Blackpool Zoo - A review

Blackpool Zoo is a short drive from the city centre. Parking is £5 per day and entry costs from £13.95 per adult and £10.50 per child (if booked 7+ days in advance here). Entry is also included if you buy a resort pass plus for £80 which admits you to 9 amazing Blackpool attractions across 7 days. We arrived at the zoo mid-morning and spent three hours there. If we weren't on such of a tight schedule we could have stayed longer and and caught one of the many animal talks that happen throughout the day (there are 20+ to choose from - see here for details). What I loved about Blackpool Zoo is the fact that everywhere was completely flat and there were lots of adaptations to ensure children were able to get a good view of all of the animals. The animals also had lots and lots of space which is obviously important too. Here are a few of our photo and video highlights from the day:-

The Giraffe viewing platform inspired this EXTREMELY RARE moment of sibling affection!

The Big Cats area is fabulous we loved watching the lions, tigers and cubs.

We loved watching the Orang-utan and wondered if he was trying to use the straw as a wig?  

The kids thought it was hilarious watching him pick his nose.

Amazing view of the penguins from the under-water viewing windows

We could have watched the Gorilla's all day - stunning! There were two little babies rolling around and playing together too.

We couldn't resist a camel selfie

Our children loved the dinosaur walk through adventure towards the entrance of the Zoo.

Loved the sign saying you had to exit via the gift shop! We couldn't resist buying this puppet (£7.99).

Blackpool Zoo was very family friendly - there were lots of picnic areas, play parks and even a mini children's farm where you pretend to milk a cow and hold some bunnies. There was also a 'walk through' Amazon rainforest and as mentioned earlier, a different animal talk or flying display every 20 minutes or so. All in all a very good value family day out that is educational too.

Travel Tuesday Bumble Bee Mum

Blackpool Tower and Circus - A review

We couldn't go to Blackpool without visiting their most famous attraction could we? Tickets to the Blackpool Tower eye and circus cost £20 per child and £16 per child if pre-booked online or we found it better value to use a Blackpool Resort Pass (£55 for 6 fab attractions) and add a circus ticket for £10 per adult or £8 per child - bargain! 

4D Cinema Experience

Your trip to the top of the tower starts with an interactive 4D cinema experience which is a feast for all of your senses. Suitable for all ages, you will fly across the Irish Sea, watch the tower being built and experience the glitz and glamour of the ballroom through the years. The show lasts about 5 minutes and I must say I left feeling very nostalgic about it all and it really builds up the anticipation of your visit to the top of the tower.

Spectacular Views

Taking a trip 380 ft high to the top of the tower in the lift is almost an experience in itself. I managed to catch a sneaky video as we travelled up. 

I think you'll agree, the views are absolutely stunning - you can see for miles and miles - even as far as Liverpool and the Isle of Man on a clear day. The whole experience is not rushed at all and you can take as much time as you like - you simply catch the lift back down to the ground when you are ready to.

Taking your children to the top of the tower

Taking your children to the top of the tower can be daunting - my three have never been so high up and I didn't know how they'd react. I know it's completely safe but there is still always that nagging thought in the back of your mind too. I really did not need to worry though as there were super high walls around the tower and we were completely enclosed on the first level - I loved that the first viewing level had been designed with children in mind and actually had child-height viewing windows as this video below shows.

We just had to step out onto the 5cm thick glass viewing platform too - it actually wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and all five of us had a go.

You do have the option to climb another couple of levels even higher up which we did do - the staircases are steep and narrow though and it is a one way system so if your children are nervous this part of the experience may not be the best idea. Going a little higher doesn't add too much more to the experience and it is hard to take any decent photos once you are away from the main viewing level as there are lots of safety nets blocking the view and you can just peer through little gaps in the railings.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom

After spending about 30 minutes on top of the tower I was keen to find somewhere for a drink - we headed to the ballroom where the helpful gent on the door informed us there was a full bar. It was an additional £2.95 per adult to spectate (children were free) which wasn't too expensive. Unfortunately though we couldn't just 'pay on the door' and were asked to head back down to the entrance and join the ticket queue to buy a ticket and then head back up. This seemed like a lot of hassle just to buy a cup of coffee so we ended up just leaving and going somewhere else instead. I'm not always the most observant when out with three kids so I think it would be helpful if the additional cost to enter the ballroom is advised when you buy your initial tickets from the ticket office.

