Another day, another post about one of our local adventures! This time a review of Pettitts Animal Adventure park, which is based in Reedham, and is close to both Great Yarmouth and the Norfolk Broads. Pettitts offers theme park rides, animals as well as animal encounters, parks and playgrounds, and entertaining shows. It is a classic theme park….but smaller. I would say it is best suited to primary school-aged children, with older children preferring something a little more thrilling. But my boys LOVED it, and at 5 and 8, were the perfect ages for everything offered.
Note: Pettits closes for the winter season, and isn’t due to reopen until Easter this year, so this review is based on our last visit, which was during Halloween half term (the last day before they closed for the winter, in fact!)
Pettitts is an animal adventure park, and it lives up to its name with the number of animals you can see! Obviously, this isn’t a zoo (so don’t expect lions and elephants!). We boys loved how close they were able to get to the playful raccoons, we went to an animal petting session where they held rats, rabbits and bearded dragons, and there is also a large farm where you can interact with all the traditional farm animals, as well as feeding and petting a huge pen full of goats.
In terms of more ‘exciting’ animals, we loved to see the meerkats, were amazed at just how many reptiles were in the reptile house, there were aviaries full of exotic birds, and cheeky marmosets who made us laugh with their antics. I will reiterate again, if you come expecting a zoo you’ll be disappointed (and Norfolk certainly boasts better zoos) but in conjunction with the other elements of the park, there were plenty of animals for an entertaining day out.
The boys are theme park junkies, so it comes as no surprise that their favourite part of Pettitts was the rides. These were age-appropriate for both boys, and all were family-friendly too, which meant the four of us could ride together. If you’re looking for big thrill rides then you’re going to be disappointed, but there are two small junior roller coasters, some classic spin and circle rides, and a hot air balloon ride the boys loved so much that we must have ridden it a dozen times.
Some of the rides were obviously ripped off from Disney (think Dumbo flying elephants and a junior coaster that called itself ‘the wildest ride in the wilderness’) but if anything this only added to the charm of the place rather than took anything away. The queue times were always short, and the friendly staff were happy (and even encouraged) the children to ride again if there was no one else in the queue.
THE PLAY AREAS
The play areas at Pettitts are big, well thought out, and plentiful. At the main play area (a monolithic wooden structure where the boys played for at least an hour) there was an abundance of seating for waiting parents. There was also only one entry and exit to this playground, which made me feel safe even though the playground was so big I couldn’t see the kids at all times.
Other play areas included a JCB-themed sand play area, with slides and functioning diggers, and there were also two huge slides that you whizzed down on straw mats. Like most kids, the boys love a playground, so they were delighted to be left to their own devices and play games together, whilst I supervised from a comfy deckchair with my face turned towards the sun! Some areas of the park can feel a little older/run down, but it certainly doesn’t impact on the fun, or act as enough of a deterrent to a brilliant day.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Unlike so many other theme parks, picnics are encouraged at Pettitts, and there is an abundance of seating areas; covered and uncovered, in shaded spots and out in the sunshine. We brought our own packed lunch and then shared chips to put in our sandwiches. We then had giant ice cream sundaes from the ice cream parlour later in the day (and huge donuts for breakfast, calories be damned!) These were good quality, delicious, and reasonably priced, so three big ticks from us! Other eateries included a donut stand, sweet shop, coffee shop serving Costa coffee, and the cafe where we fetched our chips did serve hot meals if you wanted something more substantial to eat.
This is one of the things I really like about Pettitts: at other theme parks you feel forced to pay extortionate fees for mediocre food, but here bringing your own is just so easy.
As Pettitts is closed until Spring, 2022 ticket prices aren’t available yet, but the link to purchase tickets is here. One feature of particular note (particularly if you live locally) is that once you have purchased a ticket, you can use that ticket to return again for half price at any point during the year. This is incredibly good value, and something we take advantage of, taking the boys in both the Easter Holidays, and for the Halloween event. We already have their opening weekend marked in our calendars, and are looking forward to going back and enjoying more of what Pettitts has to offer!