Motherwell Theme Parks / Zoos National
M and D's Scotland's Theme Park (Strathclyde)
M&Ds is known as Scotlands theme park it is in Motherwell in South Lanarkshire at Strathclyde Country Park. I will add prices at the end of the review and put some details about the rides. I go here every summer when my friend comes back to visit from Texas, and went lots when I was younger. Getting ... there
The park is just off of the M74 at Junction 5 off the A725. Car is the most easiest way to access the park.
There is also a bus that runs from Buchanan Bus Station that takes you straight to the park!
It also comes back round and can take you back into the bus station.
You can also get taxis there depending where your from will cost at least £8 and possibly more, I don't use this way to get there because of prices. I don't live very far but prices are still quite high.
Parking is free, and there is also a near by hotel called Alona Hotel which you can stay at if you live far away it is 4* so will cost quite a bit im sure.
The park is next to a big loch you can walk round if its hot and sunny, there is also sometimes boats there and swans.
There are big rides and little rides so theres something for everyone. If you are just taking your children there and you would prefer not to go on any rides there is not an entrance fee!
There are also family rides so you can go on them with a few people.
Tsunami - It is one of the busiest rides at the park so prepare to wait a while and annoying children jumping the fence but they usually get told to go to the back. 650m high and goes at 65kph, apparently this is Scotlands only inverted roller coaster with corkscrew twists. Your under the tracks so your feet dangle down which I was surprised to find I found better than other roller coasters. The bars come down over your shoulders and a buckle to keep it down for safety, because I'm quite thin and small I need to move my phone out of the way in my pocket so it can basically crush me otherwise I move about!
Bad points - one of the carts (only thing I can think to call it) will always break down at least once during the day, the wait can be a while and the kids can be annoying, also the fact that one time the staff knew people were scared so deliberately stopped the ride while we were on it.
Tornado - Another busy ride, the track is over 1000 meters and goes at 85kph and has 360 loops and is a white knuckle roller coaster. Its not one I favor because the tracks break quite a lot of the time I've been there so I worry about going on it, can hurt if wearing earrings and is not comfortable to sit in.
It used to go round twice but has been changed to just the once.
The Express - Another white knuckle roller coaster, 500 meter track and goes from - to 60 in 8 seconds, apparently this roller coaster traveled and people wanted it back! I wouldn't say it is a very good ride its more one I go on when the other rides are really busy.
Bad points - Uncomfortable, seems you need to sit in certain places of it when its almost empty for some reason which is worrying, has the parts of tracks that looks like your going to hit your head!
Magic Carpet - It is 15 meters high and moves at 14 revolutions per min, it swings round and stops at the top for a few seconds and then continues down, it does move quite fast actually so be sure to hold on!
There is a genie in the middle of the carpet. It holds 40 people and will go backwards no matter which side you sit at so if you don't like things like that I wouldn't recommend.
Bad points - The metal bar over your legs is for everyone in that row, even if its just me and a friend who's my size I need to hold on or I move a ridiculous amount and whack my stomach full force off the bar and can lift off the seat, so I think they should try even it out a bit for safety reasons!
Captains Curse -Most boring ride on earth, got pirates and skeletons around the ride, and then you go on a giant boat that lifts up at each side and rocks back and forth, lifts up sort of high but just boring!
Big Apple - 300 meter track with 3 drops and lifts - don't worry not too high! The big caterpillar goes through a giant red apple!
Bad points - Yes I have one about a kids ride as the caterpillars face creeps me out!
Flying Jumbos - Elephants! Mum elephant in the middle going around with the ride, and 14 baby elephants flying outside, I have been told there is controls so you can decide if you go high or low
There are also trampolines, kids dodgems and a racing thing for kids.
Wave Swinger - 32 swings or chairs that tilt, they go up kind of high and low at the other side so theres a mix of height. They go at a good speed and you get to see the whole park and over to the loch.
There is a metal pole you lift up to get into the seat and then clip a metal chain onto it so some children will need lifted into it because of the height.
White Water - 42 meter water ride with two drops up to 20 meters, go down the drop at 70kph so you get quite wet especially if its timed with people going down the second drop. You get a picture taken going down the second drop which you can buy. It fits about 3 people.
Bad points - is not secure so watch if you have kids with you as you need to hold onto the sides or you slide backwards/forwards and can stand up easily.
Big Wheel - 24 carriages that hold 5 people and can spin round, 35 meters high and has 20,000 multi-coloured lights they put on at night! I've never been on this because of the height.
There are also teacups!
Bungee - My reasons for not adding this in with the big rides is because you need to pay to go on it even if you have a wrist band. Goes 50 meters in 1.2 seconds and does 360 spins. Its like a big round cage your in and seems secure enough, again this is one I haven't been on.
