Author: Helen B
A place we haven’t visited for a very long time is the Milky Way Adventure Park a couple of miles out of Bideford, Devon on the South West Atlantic Highway. If you want a day out with lots of activities for everyone to enjoy, then this would be a good bet for all members of your family.
Day out at The Milky Way Adventure Theme park – Family Friendly Park
When we arrived, the car park wasn’t as full as I suspect it could be mid-summer, but this meant the park wasn’t heaving with visitors so we wouldn’t have to queue for rides. We visited on the last weekday of the school summer holidays so many families had left Devon for their return journey home. This was also the final day of the full show timetable so check the website of what’s on before you visit.
At the ticket entrance, the friendly lady gave us a park map and pointed out the main attractions and daily shows which took place in the indoor arena. There was a large scale map on the wall at the entrance so you can decide where to go first. There is also a height guide so you can check which attractions the smaller members of your family are able to ride on safely. Children are able to go on rides with an adult if they are over 0.8m but this varies so you would need to measure your children against the guides. Check your paper map for times of rides opening and safety information.
The Milky Way is a little different from other theme parks you may have visited. Most of the attractions are indoors in a large complex consisting of different sections. There are many outdoor attractions, but even if the weather is awful, there is plenty to do inside including the Time Warp Adventure Play Area with vertical drop slides, climbing frames and overhead walkways.
Rides, Attractions and Shows
The first show of the day was ‘Professor Nebula’s Galaxy Show’ with Merlin Cadogan who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago and reached the semi-finals! The indoor arena was in a large hall with tiered steps to sit on with a good view of the show which was about the solar system and planets with an interactive app on a large screen. He included a bit of his trademark juggling and a balancing trick.
Afterwards, we rode the dodgems inside a hall opposite the Indoor Arena. It was dark inside making it seem more exciting like a fairground at night. Rides alternated between slower sessions for smaller children with parents in the car and faster sessions for riders above 1.2m. My son was over the 1.2m restriction so was able to ride by himself.
Next, we found the outdoor rollercoasters located at the rear of the park. My son and his Dad rode on the Cosmic Typhoon, a spiralling coaster which had cars of four passengers going round at intervals. There is a height restriction for this ride so please measure before queueing.
The Cosmic Caterpillar ride is more suitable for smaller children. Outside next to the rides were picnic benches and a pleasant grassy area next to a pond with more picnic benches.
Heading back through the complex, we stopped at the Star Wars and Doctor Who exhibition. Worth a look if you remember, like me, the several incarnations of Daleks and original Star Wars movies. The hall contained a large number of character costumes, memorabilia and toys belonging to one avid collector Dave Bailey.
Lunch was a picnic outdoors next to the Gravity Rider tube slide and Jumping Jupiters air pillow trampolines (there are two of these – one for 5 years and under). It was a fine day so lots of people were thinking the same as us. The park has a restaurant serving hot food and some cafes and snack bars so even if you didn’t bring lunch, you’ll easily find somewhere to eat. Our son couldn’t wait to finish his sandwiches to go off and bounce. The Gravity Rider is an exhilarating ride after you have pulled your tube ring right to the top you slide down sitting in the tube ring, but there is also a height restriction.
It was back to the Indoor arena again after lunch for Merlin’s show with his assistant Charlotte. Here he did more of his own trademark tricks of juggling, balancing and escapology. Lasting for about half an hour, it’s good family fun and Merlin really engages with the audience. )
The next show took place in the Bird Of Prey centre and a large crowd had turned out to see the falconry show. The handler David Rampling showed us several of his birds, getting them to swoop low over the crowd and demonstrating the skills of the different birds. We loved the Chilean Blue Eagle ‘Eddie’. David is also a talented artist and has a studio inside the centre showing his paintings.
Please note that while dogs are allowed into the park they are not allowed to the falconry show or the Bird Of Prey centre.
The last game of the day was a sedate game of Pitch & Putt on a well kept grassy course next to the Bird Of Prey Centre. So well kept in fact that a staff member decided to mow while us and another family were playing. The noise was a little off-putting and the other family had to wait while the hole they were playing at was trimmed. But apart from that, the park was very tidy and well kept with plenty of staff in attendance.
Indoor Play Area at the Milky Way Adventure
If you have very small children and toddlers there is a designated Little Stars indoor play area, Time Warp play area and Fantasy Farm play area with ride-on vehicles and dancing balloons all for the under 5’s.
For those who don’t like the thrill of faster rides, a visit to the Sports Hall would suit. For a small additional charge you can have a go at archery, laser target shooting or paint pottery.
Important Information – Ticket Prices Milky Way Adventure
The Milky Way Adventure Park is open from March to November and weekends in winter with a single price ticket entry and all rides are free (except the small charge for Sports Hall activities).
The website offers a discount for pre-booked online tickets if you know when you want to visit. The online discounted price for an adult is £12.95 and £12.95 for a child aged 3-17. Children aged between 2-3 are £6.00 and under 1’s are free.
Disclaimer: Helen and her family were provided with a family ticket for 3 for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and photos are entirely her own and must not be reproduced without consent from us.
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