With 7 little ones to keep busy over the holidays, it can be a daunting task if ever it meant going somewhere with an admissions fee , something that caters for our younger ones as well as the older ones and keeps them busy throughout the whole day and not just for one or two hours .
For us there is only one place that we have found so far that is in the 2 and half hour hour driving range from our home that offers us everything we need for a fun , family day out.
''Sundown Adventure Land''.
Sundown Adventure Land is situated in a rather secluded little town near Retford in Nottinghamshire and it takes us 2 hours and 5 minutes to get there from our home in Durham.
Sundown Adventure Land is a magical place where you can enjoy unique designed , engaging , interactive and wonderful worlds which are all aimed specifically for those under the age of 10 years although our teenagers also still enjoy this park just as much .
You will find no huge or fast rides with limitations which has the family separated on the sidelines watching , instead this wonder land is for the whole family to enjoy as a family without the worry that you are not wasting your money on rides no one can go on or spending the day queuing in long lines and standing around bored.
The queues are always very short and we have never stood more than 10 minutes to get on a ride and each ride is slow enough for all aged children to go although they do like to have a parent with the child on each ride .
For me and my husband , having a family with 7 little ones and only 2 adults to split between the ride carts or such seemed quite easy as sometimes the older children aged 11yrs and up were able to go on together but we did have a small issue when we tried to go onto the Jolly Pirate Boat Ride .
I suppose it all depends on who is working on the ride as we spent three of our turns throughout the day separated into three boats (3 to each boat with two children and an adult in two of the boats for the younger children aged 5-9 then the 3rd boat filled with 3 children aged 11-13yrs). It was the only ride I felt nervous about getting on as we had to get ourselves into a small wet and slippy round barrel type boat which was on a moving conveyor belt and being 33 weeks pregnant I was unsure if they would actually allow me to get on , but they did.
Everything was ok until I decided on the last turn that I was quite tired and no longer wanted to clamber into the barrel and become any more wet . It was near the end of the day and I had walked all day and being pregnant I really just wanted to sit down for 5 minutes and as it was allowed to have 4 to a barrel I saw no harm just as they had not earlier on in the day .
Because it seemed fine earlier on in the day for my husband to take the younger ones and the older ones being in a separate barrel I thought it would be just the same but instead the staff had been changed and although my husband explained there were only 2 adults to 7 kids , one of which heavily pregnant and we had already rode the ride that day in the order we were hoping to continue , eventually I had to jump the queue and join them once again not wanting the children to miss out.
Other than the small mishap on the barrel water ride , we had no other problems on getting onto the rides and we enjoyed them all .
There are only 5 rides as well as an extra one which only opens at Christmas time but recently they have also added two more little rides including the Flying giddy piggy and spinning Okie Yolkies ride which were a great new addition .
There are also 2 areas on the edge of the park which have pedal carts as well as two indoor soft play areas which are great for those who wish to sit and enjoy a drink and a snack .
Sundown Adventure Land is the only wonderland or park that is affordable for us with as much entertainment as it has and costs only £13.50 per person over the age of 2 years old in peak season and £12.50 in lower season.
If you are lucky enough to live close by or are able to visit regular it will only cost you £60 per person for an annual pass .
Unfortunately we do not and it is a once a year trip for us .
The park has two mascots and although we have been for quite a few years now , we still do not have any idea to what their names are and got to see them in their little cottage for the first time this year where we picked up some keyrings and a lovely picture to take home with us as a memoir.
There are situated times of the day where you can meet and greet them both in the market square as well as a couple of sing along shows in Shotgun city which are on a few times during the day to.
The first place you come to in the Park is the Market square where you get to visit the gift shop , visit witches cauldron and visit and ride on the magical Santas sleigh ride . The children also met a delightful old fella wanting to have a chat on his bench near the pet shop where there are some rather quite cute pets wanting homes and there is even a dancing polar bear playing his instrument as well as a little central market area where the cow talks to you and the pig likes his snout stroked .
As with all areas throughout the park , there are many hidden moving parts of furniture and buttons to press throughout and many interactions happen by simply waling past a sensor , you just never know what is going to happen next.
For the past few years that we have visited Sundown Adventure Land , there is one specific area that has us spending hours having fun and that is Fort Apache.
It is the one place that actually gave my husband the idea of making our Wooden Play park in our garden this summer .
It is a huge wooden fort with slides and swings and we were rather disappointed that it was not there this year. We are rather excited to see what they do with the area as it is being renovated and made even better, I just hope they keep the zip wire .
This leads to Shotgun City where our children enjoy the rodeo theme. A Cowboy and Indian adventure leading them to Rocky Mountain Train ride.
After our ride , we decided to head of to Lollipop Castle where each little house was made of its own different sweet selection. I have to admit that the whole section was incredibly cute. We walked into each hut to find that there was a different aroma that matched each section. My husband even attempted to grab some of the after eight mints at one point it tasted so real.
There is a puppet show which is situated in the corner of the castle that had our lot amused for the 5 minutes it was on. I liked that it had an educational theme to it and concentrated on brushing teeth and keeping clean .
They were rather hungry after that and so we decided to take them of to the Crash landings Indoor play area where we all bought slush drinks and hotdog and chips as well as the little ones ran riot in the soft play part .
It was nice to sit down and relax and the cost of the food and drink were very reasonable to.
We then made our way to Toy town Which was another area where the children enjoyed to run wild. The town was basically a load of different houses and services like Fire brigade, school, dentist and such but made in a much smaller scale so that they fit the smaller children and in each house or service there were activities that fit theme of the building. Our children seemed to enjoy the Fire station best with its fire engine inside that they could sit and play on.
We then took a trip to the Robin Hood Ride . The youngest boys really enjoyed this one and it was great to see a true bit of history from the area being integrated into the park.
There were so many things to see and do that the themes seemed endless like the Story book Village where our favourite fairytales came to life in the form of little houses mimicking the storylines inside with even more integrating sound and visual activities.
The Sunny down farm where animals came to life , the kids loved learning to milk the cow (fake of course) and watching the piglets feed from their mother .
Smugglers cove made for those who love pirates , Angry Birds for those mad bird fans, Captain sandy's Play Cove , Pirate Adventure, and even The Yellow brick road .
Can you guess the 4 fairytales below from the 4 pictures showed?
The new attraction of Angry Birds flying pig ride seemed to be a huge hit with my children and even the husband who squeezed himself onto the ride , unfortunately with me being pregnant I was unable to join in on this one .
We as we always do ended our day by visiting the last section of the park '' Monkey Mischief''. Take a look at them dancing .
Once again there was no fault at all we could pick with our visit although I was a little annoyed with the change of staff making an issue over me( at 33 wks pregnant) having to clamber in and ride with a 13 year old so he could join in when the park is for aged 10 years and under and every year it seems that there is some issue with wasps swarming some of the areas.
One other thing I can give praise to which is not to do with the adventure or play aspect of the park also is the fact that they care very much for their wildlife .
At one point , we walked through one of the buildings in Shotgun City where a baby swallow (there were loads of them in the park and was lovely to see) was having some difficulty flying and finding its mother. I went to seek help from a lady in the ice cream bar under the activity and she came straight away with me to ensure it was ok .
Sundown Adventure Land is the one place I feel safe taking my children, all 7 of them at any age and although it is aimed at under 10's it really is a fun for all ages park with no worry about hidden costs .
We love Sundown Adventure Land and will definitely be back next year with our new addition to our family .
Have you been before, will you be taking a look at going ?