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“Good, but could do better”

The Living Rainforest
Reviewed December 8, 2014

We made a late decision to come here with our 2 year old son after it started raining and we didn't want to stuck outside at a National Trust park. I was shocked by how expensive it was to get in, but this was tempered slightly by the fact you can come again as many times as you want for a year. However if you weren't local and couldn't take advantage of this then it is too expensive to get in for just 1 visit.
We were surprised how small it was once inside, although if you pay attention to the wide variety of animals, fish and plants on show it takes you longer than you think to get around. Also the split level layout is very clever and really maximizes the display space on offer. We then went for lunch in the café, limited menu but decent and fresh baguettes and not unreasonably priced. I was pleased to see Bacon and Brie baguette on the menu, but disappointed that this was only served cold! The gift shop was sparsely stocked but did have some nice things above the normal range of tat you tend to get. We then did another lap of the inside before heading out to the play area which had a good range of equipment for most ages.
Total visit was around 2.5 hours including lunch, as a one off it would represent average value for money but if we go back in the next year it will be good value. Whether it's worth a 45 min drive is debatable, but maybe when the weather is nicer to take advantage of the outdoor picnic and play area.
Finally, I was very disappointed with the staff there - in the café they were more interested in talking amongst themselves than taking our order, at the entrance they were far from welcoming and none of them working inside the rainforest took any interest in talking to us or helping us find the exhibits in some of the darker or overgrown displays. My wife is a teacher and mentioned about bringing a school trip here but no one showed any interest in this at all. I gather they rely on volunteers a fair bit, but this is still a weakness that could be improved on without too much work that would go a long way to improving the visitor experience.

1  Thank QatarVillan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"plants and animals"
in 32 reviews
"annual ticket"
in 22 reviews
"free roaming animals"
in 8 reviews
"school trip"
in 20 reviews
"school parties"
in 10 reviews
"couple of hours"
in 32 reviews
"plant life"
in 8 reviews
"rainy day"
in 26 reviews
"few hours"
in 21 reviews
"interesting place"
in 6 reviews
"on display"
in 13 reviews
"picnic area"
in 6 reviews
"lovely place to visit"
in 6 reviews
"half term"
in 7 reviews
"free entry"
in 6 reviews
"great for kids"
in 6 reviews
in 8 reviews

403 - 407 of 573 reviews

Reviewed November 23, 2014

A great outing for a rainy day. Marmosets are amazing, as are the butterflies. The gift shop has some great stuff that you don't see anywhere else.

1  Thank Anne Marie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2014

Our children wanted to take us and our grandchildren out and the original plan was Beale Park in Pangbourne but the inclement weather stopped that, so the Indoor Rainforest was second choice, but it has now become a favourite, if only for the 'hunt the sloth' competition.
As the old sore goes 'it is small but beautifully marked' is an apt description of this attraction. The price to get in seemed 'steep' until the kind lady at reception said that it was for a whole year (excluding bank holidays, but we wouldn't want to go there on bank holidays as it would be packed) so £47.50 for two seniors, two adults, a child and a babe in arms for twelve months is really a great deal.
Would I recommend it - indeed, but don't expect too much, it is small and not a whole day trip.

Thank Frank T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2014

As we went as a young couple without any kids we were a little disappointed as the website made out that there was a lot more to see and that it was much bigger. It took us about 1 hour to walk around whilst reading about the animals there and the plants. We did find it very interesting but it's not somewhere that we would go back. It cost £9.95 per adult but this does entitle you to a 12 month pass. If you have kids it's a brilliant place to take them as the centre has a lot of activities for kids to do whilst walking around and it's very educational. I can imagine it's great to see it throughout all the different seasons. There are birds, butterflies and lizards freely walking around but the other animals like snakes, spiders and chameleons are caged.

1  Thank Natasha R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 6, 2014

Excellent and interesting day as a volunteer on a school trip, guide was brill with the children and kept them interested and was very informative, however i can understand families going round too quick without a guide to elaborate on the info plaques about the animals and plants, didn't find the elusive sloth = prob curled up asleep somewhere, highly recommend for schools, xx

1  Thank barbmck183
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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