with my son and they both enjoyed it.
Ropeworx is an aerial asault course there are two Ropeworx is designed for adults and is a lot tougher than the Tarzan Trail which is suitable for almost all the family. Attatch your harness to the over head wire and tackle the challenges, varying from tyres to narrow beams. This was great fun and one of my sons favourite parts.
For the kids there are the mini cars and diggers (the cars are included in your ticket think you have to pay for diggers. Race the cars round the track.
The wild Forest Maze is again accesible to all as it is a planked walkway throughout. Watch out for the Frog, Crocodile, Snake and Ant hill though. The maze took us around ten minutes to complete. I let my son be the leader and he got tickled when we got lost.
The Wild Water Coaster was what my son was begging to go on the most. This is the only area of the park where we encountered a queue. There are three slides all of which use a raft. I didn't get more than a little damp on any of them. No children under 3 years are allowed on the watercoaster and onlt two are allowed on a raft at once (or 3 children)
******* Other Facilities *******
The Pinewood Grill and Xplore Store are situated right next to the park. The grill sells what you woiuld expect - burgers, sausages, juice, ice creams etc and the it is as overpriced as you might expect. The Xplore store is right next door and sells souveneirs and toys for the kids such as magnifying glasses and balls etc.
The restaurant however is set back from the adventure area follow the bridge across from the other side of reception and find yourself at the restaurant, shop and Microworld.
We had lunch in the restaurant and I was really impressed with the quality, price and service. All the food is obviously homecooked and there is a wide selection to chose from. Homemade soup, freshly made sandwhiches, burgers with your choice of speciality cheeses and dressings to macaronni cheese and mince. You will be given a number while your food is prepared but our took around 5 minutes to arrive steaming hot.
The toilets are clean and are obviously cleaned at regular intervals.
The restaurant connects on to the shop which sells souveniers, ornaments, books, Jam and shortbread etc and toys.
Microworld is next door I can't say I particularly enjoyed it here but my son was in his element. Looking at bugs down microscopes as well as different types of bacteria and body parts is just his thing. There are interactive areas and displays where you have to push a button or turn a handle. I think most people would enjoy it it just wasn't my cup of tea.
***** Overall ****
If you are in this area I would definately recomend a visit. It was a great day out for all of us and my son hasn't stopped talking about it since. The only thing that might spoil it is the weather but as we all know in Scotland you will just have to take your chances.
Summary: Well worth a visit
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