Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Review - MoneySupermarket's Britain's Best Days Out - Amazonia

It’s winter. The weather is rubbish. And all anyone wants at the this time of year is a holiday. So when we had the chance to visit a tropical rainforest, we jumped at the chance! OK, so it wasn’t a lovely 2 week long holiday to some far flung place, but as part of MoneySupermarket’s Britain's Best Day Out. We were very lucky to receive MoneySupermarket Days Out Vouchers for a family pass to Amazonia, a Rainforest experience within M&Ds Theme Park near Motherwell, Scotland.

We have been to the zoo and farms with the girls before, so we were pretty certain they would enjoy seeing some animals and I was hopeful they would even take part in the handling sessions which are run.

On arriving at Amazonia, you access through M&Ds park, which can be quite costly if you don’t walk quickly! Lots of games to play, carousel, bowling and sweet machines.
The building which Amazonia itself is housed in, looks quite tired, however it is ultimately, a massive greenhouse so can't be too fancy.

On entering we were told we could attend a handling session, where the girls could handle tarantulas, snakes, frogs and lizards to name a few. At only £1 each per session (a paying adult must accompany any children), this was quite reasonable, however it’s possibly something which Amazonia could look to include in their overall ticket cost. We arrived at around 11.45am and the next handling session was at 1.30pm.

At the entrance, everyone is encouraged to leave any jackets in lockers provided – these aren’t secure, so I would recommend removing anything of value and ensure you take this with you.

On entering the ‘rainforest’, its lovely and warm with a selection of animals to see. The ground can be a little wet due to the watering of the plants etc, so hold onto any little ones hands as you go round.
Our girls were interested in seeing the snakes and spiders, which we saw as soon as we went in.

In addition, there were parrots, turtles, caymens, monkeys and a gorgeous toucan with his brightly coloured beak and feathers – this was my favourite!

We also saw leaf cutting ants marching back and forward and there was a separate nocturnal section for those animals who preferred the dark.
The girls were a bit wary of going in here as it was so dark, however once in, they were interested to know what was inside.

We managed to see the fruit bats just at feeding time, which meant we learned some facts about them. Did you know there are 3 types of bat – insect eating bats, fruit bats and vampire bats – luckily the ones we saw were fruit bats and we were able to see them tucking into a selection of fresh fruit.

One of my girls doesn’t particularly like loud noises, so she was finding the squawking of the parrots a little too much and after about an hour, we were ready to leave.

To be honest, I think we would have struggled to spend much more time here, as you really only go and see all of the animals once.

We were disappointed that it was still a while to wait before the next handling session – this is something which would have been good to do, however due to the time we went to Amazonia, we would have had to wait another 45 minutes for the session.
This is worth bearing in mind when you go along – try to time your visit so you can also attend a handling session when you’re there, as after you have paid your extra £1 per person, it is non refundable.

After seeing the animals, there is also a small gift shop, which the girls enjoyed having a look around in.

Overall we enjoyed our visit, however I wouldn’t base a full day out around Amazonia alone. We struggled to fill the hour we were there and I would suggest that if finances allow, you incorporate your visit with perhaps some bowling, or a go on a few of the rides, as this will also allow you flexibility for attending the handling sessions if they are later in the day.

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