Whilst on a recent break in Sheffield me and my younger two found ourselves with a spare day. I asked around and the Tropical Butterfly House suggested a few times we decided to give it a try and we weren’t disappointed. Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife and Falconry Centre is situated at North Anston just a few minutes form Junction 31 of the M1 making it very easy to get to.
When we arrived Leo did his usual toddler thing of walking/running around the whole place flitting from thing to thing and because of this my initial impression of the park was that it was quite small and that we would be lucky to fill a morning let alone all day as we had planned – however after spending from 10-4PM I have to hold my hands up and say that I was completely wrong.
Once we had finished our first ‘trot’ around we decided to start right back at the entrance and take our time looking at the different areas of the park – of which there are many. Upon entrance to the park we were offered a large selection of different animal feeds which could be purchased for 50p a bag, not knowing which animals the kids would want to feed I had purchased some of the Farm feed as it was a reasonably safe bet considering we live in Cumbria that the kids would be willing. We started at the barn where there were a number of animals to feed and look at including some very tiny and extremely cute chicks. Most of our feed was gobbled up by the naughty goats and we had a real giggle as they licked our hands desperate to get every crumb.
The next thing we stumbled upon was the Dino Trail which of course Leo adored. Not only were there a number of dino models along the trail but each one had a sound button and seeing not just Leo but other kids continually pressing them I’m surprised they haven’t worn out! I loved the fact that unlike other dino park’s we have visited in the past that this was interactive and as a result held the kids attention much longer.
There are so many different areas to the park and the main thing I noticed was that there were so many interactive displays of all kinds for the children allowing them to learn as they played – our favourite were definitely the questions games where if you’re not careful you could end up slightly soggy! Another game that held our attention was the ‘how fast can you run?’ where you had to run as fast as you could towards the sign and it flashed up to show you how many MPH you were running. You can then compare your time with various animals – this did end up getting a little competitive.
The park boasts a large park – which looks very new- as well as a zip wire plus go-karts and push cars for all ages. We also discovered tucked away a cannon firing game, which allowed you to launch soft tennis balls at each other with the help of some very powerful air blasters – we loved this and it provided a fair few giggles!
Throughout the day there was a full timetable of encounters with the animals that you could attend free of charge. There were loads but we chose two – the Parrot Display and the free flying bird and animal display. These were without a doubt my favourite part of the whole day. You could just feel the enthusiasm of the staff who ran the talks who quite obviously love their jobs and the proximity at which the animals came during the free flying talk was just amazing and had the children open mouthed in awe. We also took advantage of the free tractor ride – this was very busy so make sure you arrive in plenty of time. Although reasonably short it was more than long enough for younger visitors and there were a few surprises along the way too, so watch out!
Our last area to visit was the Butterfly house which was so much better than I expected. To have the butterflies and birds just flying loose as you walk through was just breath taking, even though the butterflies did seem to particularly like my daughter’s orange top! The butterflies weren’t the only animals to see inside there is a large nocturnal area housing many beetles, bugs, spiders and snakes.
We took a picnic with us and the park offers both indoor and outdoor picnic areas – ideal for the lovely sunny day we visited. There is a café on site and whilst we didn’t use this facility the smells coming from the kitchen as we walked by smelt delicious. I was impressed at the high standards of cleanliness around the park, even more so considering just how busy it was as we visited during the summer holidays.
As with most attractions there is a gift shop which of course we had to visit on the way out! It is well stocked with fantastic selection of goods ranging in price from small pocket money toys upwards –great for us parents.
The park just has so much to offer to the whole family regardless of age and we could have stayed even longer but our feet just couldn’t take anymore and the kids needed some tea. I felt the entrance fee was very reasonable and as a family we defiantly got our money’s worth. If we are in the area in the future The Tropical Butterfly House will be top of my list to visit again.
FUN HOUSE RATING: 8/10