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“Pleasantly surprised!”
Review of Conkers

Conkers
Derby
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Pleasantly surprised!”
Reviewed March 10, 2014

After reading the reviews we almost didn't go, but as it's close gave it the benefit of the doubt.
Went with my 2 1/2 year old and she loved it! The discovery centre was good, had a few things broken but not loads like past reviewers have found, the leaf kick projection wasn't working which was a shame. We found all staff extremely friendly. Lots of people have said it's to scary for kids...i think you need to present it in an interesting exciting way, if you are exclaiming 'wow look a badgers set' or 'look a giant ant...wow' then they are more likely to be interested instead of scared, my daughter was fine going round it all. The treetop adventure is fab, loads to climb on etc although there were some parts my daughter wouldn't go on as she was scared BUT it does very clearly say it's for 4 years and over, so you take your kids on at your own discretion. I think the shrieking bird is scary for kids, but it's nature and wildlife...you don't take your kids here if you don't want them to learn about that.
Outdoors.....the woodlands, trails and walks were lovely, you could never get round them all. I found the areas very clean and well presented (a few signs missing but hey) the barefoot walk was a highlight - again people have said not suitable to young kids but my 2 year old went thru fine and there was a bit at the end to wash your feet. Unfortunately we couldn't find the fairy labyrinth...really wanted to see that, could really do with being signposted better, the map they give you to be honest is not that easy to follow. Lots of wildlife to see. There is an outdoor area for water play, you press a button for water that flows into a bit that leads onto another bit with things to lift etc to let the water through, this was a big hit with my daughter, we spent ages there, she loved pressing the button for the water then watching as it made its way down the stream. There was an actual pump and water wheel but the pump bit was broken, real shame as she would have loved this!
Obviously the train was mother big hit...we went on a few times, it's free and the conductor was very friendly. The outdoor play area was great, very well maintained and loads to go on for all ages, we walked around the waterside lake and it is a beautiful location.
The indoor soft play, which is actually plastic, is a bit tired but to be honest you don't go for the softplay.
Overall we found conkers to be a great day out and I think its worth the money, there is lots that we didn't get times to do aswell. If they ensured it was all working it would be even better. But we will defiantly be visiting again.
Also...the obstacle course thing for the older kids looks fab but that will be for when she's older.
If the management team read this I would like to point out the disabled button to open the main exit doors was broken too.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Sophie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ConkersAttraction, General Manager at Conkers, responded to this review, May 7, 2014
Thank you for your review - we are pleased that you enjoyed your day and take on board the couple of comments you would like us to address. We hope to see you all again soon

Kindest regards
Chris Sturdy
Regional General manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Good facilities, run badly”
Reviewed March 9, 2014 via mobile

We visited on a Sunday with our 7 and 2 year old, and on entry were advised to buy the family ticket to save money- this was after telling the lady the ages of the children. However on checking the individual ticket prices, we calculated around a £5 saving buying two adult tickets and a child ticket (under 3's are free).

As it was around lunch time on arrival and we were all hungry, we checked the guide and found a pasta and pizza restaurant in a different part of the park that sounded good, so we managed to find the train (you would think it was sign posted) and waited around 15 mins for the train to take us what would have taken 5 mins to walk to the other area, only to be advised the pizza restaurant was closed and there was an hour wait for the carvery in another restaurant; and the best option was to return to the entry point and try the restaurant there. When we did make it back we ordered pizza and chips for our hungry 7 yr old. It was just under £5, and consisted of a dried out and burned single slice of pizza and some chips. She had to eat her 2 yr old brothers left overs to fill her tummy.

Not impressed, and spoiled a rare opportunity to have a day with the kids.

Helpful?
Thank DelJuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Brilliant family fun day”
Reviewed March 6, 2014 via mobile

Me my partner and kids came to Conkers during the half term we had lots of fun in the exhibition area where there was lots to do and we watched a fantastic show in side which my kids absolutely loved. My kids also enjoyed the ranger activities a craft and the train was a big hit too. Great day will be back again soon.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Chambers1310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ConkersAttraction, General Manager at Conkers, responded to this review, May 7, 2014
Thank you for your review - I was happy to hear you had an enjoyable visit to conkers and hope to see you all again soon. Check out the website for future ranger activities

Kindest regards
Chris Sturdy
Regional General manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burton, United Kingdom
1 review
“great day”
Reviewed March 6, 2014

had a brilliant day with my family at conkers, full of educational activities , outdoor activities as well as inside. Great value for money and i shall be coming again.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank samanthasilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ConkersAttraction, General Manager at Conkers, responded to this review, May 7, 2014
Thank you for your review - I was pleased to hear of your enjoyable day out - please visit us again soon.

Best Wishes
Chris Sturdy
Regional General manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Fear and loathing in Ashby-de-la-Zouch”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

Actually we had quite a good day out at Conkers, but not for the reasons you would think. We drove an hour and a half and when we arrived it looked nice. The first thing we were confronted by with the Discovery centre.

Discovery, hmmm. All our kids discovered was a new level of terror, horror and disappointment. We were two couple and four kids, two of six and two of two years old. After a long journey the kids ran off into the discovery centre, excited to finally get there. It was a discombobulating arrangement of ecology based infortainment activities that were too close together to easily navigate pushchairs. The kids dissappeared into the maze and we couldn't track them down, after recoveriing the toddlers I found my 6 yr old daughter staring in abject terror at one of the displays.

