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How It Felt When I Became An Aunty

When I found out that my sister was pregnant, I was excited for her, happy for her. But I didn't really know what it meant for me. Perhaps it meant nothing. Afterall, I have two beautiful babies of my own. Even if they are all child aged now. 

It then dawned on me after a few days that I was going to be an Aunty. The only person in my family to not have a title like this yet. An Aunty. A new role for me as a person. And my husband would be an uncle. This was both suddenly exciting and interesting for us. 

As the weeks went by I was then excited by the fact that this would be a new addition to the family. A play mate for my boys. And then when I saw the scan my eyes welled up. I got emotional. Happy emotional. This tiny little baby on the ultra sound scan picture was MY niece or nephew. Blood. And I felt love. Already. I felt the tears prick my eyes. Loving tears. Excited tears. I just looked at it and thought, "I'm going to love you. And so are my boys" I knew that we …

Our Review of Gulliver's Dinosaur and Farm Park, Milton Keynes

As I have previously mentioned in my blog posts, my youngest is absolutely dinosaur mad. So much so, that I threw my 4 year old a dinosaur party. The party was held at the end of March and I really wanted to do something else for his birthday that was special. As he is dino- bonkers, we decided to Google the best dinosaur attractions in the UK. We are based in the South, so there wasn't too much locally that caught our eye. However, I came across Gulliver's in a list of Jurassic Fun; Dinosaur Park Days Out on Days Out With The Kids. We looked at the website for Gulliver's, showed my son a YouTube video of it and the pictures and decided that this was the place we were going to explore. The journey was horrendous as it was so long and there were so many toilet stops to be had for everyone- don't you just hate it when you ask them to try for a wee, they are adamant they DO NOT need one then 20 minutes later, in a traffic jam on a packed motorway they are BURSTING! *Cue eye roll* Anyway, without further ado, here is our guide and review to Gulliver's Dinosaur and Farm Park, Milton Keynes. 

So, the first thing to notice on arrival, is that there are a few things going on at Gulliver's- and you pay separately for each. So, there is a Splash Zone, a Nerf Zone, the Holiday park resort, the SFear and then the Dinosaur and Farm Park. We just paid for entry to the latter. We paid £38 for 2 adults and 2 children. For more entry prices and opening times, do visit their website. 

The day we went was a very wet, miserable day.... although we were fortunate and the rain did hold off thankfully. Despite, the weather problems, we did manage to have a dry day out and enjoy ourselves. However, some sections of the park were out of order. For example, one of the attractions we were most looking forward to was the Jurassic River Ride to look at the dinosaurs that were dotted along the river. There was no forewarning on the website that this is under going maintenance nor were we told on arrival. We could just see that the entrance was blocked with a notice. We could just peer slightly in places and see some of the dinosaurs, but my boys were really disappointed that we could not see more. One of the bridges was also under going maintenance, although this wasn't too much of a problem. 

The attractions that we did get to enjoy were the following; 

The Animatronic Dinosaurs; There was a section at the beginning of the park dedicated to animated dinosaurs. Plus there were a few extras then dotted around the Lost World area of the park. These dinosaurs moved, thrashed and roared about. My Son's loved this part of the park and they must have looked realistic as my 4 year old kept a wide birth and looked cautious. We really enjoyed this section and wish there was even more! Alongside the dinosaurs were fact plaques so that you could learn all about the prehistoric creatures. 

The Dino Safari; On the website, it states that you can have a ride around the Jurassic Encampment. However, there was just a small area where the boys could ride around in a circle. They did love this, and this is something that we hadn't seen before anywhere. So this was definitely a thumbs up from us. 

Observation Tower; This was a metal cage, in circular form, that slowly rotates up a pole until you reach the top. It lingers there for you to be able to take in the views of the park and then slowly rotates back down. My 5 year old was braver than me. I had to persuade them so much to go on this, I succeeded. Then I sat there, squeezing my child's hand through fear, whom turned to me and said, "It's OK Mummy, we won't fall" but that's exactly what it felt like it was going to do. It just didn't feel sturdy at all. But the important thing was, that we didn't fall and my boys enjoyed the views. I just felt a little queasy for a while afterwards. 

Reptile and Bug Centre; The boys whizzed through this as nothing really caught their eye. It was a small room which hosted just a few reptiles and bugs. It then lead into an old fashioned dinosaur cinema which you could sit down and watch an ongoing film with dinosaur facts. I think this element was quite good. 

'Living' Dinosaurs; The website teases that there would be people dressed up as Dinosaurs visiting the children around the park, however we didn't meet any. What we did meet was an Easter Bunny, which was good fun and the boys got some little eggs each, which was very appreciated. We also met some Gulliver's characters later in the day, but I know my Son would have loved to have met some dinosaurs. 

