Newest Review: ... nice wooden castle structure, with a variety of slides and just round the corner there's a bit of a playground area. Our eyes were drawn t... more
Have a great day out at "Double Duck Ponds"!
Twinlakes Park (Melton Mowbray)
Member Name: yabbadabbadoo
Twinlakes Park (Melton Mowbray)
Advantages: Family fun, variety of rides indoor and outdoor
Disadvantages: Not that much for moody teenagers to do
So if it's wild rides and all action adventure you are looking for - well unlucky really.
But, for the worn down parenting population out there, particularly those with families boasting one or more pre-teenagers, I can promise you a good value day out that has something to keep everyone happy.
~~~~Getting there and admission~~~~
OK let's get the formalities out of the way. Finding the place is pretty straightforward if you come in via the main routes. A1 and then A607 to Melton Mowbray should enable you to pick up the brown signs. As for admission, there are separate summer and winter rates. It's currently advertised on the website at £8.60 per adult or child with discounted rates available for senior citizens and disabled guests (carers go free). Not sure what the 2011 prices will be but as a guide it was £11.75 per adult / child last summer. If like us you are local and you can make it more than a couple of times a year, I would recommend investing in an annual pass starting at around £40 per person. Year round easy access, come rain or shine, picnic or indoor play - they've got it covered.
When you arrive, and you take in the sweeping panorama of attractions, you won't fail to notice that clearly this place was all part of a farm at some point in the near past, and in fact there is a barn area with a few cows, pigs, sheep and goats - I believe there's even a spot of ferret racing in the summer months. But before I start racing ahead, let me guide you through the various outdoor and indoor attractions waiting to be discovered.
Head left as you go through the entrance, and you'll come to a kind of medieval / castle / themed zone. There's a nice wooden castle structure, with a variety of slides and just round the corner there's a bit of a playground area. Our eyes were drawn to a medieval jousting ride - where you get to ride on a noble mechanical steed at an extremely untroubling pace - perfect for concerned mummy riding with our little one up front, and a back to my youth granny. Not so great for a big 6ft 2 oaf in terms of leg room but we survived!
Back down the hill, assuming you can pass up the two large indoor play areas for now, you'll find a couple of bears guarding the gateway to USA Adventure land (or something like that - I get confused). Straight away our little dynamo spotted the humoungously long (for a little nipper) assault course and right then and there we knew we'd be investing in season tickets. Believe me if your kids are fans of the likes of Wipeout / Takeshis Castle / Ninja Warrior or any active game show - they will love this. Only trouble is a fair few of the obstacles do require a bit of parental assistance for the under 6's at least, so Action Daddy had his day in the sun as well. There's a start and a finish line so if you ever feel like reenacting your Krypton Factor assault course fantasies this would be the place to do it.
Next up on my best of list would have to be the downhill dinghy slide. Assuming your legs are up to the steep climb, most kids are never going to pass up an opportunity for high speed sliding, so its a guaranteed winner. Just next to it are some very odd ball bouncy 4x4s in a carosel type ride. An intriguing ride, but really recommended if you suffer from piles that is for sure. If you are seeking a bit of maritime action, you could head out on the motor powered dinghies (subject to the weather as you'd expect). If it's big water you need there are the mighty twin lakes and a selection of rowing boats and pedalos for hire. As my title suggests - these ain't exactly in the Lake District class of size!
You could then catch the train that runs around park all day long, or head back via the zip slides or the Dodgems (basically the only ride you have to pay extra for). Why not round things off with a bit of rollercoastering. 2 to choose from and no white knuckles required - well put it this way one of them's a caterpillar (the other is a buffalo). My final indulgence was a ride on the high flyers - you can be Peter Pan for just a few fleeting moments - Orville eat your heart out!
As I said earlier there are two indoor play areas and they both have fairly decent cafe areas with the usual fast food fodder mixed with a few jacket potato and sandwich based healthier options. In the smaller Pirate themed area, you'll find a barrel river ride, a little train, an inflatable pirate ship, a mini drop ride called shark bite, and a power jet ball play area upstairs.
In the main arena, which has a Gladiator theme you'll find the Soft Play. Kids get measured by the Centurions on guard (aka semi-bored people in red caps) and if they are over 90cm they can go in unaccompanied. Great we thought - our little man's quite tall for his age - of you go son. Only then did it dawn on us just how big the play zone actually was. Numerous rope ladders and inflatable climbing apparatus. A giant multi laned slide in the middle and even steeper , crazy drop slides flanking at each end. More levels than the Crystal Maze, you could lose yourself in this place. So after he came back looking fairly daunted I decided to join him on an adventure. Now it has to be said that when you are pushing 15 stone and bear footed the wooden rope bridges aren't the most comfortable , nor are the narrow squeezy tunnelly bits. But I have to say it was great fun, and probably the first soft play I've seen where the adult can join in with all the good stuff!
Once we'd emerged for a well earned rest, there was a fresh challenge awaiting. Perseus's magical mirror maze. A little unnerving it has to be said once you get in there, but after a few minutes we cottoned on that all we had to do was follow the incredibly smug kids who were shouting we know the way out and we were sorted. I'll let you uncover the secret technique for yourselves.
If you've dabbled a bit too much in the fizzy colas and burgers of the day, I wouldn't recommend taking a trip on the big drop ride in the middle of the hall -otherwise the results could be very interesting.
So far we've only visited twice, once over Halloween half term and the second time in the early run up to Christmas (late November). I have to say on both occasions they have really gone out of the way to decorate the park according to the theme. As well as ghosts and ghouls, bats and lanterns every where you looked , (plus there were a couple of guys dressed with the Scream masks who did get a few jump out of skins on the big drop ride when they sat next to the kids) they held a special pumpkin carving workshop and all the left over pumpkins could be taken home for free. Likewise at Christmas, for a small extra charge that included a half-decent present, they had a Santa's grotto including an indoor winter wonderland walk full of real christmas trees and jolly decor which went down very well with our little cherub.
So there you have it - yabba's whistlestop guide to a great family day out. Certainly looking forward to attending in warmer climes, but even if it's a rainy Sunday afternoon it's good to know that there's more than enough fun to be had in the Gladiatorial softplay alone to give us an easily accesible local option.
You could even buy a combo ticket that includes a sister park called Wheelgates up near Mansfield and one other park down in Devon.
I'm sure like most places they've suffered a bit during the downturn, but for me, it continues to be a winning formula if you've got a place where adults can bring out the big kid that's in all of us, and the little ones go home so knackered they'll sleep all the way through for once....
So come on give it a try!!
Summary: You'd be quackers to miss out!
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