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Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #6 of 40 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.
Reviewed June 18, 2012

We came across this little beauty a few years back when visiting a local attraction. We are so glad we did!

We have nothing but compliments about Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park. It's truely a fantastic day out for both adults and children

The animals are looked after, which is a relief after some states we see other parks in. The hourly talks are also fantastic ...and give a true insight into their life in the wild

The little rides and other attractions around the park are amazing

Management should be very proud of everything they have achieved here

Unfortunately, we didn't visit this year due to the weather. I must say, in order to fully value your visit, you must go when the weather is good

We are back down holidaying in October and fingers crossed, we will visit here

1  Thank bulletwithwings1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded July 9, 2012

Thank you so much for your comments and your support. It is a shame you were unable to visit us earlier this year. The weather has been horrendous hasn't it? We look forward to seeing you in October.

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1,250 - 1,254 of 1,303 reviews

Reviewed June 15, 2012 via mobile

Had read mixed reviews on this park. Very happy with my day out. Yes there was lots of hills, but allot of flat also. Filled our day up and my 3 year old loved it! Staff were lovely and although it rained all day it didn't make a difference to our day.

The sea lions were fantastic and got to have a picture kissing the sea lion after the show. It's through glass, but looks great.

negative points...
The light show was VERY basic and rather dull...I didn't quite understand the point!

This is a highly recommended day out! It's allot bigger than expected and very clean! xx

Thank Bethan G
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 reviewResponded June 16, 2012

I am so pleased you enjoyed your day despite the rain! If our visitors get involved with all the park has to offer with shows, encounters, talks and handling sessions they can enjoy a full day with us.Yes I agree with you about the lightshow although some visitors actually like it! As new owners we are considering turning it into an indoor education centre and animal handling arena.Thank you so much for your recommendations and for taking the time to write your review.

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Reviewed June 15, 2012

Spent a rainy morning at the DInosaur Park but it was good value for money, watch out for the steep hills!

The new owners are obviously trying to update the park and you can only wish them all the best, look forward to going back in the future and seeing what improvements have been made. All in all a good family day out

1  Thank JACQUELINE970
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 reviewResponded June 16, 2012

Thank you so much for your support, it is really important to us. We really appreciate your recommendations as our visitors entrance money will help us make all the changes we would like to make, particularly updating some of the primate enclosures which we aim to do when we close at the end of the season. It is always great to hear that visitors enjoy their day even in adverse weather conditions although I prefer it when its sunny!

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Reviewed June 9, 2012

Just got back from an overall really enjoyable day out. The park is fun, welcoming, clean and friendly. The dinosaurs that wake up, on the hour every hour are great. We got there at 11:00 hours just as they were waking up and it scared the living daylights out of our 3yr old son, so much so he sought refuge in the car. Good idea keeping them in the enclosure, It could be a little too much if it surprised us on the way round.

He got over it and we went in. Yes the climb up and down is steep, (surprise surprise it’s the West Country) that said 80% of the nation are bordering obese so hey it’s good for you! Got me puffing and I am only overweight (but quite fit) so you need to be able to walk moderate hills. Hopefully it should shame people in to realising they need to LOOSE weight.

The Park is very well laid out, the paths are excellent, it’s very clean and the animals look happy. The Sea lion show is great and the host did a great job of keeping the audience engaged, whilst hopefully explaining some useful information on their wellbeing and behaviours.

The train journey was fabulous, funny and will for ever stay with me looking at my sons face light up thinking this really could be the end for me and Dad. Staff are lovely, not in your face. Thank god no Mac Donald’s or fast food chains.

Things for us that could be improved upon;

1. Set the lions free, (perhaps to terrorise the many obese people in the UK) build a small pool/play area in its place instead as it’s the most charming spot. It feels a shame to lock away the King of the Jungle
2. Do the same for the Wolfs
3. The light show is a little dated, scared the bejesus out of our son again, a minor point
4. More picnicking spots, many of us like to bring our own, also include the train journey in the price, make it free

I must say though, the 4 points are minor in comparison to the good aspects of the Park we would go back for sure.

The Ryan family.

1  Thank Sean R
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 reviewResponded June 16, 2012

Thank you for you review and I am so glad you had a great day. Love your suggestion about the Lions and the Wolves but unfortunately 'no can do' as much as I'd like to! However I will make a pledge that I will do it anyway if everyone releases their dogs and cats back in the wild instead of making them live in houses and eat mush out of tins which is not natural for them either!!
Totally agree about the lightshow. As new owners of the park since Feb this year we are looking at all the attractions here. However, surprisingly some visitors love it! However we are thinking about transforming it to an education centre and indoor animal handling center.I also agree your suggestion of more picnic tables and seating and that is already on our 'to do' list.
The only reason why the train ride is charged in addition to the gate money is because it is such a unique ride and the kids love it so much that on a busier day we would not be able to get all visitors on it throughout the day even if it ran continuously.This would then lead to compaints. Therefore the decision was taken to charge additionally for the train for those who want to go on it which does then restrict numbers. It does mention this additional charge on our leaflet.
Thank you so much for comments and for taking the time to write your review and we look forward to your return visit.I will personally look out to see how fit you really are!

