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“excellent day out” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ilfracombe EX34 0NG, England
01271 882486
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Ranked #7 of 11 Attractions in Ilfracombe
Type: History Museums, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Zoos & Aquariums
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Attraction details
Owner description: A wildlife park that demonstrates how life was for the dinosaurs.
Bath, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“excellent day out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

we loved the trip to the park! we spent the whole day walking round the various shows and enclosures. the variety of animals is great, and the keepers are very informative about their animals! we loved the train ride, and the dinosaurs! were coming back again next year to swim with the sealions, which we couldnt do this year as we ran out of time on our holiday! thank for a great day out

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this review, September 25, 2013
Five stars thank you so much! We are so pleased that you enjoyed your day with and obviously involved yourselves with all the talks, shows and encounters. We do find our visitors have a much better day if they participate in all the park has to offer. We look forward to seeing you again next year and I know you will have a fantastic time swimming with our sea lions.
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English first
United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Not for pushchairs”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013 via mobile

This attraction was overpriced. The park is set in a valley and is not suitable for pushing a pushchair. Not only are there hills but there are steps. We have a 10 month old and a 3 year old and my 3 year old struggled to walk round and we could barely push him in the pushchair because of the hills. Also there is no good route round the park. Exmoor zoo is a hundred times better

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this review, September 25, 2013
We have thousands of pushchairs pushed around the park each year. I am wondering whether you had a double buggy with a 10 month baby and a three year old. Was this the case? If so it does make it a lot more difficult. We do mention on our leaflet and web site that we are built around a valley (Combe actually means Valley) and that there are some fairly steep pathways. Our prices are in fact slightly cheaper than some of the other attractions in the area and we do our very best to provide value for money with all the 15 talks, shows and encounters that we have daily (and not just in school holidays). If you had of followed the timetable in conjunction with the map that we give to our visitors on arrival you would have had a much better day. I am glad that you enjoy Exmoor Zoo but understand that your difficulties with our terrain obviously spoilt your day with us. Hopefully you will return when your children are a bit older and involve yourself with our park and reconsider your opinion. Those visitors that do participate with all the park has to offer and the lovely surroundings we have here appreciate what a special place this is, I hope that one day you will too.
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Maidstone, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Good day out”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

Enjoyed our afternoon at the park but would have liked to have known how hilly the attraction was before we got there! I would not recommend this attraction to anyone who has mobility problems as there are steep hills.

The variety of animals was good especially the cheeky ring tailed lemur in the petting area.

Visited September 2013
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Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
Sorry you did not see our main leaflet that mentions that we are built around a valley and some pathways are fairly steep. We put this near to the prices so people would notice. We do understand that the terrain can be difficult for some of our visitors with mobility problems even though it is so beautiful with the exotic trees, plants and natural streams and waterfalls. Our ring tailed lemurs are particularly cheeky and love venturing up to see the other residents on the park! We are glad that you enjoyed your afternoon with is and hope to see you again when you are next in Devon.
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Exeter, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Combe Martin Wildlife park”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

The robotic dinosaurs are something to see,
the sea lion talk was also very informative and engaging,
they're are alot of animals to see,
and the Pharoh tomb was also funny and made me jump! I would advise you don't go inside with small children, unless they're not as sensitive.

HOWEVER,
The reason why I gave this a poor rating is because of the price of everything!
To have a jacket potato it costs around £5, so I would also advise to bring your own lunch.
For one adult it costs £14.00!
And any rides for children costs money to go on!
So not only are you paying a rip off price to get in, you have to pay for most of the rides once you're in.

I understand we're in a time where money is hard, but it is for everyone, not just a wildlife park!

Overall It's an alright place but it's VERY costly.

Visited August 2013
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Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this review, September 14, 2013
I do not understand some of your review. What rides? We do not have any? The only thing you need to pay extra for is the train and that is because on busier days it would be impossible for us to accommodate all visitors as the water dam takes too long to refil in between rides. If it was part of the admission charge this would lead to complaints. Apart from the train we don't have any rides here. Years ago there was a play area with small rides that were an additional cost but as new owners we removed this whole area the beginning of last year and replaced it with Petsaurus Corner. We strive hard here to ensure that we give value for money, and for your admittance charge this includes 15 daily talks, shows and encounters that you can take part in (not only in school holidays). Some of these encounters are unique such as going into the Meerkat Desert and Lemur Enclosures during feeding time. We have absolutely no intention in ripping anyone off and if you participate in all the park has to offer it can be a full days entertainment here. We don't profess to have the biggest collection however the interaction we offer is second to none and we have a sea lion show that is one of the best in the UK. A lot of our visitors have mentioned that our catering is good value for money and our Jacket potato with filling at £4.95 also comes with a large side salad. Our entry pricing is in line with other themed attractions in the area although some of them charge slightly less for Adults and more for children instead which in all cases does work out to be slightly more expensive for families than here. I am sorry that your visit was clouded by the cost and therefore affected your rating of us. Please be assured that we do our best to provide good value for money to all visitors and encourage them to participate fully in all that the park has to offer.
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Sheffield, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
23 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Peaks and Troughs”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

This was our third visit in five years, and the first since the change of management in 2012.

