Attraction Review: The Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park


Since getting back from Orlando I've been in a bit of a weekend funk, choosing to lounge around in my PJs binge-watching Netflix. Enough, I said, and last weekend we headed south for another UK theme park fix to Paultons Park and the Lost Kingdom!

The Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park is the Hampshire family park's latest themed land following on from the hugely successful Peppa Pig World which opened in 2011 and has been a must visit for every UK parent with a toddler since. I hadn't visited the park since early 2011, so was intrigued to see how much had changed at a park many were now saying rivalled Chessington and LegoLand for the esteemed title of best UK family park.

So firstly, the entrance had changed massively. What used to be a humble wooden shed emblazoned with the now forgotten park mascot at the time Percy the Owl (RIP) was now a super modern looking building with a giant swanky toy shop on the left and a nicer park restaurant on the right. The entrance...well it doesn't scream theme park to me. Firstly, there's no park logo on the front so one could be forgiven for mistaking this clinical looking building for a local youth centre or similar. It's modern, yes, clean and fresh, yes absolutely, but it just doesn't scream 'theme park' from the exterior. I don't walk up to it and get excited for a day of fun like I do at Alton Towers.








Once inside things were beginning to look a little more familiar. We wandered through the quant British rose-gardens and topiaries and turned left, straight for the Lost Kingdom and, more importantly, +2 creds for me mwahaha! And then it rained. A lot. Bastards. We huddled under a nearby umbrella and that gave more time to take in our surroundings - and more importantly to us at that moment in time bemoan the lack of shelter from weather.




There were to be many more rain intervals like this during our visit, and we experience the same problem again and again, sheltering under trees, parasoles and the like. Not too annoying but feel like with the Great British weather being as it is a little more shelter might not go amiss.

Anyway, I digress. Lost Kingdom. Initial thoughts were: I'm getting wet. Secondary thoughts were: this is quite cool! I was concerned that it might look quite 'plonked' and so many themed areas in smaller parks tend to, but a good blend of foliage and rock work make the area flow rather nicely. As a Jurassic-Park-but-not this actually was minimal on the casual copyright infringement and instead chose to go for a more mystical element of dino theme. It confused me at first, but then I listened to the storyline playing in the queue for some of the rides and apparently there's something about digging in a mine and this is how the place was discovered. Neat! I like that Paultons Park have gone out of their way to steer clear of the Jurassic Park sinkhole by going in a totally different direction, it makes their area much more appealing and unique feeling.












Coasters then. First up was Flight of the Pterosaur, a Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster. Usually I find these incredibly dull, but the added rockwork and general flying around the area really adds to the ride and makes it much more of an experience. Plus it's great to look at off ride too, so ticks all the boxes! The other new-for-me coaster in the area was Velociraptor, a Vekoma Family Boomerang similar to Ben 10 at Drayton Manor. Again, this was made a lot more interested by its surroundings and I love the little details like the smashes walls of the station. I'm pleased Paultons Park chose to go with these coasters too, they offer something different to the UK family coaster-scape that is currently awash with Big Apples, Mack Powered affairs and the occasional custom job. Gives families a bit more variety and the chance for kids to 'build up' to taking on some of the bigger guys!

Annoyingly we missed the dino show, which I really wanted to see because the pics look fab. Anyway, a combination of rain, lunch and bad planning meant we missed it, but the arena looked great. Themed to a dino enclosure with signs of escape (OK, getting a little close to the Universal mark here but I'll forgive it for being cool) and complete with dino poo, one could easily be forgiven for mistaking this as an actual animal enclosure on first glance - really cool!













We also rode The Dinosaur Tour, a jeep safari thing that gets you a little closer to the kinder dino species (with a surprise at the end!) Here's my gripe with the area. The dinos themselves are a little ropey. In comparison with the excellent rockwork and foliage and other theming, these really cheapen the area and bring you back with crashing reality that this is a silly kids park. Which is a shame, because the rest of the area is really good!









The other newly themed area is Critter Creek, a kind of nightmarish Tim Burtons meets Looney Toons affair full of neon colours and bug eyed creatures. I really liked it for its wackiness, and you can't fault them for their originality on this one even if it was a little insane looking! Again, another great way of breathing life into a previously ignored area of the park.

We spent the rest of the day mooching around the rest of the park, feeling awkward in Peppa Pig World and reriding Magma, the fabulous airtime-filled drop tower before heading back to sunny London town.





Paultons Park is definitely on the up. I can't believe how different the place is after just five years away and if the Lost Kingdom is anything to go by I can't wait to see what developments the next five years will bring!

Have you visited the Lost Kingdom at Paultons Park? What did you think? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,


CONVERSATION

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