Theme park: two words guaranteed to send children into a frenzy and parents bracing themselves for a full-on day out. It was with some trepidation that we set off for Flamingo Land on the hottest day of the year: would we end up stuck on the A64? Would we spend the whole day queuing for rides? Would we find anything for the littlest one (18 months) to enjoy? It turns out we needn’t have worried.
What is it? Flamingo Land is the closest theme park to York, with rides galore for children (and adults) of all ages. From terrifying rollercoasters to gentle carousels, there’s genuinely something for everyone. Rides aside, there’s a whole lot more to do including a zoo, cable cars and a train that circles the site. There are well-equipped play areas, with enough imaginative, good quality play equipment that our kids would have happily stayed there for hours if they hadn’t wanted to go and see the animals.
What we did – Sticking to our golden rule – arrive early – we got there just as the rides opened and had our pick of things to do. Our children are too young for full-size rollercoasters, so the Children’s Planet area was perfect for them. They loved playing in the play areas and then breaking off to see the animals – unsurprisingly, the meerkats were a big hit. We took advantage of the lack of queues and had a go on some of the gentler rides, like the smaller roller coaster, carousel and airplanes. There’s a good selection of rides in the park for children of all ages, with clear guidance as to the height restrictions. Thrill-seeking older kids won’t be disappointed – there’s plenty of opportunity for white knuckles.
From there we moved onto the Muddy Duck Farm area with its toddler-pleasing selection of chickens, rabbits, goats and more. After a quick picnic lunch, we headed further into the zoo where we saw baboons (including some seriously cute baby ones), kangaroos, white rhinos, penguins, lemurs, giraffes, lions, tigers and other weird and wonderful creatures. It was a treat to see so many of them up close. The zoo’s also a nice contrast to the busier ride areas. The kids loved the little train ride around the park and welcomed the rest – we walked almost four miles by the time we got back to the car, so no wonder they insisted we call it a day before we’d done everything.
Food and drink – There are lots of places to eat and drink, from cafes to restaurants, takeaways and and a family-friendly pub with beer garden and play area. There are loads of places for a picnic if you take your own food like we did.
Good to know – If you want to extend your stay, Flamingo Land has holiday accommodation so you can make a short break out of it. They also have regular ‘parties in the park’ – check their website for the latest details.
The damage – Family tickets start at £100 for four people if you buy online.
Travel time from York – Approximately 45 minutes.
Flamingo Land, Kirby Misperton, Malton YO17 6UX – flamingoland.co.uk
This review is taken from the Summer 2016 issue of the Little Vikings magazine.