This week we got the chance to visit what is my childhood theme park, where my love of all things thrilling began, Paultons Park. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we were to be back at the park after nearly 15 years and to experience Tornado Springs. In this update I will take an in depth look at this latest expansion and what else you can get up to throughout the park.
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As I mentioned Paultons Park has a huge part of my heart, my first rollercoaster, my first pirate ship and lots of lovely family memories. This trip was also super special as I was celebrating my 30th birthday in the park! We wanted to have a nostalgic journey back in time and Paultons did not disappoint.
Paultons Park prides itself on being the Number 1 UK family theme park and this could not be any truer. The entire park is just beautifully themed and filled with incredible gardens and flower displays. Peppa Pig world is just fantastic, so colourful and delightful to look at and we even tried out a few of the rides. We really loved the feel of the park, everyone was enjoying themselves and there was not a sad face in sight.
A Lot has changed since I last stepped foot inside the park including two large expansions I had yet to explore. The wonderful and truly mind blowing Tornado Springs and a trip back 66 million years ago in The Lost Kingdom. As I said previously I hadn’t visited for 15 years so for me it was like visiting a completely new park.
As soon as you step through the entrance you are completely immersed in the beauty of the park. Paultons really prides themselves and their staff with the most beautiful gardens, decor, enthusiasm and overall quality throughout. I took a lot of time to really get a good look at everything and here I hope to show off the park that I do believe is the number 1 family park in the UK.
The park not only has a huge variety of family friendly attractions but a big selection of birds and some animals too. Nestled within the gardens are enclosures displaying birds like owls and flamingos. The enclosures are large and the animals all look very well looked after which for me is a huge importance.
I really enjoyed visiting Little Africa and getting to see the meerkats being fed. They also have a large walkthrough aviary, lots of cute and very fluffy animals, and some spikey ones too. Sadly the inside enclosures were closed due to covid so we missed out on meeting the Gambian pouch rat!! It is a lovely addition to the park and especially if you are visiting with young children it’s an added extra to your day out.
We decided to take a walk around the lake and through their dedicated walking trail. We got to see the watermill which is still in working order and some baby ducks! It’s a really lovely walk and on a quiet day I would definitely recommend taking the scenic route to the next section of the park.
Popping out into Critter Creek and to where my love for all things theme park started with what is now the Cat-O-Pillar Coaster. Originally named The Stinger this is a small steel family Coaster built by Zierer. It opened in 2000, features a figure of 8 layout, and runs two laps. We had to ride this Coaster and even for a family Coaster it was fun if not just purely nostalgic.
The Critter Creek area really hasn’t changed too much from what I can remember. When I was young there was an incredibly cute Wind in the Willows walk through which remains at the park but is sadly closed due to covid. It has been rethemed to Beastie Burrow and I really look forward to returning and getting to see what it’s like now! There are a few other children’s rides themed to the area which were very sweet too. The area was full of little garden sections full of critter scenery and bug models. I really love Paultons entrances to their areas too!!
After leaving Critter Creek we headed towards The Lost Kingdom. Opening in 2016 and a huge investment for the park, the area takes you back to interact with dinosaurs. I am a huge fan of dinosaurs and was super excited to get my claws into the area. I had done a little research on the area and was really looking forward to jumping on Flight of the Pterosaur.
On my way to ride we were in perfect time for the meet and greet with the resident baby T-rex Spike! A perfect birthday present for a huge dinosaur nerd! The member of staff working with Spike was great and really got the attention of all the children queuing eagerly to meet a dinosaur. You can have your photo taken with Spike and it is available to purchase in the shop as a souvenir.
Up next we took a ride on Flight of the Pterosaur. This suspended family coaster built by Vekoma is a great addition to the park. Hitting speeds 34mph/54km it a great and fun ride. The theming as also great and having just lap restraints really gives you a freer ride experience.
The Lost Kingdom is also home to the junior Vekoma Boomerang Coaster Velociraptor which opened with the area in 2016. It is a fun ride, a great introduction to coasters for children, and of course a great credit for us enthusiasts.
Throughout the entire prehistoric area you are fully immersed within the theme, from rock walls to huge plants and nearly 30 animatronic dinosaurs coming to life around every corner. For dinosaur loving children I can really imagine this is a dream come true!
