We visited Tayto Park for the first time recently, and we were not left disappointed!
We booked a few weeks prior, this is necessary these days with attendance restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic situation. The park doesn't have tickets available at the gate, they're strictly only available online for now.
Anyway, roll on a couple of Monday's ago, 10am and we reached Tayto Park. Felt a bit like arriving at Disney World when driving through the gate to be honest, the excitement had started to build already. I'm lucky enough to have visited a few theme parks in my time, and this instantly had the feel of something special.
They have temperature checks in place on arrival, before you can access the ticket booths. All very efficient and friendly, making it easy with the kids. At this point I'll mention how friendly and pleasant any of the Staff Members we encountered throughout the day were.
Children under 2 get free access to the park, you still need to book a ticket for them to ensure entry, but the do gain free access. However, there is an option of paying an extra €15 at the gate for a wristband for them, with access to Eagles Nest zone (more on that below). Personally I 100% recommend doing this! For me it puts you at ease when heading around the park, there are some amusements that are free access for everyone in the park ie the Steam Train Express & Zoo, but there are lots others where a wristband is required. So, for us, it just made more sense for the sake of €15 to just get the wristbands, and not have the kids wanting to get on a ride but be refused, which we noticed with some other patrons on the day.
We purchased the 'All Access' wristbands for ourselves, again it just seemed better to not have to worry about not having access to any particular attraction. We happily set out for the day then, not having to think twice about anything.
These are the ticket options available..
And what each area has to offer..
Definitely worth the full upgrade if you plan on free-roaming and getting the most out of your day.
Like any theme park, your given a map upon entry (above). We set our sights on the 'Eagles Nest Zone' as we've 2 kids under 5, so there's plenty for their age group in that area. Thankfully queues were not really an issue for us at that stage of the day, I suppose the early start along with the crowd limitations really helped with that.
En route to the 'Eagle's Nest' we stopped off to board the 'Steam Train Express', a nice way to get our adventure off to a start. Once we got to Eagle's Nest there was plenty for the little ones to do. Each attraction has a height restriction, but if the kids don't meet the height requirements they just can't go on unaccompanied (with ours at the age they are, we'd go on with them anyway.) It's worth noting, that when you buy the kiddies a wristband, you are entitled to accompany them even if you don't have full acces yourself (once they don't meet height restriction that is), this may be a cost saver if you're not planning on hitting up the big rides yourself. The likes of the "Honey Pot Bears", "Leap Frogs", "Grand Carousel" & "Lasy Bird Loop" were some favourites of ours, and the "Pony Rail" got more than it's fair share of go's!
After plenty of fun there, we hit up the Lodge Restaurant for a bite to eat, food is fairly reasonably priced there, and there's also the option of sitting out at the picnic area and having your own, pre-packed food, we did half & half and it worked out a treat. The "Pow Wow" Playground is close by, so naturally that got a visit! It's a very decent sized Playground for the park, and it's great to tire them out a little so you can go hit up the rollercoaster ha! We took a spin through the "Lemur Woods" & "Petting Farm" next, so they could check out all of the cool critters that are living in the park. Plenty to see, with some zookeepers around to chat about the animals on show.
So, onto that Rollercoaster, the "Cú Chulain" Coaster..
Apart from obviously wanting a fun day out with the kids, this was a big reason why I wanted to visit Tayto Park. Somehow, after being open nearly 10 years, this was our first visit (although this coaster only opened 5 years ago, so now I don't feel so bad)! I wouldn't say I'm a massive thrill seeker, but I do love rollercoasters and the likes, so this seemed right up my street. With a 104ft drop, and a pace of 90kph, Europe's largest wooden Rollercoaster with an inversion, did not disappoint one little bit. Surprisingly, the queue for this wasn't bad at all.
We got to go on "Flight School" next, however the queue was far longer for this, I think this was due to it being a smaller and less 'fearsome' coaster with a height of 42ft and 'only' 46kph. Still, worth waiting for, but a little disappointing after being on "Cú Chulain" first, perhaps it's advisable to do them in reverse order, but still a good thrill nonetheless.
We planned on heading for "Viking Voyage", but one of our party had checked and there was a 90min wait, so we didn't get to go on that this time round. Reason being, we wanted to go see the "Fosset's Circus" show. These are on at certain times during the day, times were displayed throughout the park so we knew which one we wanted to attend. This, for me and our little ones, stole the show for the day...
Again, with number restrictions due to distancing, there were a limited amount of seats available, so we wanted to make sure we got in. Once we did, it was all very efficient and friendly. A clown greeted us on the way in, few giggles for the little ones attending. He was the one was hosting/getting the crowd going. All good, light hearted Family fun. The Faltyny Family then put on a fantastic show, I won't give away too much but it's very enjoyable and the kids absolutely loved it!
The park is cool, easy to find the way around it and plenty to do and see. It's very well kept, and quite scenic in places.. right up my street! Lots of nice snacks to be had too...
But, the main snack everyone wants (partially for the Insta of course ha!) is the "Twisted Chip". Unfortunately though, I don't have a pic.. because we missed out on getting one! We thought we were being clever leaving it til the end of the day to get one, however what we didn't know is that it's privately owned and closes at 5pm! This was a blow when a nice staff member who was cleaning the area told us when we arrived.. at 5.07pm🤦♂️ But how and ever, nothing we could do about it at that point. But it is worth noting if you want to get one, get one before 5 o'clock!
We spent around 8 hours in the park, and could easily have spent more, but that was more than enough with our two being so young. I guess we have an excellent excuse to go back (plus I can make acquaintances with Cù Chuilan once again!)
Oh, and one final thing on the way out the gate.. you each get a complimentary packet of Tayto!
Tayto Park is now finished it's Summer schedule and is only open on Friday, Saturday & Sunday's for the remainder of the year. Check out their website for more details, www.taytopark.ie