Amazonia - An indoor rainforest with lots of exotic animals like tarantulas, snakes, fruit bats, lizards and marmoset monkeys plus more! You can hold some of them and feed them the gift shop is expensive as to be expected.
Bingo - £1 per game for two cards.
Cosmic Bowl - Glow in the dark and there is 16 lanes and air hockey, shoes are supplied and there is a bowl 'n' bite restaurant so you can buy food and drinks. You can have birthday parties here - teens are £10.50 per guest and for junior parties £8.95 per guest.
Game Zone - Air hockey, dance machines, usual arcade games and racing games, over 150 games are there.
Devils Island - 18 hole golf course that is pirate themed, there are winning holes so you can win prizes one can be a wristband for the park.
Krazy Congo - A big play area for kids! It is supervised and can have parties there and get food.
Pawfect Bear - Just like build a bear or teddy bear mountain ridiculously priced.
*Food and drink*
Wimpys which is as usual over priced or go to the chippy. There is a bit outside where you can get freshly made donuts.
In the main area where you first walk through the doors you can get things like nachos and ice cream.
An american themed bit to sit at and eat no matter where you buy your food, or sit outside at the benches.
The restaurant which I have not been in and the restaurant at the bowling alley.
There are toilets and changing rooms, the toilets are an okay standard and are better than the usual parks.
*Opening times and prices*
The Park is closed from November - February.
Most days are open 11am - 4pm. In September and October it is only open weekends, open October week.
*Note if bought online the card holder MUST be present
Unlimited wrist band (over 1.35m) - If bought on the day £16.50 and if online £15.50
Unlimited wrist band (under 1.35m) - If bought online £12.50 and if online £11.40
Family of four - £52 or online for £48
Tokens - 50p per token but I don't think they are worth the money.
Go on the website which I will put at the bottom for family deals.
Amazonia - Adult (16+) £5.95 or online for £5.45
Kids and OAP - £4.50 or online for £4.20
Family tickets - £17.35 or online for £15.45
Disabled/carers - £3.95 and cannot be bought online
The staff generally aren't the nicest you can meet but this may be because they get horrible wages, usually quite grumpy, some don't don't move trouble makers although there is security that I sometimes but not always see.
Since I don't drive I can only go if a friends parent does or if they do since the taxi prices are too expensive.
For the wrist band I think the prices are completely over priced since there are hardly any rides there it seems quite small to me.
There is music playing all the time and people having fun which is nice.
After the prices of the wrist band and the claw machines I get obsessed with plus the food its difficult to come back with any money.
I would recommend you take a set amount for just what you need!
Since I was wee the park I feel the park has gotten worse, isn't as fun as they took the good rides away and now are no spiny ones left at all, but it is still a fun day out in the summer!
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Amazonia (Motherwell, Scotland)
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.
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M and D's Scotland's Theme Park (Strathclyde)
Spring is in the air and Easter brought a request from my daughter for a trip to M&D's - a so-called "theme park" located in South Lanarkshire, not far from my sister's home in East Kilbride. She went a couple of times last year and having learned that it was open again for the 2009 season she couldn't resist a ... return trip, so yesterday afternoon found us heading there for an afternoon out.
M&D's bills itself as "Scotland's Theme Park", but having been to Chessington World of Adventures and Alton Towers, this place is far smaller.
The park is located just off the M74 motorway at junction 5 and off the A725 main East Kilbride to Coatbridge road. Buses run to the park from Glasgow at weekends and school holidays (the FirstBus X7 from Buchanan Bus Station) but this is a place best reached by car. Parking is reasonably plentiful but you have to walk a little to reach the entrance.
The main attractions at this small park are the Tsunami and Tornado rollercoasters and the Bomber 2 - a device that looks like a huge crane with seating for thrill seekers at either end which spins round at breakneck speeds turning you upside down. Now I have to admit here and now that thrill seeking is not my bag anymore - I lost my appetite for rollercoasters and funfair rides around the time I turned 21 - but the queues of people waiting to go onboard these rides proves I am not the norm - not least my daughter!
There is also a huge big wheel which offers lovely views over the artificial loch in adjacent Strathclyde Park, a couple of water rides, a chair swinger, a huge pirate ship ride called Captain's Curse, trampolines, dodgems, a magic carpet ride, a mini rollercoaster and the usual sideshow stalls you expect to find at fairgrounds. All in all there are 40 rides to choose from - but the staff are very strict about height restrictions - many rides are only permissible for those over 1.35 metres in height for instance.
There's also a really good outdoor crazy golf course called Devil's Island, a soft play area for small children and an attraction called Amazonia which enables you to see animals from the rainforest indoors.
