When Abbey and Callan were little we lived in West Sussex and one of our favourite days out were trips to Drusilla’s Park in East Sussex. It is scary to think that it is probably around 16 years since our last visit, so when I was invited up for the day by Visit 1066 Country to review the park I jumped at the chance.
Sadly Callan didn’t come with us as he was working but Abbey joined us as she was keen to see where we used to take her as a child.
Drusilla’s is a child friendly, small zoo which is perfect for families with young children. The zoo follows one path so you are confident that you cannot lose the children and the paths are lovely and wide to easily accommodate pushchairs as you go around – not that Sebastian needed his as he was content running up to the windows to see the animals. It was raining when we arrived so we were quite relieved that the first section was undercover. We collected our passports and set off to explore.
After the apes, there is an option to go straight into the rest of the zoo, or to the farmyard where you get to milk a cow and see how they chew and digest the grass that they eat as well as seeing the farmyard animals they adore.
What I really loved about Drusilla’s is that they have worked really hard to engage the children. As well as the animals to see they can get their passports stamped and the park is full of interesting interactive things for the kids to do. My favourite was the “zoolympics” which got the children to do activities like the animals they were looking at. Isaac managed to hang like a monkey for 60 seconds, stand on one leg like a flamingo for two minutes and Eliza was as loud as a penguin when she shouted at 95 decibels.
Thankfully the weather dried up for the rest of the visit which did encourage some of the animals to come outside to see us, although you could also view them in their homes too.
Sebastian got really excited when he spotted Thomas and Bulgy as we walked through the park. Thomas runs every 10 minutes and we had to stop and wave each time he went past.
Drusillas also has three close encounter walk through exhibits to do. We got up close and personal with some bats which Isaac and Eliza were not that impressed with, the Lemurs were a massive hit and one even tickled Eliza with its tail as it walked past but my favourite were the Rainbow Lorikeets. For £1 you can feed them and although it was supposed to be Isaac that did it, he chickened out so I had to do it instead. It was amazing to have them all sat on my hand, head and shoulders.
Just after seeing the Lemurs the kids spotted the Go Wild Park and were eager to head off for some climbing fun, but not before Isaac spotted Rocky Racoon and a beaver that seemed intent on trying to chew through some metal fencing.
The are two play areas at Drusillas – Go Wild for 7-12 year olds which has a large climbing frame and giant slides, and Go Banana’s for the younger children where there were swings, smaller climbing frames and even some banana boats.
We played in the park for a good hour before Sebastian demanded we go on the train. His face lit up with excitement when Thomas pulled up and he waved to everyone as we rode past.
We also found Hello Kitty’s Secret Garden and Eliza was in 7th heaven as we discovered she lived there too. There are three free rides to go on plus a beauty parlour where they do hair braiding, face painting and glitter tattoos for a small additional cost.
Drusillas has plenty of space to have a picnic but we chose to eat in their Explorer’s restaurant. The menu offers a range of value for money meals including both hot and cold food. We chose to get the kids a packed lunch type meal and they were over the moon to find a mask inside for them to wear.
The restaurant is the end of the park along with the shop, but there is a cut through so you can go back to the beginning and go around the zoo again. If going with young children I recommend that you use the toilets at the entrance of the park before you go inside as the next toilets are by the play areas and quite a walk to get to if your child needs a wee.
We were there for over 5 hours and it is certainly somewhere you could stay and play all day if you wanted to. I highly recommend you purchase tickets online for Drusillas as there is a minimum saving of £4 for a family of four which increases if you purchase more tickets. Children under the age of 2 are free.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a family ticket to Drusilla’s for the purpose of a review. All opinions are our own.