Last time I visited Skylark Maize Maze Jack was just a baby. There wasn’t a lot happening, other than the maize maze there was a few bouncy castles and that seemed to be it. Looking back I can’t even remember if they’re was even a pattern in the maize. Fast forward a few years and we were invited back.
Skylark Maize Maze
We arrived just after opening, we wanted to make the most of our visit. Looking on their website I saw that they had a few things to do other than the maize. So I packed a picnic, some super cold drinks and suncream. Walking through to the entrance you have to walk through the gift shop. If your little ones are shop vultures like mine and refuses to budge until you buy something, there is an alternative route. You can enter via the attached garden centre, missing the gift shop.
All our hands were stamped so we can come and go throughout the day as we please. It meant we could just leave our picnic things in the car and come back for them later. We were also given an activity book, one each for the boys. There isn’t much distance between the outdoor seating to the carpark. As soon as you walk through the entrance tent you are greeted by giant dinosaur. A clue as to what this year’s theme at Skylark Maize Maze is. As well as the Dinosaur, there is a bridge and gigantic deck chair. You know the ones, they are great for photo opps!
When we walked through to what is the main area we were overwhelmed with what was available. Everything (other than the food and a badge, more on that later) is included in the entry price. So as parents we could step back and let them run wild. The first thing the boys noticed was the giant haybale mountain! Jack and Oliver raced to the top, Arthur managed the first row before giving up. Thankfully there were tunnels underneath which was great to climb through.
We passed an Aframe board which displayed the timings of a couple of the attractions; Pesky Pigeon Tractor Ride and Trotter Trophy Pig Race. Both of which sounded great. But I knew the boys would love the Pesky Pigeon Tractor Ride. Having looked online I knew that each person on the tractor was given a NERF super soaker.
King Coop’s Castle
New for 2018 is the amazing structure which looks so impressive! King Coop’s Castle features 3 different slides which children can choose to use. All 3 boys, Arthur included loved going on this! To get to the top you need to climb steps, which must be pretty easy as Arthur managed to get to the top. At the bottom of the slide is a large foam mat under each tunnel.
Pesky Pigeon Tractor Ride
The Pesky Pigeon Tractor Ride is on 3 times a day; 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. We decided to wait nearer to 12 before making a move over to the queue. I was surprised how big the queue was, especially as it didn’t seem there was that many people there. There was a family in front of us when they closed the gate, thankfully we were told they run as many trips needed until the queue has gone. So even if you miss the first tractor ride it is worth hanging around as you will get to have a go. The ride didn’t last that long, maybe 10 minutes in total. When the boys were handed their super soakers their faces lit up! They were so excited if not a little confused on what it is they had to do.
One of the members of staff stays on the back of the tractor whilst another drives the tractor. The person on the back shares the story of King Coop and why we were having to blast those pesky pigeons. Be aware that the end part of the tractor involves water blasting out of a pipe. The first ride (yes we went on more than one) there was a very tiny baby on the ride.
T-Rex Maize Maze
The Main attraction of Skylark Maize Maze is the maize maze. In the little book that is given at the main entrance there is a section for stamps. As you follow the maze there are 9 stamp stations. Each stamp has a letter which you put into the boxes in the little booklet. Once you have finished the maze there is a little Dino dig which you need to do to find the last letter. Once you have found all the letters then you need to unscramble them to find a Dino related word. It’s so much more easier than I make it sound.
The boys loved walking through the maze and it was lovely to see them all work together as a team. We had joined up with my mum, sister and her family so watching the cousins together was lovely. There was so much space for them to just run around and be care free!
When we visited on Saturday it was super hot! The boys were drinking water like it was going out of fashion. At the beginning and end of the maze at the entrance there is a little fridge with bottles of water and pop which you can buy.
I severely underestimated how much fun the boys would have with the go-karts. Jack was able to make use of all the go-karts on offer, but to be honest there wasn’t many. Oliver struggled big time to find one, the larger go-karts were just a little too big. There was however 1 small orange go-kart which he found and was able to use. Throughout the day the boys went to and fro playing with them. Jack was able to use one of the bigger 2 seater karts and Arthur loved being wheeled around the track,
When the boys came off the go-karts I encouraged them to park them up as near to the tyres as possible. There isn’t much room to manoeuvre as not everyone was conscientious and go-karts were left all over. A little bit of feedback from me would be to maybe build a little pitstop area. That way there is somewhere for people to park up the unused go-karts which can hopefully keep the track clear.
Trotter Trophy Pig Race
One of the other timed events is the Trotter Trophy Pig Race. It takes place at 1pm and 3pm everyday. This is where the only other extra costs comes into play. Each pig is colour coded and given a name. Children were able to buy a 50p badge to support their chosen pig to win. I had never seen a pig race so was intrigued as to actually what would happen.
I am assuming the times are the pigs normal feeding times because when they see that green bucket the noise they make. All you can hear is pigs squealing and scrambling over each other to try and reach the bucket. When one of the staff members opened their gate he started running around in a circle. The pigs just ran after him. It was really interesting to watch. If your pig won, then you get to stand on the podium and you win a little medal.
Although I had prepared a picnic for us to eat, there are a couple of other options. You can choose to eat in the Skylark Garden Centre Café or there is BBQ Grill. Looking through the menu and seeing what others were eating it sounded lovely, but as we didn’t eat I can’t really comment on the food. We did however order ice-creams which were £2.99 each. As a family trying to cut as much single use plastic out we brought our own drinks bottles, which BBQ Grill were more than happy to refill for us. Even though we went up to them countless times to refill bottles they were always happy and had smiles on their faces.
Despite staying pretty much the entire day there were still activities we didn’t get round to doing. The boys had a really fun day and already asking to go back. I loved that we could get free water re-fills, which in this weather is pretty important to be kept topped up. There isn’t much seating available near King Coop’s Castle which ordinarily isn’t a problem but I had brought my mum with us and she can’t stand for too long. However she had a really lovely day out too.
*We were given a family ticket in exchange for an honest review