My boys are aged 5 and 2 and are just starting to enjoy days out at theme parks. They don’t really like scary rides, but prefer gentler ones such as fairground rides, mini rollercoasters and trains, so we thought they would like a day out at Lightwater Valley near Ripon in Yorkshire.
Rides for Toddlers and Under 5s at Lightwater Valley
The good thing about Lightwater Valley is that all the rides and attractions which are suitable for children aged 1 – 5 are marked in green on the park map. This makes it really easy to see, at a glance, which rides are suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers so you can plan your day accordingly.
There are a few rides just inside the park entrance which are suitable for toddlers such as Noah’s Ark, Lady Bug and Space Pirates, but my top tip would be to jump on the train which runs around the park and make your way to the Whistle Stop station at the far end of the park and start there. You might get a few complaints from your toddler who will spot the Carousel and want to go on that, but you will find the rides at the far end of the park are quieter and the queues will be shorter. Plus, they get to go on a train which will be a popular choice. The trains are fairly regular and there is a special carriage at the end of the train to carry buggies.
When you get to the Whistle Stop station, head towards the Spinning Tea Cups, Mini Ferris Wheel and The Vintage Car Rally where children can drive a car! The Little Dipper rollercoaster was my toddler’s first time on a rollercoaster and he loved it – he was shouting ‘Again, Again’ when it ended!
There are also lots of other rides which toddlers under 1m tall can go on with adult supervision including the Wild Water Rapids, The Ladybird and the Flying Camels.
The Angry Birds Play Area
This is a massive interactive play area which my boys absolutely loved. They spotted this as soon as we arrived, and were asking all day when they could go and play in the playground. They loved the slides, tubes, climbing walls, poles and rope bridges and spent ages playing here. It was a nice sunny day when we visited, so my husband and I were quite happy to sit on the bench around the playground watching them play. The ground of the play area was made out of really soft spongy material so it was perfect for toddlers who may be a bit unsteady on their feet.
There is an indoor Angry Birds Play Area too in case it is raining.
If you fancy a little rest for the rides or Angry Birds Play Area, you can put your feet up and watch the Lightwater Valley Pop Circus UV show. There were 2 shows a day when we visited, and the show lasted aprox 15 mins.
The Bird of Prey Centre
My toddler really enjoyed exploring the Bird Of Prey Centre which is located next to the Angry Birds Play Area. Here you can see a wide variety of species of owls and other birds of prey, and watch them fly during the Falconry Sessions. There are also other (non bird) animals at the Birds of Prey Centre too including rabbits and snakes which you can see too.
Prams and Pushchairs
Lightwater Valley is quite big so little legs will get tired. Therefore, I would definitely recommend taking your pushchair. All the paths are pushchair friendly and there are plenty of places to leave your buggy when you are on the rides.
As mentioned, you can jump on the Train to get around and put your buggy on the Buggy carriage.
Food and Eating Options
There are loads of food and drink places at Lightwater Valley so you don’t need to take a picnic if you don’t want to. Alternatively, if you do take a picnic, there are loads of picnic tables and grassy areas to eat. In fact, the area around the lake where you can go on a Swan boat ride was quiet and perfect for a picnic.
There are dedicated baby changing facilities which are listed on the park map. There are plenty of toilet facilities throughout the park.
Lightwater Valley don’t sell baby food but will happily warm people’s up for them. Just ask the staff in the food outlets.
Mums are welcome to breastfeed anywhere in the park but if they would prefer a private room then they are welcome to pop to Visitor Services where there is a private room with sofas.
It is cheaper to book online in advance via the Lightwater Valley website. The entry prices includes entry to the theme park, Falconry Centre, Angry Birds Activity Park, Pop Circus UV Show & Falconry Flying Demos.
There is plenty of parking and it is free. Lightwater Valley gets busy in the school holidays, so I would advise arriving at opening time.
For more information about Lightwater Valley click here
Thank you to Lightwater Valley for our tickets for the day.