Blackpool Tower Circus

The Blackpool Tower Circus is located at the bottom of the tower. Tickets can be purchased separately or as part of various ticket deals. Ours were a bolt on to our resort pass and a bargain at £10 per adult and £8 per child. Seating is unreserved - we got there for about 15 minutes before the show started and managed to get a group of 5 seats together without a problem.

Photography is not permitted during the show which is a good thing for you as I wouldn't want to spoil anything. The show lasts 2 hours and features lots of laughs, truly death defying stunts, amazing tight-rope routines and a spectacular grand finale. Again, the circus was an attraction that our whole family from aged 4 to adult enjoyed. I liked how kids could join the stars in the arena to 'spin plates' in the interval, have their face painted (additional cost) and collect their favourite autographs. I must admit, I had to watch some of the show through my hands - it is definite edge of your seat stuff and a fantastic way to spend a family night out in Blackpool.

We are so pleased we climbed the top of the tower and visited the circus. It provided a full afternoon and night of entertainment for us. Next time we visit Blackpool we will definitely catch the circus again.

My Travel Monkey

Madame Tussauds Blackpool - A review

I have never really considered visiting Madame Tussauds before as always had a pre-conception that it was probably best suited to children and families a little older than ours (our children are aged 4, 6 and 8) however as admission was included in our resort pass we thought we would give it a go. I am sooooo pleased we did as it has been one of the highlights of our Summer so far. Often during family days out, grown ups will be the ones to make a compromise and go along with things because it's fun for their children (not that there's anything wrong with this of course) even if it's not exactly their idea of fun. Madame Tussauds is different and so much fun for the whole family. We all genuinely had the best morning.

 First up, we had a turn taking part in various game shows - the experience is an interactive one and we had fun listening to our favourite tv stars using their favourite lines.

Next up, we walked into the 'survival zone' - we all had fun taking part in various bush tucker trials and challenging each other to go first. We ran across rope bridges and put our hands into various hidden holes as the sound of jungle bugs filled the air. Lots of fun for adventurous families.

Into the sporting area we couldn't resist a few photos with fellow Geordie Alan Shearer. The kids had fun looking inside various footballer's lockers and laughing at some of the contents. There were lots of activities to join in with including playing golf with Tiger Woods and darts with some of your hero's. 

We were looking for a break at this point and gladly stumbled upon The Rovers Return - Madame Tussauds have created an entire replica of the famous pub where you can order real drinks and snacks to enjoy with Deirdre , Ken and Bett Lynch whilst famous scenes from the show are broadcast around you.

After our little break it was time to venture into the musical superstars zone. Our children decided to form their own band and played on (real) drums and guitars and Jack sang in a microphone. Super cool and lots of fun!

There is the chance to make your own wax work hand at Madame Tussauds for children and grown ups over the age of 8. It costs £9 to add this to your experience with discounts available when you buy more than one. Harry was a very willing volunteer and we waited our turn in the queue for about 20 minutes. The experience is fully supervised by trained staff but it does involve dipping your hand 9 times into hot wax - the staff were super though and checked Harry was ok on numerous occasions and asked him to let them know if he needed to stop. It was fine though and Harry didn't seemed bothered by the heat at all. He now loves his hand and it has pride of place on his bedroom shelf. This experience was very good value for money and even fun for our younger two who enjoyed watching the whole process.

I was very excited for the next part - to have my photograph taken with the Queen! My phone may or may not be full of Royal selfies now! haha!

We all had a wonderful time at Madame Tussauds - although the kids didn't know who all of the stars were, they thoroughly enjoyed all of the interactive experiences and laughing at mum and dad who were dressing up and getting involved too. What I will say is that the staff at Madame Tussauds really stood out for us. Sometimes attraction staff can be a little less than enthusiastic however this was certainly not the case here. Nobody knew we were bloggers but they all went out of the way to make our experience a little bit special whether this be holding our bags whilst we took another selfie, using our camera to take a photograph of us all or taking the time to ask us who our favourite celebrities were. I have honestly never met such happy and helpful staff so thank you!