You can also ride another Zierer Coaster called Dino Chase. Originally named The Flying Frog, this family coaster opened in 2003 and was rethemed to fit in with the area for 2016. It’s a cute little Coaster with a stegosaurus train! For me and my sister visiting this was an important Coaster as we have the cutest picture of us as kids, which we of course had to recreate, the perfect memory!
We took a 4×4 ride through the lost kingdom with The Dinosaur Tour Co, a great little tracked ride themed around of course dinosaurs. Jumping into a 4×4 for a tour guide of the dinosaurs you would have encountered going back in time. Just watch out for the water!
Other rides in this area include Temple Heights (a Magic Carpet ride), Boulder Dash (a Demolition Derby) with super cute spinning dinosaur eggs!! And of course Alive! The Dinosaur encounter!
Heading out of dinosaur heaven we move towards the next section of the park containing rides like Magma and The Cobra. We started with a ride on Magma the parks twisting drop tower. Built by SBF Visa and standing at 25m, this is tallest ride in the park. Themed around a volcano it gives great views of the park from the top.
Sadly The Edge was closed and awaiting a replacement part for the ride, due it June 2021. It is Zamperla Mega Disk O’Coaster, similar to The Cobra at Chessington World of Adventures.
Next up was The Cobra, a Gerstlaur bobsled Coaster with a top speed of 29mph/46km. This great ride features some famous camel hump hills and is the only one of its kind in the UK. The cars of course are snakes which twist and turn around the track with quite some force. I really love the area around the Cobra, the grass is so green and there is a giant hedge made into a Cobra!!
Walking passed the huge grassy areas for picnics and events you start to head towards the water rides. This area is much like I remember it as a child, with the original Raging River Ride, Digger Ride and Seal Falls. Not much has changed and it’s a perfect area for a hot sunny day to cool down with your family and friends. The park has added the Water Kingdom, a water play area with lots of large tipping buckets and water jets! Next to this is a huge kids play area! The area also has a really beautiful Zierer Sky Swinger! It’s decorated so nicely and is of course surrounded by plants and flowers.
The park is also home to a Go Kart track, a pirate ship, teacups and the dragon boat ride! All of which have been at the park for as long as I have visited! The park really does have something for everyone!
We couldn’t visit the park without taking a journey into the world of the most famous pig, Peppa! Peppa Pig World is the first and only (until Peppa Pig World Florida opens) land exclusively themed around the popular TV show Peppa Pig. You are of course greeted with the catchy theme tune and pig noises as you walk into the most colourful area of any park I’ve ever been too. Everything here is especially vibrant and in true Paultons style you are fully immersed into the area.
Feeling like I fell into the TV and bumped my head, in front of me a meet and greet with Peppa and George had the hugest queue (sorry everyone I didn’t get to meet Peppa!) It was amazing to see the amount of happy families really enjoying the UKs best family area in the sunshine. All the rides are brightly coloured and extra big in size.
We decided to jump on a few of the rides, one of our favourites was the incredibly cute Grampy Rabbit’s Sailing Club! A Mack Rides water ride, sailing past characters from the show. It was really peaceful and on such a sunny day a real treat to sit and enjoy on what’s usually a long and busy day at a park.
We really felt no need to rush anything at Paultons Park and took our time to explore and enjoy ourselves. The park is just such a treat to visit and one certainly not to miss for anyone at any age.
So onto the part we’ve all been waiting so patiently for, Tornado Springs!!
Can I just start by saying wow, what an amazing area! Paultons should be incredibly proud of what is certainly the most immersive and well themed area in the UK! I was completely blown away by the attention to detail, they really really put a lot of care and thought into the area.
As you walk up to the entrance for Tornado Springs you are greeted by the huge and very photogenic Storm Chaser and a Route 83 sign. This establishes the area’s 1950’s American western desert theme which encompasses all 8 rides and attractions.
No stone has been left unturned with theming the area. There are all sorts of tractors, plants, critters, signs, windmills, anything you’d imagine would be there is there. We took a good walk around to just take it all in.