Other smaller elements to the Lost World section of the park were; fossil digging, control tower, training camp, mineral wash, dinosaur play area and a barefoot walk. I would say that these did add nice elements to the park, however there was nothing that held the boys attention for more than 5 minutes in these parts. 

Once we had made our way through the Lost World, we headed over to the Farm Park. 

On the website it states that there is a Cookery School, however we didn't come across this. It also states that there is a Cuddle Corner. Although I saw the location of the cuddle corner, there were hardly any guests or workers in the area and I certainly didn't see this up and running on the day we went, which I can confirm was a Saturday, so this did surprise me. Plus it was Easter weekend, which was busy everywhere. Except in Gulliver's. 

We did manage to do the Tractor Ride which was basically sitting on a small tractor, which did 2 laps of a small track with very little to amuse the eyes as you went around slowly. The boys did love this, but I left less than impressed. Other elements of the Farm were; The Aviaries, The Hatchery, The Potting Shed, Milking Challenge and Crops Field. To be honest, I don't remember seeing much of these elements. There were small nods towards them, but on the whole it was all quite small scale and washed straight over my children's heads. Even the touch and feel boxes were mostly empty around the site, which was a shame as it's little things like this that make a great difference. 

My 4 year old did try to dig up some carrots in one part, which he really enjoyed. Aside from the carrots, there was not much to do nor see in the Farm Park. Most of the fields had just fake plastic animals in, which appeared to have seen better days. There were a few rabbits, then some animals cooped up in the barns that we managed to go and see. I did see in the background that they are creating some new giant insects display, which looked amazing and to be honest will really improve the look of this farm, but I have no idea when this will be ready or opened. There were hardly any animals to look at, which I think makes the day. Children love animals, without them, we were left trudging along in the mud, gazing into empty fields. Any animatronics that we came across either didn't work or looked extremely dated, if not a bit creepy. I did, however, enjoy the llamas that were out in a field. 

A few other bits that my Sons enjoyed were; The Big Red Play Barn, this was a soft play barn which we spent the majority of our time in. Then there was a play area outside of here which they briefly had a play on and then some diggers and mini tractors to ride. These did add really fun elements to it. However, on the digger section, the ball pit you dig into could do with fixing and maintenance. 

After we had explored the Farm Park, we went back and had a look at all of the dinosaurs that moved and roared about in the Lost World again. We also took part in an Easter Egg hunt, which was following clues to find eggs pinned to certain areas with letters to help solve a riddle and win a chance to go back to the park with a free family ticket. This again was a simple but fun element. We didn't eat in the cafe, so I can not comment on it. But we did use the toilet facilities in both areas of the park and I have to say these were very clean and nice, (you really can get some grotty toilets so it's always nice to find ones you don't mind using).

On the whole, we did really enjoy our day. However, I do feel like there is a lot of improvements to be made to this park. The price was great compared to similar attractions, but perhaps the reason was because the park is lacking in so much. One of our local farms, Farmer Palmers is absolutely outstanding and we spent hours and hours there as there was so much to do and see and the boys kept wanting to go back to areas and do them three, four times. However, once we had a second look at the dinosaurs, my boys were asking me to go home. So considering our journey was very long, our stay in the park was not really worth it. 

I think more animals would go down a treat. I also think they are doing what they can to improve- by putting things under maintenance I am hoping that they are updating the look and feel of the park, the animals and the dinosaurs. 

To conclude, I think if you are in the area of Milton Keynes and want something to do which doesn't cost too much, it is worth checking out if you have children that love dinosaurs. I wouldn't say the Farm bit has enough to go to at the moment, but with some animal additions and the giant insects it should do. It probably would bulk up the day then. I would not travel great distances to go to this park. On the plus, my Son's woke up the next day and asked to go back. But as the adults, we have the final say and we would probably go to explore somewhere different next time, like the new one that has opened up in London. With a dinosaur mad lad, I am sure we will be exploring many other places up and down the country and we will endeavour to bring you honest reviews. I have not been paid or asked to do this review, so this is 100% my views and opinions. As a parent, I know how much money is precious, so if you are going to be spending some and wanting to go somewhere special, I would rather fill you in on the park truthfully. 

Tiny Toes and Big Adventures rates Gulliver's Dinosaur and Farm Park 3 out of 5 stars. The stars are mainly given for the dinosaur bit, as I really do think that part was cool. Plus my boys did have a great day out! Also the staff were all really friendly. 

Have you ever been there before? What did you think?










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