Our two year old was imbued with enthusiasm for Cornwall’s Crealy Great Adventure Theme Park after listening to her older sister’s glowing reminiscences about the Thunder Falls, Raging Rivers, zorbing and the death slide. Saskia’s interpretation of ‘Crealy’ as ‘Creamy’ was funny, but would she enjoy it on her own terms or be frustrated that she wasn’t old enough or tall enough to go on the rides?
Withholding Crealy from Cornish primary school kids is viewed (by them at least) grounds for calling Childline. Tim and I bowed to the inevitable: our 2015 Crealy Cornwall trip and set off with two seven year olds (Bathsheba and her friend) and two year old Saskia.
The theme park is based north of Wadebridge, about 40 minutes drive from Tredethick Farm Cottages. Admission is based on height and age: under 92 cm go free, 92-100 cm pay a concession rate. Prices depend on height, age and day but 20% cheaper online — so book before you go. Family tickets are available. The rides there are classified by height, there are a limited number of rides for below 92 cm and other attractions which appeal to toddlers and preschoolers.
I could eulogise about how — in my experience — school age kids adore Crealy (or how one couple in my NCT group met there as teenagers with Crealy summer jobs!). But I want to focus on what’s there for families with toddlers or — like us — families with toddlers and older siblings.
Recently Crealy expanded its offer to pre-school children with Swampy and Dina Land – named after the Park’s two cute dinosaur mascots. The area includes rides for toddlers and pre-schoolers including a twisting tea cup ride (Dina’s Dancing Flowers), junior ferris wheel and drop tower.
The Dizzy Dina Ride near Toddlers’ Village proved to be Saskia’s favourite. The ride boinged and bounced around, as she chuckled with delight. After 11 rides in it I felt disoriented and mildly travel-sick but it felt like a small price to pay for her beaming smiles.
The sandpit with mini diggers was another success. Saskia donned a fluorescent jacket and yellow builder’s hat and got to work, playing together with her big sister. Saskia was also interested in the Pets’ Paddock; especially the guinea pigs, birds and ducklings although blasé about bottle feeding lambs… too much practice at home! She was underwhelmed by the beautiful shire horses too — perhaps their height and mass made them too daunting, or it was simply too far to look up.
We stayed in the extensive Dragon’s Kingdom indoor play area over lunch time. The Dragon’s Kingdom offered very standard lunchtime fare (and Tim and I would have killed for a barista-made coffee at this point) but the giant play complex kept the seven year olds moving and entertained while we scampered around with Saskia. With support (under six year olds need to be accompanied by an adult), she enjoyed climbing around the soft play and whizzing down slides.
Saskia was proud to be keeping up with the big girls and realised that — sitting on Daddy’s lap — she could fly down slides more confidently than Mummy. Wishing to protect my reputation as a fun-loving mummy with the girls, I sat on top of the blue slide (one step down from the terrifying death slide) being coaxed to jump by some encouraging eight year olds. When I finally made it over the edge I couldn’t persuade my hands to let go and dangled off the top for a few moments while the parents in the cafe looked on. This parental scrutiny provided the impetus I needed to let go. Wheeeee!
I might leave that one to the kids next time…
by Ashlyn, Mrs Farmer Tim