Now we all know that decomposition is an important part of the life cycle, so if you are going to demonstrate to children you might have thought a time lapse video of some rotting carrots or vegetation would easily illustrate the point, not three large screens, one showing a fox, one a rabbit, and one a rat (?) being eaten by maggots over the course of ten seconds, only for the loop to start again, constantly. Frankly it was like Stanley Kubrick had decided to remake "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover"" as a 4D kids show display. We ushered everyone out as quick as we could just amazed at what they were thinking.

At this point I should state that we aren't namby, pamby cotton wool parents. Our kids eat mud and get mucky, and my daughter is an intelligent, tomboyish sort of girl. This was beyond the pale.

Most of the displays were broken,some had tubes of liquid that were filled with dirty,algae water. Things that were supposed to light up or makes noises just didn't. I would say maybe 60% were broken.

Deep inside this poorly lit area we found the "Enchanted Garden" which was clearly marked "No under Fours", but bizarrely didn't have any sort of gate, so my 2yo son followed his sister up the stairs into a dimly lit sort of tunnel network. My wife shot up after him but they couldn't be located. Not by the hole in the floor, that dropped into a rope net, that had fading safety tape round it (the hole was actually supposed to be there). Eventually, she found the pair of them by a black tunnel, my son had gone through to be confronted (and no tripadviser review involving kids entertainment should really ever need the word "confronted"), by a projection of a large spider scuttling towards him. Of course he burst into tears. So I would like to thank Conkers now for the night terrors this will undoubtedly produce, and a lifelong arachnophobia that awaits him.

We tried the "treetop walkway". We went up in a scuffy lift to a corridor about ten metres long, in darkness with some bats with red LED eyes at the end that wobbled about. It didn't go outside into treetops, it was just a back corridor up a lift.

We left this and went back to the hallway where my daughter burst into tears. "Whats wrong?" I asked.
"Dad, that was really scary" she replied.

"Lets go outside!" we said with that kind of false smile that conveys to kids "Everything is alright" but the eyes that say to other parents "What the hell is going on!" You know the one.

Outside there was a nice little lake and a sign that said "Avery". Birds! Pretty Birds! That'll take their minds off the corpses and terror.

It was an Owl.

One sad looking little owl. One sad Owl does not an avery make.

We decided to walk round a bit. We found an assault course which was over thirteens only, so no dice there.

We found the "Fairy maze". Oh that sounds delightful, and at the top had some sort of treehouse. Wow. As we got closer we realised some of the fencing had been kicked in and new entrances and exits trampled through by people. There were no fairies to be found (had they been stolen? or whisked away by Oberon to a happier place?) and the tree house had no way up.

We walked through some form of swamp ecology past a container with "scrap" spray painted on the side. Back to the discovery centre. We went and found the little train which slowly wound past such highlights as piles of rotting pallets and perhaps a septic tank, it arrived at a pretty good play park. No seriously this was pretty good. We decided to eat our picnic to be contronted by another bizarre design decision. There were 4 full picnic tables in the play park with loads of space for more, but the other six were by the train station overlooking a carpark and out of view of the play park itself. We ate lunch overlooking the carpark.

The kids had a great time in the playpark, and while there I had an epihany. As I watched the groups of irritated, fractiouis parents filed off the train I realised it was laughably bad. If I was angry about it, I would spoil the day, and the weather was lovely. The only thing you could do was laugh.

We walked past the other visitors centre were there was a closed cafe, a bit of decking looking out over a deep pond with only two ropes to stop kids falling in. A "wildlife garden" which was about 10ft square which obviously hadn't been tended for a very long time (not just since last summer) around some forest with discarded electrical cables at one point (so I moved them out of the way of the buggies), past some dead looking ponds which had the stands for information signs on them, but not the actual signs.

You get the picture. It wasn't tired as some have said it was exhausted, rambling and pointless, a little like my review.

I want to point out the the Manager that I really wouldn't respond to this review as it may prompt me to make some official complaint, but he made some points about attractions to the place in an earlier response.

Westminster Woodland - OK
Activity Trail - Inactivity trail
Wildlife Pond - I doubt this had any life in it
The Fairy Labyrinth - Broken, no fairies
Wildlife Trail - where?
Willow Swamp - The "scrap" container
The Forest Interactive Hall - Broken, terrifying
The Enchanted Forest play area - YOUR CHILDREN WILL KNOW FEAR!!
Water Play - Fine, but delapidated, needed a clean
Recycled Maze - Where?
Viewing Tower - A what? Where?
Story Teller Pavilion - Covered in white gunk from Christmas (This was March, another review mentions its still there in May)
Lakeside Trails - No signs, scruffy
Barefoot Walk – Barefoot? really?
Forest Garden - A what?
Adventure Play - Best found free in any local park
Indoor Play – Billy Bonkers - Again can be found at any town for a lot less than £30, and was £1.50 more.
Covered Amphitheatre - Mildew
Woodland - OK
Wetland Board Walks - OK

So everything nature provided was OK, most of the stuff they built was decaying, scruffy, badly maintained and just unloved.

I would write more but my daughter has just come downstairs because she can't sleep becuase of the bats and the spider, and the maggots. Great.

So why, when it was pretty full is it like this. My guess is when it was built 15 years ago lots of companies sponsored it (there are more sponsor signs than directions), to offset their carbon. Once done the money dried up and its just rotting away, perhaps the maggots were an analogy sorely lost on a crying 6 year old.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
32 Thank Piratepete2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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