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“Weird but enjoyed ourselves - buggies beware very hilly”

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #6 of 38 things to do in Ilfracombe
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A wildlife park that demonstrates how life was for the dinosaurs.
Surrey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Weird but enjoyed ourselves - buggies beware very hilly”
Reviewed April 23, 2012 via mobile

This place is confused. It advertises itself as Wildlife and Dinosaur park yet throws a few other things into the mix, so it comes across as not knowing what it really wants to be. We started walking by through the wallaby enclosure then we entered the dinosaur part, my children loved the dinosaurs hiding in the bushes but the information was really tatty looking and not bright enough to engage them. We headed down some steps (carrying our pram) and entered an area with some monkies and lemas. It was great to be able to get so close to them. This is when it started to get weird, we entered a Japanese garden area and there was a lot of Japenese writing on the walls, where that fits in to the theme I have no idea. We traipsed back up the hill to the Meercat talk which was great we actually got to go in the enclosure, but after this the kids couldn't face going back down to go to the lions due to the steep hills, so we didn't see them. We headed off to see the Sealion show which was great. Following this we went on the train to see an Earthquake (set in the Wild West!!) it was ok, a bit disappointing ( and an extra £1 charge). The huge moving T-Rex and friends was good and this went off every hour. We then came across the light show - A Space Lightshow!!! I felt like we had gone into some 70's disco a very bad one - it was truly awful and an embarrassment to the park. Overall we had a good day, but it would be better place if it took the theme on fully rather than tried to be everything. Tip - we were given a 50% off for The Big Sheep here, which annoyingly we had been to before, so if you decide to go here, do this one first.

Helpful?
Thank juicyju2005
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, April 25, 2012
I totally agree with you, although a lot of our visitors actually like the fact that it is so accletic and something for everyone. Personally I want to theme everything more around the Wildlife and Dinosaurs. As new owners (we only took over this attraction in Febuary this year) we inherited the various attractions that are in addition to the Animals and Dinosaurs. Although we have completed major work already, it is still a work in progress. Some of the signage I am currently working on at the moment, we are planning to theme the Egyptian Tomb more by the introduction of Bugs to fit more with the wildlife angle and we are looking to remove the lightshow at the end of the season and possibly use the area it is in as an education centre and indoor animal handling arena. However I must say that some of our visitors do actually enjoy the lightshow. Personally I agree with you! The Japanese garden although it does not fit in with the theme is very pretty so we are unsure what to do about that at the moment. The train ride we are considering turning into an ice age attraction to fit into the prehistoric theme. As mentioned some people do enjoy the variety of the different attractions but we, as new owners, are intending to create more of a niche and have employed a full time Dinosaur Technician to help us to do this. However I am really glad you still enjoyed your day so thank you for your comments.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Staffs
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Don't waste your money.”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

