With the summer holidays in full swing, we went on a bit of an adventure.
We hopped on a train to Cardiff and went to spot some dinosaurs at the Jurassic Kingdom event in Bute Park. If you’ve not heard of it yet, Jurassic Kingdom is an outdoor dinosaur experience, perfect for a family day out.
The first event of its kind in the UK, Jurassic Kingdom has over 30 animatronic dinosaurs to discover, and is a brilliantly interactive way to learn about the different time periods when they roamed the earth.
The key information you need to know:
- The event is based around over 30 dinosaur installations, with animatronics and sound effects to bring them to life.
- The Jurassic Kingdom event is on in Bute Park in Cardiff from the 11th to the 27th of August, although it’s not open on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- It’s open from 10am until 6pm, with last entry at 5 o’clock. When you book your ticket you need to pick an hourly time slot to go in, but once you’re in you can stay for as long as you like.
- Tickets cost from £9.50 for a child (under 2s go for free) and £38 for a family. They’re a few pounds more expensive on the door so it’s worth buying in advance online.
- There’s no parking at the park itself but there are pay and display car parks in Sophia Gardens, Castle Mews and North Road. There are also multi-storey car parks at the St David’s centre and Capitol which are a little bit further away.
- If you’re travelling to Cardiff by train the event is about a 20 minute walk from Cardiff central station, or you can get a bus from there.
We visited the event the day before it officially opened and so not everything was fully ready and set up. Even so, we were there for about an hour and a half, happily wandering around and discovering all the different dinosaurs.
I would imagine that with everything up and running most families will end up staying for around 2 hours, maybe longer if you decide to grab some food from one of the street food vendors at the event.
You could even take your own picnic along and enjoy that in the park. It’s a really pretty setting and, well, when else would you be able to eat your lunch with the dinosaurs!
There are over 30 dinosaur installations at the event and they all look amazing.
We made our way over to the first few and were really impressed with how great they looked. I have to admit though that I was slightly underwhelmed after seeing the first few, because I was expecting them to do something and instead they seemed to just be static models.
I was busy taking photos of a few of them while the children went on ahead to find some more dinosaurs and the next thing I knew Nerys was running back to me, faster than I had ever seen her run before, with a look of panic on her face.
Then I heard the roar.
The event staff were busy working their way around turning the power on to the different models and the children had come across one that was raring to go. I think it was so unexpected that it panicked Nerys a bit.
Once she got used to them though, and was reassured that they weren’t able to actually ‘get’ her she was fine.
As for me, well, now things were interesting!
As more and more of the dinosaurs were turned on the whole event transformed into something really quite impressive.
When you approach the models they start to move in different ways. They might move their heads around, blink their eyes or open their mouths. The tails might wave around and they may move their arms about.
What’s really great though is the noises they make.
There was something almost eerie about walking around the park and hearing various growls and roars from amongst the trees.
We all really enjoyed wandering round the park and coming across all sorts of different dinosaurs, including several that weren’t actually dinosaurs at all.
One thing I really loved about Jurassic Kingdom was how it was really educational as well as entertaining. The dinosaurs were accompanied by information plaques so you could learn their names and a nice amount of information about the time period that they lived in and what sort of creature they were.
I found the time periods in particular fascinating.
I still tend to think that the dinosaurs all existed at the same time, when actually some of them lived millions of years apart. Did you know that we’re closer to the time of the T Rex, than T Rex was to the time of the Stegosaurus?
That honestly blows my mind a little bit.
For those who really want to come away from the event having learnt something, there will be an educational tent set up where you can go and watch some dino documentaries, but this wasn’t set up when we were there.
There are some lovely fun elements to the event too.
When we went the event wasn’t fully set up, but we could see a few interesting looking activities being prepared. There was a sandpit for children to dig in and presumably look for dinosaur bones, which my children would’ve really loved.
What we did get to enjoy though were the dinosaur eggs and heads that you can climb in the back of, for some really fun photo opportunities!
We had a really lovely time at Jurassic Kingdom and found it nice and easy to work our way around all the installations. The children are out of the buggy stage now so we didn’t have one with us but I would say the set up in Bute park is pretty buggy-friendly.
One thing that’s worth noting though is that you can’t take children’s scooters or bikes into the event, so it’s best to leave those at home.
With everything fully set up I think Jurassic Kingdom will be a fantastic experience for any families with dinosaur-obsessed little ones.
It is quite an expensive day out, especially if you end up buying food while you’re there. But it’s such a unique experience I think it’s worth it for anyone with children who have an interest in dinosaurs.
You’ll all come away having learnt some new, fascinating facts about the past and having had great fun too.
You can find out more information and book tickets at JurassicKingdom.uk/cardiff.
Disclaimer: we were invited along to Jurassic Kingdom for the purpose of writing this review.