Family Days Out in Norfolk - Pettitts Animal Adventure Park

On the miniature railway
On the miniature railway

It must have been around twenty five years or more since I first visited Pettitts Animal Adventure Park. It was brand new, then, and I was just a child. Pettitts was nothing but a few animals grazing in grassy enclosures - at least, that is how I remember it. We took the Reedham Ferry to get there; a short crossing on a very basic 'wooden raft' that enables cars to get across the river. With the unrelenting impatience of youth, it felt as though we waited ages. In the main part, that's all I can recall about the day.

The Tree-house Slide
The Tree-house Slide
Toad's Cars
Toad's Cars

Rides and Slides

Today, Pettitts has changed beyond all recognition. Set in beautifully kept grounds, it now has rides as well as animals. In fact, the rides are probably its greatest draw, plus the fact that they are all geared towards the younger child.

That's right. So many leisure parks are geared towards older brothers and sisters, with just a tiny section suitable for the little ones. Not so at Pettitts. Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is most suitable for smaller children, and nobody is too young. There are flying elephants; Toad's (of Toad Hall) Cars; a tiny rollercoaster (my two year old loved it); the cups and saucers, two trains and a roundabout. Oh, and a mini pirate ship - the kind that swings back and forth. The only rule is that very young children have to be supervised. No more 'can't do this, can't do that.' At Pettitts Animal Adventure Park, the little ones can pretty much do everything and it is the older ones who are left trailing behind.

Taken whilst on the Flying Elephants
Taken whilst on the Flying Elephants
With Dad on the Giant Slide!
With Dad on the Giant Slide!
The Pirate Ship
The Pirate Ship

Aside from the rides, my little boy loved the slides. There are a few of them - the quaint tree-house slide and the giant slide were both firm favourites. Even my almost-ten-year-old, who usually prefers a bit more action, liked the giant slide. But then, like the lady on the cash desk advised, the big ones tend to get caught up in what the little ones are doing and find they have fun anyway. With the giant slide you ride with a mat - our youngest sat with his dad and raced his big brother, beaming with excitement all the way down!

 

The Robin Hood Adventure Playground was a big hit with both our children. Our youngest discovered the 'tunnel' slides - even though they are quite high up, young children can reach them easily. It is very safe and you can go up there with them if you want. Beware, though - coming down a tunnel slide is never quite the same once you reach adulthood! I went down fast and landed with a jolt, but it's still a lot of fun.

The Rocky Rollercoaster
The Rocky Rollercoaster
Drag race on tractors!
Drag race on tractors!
A tiny boy ready for a great big slide!
A tiny boy ready for a great big slide!
On the zip wire
On the zip wire
Crazy golf
Crazy golf

Things to do for Big Brothers and Sisters

Our oldest son will be ten next month - that's what I mean by a 'big' brother. When he was small, a long time before we had our little one, we used to take him to Pettitts quite regularly. I recall the last time we took him was when we was about three or four. Pettitts is ideal for children of that age, and perhaps even a big bigger. Ten-year-olds, though, have moved on to other things. But you can still take them, and they'll still have fun, as our day proved.

The adventure playground is a large, wooden construction, geared up for big and small alike. The zip wire is an instant hit for the older ones - it goes pretty fast, especially with a push! Your children can spend quite a bit of time on the playground, while you relax at one of the picnic tables (if you're lucky!)

Pettitts also has a great little crazy golf course - you can hire the clubs and balls from the gift shop. It is free to play, but there is a £1 refundable deposit for the balls. My older son loves crazy golf, so he was in his element playing with me while his brother had umpteen goes on the slide. We went round twice - I won the first game and he won the second, so we're quits!

A goat, relaxing in the sun
A goat, relaxing in the sun
Hens
Hens

The Petting Area and the Animals

At the far end of the park is the Petting Area. You can purchase small bags of feed to give to the goats. The goats and hens wander freely in the walk-through enclosure - the goats are very tame and definitely do not shy away from visitors. In fact, one of the goats tried to eat our little boy's t-shirt - he was absolutely horrified, while his big brother decided it was the funniest thing he had ever seen! Don't be put off, he wasn't in any danger, but goats do like to nibble on things and, after all, this is Norfolk - a farming county! It all adds to the fun.

You can also see horses, alpacas and ostriches in the farmyard area. In separate enclosures elsewhere in the park, Pettitts has monkeys, racoons, lemurs, parrots and owls.  There is a reptile house as well, though we didn't end up going inside. 

Watch Bubbly Bingo the Clown in the Theatre

When you've been on the rides and watched your children run their energy off in the adventure playground, you can enjoy a well deserved rest in the covered theatre. There are several shows per day, performed by in-house entertainer Bubbly Bingo the Clown. Lots of fun guaranteed!

Where is it?

 Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is located in the rural village of Reedham, Norfolk.  You can find it off the A47 between Norwich and Great Yarmouth.  From Acle, follow the brown signs.

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Comments 10 comments

scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

What a difference from when we lived in Reedham in the seventies. Pettits was in its infancy then, just the wildlife park. They've gone from strength to strength. Thanks Polly, for a great hub


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

scarytaff, it has definitely changed a lot and there are probably several new places around here since you moved. Thanks for reading!


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K.

Great hub Polly, I liked the way you described pettitts animal park and I would like to see the toads of toad hall. Cool pictures too, really brought it to life.


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you wrenfrost - I'm planning to do several more hubs on Norfolk, when I'm out with my camera this summer!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Looks a great family place to visit. Specially good for the little ones, as you say.


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Ethel, yes, it is a great family place - Norfolk does have some wonderful attractions for visitors and locals - as, I'm sure, does Yorkshire. Thank you for reading :)


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 6 years ago from Northern California

LOVELY Hub--I just adored the animal zoo. I have an attraction to goats, and often visit a local goat petting Zoo called Oak Glen. What a great idea to have a park for very young children.


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Thank you GarnetBird, for reading and for your great comments. I don't think my son will be wanting to go in the goat area anymore, after almost getting his t-shirt eaten! He is so little, the goat was bigger than him! :)


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

That looks like such a wonderful place. Thanks for sharing this with us. I love to travel from my armchair.


Polly C profile image

Polly C 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi samboiam, thank you for reading and commenting. Yes,travelling from an armchair is great - though it always starts me off thinking about the real thing!

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