Really disappointed with the park, even my 4 year old who is animal mad asked if we could go home. I think the main thing that put me off was that the animals looked miserable & found their enclosures seemed rather small. I don't think it helped that most of them were infested with RATS. Was not impressed to have them running around our feet in the Japanese gardens. Some of the other attractions ( the eygptian & light show) were simply lame. It comes to something when the highlight of theday was having our picnic in the car. We did'nt fancy sitting in a picnic area in case it attracted more rats.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank JoolesStaffs
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, April 25, 2012
I am sorry you did not enjoy your day and you should have come to the information desk where I would have been happy to discuss any issues you may have had. First of all I can guarantee that the animals are not miserable. It has been bitterly cold recently so maybe they were not full of the joys of spring on the day of your visit! I can assure you 100% that animal welfare is priority for us and every care gets taken with diet, husbandry and behavioral enrichment and we have fully qualified keepers with years of experience to take care of our animals every need. On saying that, as new owners of the park (we only purchased it in Febuary this year) we are aware that a few of the primate enclosures although adaquate for zoo regulations, have room for improvement which is why they are on our 'TO DO' list over the winter when the park is closed. However there are a lot of other enclosures on the park that are in fact a lot bigger than necessary so to lump them all together in one negative comment is unfair. May I also point out that visitor's money will not be wasted on coming here, it will be spent on making the improvements that you are concerned about!
Unfortunately a side affect of having the natural terrain and streams that we have as well as providing an environment rich with a food source is the continous battle with pest control. The difficulty is that we have quite a lot of animals that are free ranging, including our ringtail lemurs that walk around the park every evening (28 acres - you cannot get a bigger enclosure than that!) Therefore we cannot put toxic poison down that other animals can eat so we have to use bait that will not affect any other species and for the same reason we cannot use traps. Unfortunately the bait has slightly less appeal to rats when there are lots of other food sources around. However I think your expression 'infested with rats' is pretty extreme. Nobody would bat an eye if they saw a couple of cute squirrels which are also deemed as vermin and I would also be very surprised if rats took to running around peoples feet as by nature they are usually fairly timid. After taking over in Feb we are currently untaking a pest control program which will be ongoing to alleviate any issues so I can only apologize if you feel you saw a few more than you would have liked to on your visit as these things take time.
Our customers comments are important to us and I am sorry you did not enjoy your day with us as much as our other visitors generally do. Thank you for giving me the opportunity through this site to address the main issues that you had and to give you my personal reassurances about our animals welfare.
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wales
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“steep”
Reviewed April 23, 2012

great day out for familys BUT IT IS VERY STEEP WALKING its on a hill and in between another..disable people a no no and prams will be very hard to get about. i struggle on the walking from the carpark to entertance and around and im 39, but it was worth seeing the lions wolves sea lions etc

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank jeffgibbs
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, April 23, 2012
Unfortunately We cannot do anything about the steepness as the park is situated within a beautiful valley but we do have disabled parking that doesn't involve that initial hill. I know it can be a struggle for anyone with disability however I have occassionally made a point of speaking with some of our disabled visitors and they have said that even though it was a bit difficult for them to get around, the valley was so lovely that it had been worth it. However I appreciate that it would depend on the individual person and their type of disability. Wheelchair access is not possible for the whole park which is why we let wheelchair users in free. We do mention the terrain on our main leaflet to warn our visitors about it. I am really glad you thought the park was a great day out so thank you for your rating and for taking the time to write your review.
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Tiverton
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“So unfriendly!”
Reviewed April 21, 2012

We spend so much time at Exmoor zoo and although absolutely love the place we thought we would try somewhere different so decided to try Combe Martin Wildlife and dinasaur park.
We arrived and was straight away disappointed with the unfriendly staff, didnt seem to have any time to talk. We found everything too spaced out and so many hills. The variety of animals were very poor all in all i think it'll be back to Exmoor zoo for us!

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank DebpaulTiverton
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, April 23, 2012
I am disappointed you did not enjoy your day with us as much. We are a different type of attraction as we have other things here as well as our animals so we are not only a zoo. However I would say that our collection is quite diverse with Sealions, Primates, Wolves, Penguins and Lions to name a few and we do have lots of talks and handling sessions throughout the day as well as Sea lion Shows and Birds of Prey displays. We also have unique experiences here such as our Meerkat encounter where we take our visitors inside their enclosure during their feeding time and this is something you would not experience anywhere else. Did you participate in our schedule? I am very surprised about your comments about unfriendly staff as we have had lots of comments about the friendliness of our team and the time they spend talking with our visitors.Our enclosures are spaced out but the majority of our visitors enjoy strolling to them through the valley with its tropical plants and bamboo and the lovely streams and waterfalls. We all look at the same picture with different eyes and with different opinions and unfortunately we cannot please everybody all of the time, although we do try!
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Bournemouth
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great Range of Animals”
Reviewed April 13, 2012

Loved the animals, the dinosaurs were a little scary for our 2 year old, the models come alive once an hour!! The animals however were supberb. Be warned there is a lot of hill walking to do!

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank doody10
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, April 23, 2012
I am sorry we scared your 2 year old, the moving Dinosaurs are in an enclosure to try and prevent this happening. However I am so glad you enjoyed seeing the animals in our collection. Thank you so much for your comments.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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