Drusillas Park is somewhere that I haven’t been for well over 20 years. Situated in Alfriston in East Sussex, it is a place that I used to go to as a child, although my memories of the zoo in the late 80s and early 90s are mainly of meerkats.
However, Drusillas has changed a lot since then, and they now proudly proclaim that they are ‘The Best Zoo & Family Day Out in South East & Sussex’.
We were invited along to a Familiarisation & Friends of Drusillas Day.
I thought I’d revisit with my parents (and kids) to see how it had changed, and what Drusillas is like in 2018!
It was half term when we visited; a time that we would usually avoid family attractions, and it was predictably very busy.
What is there for children to do at Drusillas Park?
Lots! Firstly the zoo; once you are through the ticket gates, you are prompted to follow the ‘zoo route’ which is what we did.
A top tip from other friends who were a bit more savvy than we were would be to start at the other end of the park and make your way back, as it is less busy!
The ‘zoo route’ starts off under cover which is great if it happens to be raining.
As you walk around the enclosures you can mark off the animals you meet in your spotting book.
Here are just some of the zoo animals you can meet at Drusillas:
There are keepers’ talks which take place throughout the day.
There are an impressive amount of interactive exhibits at Drusillas Park, and lots for children to get involved in.
As well as the spotter’s book, children can pick up a free Zoolympics Challenge book and then complete the Zoolympics activities which can be found all the way around the park.
Can you hang like a monkey or hold your breath like a crocodile? (Answer: I imagine not. They can hold their breath for 6.5 hours, as I now know).
There are walk-through exhibits where you can get up close and personal with the animals.
These include Lemurland where you can walk among the lemurs, and Lory Landing where the lorikeets will come and feed from a little pot of nectar (this costs £1).
Unless of course it’s half term and you hit them after everyone else has already been, in which case they will probably be less motivated to feed!
However, Drusillas Park is not just a zoo.
There is a farm area, which is great for younger children.
Again there is a lot of interactive fun with flaps to lifts, things to stick your head through and light up exhibits which my children seem to like a lot more than actual animals.
There are also a lot of outdoor activities for children at Drusillas Park.
Drusillas also has a very large play area with adventure playgrounds for both older children and younger children (Go Wild and Go Bananas), a splash park (Get Wet) and an indoor soft play (Amazon Adventure) if the weather is iffy.
On the day we visited the sun came out in the afternoon and the splash park was really busy, the kids absolutely loved it and I had a lot of trouble trying to remove my daughter without getting soaking myself…
There is also an interactive maze, Eden’s Eye which fortunately wasn’t too difficult to complete!
There are also children’s rides.
The Safari Express, which I think was there when I was a child, goes on a journey around some of the park.
The signs say it operates half hourly during off-peak times but was running constantly when we were there.
The train is now part of the new (2017) Go Safari! attraction, in which you can also ride the Flying Cheetahs and board the Hippopotobus.
Both were great rides for both my children (aged 2 and 4).
Surprisingly, it being half term, the queues weren’t actually very long at all.
The Hello Kitty Secret Garden is another a fairly recent addition to Drusillas Park.
Aimed specifically at the under 5s, there are three rides which suitable for small children; the car ride, tea cups and the 25ft hopper.
All were suitable for my two although they had to be accompanied.
What is there to eat at Drusillas?
There is a large picnic area, including some space to eat under cover, if you wish to bring a picnic.
There is also a large self-service restaurant for the less well-prepared in the Explorers Cafe, and the Oasis Cafe situated near the adventure playgrounds which is open during peak visiting times.
The Station Buffet offers doughnuts, the smell of which will waft over you whilst waiting for the train, smoothies and sandwiches.
How much does it cost to go to Drusillas?
Ticket prices depend on the day visited and vary from £63.80- £83.80 for a family of four depending on the date (school holidays and weekends are more expensive than off peak tickets) and where bought; tickets bought online can save a few pounds compared to tickets bought on the gate, so it’s definitely worth doing that if possible.
If you can save up Tesco Clubcard vouchers, then you can get a great deal with admission for a fraction of the normal cost.
Tickets must be bought for everyone aged 2 or over.
All ticket prices can be found on the Drusillas Park website here.
It isn’t the cheapest park we’ve been to (although not the most expensive either) but we were there shortly after it opened at 10am until it closed at 6pm and so it definitely offered a very full day of fun!
For more information about Drusillas Park and what there is to do including information on their Close Encounter experiences and Summer club, check out their website here. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!
Thank you to Drusillas Park for inviting us along, and giving us free entry for the purposes of this review. We had a lovely day.