We of course decided to ride Storm Chaser first and we were not disappointed. With it being a Monday there were practically no queues and we walked straight onto the ride. The queue line was heavily themed to the ride and area, with flashing dim lights, giving you the feel that you were heading towards a tornado. It felt like entering a storm shelter and really gave you the fully immersive experience.
Walking into the station you cannot see any of the ride. The station Is inside a barn which really adds suspense to the ride.
Storm Chaser is a Mack rides spinning Coaster and a clone of Sierra Sidewinder at Knotts Berry farm in California, USA. With 16 riders per train split into two rows in each car. Hitting 37mph/60km and pulling 3.2gs this ride is just what the UK needed.
The ride itself is much faster and more forceful than I expected. But this is only a good thing as the park now has a wider variety of coasters to please all the family. From young kids to adults everyone seemed to love the ride and I heard nothing but good things about it.
The hype for this ride was unreal, the amount of advertising with videos across all social channels meant that no one didn’t know about this ride. It was so anticipated and sadly again which seems to be a theme, the corona virus had a huge Impact on the park opening their latest and proudest expansion.
So let’s talk about the ride experience. As I said early the ride is much more forceful and fast than I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a family Coaster and came off thinking this might be one of the top family coasters in the UK. It certainly is my favourite out of the spinning coasters we have here.
Climbing up the lift hill you get a great view of the park and heading into the first section you start to pick up speed and start spinning. The ride is just full of twists and turns and is lucky to be a free spinning Coaster, meaning that every ride is different. Heading through the large helix over the entrance to Tornado Springs you then drop down and through more and very close to the ground helixes. The ride itself only lasts a minute but it’s a great minute. You can watch our POV soon on our YouTube to really get a feel of what it’s like to chase the storm.
There are a few other rides in the area, some of which have been rebranded but three are completely new for the area. The Cyclonator, Al’s Auto Academy and the Windmill Towers. The area has its own dedicated food served from the Route 83 Diner. Rebranding of the dingy water ride now called Buffalo Falls. And also the rebrand of children’s tractor ride now called the Trekking Tractors.
We decided to check out the route 83 diner for lunch and got to take a good look inside. Although having to enjoy our lunch outside due to inside restrictions both the inside and out and hugely decorated and perfectly themed. The diner has quite a lot of food on offer, as well as milkshakes and pancakes for breakfast before 11.30am.
We really enjoyed our food and would highly recommend stopping there!
After lunch we took a trip on the Rio Grand Train which has been at the park since 1987. Taking you around the park and through the new Tornado Springs area. Great for taking pictures of the park and letting those tornado fries go down!
Were really glad we got on the train as next up we went on the Cyclonator. This furious beast spins you and swings you into believing you are right in the storm. A great thrill ride reaching heights of 25m and is definitely the most thrilling ride in the park. Built by Zamperla, this gyro swing certainly left me in a spin! If you want to take a good look at the current development for the newest ride at Paultons then jump on the Cyclonator and you get a great view!
After this we took a ride on the Trekking Tractors. A cute little track ride through what is now the vegetable patch of tornado springs. Throughout the ride you can spot their pesky beavers hiding in the scenery!
The other two rides in the area were more aimed at kids but they did look amazing. Al’s Auto Academy is the brand new driving school. Children can earn their driver’s licence much like the experience at Legoland Windsor.
The Windmill towers are built by Zierer and are a great introduction to drop towers. Bouncing up and down and dropping slowly gives younger children a feel for falling. They are part of the tornado springs story in that they provide the town’s power.
Finally as I discussed slightly earlier, there is already a new roller-coaster being built. Over the back of Tornado Springs is the site for the park’s Farmyard Flyer. The construction is well underway with the foundations in place and the station almost finished. This is going to be a custom Zierer Force, another family Coaster to add to their collection. This is set to open in 2022 and we look forward to revisiting to experience it.
We took one more ride on Storm Chaser and unfortunately our day came to an end. We’d had a fantastic day at the park and I really cannot wait to visit again soon. We want to thank everyone at Paultons Park for all their hard work and enthusiasm we experienced whilst at the park. The park is just truly beautiful and colourful. The variety of rides is great and really is something for all members of the family.
See you at the next storm!