Friday, 5 July 2013

Oakwood Theme Park

My column for the July 2013 issue of Swansea Life magazine.

Big Day Out!
With Richard Thomas
Oakwood Theme Park
ON LOCATION: Located off the A40 motorway at Canaston Bridge, 8 miles east of the town of Haverfordwest, Oakwood park provides fun for all the family, from white knuckle rides to dazzling firework displays and other special events Oakwood has it all. Also other family attractions including Fully Farm and Scolton Museum can be found near Oakwood Theme Park, just six miles away. 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.
OPENING HOURS: Oakwood is open 10am to 5pm, but isn‘t open everyday. To find out what days the park is open go to
CROWD SCENE: All age groups are welcome inside the park.
BACKSTORY: Oakwood Theme Park first opened in 1987 as Oakwood Leisure Park, a very small family park with BMXs, a wooden fort, a 3D-style cinema experience show, go-karts and a water chute ride. In 1996 Oakwood’s status as a small-scale regional attraction was completely transformed when the park opened Megafobia to the public. At that time Europe's largest wooden roller coaster ride. Since then the park has acquired a worldwide reputation for innovation and has since incorporated four more large thrill rides: Vertigo, Bounce, Hydro and the park’s newest roller coaster Speed opened in 2006.
NOTEWORTHY: 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.
WHAT TO TAKE? Food and drink are available in the park’s restaurants, the Southern-fried chicken at Dixie's Chicken Diner is good. There are also gift shops with t-shirts, mugs and other Oakwood Theme Park merchandise available to buy. You can also purchase photos of yourself on Megafobia and the other rides, but don’t forget to bring a camera with you to take your own snaps.
WHAT TO WEAR:  The park is set in 80 acres of Pembrokeshire open countryside, so wear flat footwear and all-weather gear. On some rides you can get wet or muddy, so bring a change of clothing with you. 
PARENTIAL GUIDELINES: There are height restrictions on some of the rides. For young families the park have bottle warming facilities at The Restaurant. There are also baby changing facilities in the toilets behind the Waterfall ride and the toilets in New Orleans next to the Brer Rabbit ride. The map you will be given at the entrance tills has these facilities clearly marked.
TOP TIP: Standard tickets for visitors over 13 years old cost £21, while junior tickets for children 3-12 years old cost £15 each. Children two years old and younger visit the park for free and by booking on the website you can save £2 per person on these prices.
MORE INFORMATION: There is a separate change of £36 for three people for Vertigo, the skydiver-designed ride which mimics flight. It is advisable to book Vertigo in advance on busy days as the park can only fly a certain number of people each day. Phone 01834 815170 between 10am and 5pm.