Greenwood Forest Park
We recently had our first family holiday as a quintet in North Wales. Finding ourselves at a loose end on the final day, my wife suggested places to go. ‘How about Greenwood Forest Park,’ she asked. The words ‘award winning’ and ‘adventure park’ were also used.
I have no problem with award winning, but I have a somewhat uneasy relationship with adventure parks. Invariably there will be some sort of rollercoaster. My kids love them. I absolutely hate them. My kids will want their dad to go on with them. Their dad will try his hardest not to puke on them.
We had already been to the beach three times, and done the heritage thing by visiting Conwy Castle… an adventure park was what the holiday was missing.
Finding the park was relatively straightforward but I have to admit we put our blind faith into Google Maps. It’s virtually on the edge of Anglesey in North Wales and involves a lot of A and B roads. The last road was a long country lane. I was convinced we were lost, but eventually the Greenwood Forest Park car park appeared.
Google Maps 1, Daddy following his nose 0.
At £12.95 for adult and £12.60 for children aged 3-15 my initial thought was that it was a bit on the expensive side. During the school holidays the price hits £15.50 for adults and £14.95 for children. However the park was a lot bigger than it first seems and it quickly becomes clear there is a lot to do.
We went during off peak (half term for us but not for the rest of the country it seems). It may be different during the summer, but although there were lots of other families it still felt relatively quiet.
The whole park felt peaceful and well integrated with the forest surroundings. Queues were short and at no point did it feel crowded – we weren’t stood around waiting and could get stuck straight into the fun.
I can’t go through all the activities so I’ve picked up my top five.
First up, the Green Dragon Coaster. Did I say I hate rollercoasters? As it is by the main entrance its presence is unavoidable and I had no choice but to meet my fears head on.
To get to the ride itself, there is an uphill walk, a trip down again on a people carrier and then another uphill walk. What I didn’t realise at the time is that the ride itself is purely gravity driven – it speeds downhill at 25mph (it feels faster) for 250 meters (it feels longer). How the cars get back up to the start is the genius bit: when the people carrier goes down, it pulls the cars back up on a pully system. People power at its best.
And the ride itself? I’ll let this picture tell you what each of us thought (note how hard I’m clinging on):
Next up, the Great Green Run, a 70 metre sledge ride. There is a smaller one for the little ‘uns, but our 3 and 7 year olds went on the bigger on their own again and again and again (and so did their parents…)
Then there is a Moonkart race track where everyone can whizz around on pedal powered carts. I did have to help our 3 year old as she struggled to ride it up the slopes. While all the older kids seemed to find it easy, the carts were a real leg burner. The pedals constantly turn with the wheels so there’s no ‘coasting’ as you would with a normal pedal bike for example. Great fun and also a workout! Beware cramps.
The Super Giant Jumper is another great energy burner for the kids. An absolutely huge bouncing pillow where the kids can jump on, roll off, jump on, roll off etc. Again, both kids managed to get stuck in – although again the older kids found it easier to climb up.
Finally, there is the Solar Splash which is said to be the first solar powered ride in the UK. My confidence was up after the rollercoaster, so wasn’t too phased by the prospect of zipping down a 60 meter bumpy wave chute or a 90 meter spiral tube chute. I mocked the warning signs: no more than 2 people per boat; no one under 3 years old; children under 8 must ride with an adult. Pffft. I’d done this sort of thing in soft play – it was going to be easy.
Um. Well, not quite. You sit in a two-man boat and hold on as you’re set gliding down the chutes for a splash at the bottom. It ends up going fairly fast and with my aversion to G-force, I didn’t enjoy it half as much as the kids. I unexpectedly preferred the yellow spiral chute which despite the spiral was the slower chute. The orange wave one was shorter, steeper and bumpier. I thought I was going to take off, flip over and burst into flames. The kids (one 3 and one 7, remember) on the other hand absolutely loved it and insisted on going down it countless times. With me. Thanks kids.
There are countless other activities that I haven’t included, such as jungle boats, archery, climbing frames in the trees, bare-foot walk, a maze and even a poetry corner. There are even more activities that we didn’t even get a chance to do despite staying nearly 5 hours.
Crucially for us, nearly everything felt set up with the younger children in mind – our 3 year old could get involved in everything and didn’t feel at all left out, even with some of the more potentially daunting activities.
Overall Greenwood Forest Park was a great day out. It’s a bit of a drive unless you’re in the area, but I’m sure we’ll be back again when the baby is old enough.
Check out the Greenwood Forest Park website.
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*this is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own. And yes, I know I’m a rollercoaster wimp*