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“GREAT FAMILY DAY”

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #6 of 39 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.
Redruth, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“GREAT FAMILY DAY”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

Brilliant day out with the kids, they really enjoyed listen to the keepers give talks about the animals, and getting to see the meerkats being fed and the owls flying. food prices were very good. we did take a picnic but I can't go without a cup of tea. We had some homemade cake from the café as a afternoon snack and it was lovely. another day out that as a family we would highly recommend.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank samiann6969
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, October 13, 2013
We always say that visitors have a much better day if they get fully involved with all the park has to offer by participating with the talks, shows and encounters which you obviously did. We are so pleased that you all enjoyed your day with us so much and we are very grateful for your recommedation to others. Thank you for your five stars and I will pass on your comments about the cake!
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English first
Paignton, England, United Kingdom
1 review
“BRILLIANT!!”
Reviewed September 28, 2013

I never leave comments on places but felt I had to after reading the negative comments! This park is truly AMAZING! I paid £100 to swim with Morgan the Sea Lion, despite the weather being very wet and rainy the staff where just magnificent! I'm disabled and they made me feel so comfortable and I did every activity with Morgan including him pulling me along in the water, jumping over me and playing with his Frisbee. Me and my partner traveled 80 miles to the park and it was worth the travel, I can't believe we had never been before! The animal chats and feeding where amazing and I can truly say, its the best day out we have had in a long time! The only down fall is that it is hilly, but as others are saying, its expected! We took our time and where in no rush! I would highly recommend the park to anyone of any age! I will defiantly be going back next year to do it all over again, BRILLIANT!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Brian Iron Ba N
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, October 13, 2013
Morgan is a star isn't he? We are the only place in the UK where you can actually swim with a sea lion and it's fantastic that you enjoyed the experience so much. We are also really chuffed that you think our park is 'amazing', its great to read reviews like yours, it makes us really proud of what we do here which is educate through interaction and entertainment. Thank you so much for your kind words and five stars and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
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Chilsworthy, Holsworthy
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic day out”
Reviewed September 27, 2013

Im not one to leave reviews but in this case i feel i must after reading some negative comments. The comments that DevonMaid88 left were spot on.Our kids aged four and two,along with ourselfs thought it one of the best days out we have had,yes its steep in places,most valleys are,and the price i thought well worth the cost. We arrived at eleven and didnt leave to half four,and our kids didnt get fed up once. The only negative point for me was the wolves,im not an expert but i thought they looked under par and in need of a change of scenery but i could be wrong,that aside everything else about the day was fantastic,even the train ride was a surprise which the kids,and adults enjoying it.To sum up,ignore the negative comments and go and have a fantastic day out.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Saaransh
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, October 13, 2013
Thank you so much for your support and we are all really pleased that you enjoyed your day with us. It is great to read that your family considered us one of their best days out! That's Brilliant! Not quite sure what you mean about the wolves though and also what group you are referring to. If it is the European Wolves they are, shall we say, in their senior years. Elu our Female is 14 years old and the three boys are 12. If you are referring to our white Hudson Bay Wolves, the girls are very young, only two years old, and definately not under par or in need of a change a scenery as they have only been in that enclosure since June after been having rescued from an unsuitable situation. We are currently in talks with a zoo in Amsterdam and hope to bring a male into the equation very soon so they can start their own pack which will obviously be more of a natural social structure for them.Thank you so much for your support and five stars and please visit us again when you are next in the area.
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Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Absolutely fantastic! Don't miss out!!”
Reviewed September 23, 2013

Just had an amusing 5 minutes reading your bad reviews, some of the things people complain about makes me slightly ashamed of the human race!! Yes it's hilly, it's in a beautiful valley, what do you expect? YOU'RE IN DEVON THERE ARE HILLS!! And the price? Well, I had won tickets in a raffle so got in for free but had I not, I would have certainly been more than happy to pay the asking price. The people saying its a rip off are clearly tight and miserable (not the sort you would want to visit anyway!) I only live 15 mins away and couldn't believe I hadn't been before, will definitely be back!! The talks and shows made our experience incredible! The sea lions were brilliant and funny, feeding the lemurs gave me goosebumps I was so excited to be able to go in with them and the girl that took us was great and showed that there is a lot of care and passion in your workers. The animals all looked so well cared for in big enclosures with lots for them to do. Bug world was great, meerkats were awesome! Just make sure you get involved in all the talks and demos etc!! Cafe was fine, food was great and very well priced, just not overly keen on eating on plastic plates with plastic cutlery but didn't really matter. Overall, ignore the bad reviews, it's an amazing day out!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank DevonMaid88
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, September 26, 2013
Thank you so much for your support, we really appreciate it. I am always shocked at the extreme difference in peoples perspective when it comes to our terrain. Some only see the steepness yet fortunately most appreciate the valleys stunning scenery with its tropical trees and plants and natural streams and waterfalls. Visitors that do not like the terrain don't tend to participate in all the park has to offer which affects their opinion on whether they have had value for money. Some of our encounters you have mentioned in your review would be really expensive to do at other parks yet are free as part of our admittance charge. We all work really hard here to ensure that that our visitors enjoy their day so it can be a bit dispiriting when we read complaints about the terrain which we can do nothing about. However we wouldn't want to be flat like other parks as it wouldn't be so beautiful here. Sometimes the extreme comments make it appear that it is one sheer drop! As you know, there are variants in steepness and a lot of flat areas here too. We do have some future plans that will make it easier for people with difficulties so hopefully this will help. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your day with us and plan to come again. We are glad you won your tickets otherwise you may not have have visited our wonderful park! I understand your comment about the plates and cutlery. The plates are made out of biodegradable material and the cutlery recycled. Unfortunately due to the volume of people we have visiting us with such a small cafe kitchen it is impossible for us to have china plates and cutlery. I personally would prefer it too if we could, maybe when we have the money to rebuild it we will incorporate a bigger kitchen. Thank you so much for your five stars and we look forward to seeing you again in the future. Remember that you only have to pay full price once then can pick up your half price return voucher from the park information desk which you can do on every subsequent visit. We are also planning to do season tickets next year too!
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Petersfield, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Wet day in the park!!”
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!!!!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
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 review, 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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