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Reviewed June 9, 2012 via mobile

We took our family to the park last week as the brochure said there were plenty of indoor activities as well as outdoor. Unfortunately the indoor activities took a mere 30 mins to do. The Egyptian tomb lasted about 10 mins, the dinosaur museum is a single room about the size of a lounge with a few small fossils and 2 largish exhibits. However they were let down by a poor quality film show (in a very small room with seats coming away from the wall) and signs with very poor information and grammar. At least two used the phrase "to of lived" rather than "to have lived".
The light show was also poor and a bit disjointed with no real coherence to it, using NASA logo's and space shuttle imagery it then failed to deliver anything remotely space like, except for the use of Jeff Wayne's war of the worlds music. Another feature advertised was the "indoor play area" which our children were looking forward too, but which, in the end, none of them could use as there is a 1mtr height restriction!
The Dinosaur area was a fenced enclosure about 40ft square containing 4 animatronic dinosaurs which only move for about 5 minutes every hour on the hour. The effect of this is spoilt by the fact that you can hear the clunking of the mechanics during the "show".
The overall look and feel of the park was very run down with paint peeling off the walls of the exit area from the light show and a general feel of neglect throughout. Even the statues and pagodas in the water garden were crooked and tired.
As for the cost! I was staggered, having paid nearly £90 for a party of 8 to then be expected to pay an additional £1 per person for a 5min train ride, and a further £3 per person for the kids to fill a small plastic bottle with coloured sand!!!
We will certainly not be returning here.

Thank Tbark123
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 reviewResponded June 14, 2012

One star? Did you visit the same park as everyone else? With respect it appears that you regretted visiting us on rainy and extremely cold day. We do not actually advertise ourselves as an all weather attraction although on saying that some visitors still enjoy their day here despite the rain. I suppose it depends whether there are intermittent showers rather than continuous rainfall. Our attractions are mainly outside which is what our leaflet indicates as we are
primarily a Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, hence the name! We do mention that there are things to do indoors and list them on our leaflet but they take up a very small proportion of space on it. However please let me address some of your issues that you have mentioned.
As new owners of this park since Feb this year we are currently looking at all the signage and attractions such as the lightshow which does tend to be a bit like marmite, visitors either love it or hate it which is why we chose not to promote it on our leaflet. We are looking to turn it into an education center and animal handling arena.
The seats in the cinema are not coming away from the wall, they are in fact bolted to the floor so were not attached in the first place.
The animatronic Dinosaurs are in an enclosed area to prevent much younger visitors being scared, although the static dinosaurs are 'loose' in the domain at the centre of the park. I haven't had anyone else make a comment about 'clunking' spoiling the effect of our moving dinosaurs. Would't you clunk a little bit at their prehistoric age?
The indoor playzone is advertised for our 'younger visitors'. I haven't had anyone else interprete that as being suitable for older children although if I do feel that it is confusing for our visitors I will mention the height restriction in the next leaflet.
I cannot agree with your comment that the park has a run down feel. Yes, there are a few bits that need painting which are on our 'to do' list but you have not mentioned any new areas which were only built a few months ago so you are effectively tarring everything with the same brush.
The cost, really? Nearly £90 for 8 people does not sound particularly expensive to me and we are lower in price than other theme parks in the area. I suppose it depends on what you do as a visitor to make sure you get value for money. If you do come here in the rain and spend your time trying to get out of it, picking minor faults along the way and concentrating on timing everything then yes, it would not be value for money. You haven't mentioned seeing the sealion show, the meerkat encounter during which we take visitors inside their enclosure and scatter feed, the lemur encounter, the talks and handling sessions throughout the day or even the lovely scenery or wildlife. Did you participate in the days activities at all?
The only additional charges on the park are the train, the craft centre, and a few machines. If you visited any attraction with a craft centre which has face painting and crazy sand bottles to make your own unique gift to take home most people would expect to pay extra for it. £3 barely covers the cost of the bottle. The only reason why the train ride is charged in addition to the gate money is because it is such a unique ride and the kids love it so much that on the busier days we would not be able to get all visitors on it throughout the day even if it ran continuously. This in turn would cause complaints. Therefore the decision was taken to keep the gate charge slightly lower and charge additionally for the train for those who want to go on it which does then restrict numbers. It does mention this additional charge on our leaflet.
All in all I am surprised at your review and grateful that it does not reflect the opinion of the majority of our visitors. I am sure you would have had a completely different experience had it been a dry day! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address some of your issues through this site.

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