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“Sea Lion!!”

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #6 of 39 things to do in Ilfracombe
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A wildlife park that demonstrates how life was for the dinosaurs.
West Sussex
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Sea Lion!!”
Reviewed May 14, 2012

Went here with a friend when we were on holiday in Devon last October, and was really good! We mainly went here because you can do a meet and great with a sea lion, which does cost extra but well worth it!

You get to stroke the sea lion, have a cuddle and kiss from him, plus do some tricks. They have a photographer who takes pictures the whole way through, and then at the end you get to pick one to print out and you can get a disk with them all on!

May be biased as am basing it on this particular aspect, but hope to go in the summer next time, as then you can swim with him!!

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank CharlotteLouise_1990
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, May 21, 2012
Thank you for your review, our visitors love our sea lions and as we are the only place in the UK where you can swim with a sea lion we can provide some unique experiences. We look forward to your visit in the summer.
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1,216 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Yeovil
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great day for all ages!”
Reviewed May 10, 2012

We came to the park a couple of days ago and all i can say is WOW. Not only did my husband and i enjoy it but so did our two boys aged 8 and 12. We got to the park just in time for the meercat talk in the morning which was amazing! Felt very lucky to be in the home of such wonderful creatures, our youngest son was made up when one came up to him. We then headed the short distance over to the owls where a young girl was explaining about how rare our british barnowls are becoming and met the lovely autumn who our son got to hold, great to learn about native animals to this country for a change to the more popular zoo animalls.We then headed up to see the dinosaurs which was pretty good- our boys loved it and we had a laugh watching them get soaked! The parrots are beautiful and seemed to be enjoying themselves watching the world go by. Sealion show was good, we saw their baby on stage rather than the adults which we didn't have a problem with, we felt like we were apart of his training, we then saw the larger ones in the back pool (seemed a little small) where we enjoyed another training session- really good, I didn't know how clever they were but they seemed to adore there trainer to. The monkeys seemed few and far between, but the ones we did see looked well and the lemurs were very cute eating there lunches. Lions and wolves were cool, random to have ponies and llamas right in the middle of them though, lunch i would say? Tropical house was a bit boring, looked a bit run down, the carpet wasn't looking nice and the big bit only had some koi and little birds but the bug handling was good, cockroaches- yuck! The bird show was good, it finished with plenty of time to get to the final meercat show for our son, we came last year and it went on a bit to long. We saw an eagle and an owl who was only a baby, they were amazing flying around their trainer as she spoke all about them in an interesting and funny way, keeping all the audience entertained and our 12 year old was transfixed we were sat right where they were flying, we spoke with the girl where she was happy to answer every question he had and even let him get right up close for a picture with the owl. ONce again, the meercats were great. The area around the dinosaurs looks a little rundown, dodgy paintwork and some scary kids amusements and a random police officer and a night! More scary than the dinosaurs! Dinosaur domain was bare, but the kids enjoyed spotting them none the less. We will be back very soon.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Kimberly C
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, May 21, 2012
Thank you so much for your review, I agree about the carpet in the tropical house, as new owners it is on our 'to do list' as well as a few other areas that we are intending to address. I am really glad you had a great day and we look forward to your return visit.
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Nuneaton
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Change Happens.....And it Did!!”
Reviewed April 30, 2012

We visited the park last year in October and did think that the park was a bit random and seemed to have lost it's direction. But we did say that we would visit again because we knew changes were on the way and wanted to see, and indeed did hope, that the park would find it's way again.

We did... and it has. There have indeed been changes and we found it a pleasure to have visited again. The changes are less tangible and more something you can sense about the place. Everything more organised and much more sense of direction. You can't help but feel that, in a relatively short space of time, the new owners have brought sense back to the park which left us keen to come back again and see what more was to come.

The Petsaurus corner is lovely and sweet, and just light family fun. And as before, there was plenty to see, and talks to hear, which makes the effort of the scary car park and the steep walks worthwhile.

We only live 2 miles from Twycross Zoo, and at one time did say that, without the wolf talks to draw us to the park, we probably wouldn't make the trip to Combe Martin to visit, but I have to say that this is no longer true. Combe Martin Wildlife Park is now on our to do list every bit as much as Longleat and our other favourite animal attractions, and we will definately pull in another visit when we are next in the area.

Well done to everyone on the park for their hard work and effort.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Sue W
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, May 1, 2012
Thank you so much for your review, comments like yours make all our hard work worthwhile. It will take more time and money to do everything we want to do but it is great to know that our visitors can see that we are heading in the right direction. We are planning to reintroduce the wolf talks at some point in the future as we know how fascinating they are to people. Thank you once again for your support and we look forward to your return visit sometime in the future.
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Surrey
Level 3 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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Staffs
Level 1 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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