I first visited Paultons Park in the mid 80's (ish) although the only thing I really remember is feeling hugely travel sick from the coach journey there. Fast forward to 2010 when I took my next visit to the park - this was the year before Peppa Pig world opened and the park was heavily advertising it (understandably) - we actually queued for about 90 minutes to get a photo taken with Peppa Pig (or her annoying brother - not sure which) - I might add, this was because I was with my then 6 year old niece - I'm personally not a huge fan of Peppa Pig and find the programme highly irritating although it is massively popular with kids. I had a fab day but left feeling light the place could do with a bit more on the side of theming.
I next visited in 2013, Peppa Pig world was open and very popular and the previous year the park had installed Magma, a drop ride (which also spins) - I hate drop rides with a passion (thanks to Detonator) but can cope with ones such as Magma which are fun and give you a floating feeling rather than one where your butt flies out of the seat and you hold on for dear life (if you're anything like me)
The theming on Magma is pretty good - you enter a volcano which has rumbling sounds and smoke/mist that goes off as the ride starts - I really enjoyed it and thought it was a great addition to the park
A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Paultons Park for the first time in 3 years to check out the new area, Lost Kingdom which opened in May of this year. I wasn't disappointed. Paultons Park is a lovely place and you can see that they have invested a lot back into the park (take note CWOA). The first thing that struck me was how clean the place was - I mean - REALLY clean - no rubbish laying around, no overflowing bins and it was so refreshing.
You can tell that Paultons really do care about their guests - there is no shortage of toilets which is always handy and they have loads of benches (I love that they say Paultons Park on them aswell - so much so, I took a picture of one - yes I'm odd) There are also LOTS of play areas for kids - including a splash area with fountains which I'm sure gets busy during hot days
Unlike Merlin parks where it can sometimes feel that they are trying to squeeze every last penny out of you, you don't get that feeling at this park - yes, they have those games where you throw a ball in a bucket to win a prize but the people manning these stalls aren't very pushy which is nice. Food at drink are fairly reasonably priced as well. Oh and you don't get stung for parking your car either.
Not only do Paultons have a variety of rides, the gardens are lovely and you can tell that the people who work on them take great care and pride in what they do. They also have a variety of animals - including meerkats - and who doesn't love a meerkat?!
Just look at that face
OK - so if you are a hardcore adrenaline junkie who is looking for non stop thrills, this probably isn't the place for you - however I would recommend Paultons to anyone who is up for a chilled day with some decent rides - in my opinion a theme park doesn't have to be packed with inversion after inversion to be good. There are no rides at Paultons which have inversions but it is still worth a visit - they even have a nifty little train (Rio Grande) that takes you on a small journey around part of the park - perfect if you want a sit down and chill
I really enjoyed the Lost Kingdom area of the park - the theming is fantastic and I was really impressed with what they had done. The 2 main coasters, Velociraptor and Flight Of The Pterosaur are really enjoyable - more so than I thought they would be. Oh and there are lots and lots of animatronic dinosaurs -
Prior to riding Velociraptor, I had never ridden a Junior Boomerang coaster before - and embarrasing as this is, I did actually scream - mainly on the backwards part as I don't cope brilliantly with going backwards (I only ever rode x:/nwo once because I came extremely close to chundering my guts up)
Flight Of The Pterosaur was a nice surprise for me - I didn't expect much if I'm honest but I thoroughly enjoyed it - it's full of twists and turns and again, the theming is fab - the thing I absolutely love are the restraints on the trains - because it is just a lap bar that you pull down over you it allows for a lot more freedom - it would be awesome if Vampire got these sort of restraints. We rode on the back row, front row and in the middle - all give a great ride but I probably prefer front as I like to see where I am going
We also rode the dinosaur safari ride which was surprisingly good even if it did start to rain a bit mid-way through. We didn't go on Boulder Dash so I can't comment on that but the whole are is just really nice and fresh.
Because we visited on a really quiet day, everything was walk on and we were able to go on pretty much everything multiple times which was fab. As well as The Lost Kingdom, Critter Creek is another themed area which is really bright and happy (is that the right word?!)
I really do love Paultons Park and although my niece has moved onto scarier rides, she also loved it when she was younger. It is a true family park and I love that it is starting to get the recognition that it deserves. This place has well and truly over taken CWOA in terms of theming and overall presentation/care etc. Yes it would be nice if they were to add a couple of more thrilling rides but the way the park is going I think they are just going to get better and better.
Although I have a MAP, I for one reaaaaally hope that Merlin never buy this place out - would hate to see it run into the ground. To be honest, if I lived nearer I would consider getting a season pass but as I live over and hour away it isn't viable.
Another thing to mention is that the staff who I encountered during my visit were all extremely friendly and enthusiastic - which is nice to see. The only criticism of the place that I would have is that it took us a while to get into the park as not all the turnstiles were in use and the ones that were seemed to take a while to get people through.
My personal favourite rides at Paultons would be - Flight Of The Pterosaur, Velociraptor, Cobra and Magma - I also quite like Wave Runner - it's pretty much Depth Charge (although for some reason I prefer Wave Runner and have no idea why).
Another thing to add is that Paultons Park have 2 similar rides to CWOA - The Edge (a disco-coaster - similar to Kobra) and Kontiki (similar to Griffins Galleon) but for some reason, Paultons have these rides on a much better setting. I haven't actually ventured onto The Edge since my visit back in 2010 where my sister and her partner were taking bets on whether I was going to throw up (thankfully I didn't). I put off going on Kobra at CWOA for a long time, thinking that it would be as intense and was really surprised when I first rode it as it felt a LOT tamer. Kontiki is definitely a lot more intense than Griffins Galleon at Chessie - that also made me feel a bit queasy when I rode it a couple of years back (though I have to add that I have since discovered the wonders of anti-sickness meds)
Critter Creek theming
Cobra car (Gerslauer bob sled)
Great theming in Peppa Pig World
Double Decker Victorian carousel
Chair swing ride
Raging River log flume - there is zero theming on this but for its size it offers a decent splash
And finally - I saved the best for last.....
Mr Fish disembarking the crocodile ride thingy in Peppa Pig World