If you’re looking for a fully accessible day out, with heaps of fun for the whole family, then look no further. Knockhatch Adventure Park in Hailsham is the place to go! Our Compass Card Coordinator recently visited the park to check out the new accessible playground and here’s what she had to say.
What is it that makes Knockhatch Adventure Park so accessible?
The real game changer for me is the Changing Places facility. I personally have a child who needs a changing bed so if we want a full, family day out then that is probably the most important factor. Knowing in advance that there is somewhere appropriate and comfortable and meets her needs is a massive relief and I was really impressed when I was shown the facility. It is accessed by a Radar Key so make sure you remember to take yours with you.
Aside from the Changing Places facility I was super impressed by the new Accessible Playground. There’s a wide ramp slide, a level access roundabout suitable for full time wheelchair users and a fab sandpit that is wheelchair height, as well as having a part that is lower down so siblings can join in too. There’s an amazing bucket swing, which is a really good size and is a deep bucket shape to ensure children and young people are safe. There’s other sensory bits and pieces too, as well as a nice shady area if it gets too hot. This playground is accessed by a Radar Key, which means that it is only used by those children, young people and families who really need these facilities.
The park is fully accessible. On our walk round there was only one gravel path that may be a little harder to access if you are pushing someone in a wheelchair. All the buildings were accessible and even the animal experiences can be enjoyed by everyone.
What is there to do at the park?
Wow, what isn’t there to do! Firstly, the animals. There is an amazing array of different species and beside every enclosure there’s some great information if you want to learn more about the animals. My favourite was the tenrec, and if you’re wondering – no I’d never heard of a tenrec either! There are owls, llamas, pigs, cows, Shetland ponies, meerkats, wallabys, donkeys, deer and goats. There are some great animal experiences, available at an additional cost, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to feed the meerkats and hold a snake and tenrec.
If you’re looking for somewhere for the kids to run off steam and the sun is shining then there are two massive outdoor play areas. The Dragon Castle is the newer play area and is utterly amazing! Think turrets, slides, rope ladders and adventure and you won’t be disappointed. Our top tip is to head here first before it gets too busy. The Chestnut Wood Adventure Playground is located next to the Accessible Playground and will keep the kids amused for hours – giving you time to grab a coffee and five minutes peace.
If you’re looking for something more sedate then head to the rowing boat lake and take a peaceful trip around the lake. All under 16s must be accompanied and everyone needs to wear a buoyancy aid.
The Wave Runner is the perfect attraction for all the adrenaline junkies out there – at 32 feet you wouldn’t catch me on it that’s for sure! Unfortunately this isn’t accessible to all as you need to be able to walk up a lot of steps to reach the slide.
You’ll also find jumping pillows, an avalanche slide and paddling pool all included in your entry price.
What if the weather is bad?
For younger children Froggies Soft Play is perfect with slides, ball-pools, spider tower and tunnels to find and explore. There are different areas for different ages, all indoors alongside the café and a Costa Coffee. The Lost World Playbarn will thrill dinosaur lovers as you climb through the canopy to hide from the dinosaurs or try to spot the hidden helter-skelter. There’s even a super scary drop slide! The Playbarn isn’t particularly accessible for wheelchair users. And I must mention the Foxes Run Canon area where you battle over two storeys with giant sponge ball firing cannons. Again, this is all included in your entry price.
Is there anything else families need to know before they visit?
Firstly, make sure you take your Compass Card so that one carer can be admitted free of charge when accompanying a full someone with a ‘persons with disabilities ticket’. There are some attractions that incur an additional cost but the vast majority of activities are included. And finally, keep an eye on Knockhatch’s social media – they have some AMAZING future plans, which I just know Compass families will love!
Registered Charity No 1078094
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