AD | Gifted tickets
Somewhere I have always heard such great things about for a day out in Norfolk is Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure. We first visited with Erin during February half term earlier this year but we had to cut our trip short as my friend’s son wasn’t very well. Erin has been asking to go back ever since but as a non-driving family it’s pretty hard to get to. This year, Roarr! have done something really fantastic and put on a free bus, the DinoBus, from Norwich during the summer holidays. For us as a family, this was a pretty big deal so we couldn’t wait to try it out and have another visit to the park.
The DinoBus’ first pick up point is Norwich train station which for us, is perfect as we don’t have to walk far after getting the train in to the city. There are 2 pick up times in the morning and it takes 40 minutes to get to the park. There are 8 other pick up/ stop points between Norwich station and Roarr! and it does not stop anywhere else. For a return journey, there are only 2 pick up times and these are direct from the park. The DinoBus is a free service and runs on a first come, first served basis so you cannot book a seat. It is advised that you arrive early before each departure time to ensure you are able to board the bus! Unfortunately, we got a bit confused about where the bus stop was and we actually missed the first bus of the day. We were at Norwich train station and we thought the stop was the one just to the right of the station. We only realised just as we saw the bus pulling away that the stop is on Thorpe Road, so just outside of the station. It’s our fault for not paying attention more to the timetable. However, we got to Roarr! in the end and was ready for a really fun day.
We managed to get to the park just after opening time though and the queue was already getting quite big. It didn’t take us long to get through though as there was people helping before payment to say whether children had to be paid for or not. Roarr! recently changed their payment structure so now anyone over 90cm has to be paid for. There are easy checks in place to make the process really easy and quick which is great for really busy days.
Having been once before, I knew that the Dinomite Indoor Play Area would get really busy as the day went on so we decided to head there first. The soft play area is quite large and with a couple of really big slides. Erin threw off her shoes and ran in immediately, not being able to wait to explore. You need to be over 90cm to go on the slides and even though Erin is, we only let her on one of them as the others were just a bit too big for her. She loved the rainbow coloured slide though and went on a few times in a row. Dinomite also has a cafe with 200+ seats and an outdoor area so there’s plenty of space to sit and eat or have a drink in here.
Dinomite has another play area outside at the back so Erin had a quick play here before we took some silly photos in the dinosaur eggs! I actually think Erin spent more time in the eggs than she did playing. Roarr! has some great places for fun photos and it’s nice that this was something we could all do together, even if it wasn’t easy to get a picture of us all in the eggs.
Our next stop was to X-tinction, an area where you can hunt for dinosaur bones in the sand and go on a huge dinosaur slide. This is a really nicely shaded area of the park which is fantastic for when you need a bit of a break from the sun. There is a buggy park outside so there’s no need to worry about taking up loads of space inside. Erin really enjoyed playing in the sand and seeing what bones she could find. We came here at a really quiet time so she pretty much had it all to herself.
Around 11:30 Erin started to get really tired and grumpy so John took her off for a walk in the pushchair/ to have a nap while I looked around the Secret Animal Garden. We had tried to get Erin to go around but she was just too tired. I loved this area though and was kind of glad I got to look around it slowly and quietly. Inside the Animal Barn you can find small animals like guinea pigs, rats and rabbits as well as there being some adorable baby chicks this time. Outside there are animals like pigs, wallabies and goats!
After Erin woke up we did some digging in the sand pit and then John and Erin had a play on the racing carts. Erin was determined that she wanted to ride in her own but unfortunately she’s just a bit too small and the carts were really heavy so she couldn’t do it. However, there was a few carts with 2 seats, 1 for the driver and 1 for a passenger, so they had a few turns in that! There was quite a wait for the carts while we were there so we didn’t spend too long playing as we wanted to make sure other people could as well.
Something Erin had been asking to do since the minute we arrived was to go to the Splash Zone. This is only open seasonally so it wasn’t open the last time we went so Erin was really excited about it. Luckily I’d managed to keep her away until the end of the day. We went prepared with Erin’s swimming costume and shorts for John so he could go in with her. We visited on a pretty hot day so it was actually nice for them to be able to go in and get soaked while cooling down and having fun. You’re not allowed to take pictures in this area (and the staff were very good at asking people to stop if they tried) so the best I could do was the sign!
While Erin and John were in the Splash Zone I went off to the Dinosaur Trail on my own. We had been collecting stamps during the day to get a medal at the end but we were missing a couple and this was the only place we hadn’t looked. The Dinosaur Trail goes down some quite steep slopes so you need to take care especially if you have a pushchair with you. I actually cheated a bit and only went round half of the trail, which was long enough to get our last 2 stamps. I really loved seeing the big dinosaurs though and I’m quite sad Erin missed out on this bit.
By this point, we were all a bit hot and tired so we went for a little trip to Dippy-ville, a smaller indoor play area for younger children. It can be found at the back of the Splash Zone and I think it’s only open until September at the moment. This is quite a small and unsupervised area but there are big soft play blocks to play with and an interactive floor, as well as puzzles all around the walls. There was a lot of really young babies in there so we didn’t stay too long but it was nice to get out of the heat for a while and have somewhere cool to sit.
We decided to head home at 3:30 as we’d been at the park since 9:30. This time, we made sure there was no mistakes and we headed out to the front of the park a bit early to be sure we could catch the DinoBus home. The bus was already outside the park at 3:15 so there was plenty of time to get on and get ourselves sorted. There was a few families already on with pushchairs too but there was enough room for us all. I had a bit of a chat to the driver before we departed and he told me that the bus has proved to be really popular and made it possible for families who can’t drive to visit the park safely. To make it more fun he had also decorated his bus, dinosaur style, and I loved it!
Having the DinoBus available (even with our mistake) made it possible for us to go on a great family day out that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Our return bus home was quite full so it’s clear that people will use the service if they know about it. It’s absolutely one of our favourite days out and with so much to do there, we already want to go back again. I really hope this service is continued for other school holidays because it’s such a fantastic thing to do and it helps people have super fun as a family.
Find out more about Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure here.