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“Wet day in the park!!”

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #5 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 September 20, 2013

We failed to read trip advisor reviews prior to going to the park, but having read the advertising leaflet which mentioned some steep paths, we did not envisage such steepness!!
On the park map " we are built upon a beautiful, natural valley and some paths are fairly steep, it advisable not to rush - take your time and enjoy the scenery" still does not actually say that those with mobility problems would have difficulty accessing the park.

We went on a very wet and dismal "summer" day - one thing the park has no control over!!!!

On arrival, we were unable to make the climb in our car to the car park, and the car is only six months old!!!!!! It was very lucky therefore that disabled parking was at the bottom of the park or we would have left before experiencing anything!!

The staff member at the ticket booth was friendly and helpful, and seemed to suggest, in vocal tone rather than what she said, that the park would be difficult to navigate for one member of the our party who has mobility issues. She suggested that we took our time and enjoy the talks and shows - most of which at the time we arrived were to be held in the room next to the ticket booth!!
We had a 50% discount voucher so the total for two adults and two pensioners was around £24.00. We had all agreed that if we hadn't had the voucher, we would have not paid full price to go in!

As mentioned...it was wet... VERY wet!!! This made the little of what part of the park we could access VERY limited. We came as a family, so we were not prepared to leave one member by themselves whilst the rest of us saw more!!

The dinosaurs were fun!! The first enclosures were the wallaby's! This too was so steep that we all decided that in the rain it would be unsafe for any of us to experience.
And due to the rain, most of the animals in Petsaurus corner had taken shelter - who could blame them.

We had a drink and cake in the cafe - decent drinks and food and prices were OK!

Unfortunately we decided that we couldn't stay in the park as the weather made the only accessible part of the park animal free!!!

Important to say... The weather causing the animals so hide away was NOT the park's fault...
The location of the park is beautiful...even if inaccessible to many...
HOWEVER... The park could be a bit more honest within its advertising by suggesting how difficult some people may find getting around, therefore, people could decide whether to go before arriving and driving away again.

Overall... Lovely idea, time spent in park...60 minutes, including;
Time seeing animals....15 minutes (even thought hey were hiding!)
Time spent in the cafe... 30 mins

We were sorry that we didn't read trip advisor first as we would certainly not have come and visited something that we could not access. We came in good faith and were disappointed!

£24:00 for 1hour is a little expensive!!!!

Thank Joanne 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 reviewResponded September 25, 2013

As you rightly say, we cannot control the weather, I wish we could. It would have made your visit a bit easier if it was a nice day. As you mention we do state on the leaflet that there are some steep paths and that we are built around a valley. We also state that wheelchair users can only assess some parts of the park (which is why we do not charge them entry) and to ring the information line for further details. There are so many different disabilities and levels of mobility that it would be impossible to explain adaquately on an advertising brochure which of them the terrain would be suitable for. We hope that by describing the terrain as being built around a valley and having some steep pathways a visitor would know themselves what their capabilities are and if unsure then they would ring for more information. We could state on the leaflet that some people may have difficulty getting around the park but I know that we will still get criticized for not specifying more. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place because so many of our visitors have such extreme opinions about our terrain that it is nigh on impossible to adaquately describe who it is suitable for. I have personally spoken to people with sticks who have said that the park is so beautiful that it is worth the extra effort and so they have simply taken their time, members of my own family have mobility issues or pushchairs but walk regularly around the park too. Everyone has different capabilities and stamina and I must add that not everywhere on the park is steep, we also have flat pathways too. If it was a very wet day it would have made it a lot more difficult for you. As new owners last year we are planning to build a raised walkway across the meerkat dessert to link the top of the park to the wolf and Lion area which will make it easier for our visitors that have difficulties. We have also some long term plans that may help too! I am surprised however that your new car had difficulty getting up the initial hill, maybe we are used to driving on terrain like this in North Devon. I must address one thing you mentioned which is that most of the shows are held in the room next to the ticket booth. We only hold our two animal encounters here, the other 13 talks and shows are held at various places around the park, mainly at the enclosures. I am sorry you chose to visit us on such a wet weather day, it would have been easier for you if you hadn't. We have 70000 visitors each year that do manage to walk around it without any problem. If you had returned to the park information desk we would have been more than happy to give you all a free wet weather return to come back on a better day.

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1,003 - 1,007 of 1,303 reviews

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

Thank sally t
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 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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Reviewed September 19, 2013

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

1  Thank graham69
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 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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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.

Thank Hilary E
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 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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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.

Thank Ellie S
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 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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