I'm not sure if it was because we had such a fantastic time but we did end up spending all of our pocket money in the Madame Tussauds gift shop - we bought branded photographs of our family hanging from a window ledge and spiderman rescuing us, Madame Tussauds teddy bears and lots of Marvel goodies. Prices were inflated but I think because we were in such high spirits we didn't seem to mind! It wasn't until afterwards I realised we had just spent £12 on a teddy bear that we could have paid £3 for on the sea front. Oooops!

This post only gives you a tiny snapshot of what you will find inside Madame Tussauds and the exhibits are always changing and keeping with the times. We spent 2.5 hours here but could easily have spent longer. We visited in the school holidays and it wasn't too busy - we didn't have to queue to take photographs with any of the figures.

Entry to Madame Tussauds Blackpool costs £13 per adult and £10.50 per child if pre-booked online or is included in the fantastic value Blackpool resort pass which is just £55 for entry to 8 fantastic Blackpool attractions over 7 days.

My Mummy's Pennies

The Great British Seaside - Blackpool

Ah! The Great British Seaside - as much as I love the hot, sunny beaches you get abroad, I cannot deny how much I adore the traditional seaside resorts in the UK. They really do have a charm all of their own. Visiting the British Seaside brings back wonderful feelings of nostalgia for me and I hope that plenty of visits with my own children will continue our family's love of the seaside in many generations to come. This Summer we travelled 3 hours West to the Seaside resort of Blackpool. We enjoyed lots of seaside-fun that you just don't get to experience anywhere else in the world.

Beach and Donkey Rides

Blackpool has a wonderful sandy beach that goes on for miles and miles - it's a lovely walk along the promenade and there were lots of lifeguards around during our trip which was re-assuring. Our jam packed schedule and tide times meant unfortunately we didn't get the chance to ride a donkey but it is certainly on our list for next Summer.

Amusement Arcades

As you would expect, there were lots of amusement arcades to choose from along the promenade in Blackpool. Our favourite was most definitely Coral Island which is Blackpool's largest free to enter family attraction. We loved the Pirate theme throughout and enjoyed playing 'Pirate eye spy' in the The Buccaneer Family Pub (with a sneaky beer for us) before spending our 2p's in the arcades. I loved how child-friendly everything was with lots of stools and steps for children to easily access the slots. We all had a good laugh together competing in various arcade games before I was declared the winner! 

As well as The Buccaneer Pub, Coral Island is also home to Captain Jacks - a beach themed restaurant which served the best fresh milkshakes and some of the nicest 'ribs and wings' Steve has had in a long time. Kids Eat Free in all Coral Island restaurants all day, every day which is fantastic value for money too (see here for t&c's).

Comedy Carpet

I am pretty sure the Comedy Carpet is fairly unique to Blackpool - connecting the tower, the beach and the promenade, it can be read in all directions close up or from up high. You could spend hours reading all of the classic jokes and sketches from over 1000 comedians. We had a giggle laughing and old jokes and trying to explain them to our children every time we walked past.

Traditional Ice Cream

A trip to the seaside really isn't complete without some traditional ice cream and I love how you can see old and young enjoying this treat whenever you visit the British seaside. We highly recommend a visit to Notarianni's which was our favourite place to stop for a giant Sundae. The business has been in the family for over 70 years and they certainly know how to keep their customer's happy! 

Fish and Chips

Finally, how could we visit the Blackpool Seaside without sampling some fish and chips? We decided to venture into the Harry Ramsden's restaurant that overlooks the sea because I also fancied a glass of wine. This was the first time I have ever eaten in this chain but we were all very impressed - I ordered the small cod and chips which was perfect (especially the chips). The children's meals were equally as good and they were given free ice cream for pudding too. I also hear that Harry Ramsden's pies are pretty special too. 

Will you be enjoying any traditional seaside fun with your family this Summer? 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 
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