With it being half term last week, we decided to get out and about as much as we could.
Mid week, we arranged to meet up with some of my son’s peers at the East Links Family Park.
It’s a farm park situated just outside Dunbar and about 20 miles away from where we live.
If you’re ever in East Lothian, here’s a lowdown on what to expect.
Entry Fees (Summer 2017)
When you’re looking for a place to go for a day out with the kids, price always comes into it.
You want value for money and you want somewhere that your kids won’t get bored after an hour.
In terms of ticket price, East Links Family Park is a tad expensive.
We paid £56.00 for a family of four ticket (2 adults and 2 children) and it felt overpriced for the size of the place.
Knock £20.00 off and I think that would be a fairer price point.
If you can’t buy the family ticket, you’ll have to fork out:
- Adult/child: £15.00
- Concession: £12.00
- Age two: £7.50
- Up to 24 months old: Free
It seems odd to have a half price ticket just for 2-year-olds.
To me there should be a clear distinction between the adult and child price up to say age 14 or 15.
The park offers annual membership and for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) that would set you back £224.00
Other price points are as follows:
- Adult/child: £60.00
- Concession: £48.00
- Age two: £30.00
- Up to 24 months old: Free
So you’re definitely paying over the odds at East Links Family Park.
When it comes to things to do the park does offer a good variety.
There’s a myriad of activities for kids of all ages as well as grown ups.
If you get a nice sunny day, time will fly but you can spend the whole day there to get through everything.
It’s massive. And it’s over four levels.
The fortress is an impressive structure containing:
- climbing nets;
- rope bridges;
- aerial runways;
- climbing arches; and,
- a talking telescope.
It also contains a number of slides inside including one that’s seven meters long with four lanes.
In three of the towers there are some ball canons so you can safely battle against friends and family.
Narrow Gauge Railway
East Links Family Park has it’s own train safari on their narrow gauge railway.
It takes you around all of the animal paddocks which is about a kilometre.
There’s on-board commentary to tell you more about what’s in the different paddocks.
And the animals run up to the train to see if you have any feed for them.
It does feel a bit mean if you don’t have any for them.
But then you have to pay extra for it so you might not want to bother.
Trampolines & Jelly Belly
Not far from the Fortress there’s an area with seven trampolines.
Best of all though is there’s a giant air pillow called the jelly belly.
My kids and I spent forever jumping on it and they went back to it time and time again.
It can get pretty crowded so it can get a little tricky to stay on your feet.
If you have younger kids, you’ll have to wait for an opportunity when it’s less crowded.
Otherwise they might end up getting bounced off.
Outdoor Toy Area
There’s an outdoor toy area near the start of the animal paddocks with lots of different apparatus.
My kids particularly enjoyed the all weather sledging slope.
The rabbit warren however was where they spent most of their time in the toy area.
My daughter decided to bury her socks in there as we were just about to leave.
Of course she couldn’t remember where so we came home without her socks.
You can take a four seater family kart around the outskirts of East Links Family Park.
The kids can sit in the front whilst the adults steer and pedal in the back.
There’s a woodland maze about halfway around which you can also ride through.
Older kids and adults can also race around a purpose built track with single seater go-karts.
Younger kids are catered for too with a mini track and mini go-karts.
We steered clear of Water Wars but it looked like good fun if you want to get soaked.
It’s a floating platform on a pond with eight water cannons.
There’s also a giant fountain and water jets.
It’s be advisable to take your swimming things or grab yourself a poncho.
There are whirlwind driers available if you have a spare couple of pounds.
When we first visited East Links Family Park a few years ago, it was very much about the animals.
They do feel a little bit of an afterthought these days though and no longer the star attraction.
Even still, there’s a variety of outdoor farm animals to see: cattle, sheep, pygmy goats, deer, pigs, horses, donkeys, rhea, lamas, wallabys, ornamental chickens and guinea fowl.
You can also find some smaller animals in one of the barns: rabbits, degu and guinea pigs.
My kids enjoyed handling the smaller animals and helping to feed some of the lambs in the small animal barn.
Other activities you can find at East Links Family Park include:
- crazy golf (additional cost);
- a climbing wall;
- a ball blast area;
- a soft play barn; and,
- tractors and bikes.
The Cafe is situated next to the entrance and serves soups, hot rolls, snacks, drinks and cakes.
It has improved since the last time I was there in terms of seating and space.
Everyone was crammed into a tiny space previously and now it feels more open and inviting.
The question is after you’ve paid quite a bit to get into the family park whether you then want to spend even more on food.
This time round we decided to bring a picnic and there are plenty of places to get everything set up.
There are loads of picnic tables and also a picnic barn if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
You’ll find the usual kind of things in the shop such as souvenirs and cuddly toys.
There are also a freezer full of ice lollies and ice creams to buy as well as a fridge with cold drinks.
You can buy 50p tokens for animal feed and golf balls for the crazy golf activity.
You used to be able to exit the park without going through the shop or the cafe.
But now it seems they’ve cottoned onto the fact that they were missing another money-making opportunity.
So to get out of the park you now have to go through the shop or the cafe.
When we were at East Links Family Park, there were two school groups there.
One group were older children and they were running around making a nuisance of themselves with very little supervision.
It was a shame but other than that we had a great day out at the park.
We barely saw the kids as they were off playing with their friends and we felt it was safe enough for them to do that.
Because it’s so expensive, we won’t be going back for quite some time though.
I was disappointed that things like a complimentary cup of animal feed per visitor or one free go on the crazy golf weren’t included.
For the entry price that would be a small but welcome gesture.
To get the best value from the entry price you really need to be getting there at opening time and staying all day.
If you turn up after lunch, the entry price might feel a little too steep for most people.
What Are Your Thoughts On East Links Family Park?
Have you been to the family park before? What did you think? Did your kids enjoy it?
What about the price? Do you think it’s good value for money or too expensive?
Please let me know in the comments section below.