Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, July 6, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post.
A big day out!
With Richard Thomas
...IF THE WEATHER'S GOOD
Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire, where you can see over 50 different species of animal, and vintage funfair.
Folly Farm is much more than just a zoo, the 200 acre park is also home to Europe's largest undercover vintage funfair with a huge collection of working rides and stalls including a vintage big wheel and giant helter skelter ride lovingly restored to their 20th century glory.
Folly Farm opened in 1988 following the decision by the owners, the Williams and Ebsworth families, to diversify from dairy farming into the leisure industry. In 1997 Pets Corner opened and in 2002 the first zoo animals arrived. In 2009 Folly Farm welcomed Wales' only giraffe to their zoo, a move that coincided with Folly Farm winning Premier Family Day Out at the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards that year. Today Folly Farm attracts 400,000 visitors each year, making it Wales' top paid-for tourist attraction.
WHERE? Located near the tourist town of Tenby in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside.
WHY? Folly Farm offers affordable fun days out for the whole family. In total there are six fun-filled amusement and activity zones, some of which are undercover. So there's plenty to do even if the weather continues to be bad.
WHEN? Folly Farm will be open 10am to 5pm daily throughout the summer months.
CONTACT: Phone 01834 812731.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? As long as you like.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? Folly Fram is fun for all the family. Tickets cost £9.75 for adults and £8.75 for seniors and children (3-15 year olds). Toddlers two years old and under visit Folly Farm for free! To save money buy tickets online at www.folly-farm.co.uk.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Folly Farm's Jolly Barn is home to a huge variety of farmyard animals, including sheep, pigs, donkeys, horses, chickens and other farm animals. There's also loads of opportunities for children to get hands-on during the Pet Handling sessions in the nearby Pets' Centre which is home to rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, parrots and lots more. But with over 50 different species and more than 250 animals, Folly Farm’s zoo is the big highlight. As well as giraffe Folly Zoo has zebra, Bactrian camels, pythons and other animals to see. And with zoo keeper talks, the chance to watch the animals during feeding times, and a whole host of fascinating facts on Folly Zoo’s animal enclosure signs, you’ll go home knowing a lot more about the different species. And if all that isn’t enough there’s even a go-kart racetrack!
HOW DO I GET THERE? For sat-nav users the address is and postcode is: Folly Farm, Begelly, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, SA68 0XA.
WHERE CAN I PARK? Folly Farm has a car park.
LUNCH? Food and drink are available at Folly Farm’s Ploughman's Restaurant.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? With over 30 rides and attractions including three roller coasters and four water rides, Oakwood Theme Park in Pembrokeshire attracts 400,000 visitors each year, making it one of the UK's top ten theme parks. Oakwood has a good variety of rides to suit all people and ages. Megafobia and Speed are the park's two most exciting roller coasters. In the Detailed Wood Roller Coaster Poll 2010 the 85-foot-tall Megafobia ranked number 30 in the world. Speed is an exhilarating ride, twisting and turning at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Bounce is a vertical ride, shooting you up into the air at more than 40mph. Together with the Hydro water ride, these four attractions form Oakwood’s “Big Four”, the ultimate adrenaline rush for thrill seekers! For the more wary and younger children there are also more family orientated rides, including The Pirate Ship and Snake River Falls. Oakwood is open 10am to 5pm, but isn't open everyday. To find out what days the park is open go towww.oakwoodthepark.co.uk.
...IF THE WEATHER'S BAD
lazerzone in Swansea, where you can take part in ultimate laser fun.
Fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger's favourite alter ego the T101 will recall the high-tech laser battle fought between humans and machines at the beginning of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. At Laserzone in Swansea you can get a taste of what it would have been like to be on the the set of James Cameron’s classic film, while you and your team take part in your own futuristic warfare.
WHERE? Lazerzone is located opposite Castle Square next to Swansea Castle.
WHY? Laserzone is a high-tech, live action laser game played in a multi-level themed arena with special effects, fog, laser beams, pulse pumping music and other players/targets combining to create the ultimate laser adventure.
WHEN? Laserzone is open seven days a week. Monday to Friday groups can play from 12pm to 10pm, and on weekends games are played between 10am and 9pm. During school holidays games start at 11am and finish at 10pm.
CONTACT: More information about game prices and opening times can be found atwww.laserzone.org or by phoning 01792 653433.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? Games last about 30 minuets.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? Anyone from 7 years old and up can play. Company groups can also book the whole area for themselves using Lazerzone’s exclusive booking facility.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? There are some arcade games to keep you occupied while you wait for your turn to play, but the highlight is definitely the Laserzone game itself. Each player is given a laser pack consisting of a laser weapon and body armour. The gun and body armour both have hit sensors built into them, all of which have different score ratings. Your end score depends on your hit to shots fired ratio and how many times you’ve been hit by other players. Up to 30 players can play at once and you can choose to either play as part of a team or go it alone as an individual.
HOW DO I GET THERE? For sat-nav users the address and postcode is: Laserzone, Castle Buildings, Worcester Place, Swansea, SA1 1JQ.
WHERE CAN I PARK? There is ample car parking next to Plantasia in Parc Tawe Retail and Leisure Park. Lazerzone is located just outside the shopping complex.
LUNCH? If you feel hungry after playing there are some snack machines to use and a pizza restaurant, Pizza Express, is just next door and there is also a McDonalds nearby.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? There is lots to do inside the Park Tawe shopping complex next door to Lazerzone.The Odeon is a 10 screen cinema situated in the Park Tawe shopping complex, right next door to Tenpin Bowling. For film times go to www.odeon.co.uk/fanatic/film_times/s19/Swansea.
There is also a Joes Icecream and Dinky Donuts inside the shopping complex just outside Plantasia, which is another great place to visit. The superb all weather attraction houses a huge variety of unusual animals and exotic plants, some of which are extinct in the wild. The tropical paradise is housed inside a unique glass pyramid and is just bursting with plants and wildlife. The hothouse contains three climate zones: Tropical with a rainforest, Arid and Humid. The collection includes over 5,000 plants ranging from banana plants, giant bamboo, coconuts and collections of ferns and cacti. Along with the plants there are several species of fish, exotic insects and other animals to see. These include piranhas, a bearded dragon, a chameleon, tarantulas, snakes and even tamarin monkeys. In the butterfly house butterflies can be seen flying freely and viewed at various stages of development. For more information go to www.plantasia.org.