Trying to find activities in the holidays to keep three children happy is a challenging task. Trying to find something to entertain a ten year old, a twelve year old and a 4 year old is virtually impossible. With the promise of Extreme, Thrilling and Fun rides we were optimistic that Thorpe Park might just have something to keep all ages amused.
When we arrived, we decided to build up gently and joined the line for Storm Surge, a family-friendly water ride. Although I was feeling pretty brave standing in the queue, I could see Belle, 10, looking over longingly at Stealth. I, however, was resolving that I indeed was never going to brave enough to face that speed and height. Despite being one of the water rides where you potentially don’t get soaked, a really ‘lovely man’ used one of the squirters to completely drench us just before we were about to get off. The kids loved that and I, well, I dried quickly.
Belle led the way to Stealth and my husband stepped up to the mark and said he’d go on with her. It did look truly thrilling- 0-80 mph in 2 seconds and up to 250ft before you can say “scream”, this was a baptism of fire for my adrenaline seekers. Despite looking slightly shaken when getting off, they declared it as both ‘terrifying and exhilarating’. Just watching it was stomach turning- it really is formidable!
My son, 12, having originally resolved he would stick to rides in the ‘Thrilling and Fun’ category, decided he wanted to challenge his fear and we headed over to Nemesis Inferno. Mini and I watched as people hung in their seats flinging upside down, side to side and every which way possible. Even though Mini and I were on the ground, she was very happy watching, giving a running commentary on the rides loops and turns.
All came off smiling, although Belle was a little disappointed with herself for keeping her eyes shut! Having conquered his fear, my son gained confidence and was desperate to find the next Extreme ride. However, we decided it was only fair to take Mini on some rides to reward her patience!
The big kids were more than happy to accompany Mini on The Flying Fish, which is a ride designed for those over 0.9metres to gain their adrenaline apprenticeship. I went on and despite looking pretty tame, it was actually a great novice roller coaster experience. Despite smiling all the way round, Mini declared she would ‘never, ever go on it again. It was sooo scary.’ It had the intended effect then- aren’t the best rides the ones where you come off saying you’d never go on them again, but secretly want to?!
I was pleasantly surprised to see familiar lunch break options- Pizza Hut, Burger King, Fish and Chip shop and BBQ Bar amongst others. After filling our bellies, we aired on the side of caution and concentrated on rides for Mini. We rode the Rocky Express and she loved the Chief Ranger’s Carousel and went on it three times. There were other options open to her at 0.95m, but she had had her fill of rides and was content watching the other family members scare themselves silly on the more adventurous rides.
Colossus was a favourite of the older children, a roller coaster with ten loops in total. As it was decided I would accompany them, I was quite relieved when they announced they wanted to go on together without me! I did brave ‘X’, although was a little unsure exactly what it entailed. Described as a ‘Ride on a wave of light and sound’ and being for those over 1m, I didn’t think it would be too scary. It was perfect for me- fast, exciting, in the dark but without the loops and incredibly high drops. Tech Boy and Belle also loved it and went on a further 2 times as there was no queue, despite being advertised as a 30 minute wait. I would recommend checking wait times with entrance staff as sometimes lines were shorter than expected, but some waits were longer than suggested.
Tidal Wave was our favourite water ride. I say ‘our’ because although I didn’t go on it, I LOVED watching the others getting soaked. And they really did get wet- they actually had to wring their tops out. Not brave enough for Tidal Wave, I did enjoy Logger’s Leap with 2 high drops leaving me slightly wet, but not drenched.
Desperate to complete the day with either Saw or Swarm, we headed across the park, stopping to go on the Detonator. If only I didn’t have a fear of falling, I could have fancied being dropped from a huge height…
Once up close, Tech Boy and Belle came to the conclusion that they weren’t quite brave enough for Saw and Swarm. They did look truly frightening, but strangely enticing at the same time. We decided that we’d have to go them first on a next visit.
So my mission to find something to entertain all members of the family was complete. Although ultimately appealing to the older children, Mini didn’t whinge once during the day, and there was plenty to keep her occupied. We were there until closing time without a single argument between siblings or adults. Quite an accomplishment I think you’ll agree.
If you fancy a day at Thorpe Park, they have a couple of great offers on at the moment:
If you buy a full-priced ticket, for a small fee you can upgrade it to a Thorpe Park Annual Pass, giving unlimited access to the park for the rest of the season until it closes on 4 November, 2013.
Sun Scream: from Wednesday August 23 to Sunday September 1, you can experience 10 days of extra thrills around the park. There will be plenty of FREE family fun extras, including daytime silent discos, adrenaline-fuelled stunts, plus freestyle hip-hop and beat box performances and workshops.
We absolutely loved our time at Thorpe Park and all agreed it was a superb day out. There was something for everyone and we are itching to return to take it up a notch in the adrenalin stakes. Our goals for a future visit include Belle keeping her eyes open on the rides and tackling Swarm, Tech Boy conquering Saw- The Ride, and me? Well, actually to go on at least one Extreme ride. I think I could, but maybe that’s very easy to believe sitting safely in the comfort of my kitchen…
Disclaimer: We were invited to visit the theme park as guests of Thorpe Park. We were provided with entrance tickets for the family.