But now with children, going back isn't just about the thrills, its about having a fun day out with my family with rides that everyone can enjoy. We've been a few times with them, my daughter was a about 2 last time we visited, it was then she fell in love with Rosie and Thomas. Her excitement to go back meant we were being asked if it was time to go to Thomas Land pretty much every day leading up to our visit.
With both of them now old enough and tall enough to go on everything it meant we could have a proper family day out with everyone going on the rides. Thomas Land is ideally aimed at younger children, my son who is almost eight still thoroughly enjoyed the rides and me at a mere 21 plus a few years had equally as much fun. My 5 year old daughter absolutely loved all of it, although she was reluctant to go on the Troublesome Trucks ride to start with, after she had seen how much fun it was she was on them and enjoying them immensely.
Each of the rides offer something different, whether it is the Captains Sea Adventure which is kind of like a static river rapids, to Rocking Bulstrode who was in his own way was a bit like the pirate ship, there was something for everyone big and small.
We popped in for a bit of a blogger catch up in the VIP suites in Sodor Airport, the perfect way to warm up and have a cuppa, the VIP rooms are really well laid out and are available for private parties. I can't imagine anything better for a child who loves Thomas and his friends than a party at Thomas Land. a day there with food, rides and an incredible view over Thomas Land.
After this we headed over to the zoo, you can take the train over to the zoo however we thought a walk would be good and we'd catch the train back. I think this is one of the reasons why we have loved Drayton Manor so much, both of our children have always loved animals and it really breaks the day up from just being all about the rides It also offers an element of calm amongst the mayhem.
As we wandered around the many enclosures it was difficult to choose a favourite animal, but I think mine has to be the endearing meerkats, my son chose everything as he is a proper animal lover, my daughter loved the parrots and my husband liked the black leopard best. There is a wonderful selection of animals for children of all ages, from the exotic, like flamingos and tigers, to more domestic animals like guinea pigs, with plenty in between.
A trip to Drayton Manor wouldn't be complete without a trip through the Dino Trail, my son was five the last time we went and he loved it then, nothing has changed and he still loved it now, he was even a little bit scared of running through them alone. It is the perfect place for a photo op and although we probably looked a little crazy we all got into the spirit and did what any normal person would do when faced with the fearsome T-Rex....run!
The children had a good half an hour play on Spencer's Outdoor Activity Park which is located next to the Dino Trail, there are a lot of picnic benches in this area so a great place to stop for some lunch. Next to the farm area of the park is the Discover Thomas Exhibition and Terence's Driving School, the kids were brilliant at the driving and there wasn't a huge queue so they had lots of fun learning to drive round the track.
After we finished walking round the zoo, we headed back on Thomas to Thomas land, a highlight for my daughter, as we chugged along back through the trees it was a welcome treat for my feet which by this point were aching. Once we arrived back at Thomas Land, we managed to squeeze in a few more rides as well as a chat with the Fat Controller, the perfect ending to the day before we headed through the gift shop and home.
Although only Thomas land was open during our visit, once the season starts properly on March the 12th, there will be plenty of thrills and spills to enjoy, with many rides for the young and old, including the monochrome big wheel and the old faithful pirate ship.
Whatever you look for in a family day out, Drayton Manor Park is sure to have it, I shall leave you with one final momento of our day, a little video my son and husband made on the Troublesome Trucks, we all thoroughly enjoyed this ride.
NB: Thank you to Drayton Manor for inviting us to visit the park, all opinions and pictures are my own.