There are also two arcade areas with machines that eat cash and give out "prize tickets" which enable you to claim a poorly made pen once you have spent about £10 on throwing balls into holes or trying to score a goal playing mock football, and lots of machines with huge claws you move around in the unlikely hope of winning a soft toy for 30p. I call these machines for those who no know better - unsurprisingly my daughter loves them.
These arcades are mercifully undercover - which gives you some place to go should the typical Scottish weather (of rain) assert itself. There is also a carousel there along with a food court which has a Wimpy, a jacket potato stall and a pancake stall.
There's also the Bizarre Bar which sells food and both soft and alcoholic drinks. This is the place to be on Sunday afternoons after around 3.00 pm when the kids' karaoke starts, which is very popular and can also be very entertaining or painful to listen to depending upon the child taking part.
There's also a bowling alley, a pool bar (for adults only), a sports bar and a coffee shop where you can chill out and escape any bad weather.
Entrance to M&D's is free, something I really appreciate given I don't like funfair rides. Unlimited ride wristbands are available and cost £14 for those over 1.35 metres tall, and £10 for those under. However you can pay per ride using tokens which are easily available from the ticket desk or machines dotted around the park, which might be more cost effective if you are only planning a short visit to the park. Each token costs 50p and some rides require 3 tokens, others 5 tokens and up.
The wristbands do not include entrance to Amazonia or use of Devil's Island Mini Golf - Amazonia costs £4.75 for an adult and £3.50 for children and OAPs. Devils Island Mini Golf costs £3.95 for adults and £2.95 for children. Child rates are for under 16s. Family tickets are available for the park and for additional attractions - if you are a family of 4 these are worth checking out.
In addition you can get season tickets for M&D's which are valid for the entire season which usually runs from April to October. These cost £50 for one person or £144 for a family of four and are worth considering if you live nearby.
The park is open at differing times throughout the season. Core opening times are from 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm but when schools are out its open from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm. The website gives clear opening hours and is worth checking out before you visit. The indoor attractions are open all year round and there are adult entertainment evenings held here too.
So would I recommend it? Yes, I would - but don't be expecting the thrills you get at a major theme park. However I like how I can just turn up and either get my daughter a wristband or pay per ride for her and don't have to get annoyed at paying an entrance fee for rides I won't be going on.
Queues tend to be fairly reasonable - my suggestion would be to turn up early to avoid the really big crowds however. My daughter had to wait no longer than 10 minutes to get on the rides she was interested in which was fine. Obviously, the more popular the ride, the longer the queue.
The food here is pretty awful however - both the Bizarre Bar and the food court offer very average food at pretty expensive prices - a meal deal at the Wimpy will set you back £5 per person for very average food for example.
I would actually advise if you are visiting during the week or on a Saturday to dine at the nearby Toby Carvery which offers a fantastic value carvery dinner at £5 per head before 6.00 pm.
The staff are very vigilant about adhering to height rules so if you have very small children it might be worth waiting until they are a little bigger before bringing them here - there are a few rides aimed at very young children but I have seen a lot of tears from little daredevils who just aren't tall enough for something a little more thrilling. The staff are also very good at checking everyone is strapped in correctly which I find reassuring.
My biggest gripe with this place however is the fact not all rides clearly show how many tokens you need to ride on them. This necessitates either a wait in line hoping you have enough or having to get the attention of the ride operator to ask. Some of the attractions clearly display this information so someone clearly thought it was something that needed doing, if not finishing.
Ride times seem quite short too - my daughter went on a ride that lasted less than a minute for example - and while I appreciate a lot of customers have unlimited ride wristbands if you have waited in line for 5 or 10 minutes and the thrill is over in 90 seconds, it's a little bit galling.
The place is also designed to completely extract as much cash as possible from those who flock here - particularly children - and I do find it quite cynical how they do this. This is the main reason why I like to keep this as an occasional treat for my daughter rather than somewhere to go to regularly as I just cannot justify the cost and hate having arguments with her over what she can and cannot have money for.
I also think it's a bit cheeky to call this place a theme park when its really too small to warrant the name - its more of a small amusement park as far as I am concerned. However it's a fun place to visit with your kids occasionally and if you tire of the crowds you are just a short stroll to the peaceful loch in Strathclyde Park and you can also make use of the free playground there if you are out of cash with a child still seeking thrills and spills!
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Motherwell Theme Park / Zoo National
Strathclyde Country Park / Theme Park / Zoo National / Motherwell / Scotland / ML1 3RT / Tel: 0870 112 3777. Amazonia is Scotland's largest indoor rainforest attraction.
Theme Park / Zoo National / Strathclyde park. Tel: 01698 333999.
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