The new paying arrangements are a massive improvement – we were dreading the stop-start hill climb on entry. Perhaps the promotional flyers should highlight this to reassure those that have been pre 2012? However when it is very busy there may still be a problem and a traffic light system or manned gate for controlling access from the public road may be helpful to facilitate a smooth hill climb to the car park.

Visitors are provided with a very simple, clear, and informative single sheet leaflet that includes a coloured map that identifies the main attractions and routes. It is well worth at least a few minutes study in conjunction with the timetable for featured talks, demos, and shows to develop a plan for YOUR visit.

All the animals looked very relaxed in their enclosures, and behaving to suit themselves rather than putting on a show to entertain visitors. The current work to create new enclosures (our grandson thoroughly enjoyed watching the caterpillar digger) appears to being done on a quality rather than a cost basis. The completed new enclosures are impressive – especially for the primates.

The wolves were disappointing compared to previously, but new arrangements are clearly in progress. We have noted and understand the explanation re this.

The Sea Lion show was very disappointing compared to what we were lucky enough to see on the 27th August 2009 (yes, it was that good!). Although Morgan was willing, he can’t do it all. We saw the first show of the day so it is possible that the later one may have been better.

The Birds of Prey show was close to the high standards previously seen by two previous demonstrators in 2008 and 2009, and the current demonstrator seems to have lots of potential to reach and possibly exceed the previous high standards. We hadn’t seen and heard the kookaburra making its call before – we shall remember that.

The train ride was good fun – we hadn’t done this before on our previous visits. For us it was worth the £1 a head, and we did it twice (at the insistence of our grandson)! If the venue needs to raise funds then we think it is a sensible way to do this as an optional extra but limit the cost to a £1 for everyone.

Bugs World – we only quickly visited just before closing time – but looks to be worth much more time – especially if the weather is poor. Ditto the Museum and the shop – especially on wet days. The Tomb Kingdom may be considered to be a bit naff but it is different and another wet day diversion. In the same geographical area the Parrots seem undervalued and deserve a bit more promotion than their own squawking!

The Dinosaur demo is limited but good, and children love the water spray. The park area of static statues needs some improved exhibits – we recently saw some better looking ones at Twycross Zoo.
We do suggest that a more direct pathway is desperately needed to link the current alpaca enclosure to the tropical house etc. – we felt sorry for those with pushchairs having to reverse down the hill to return to the Tropical House, toilets, birds of prey, museum etc.

The terrain of the site is challenging to both the designers of the attractions and exhibits etc. and perhaps equally so to the paying customers. The designers have done a very good job, we have enjoyed it several times, and with the new entry arrangements to the site hope to revisit again and soon.

Visited September 2013
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Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this review, September 10, 2013
Thank you for review and your five stars, it is much appreciated. The new entry kiosk position has aleviated all the problems that the previous owners had in the past and I can honestly tell you that we haven't had any public road delays in the last two years which is great! I am pleased you have commented on some of the new enclosures we have completed and obviously the digger is indicative of the work we are continuing to do. I assume your comment of the wolves being disappointng compared to previous years refers to Shaun Ellis 'wolf man' being previously based here. There was quite a large pack in what now is the White Hudson Bay Wolf Enclosure. Shaun left the park in 2011 to set up a new venture himself. We have still got four European Grey Wolves in the top enclosure and of course our two white beautiful Hudson Bay Wolves in the lower enclosure. We do intend to introduce a male to our girls at some point but as there are only 12 registered collections in the world that has this species of wolf because they are considered endangered I need to be very careful with bloodlines to make sure that they are not related in any way. When I am succesful in finding a suitable male it will be wonderful to see them start a pack of their own. I completely agree with you that the pathway by the wolves and Alpacas needs to be linked to the top of the park and we are hoping to do it this winter, money permitting. We are planning to build a wide walkway around the tropical house across the Meerkat Desert to do this. The Parrots are definately not undervalued, they make sure of that! They can do exactly what they want to do because they are free flying so where they are on any given day is their choice. As new owners last year we have been concentrating on the animal aspect of the park but have every intention of making new investment in Dinosaurs at some point in the future.I must mention that the Dinosaurs you have seen in Twycross Zoo (and some of the other larger zoos in the country) have been leased for the season from a company in America (and cost vast amounts of money, out of the league of a relatively small family run attraction). However rest assured, every spare penny will be reinvested back into this beautiful park and with our terrain being a bit like the 'land that time forgot', our park will definately have the advantage for atmosphere! We really hope you visit us again in the near future.
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