Sundown Adventureland, Retford

THEY SAY: Adventure park for the under-10s with soft play and rides, Angry Birds activity area plus a cafe.

WE SAY:  A great full day out for younger children. Both indoor and outdoor fun with several themed areas to make it feel like several days out in one.

 

Sundown Adventureland gets better every time we visit.

Since our last visit there’s a brand new Angry Birds activity play area which was a massive hit with my two children and my friends two. Also in this new area is a flying pigs ride and teacups.

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Genius swing in the Angry Birds play area

 

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Angry Birds play area

Unlike most theme parks, Sundown Adventureland only has half a dozen- or so – rides – the rest of it is made up with play areas and places to explore on foot. What I love about it is the fact children are encouraged to enter and explore for themselves and see and hear different things – it’s not just about going on rides.

Rides include the tractor ride where you’re taken around the animated farm. There’s two steering wheels and room for an adult in the back so if you’ve got two children that’s one less argument to have!

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There’s also the Rocky Mountain Railroad which is a fairly gentle train ride and the Robin Hood Ride. Not to be missed is the Jolly Pirate Boat ride, but be warned, you most likely will get wet!

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The rest of the park is split into different areas which makes it feel like several days out in one. You can’t miss the massive Fort Apache which has also had a facelift since our last visit. Kids and adults can run around the top of the fort, or, inside is slides, swings, play frames and a zip wire.

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I love Shotgun City – this is the main western street where you can really feel the wild-west atmosphere. Climb on horses or explore in the saloons. You can’t miss it as it’s the main entrance to the park.

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But its Toy Town that is my favourite. Here, kids can go inside a fire station and drive a fire engine, clean teeth at the dentists and visit the butchers, post office and opticians. Grown-ups can squeeze in if they bob down, but the kids love it because it’s all built to their size. There are themed activities in each building and children can even go upstairs and enjoy peering out the windows across the little town.

Storybook Village is similar and also another of our favourites. Here you can go inside the Three Little Pigs’ brick house, or visit Little Red Riding Hood in hers, or Hansel and Gretel’s – being able to play and explore in each one.

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Storybook Village

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My children also enjoyed the Sundown Farm – full of plastic animals and interactive games to learn and discover them.

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We also spent a lot of time in the under fives play area where kids can climb aboard Noah’s Ark or enjoy the monkey swings.

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INFO: There’s several outdoor picnic benches to enjoy your lunch at and also a large picnic shelter to eat under.

If you fancy a sing-along, visit monkey Mischief, where you will find the stuffed animals come to life behind the glass in the jungle singing well-known songs.

And no visit to Sundown is complete without a visit to Lollipoppet Castle. It’s so big, you can’t miss it. Inside my children found a giant microphone and disco lights and stayed for ages dancing on stage.

There’s also two big outdoor sand areas with activity centres to climb on so you can feel like you’re at the beach.

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The heavens opened about 45 minutes before we left but it wasn’t a problem because there’s two indoor play areas. Crash Landings is massive and the Rodeo Corral indoor play centre is smaller but both have a cafe.

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Crash Landings

There’s also Honey’s Pumpkin cafe which has a nice play area at the back. It’s not soft play, but has plastic play houses and ride-ons which is better for younger ones.

There’s so much to do, you’ll definitely need a full day there.

 

  • Reviewed April 2016

 

SUNDOWN at Christmas

T hanks to a variety of days out, my children were lucky enough to see Santa seven times across the festive period.

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It may seem a little like overkill – but it seems the big man pops up everywhere you go in December these days – and it’s nice to enjoy it while they are still young enough to appreciate the magic.

But there was only one place we went to where the journey to the actual grotto was via a sleigh ride.

After jumping onboard the big red sleigh, we were taken through a magical enchanted forest, which the kids absolutely loved, and dropped off at Santa’s door.

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Santa was at Sundown Adventure Land, the theme park designed exclusively for the under-tens every day from November 15 until Christmas Eve.

It’s likely to be the same next year and I’d definitely recommend keeping it in mind for next Christmas.

Each Christmas Spectacular ticket included a pre-booked Santa visit and gave full access to the park and all its rides and attractions.

We played all day and then, as the evening drew in, the market square came alive with hundreds of twinkling lights and decorations.

The shops were full of goodies and chestnuts were roasting in the outdoor markets. It genuinely was magical.

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We only intended staying until late afternoon but, after discovering the indoor kids’ entertainer, we didn’t leave until it closed at 7pm.

 

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Indoor children’s entertaiment

We’ve now visited in both summer and at Christmas and I’d say it’s a fab place to go, whatever the weather.

 

NEED TO KNOW…

LOCATION: Treswell Road, Rampton, near Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 0HX.

TIMES: Mostly open 10am to 5pm but times do vary, so check the website before you travel.

PRICES: Adults and children: £14. Under-twos: free.

Free parking.

CALL: 01777 248274.

VISIT: www.sundownadventureland.co.uk

 

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