Recently we went for a holiday to Cornwall, which is where I’m originally from, to celebrate my son’s 3rd Birthday. Attractions and days out can get super pricey, but we wanted to splash out on at least one day out when we were down. After some research, we decided that this trips visit was going to be to Paradise Park in Hayle.
Where is Paradise Park?
Paradise park is in Hayle, a coastal town in Cornwall famed for its miles of golden beaches. It is approximately 7 miles north-east of Penzance and is home to the famous Philp’s pasties. However, pasties weren’t the objective of our trip today, Little Mister turned 3 years old, and as an animal crazy pre-schooler, he wanted to go somewhere with lots of animals.
How much does it cost to go to Paradise Park?
We visited on a Wednesday during term time, which meant the park was very quiet (parking was not a problem), although it looked as if there was overflow parking available for peak tourist season. Greeting us at the entrance was a massive T-Rex, which was a hit with the Little Man. Entrance fees costed £15.95 per adult, and Child tickets (age 3+) costed a little less at £12.45. Under 3s get in free so our little lady didn’t cost us extra on this visit.
Top Tip: Always check online for coupons before going on a day out. We managed to source an offer on the Paradise Park Website which gave us a discounted entry price (the local paper also does offers regularly throughout the Summer).
To further keep the costs down we decided to take a picnic with us. There are several cafés scattered throughout Paradise Park, providing a variety of hot and cold meals. We did cave and buy in a couple of hot cups of tea, as the weather got very cold late morning (but that’s Cornish Springtime for you!). Although there were lots of outdoor picnic benches, after the free-flying birds of prey show we needed to warm up some more, so were super pleased that there was also an indoor picnic area where you were welcome to eat non-café purchased foods. This area was really clean, and even had high-chairs available.
Picnic Tip: Ditch the cling-film, and follow our tutorial for Natural Beeswax Reusable Food Wraps to add a touch of glamour to your lunchtime (and save the environment)
Just outside the park is also the “Bird in Hand” family pub. We didn’t visit this as we were well catered for inside the park itself but could see this as being a lovely place to go in the evenings for a full meal after visiting the park if you are on holiday and staying in Hayle. For the hotter weather there were also ice-cream stands throughout the park, although these were closed on our visit as it wasn’t peak season (ice-creams still available in the cafes though). There were also several sets of toilets and baby-changing areas available; although the main park loos were a bit more old-fashioned (outdoor toilet blocks), the baby changing area in the Jungle Barn Soft Play area was a lot newer/plusher.
What can you do at Paradise Park?
Hands on with the animals
With the children being so young (3-year-old and 11-month-old), we didn’t expect to be at Paradise Park all day. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that we were there from opening until late afternoon! This was down to the huge variety of live events and shows available throughout the day, along side the actual park itself. Upon entry you are given a leaflet with the timetable of park events throughout the day, which is super helpful, as well as tannoy announcements throughout the park before they start.
We started the day looking at the farm animals. When you buy your tickets for the day you can also buy a packet of goat food for £1 which you can feed to the goats in this area (my son really enjoyed this!). At half-11 they also have “carrot time” in the farm area, where a park keeper hands out lots of carrots for the kiddies to feed all the animals there. Little mister particularly enjoyed feeding the donkeys ?. There was even a little tractor and slide in this part of the park, perfect for little ones’ concentration spans.
From Carrot time we went on to watch the “Eagles of Paradise” Display. There were lots of large birds to watch here from the outdoor viewing area. At points we got very close to the flight paths of these owls and eagles which was amazing to watch. However, we did cut this portion of the trip short because the weather was starting to drizzle, and the kids were getting fed up with the cold. On our way back to the picnic area for lunch we walked around some of the enclosure areas. There were so many types of birds to enjoy; owls, choughs, parrots, parakeets, kookaburras and penguins to name but a few. My son’s favourite though were the flamingos – this area of the park was very open, so you could get an amazing view of them.
We decided to let the little man burn off some energy after lunch. As it was so quiet on the day we visited, he had the whole outdoor playpark to himself which he really enjoyed! After that, we decided to take him on a ride on the little steam train in the park. This is the only attraction which requires additional ticket buying, but the price was only £1 per person so hardly broke the bank! We were the only 3 on the train for the entire ride which was lovely (my parents looked after the baby ha-ha, didn’t just leave her to fend for herself). The train completes 2 laps around the house grounds (230m each track) so although not the longest ride, it was the perfect length of ride for a 3 year old (in fact he was asking to get off just as we were pulling back into the station).
After this we checked out the Jungle Barn indoor soft play. The main area of this contained massive drop slides in addition to the soft play equipment. We found the main area of this to be too big for our 3-year-old, however there is a special toddlers’ zone within the Jungle Barn Café which was perfect for him and his baby sister. Again, as it was so quiet, they had this area to themselves most of the time which was lovely. The soft play was very clean, and the air conditioning was very appreciated! Unfortunately, the ball cannon was out of commission that day due to a deep cleaning, but both kids still had great fun there.
Free Flying Bird Shows
By late afternoon the sun had come out, so we finished out our lovely day by watching the Free Flying Bird Show. This was an amazing spectacle, especially because the handlers walked around close to everyone showing off the birds. My son was enthralled with how the kookaburra holds onto a (rubber) snake and got to see the bird up close. At the end of the display the parrots fly freely around (do watch out though, they won’t deviate from their flight paths!).
On our way back to the car we made an obligatory stop to the gift shop, which I felt was very reasonably priced. The kids each had a toy bird (a parrot for the baby and a Flamingo for little mister) to remember their awesome day out.
Without a doubt, we will be returning to Paradise Park another day. Weeks later my son is still talking to me about all the animals he saw and got up close to. If we lived closer, we’d have taken up the offer of a £3.99 return ticket without a doubt. The entrance price worked out really reasonable for the amount we managed to pack into the day, however had the weather been wetter or colder this would have been too much (with most of the attractions being outdoors and weather dependent).
Have you been to Paradise Park in Hayle? Are there any other animal attractions like this you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!