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“Wildlife yes...Dinosaurs, not so much?”

Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park
Ranked #5 of 40 things to do in Ilfracombe
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A wildlife park that demonstrates how life was for the dinosaurs.
Reviewed 10 July 2013

Had a lovely morning at Combe Martin Wildlife Park but think that the Dinosaur park is somewhat misleading...

The wildlife was fantastic, well looked after, well presented and very informative. Our little girl was just old enough at 10m to enjoy looking at everything but the park is definitely not buggy friendly. We took our back pack carrier and would recommend one if you want to fully enjoy the gardens and visit all of the animal enclosures easily. The sea lion show was the highlight of the day and there were lots of options available for animal encounters.

The on site cafes had a wide range of choice and budgets.

Main downside for us was the lack of dinosaurs...three/four animatronic dinos that move on the hour is slightly disappointing given how heavily they feature in the advertising...had expected more. The on site museum was small but informative but lacked a wow factor.

Overall a good day out which for slightly older children would be ideal.

Thank HevNige
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2013

Thank you so much for your review. Just a little bit concerned that you missed the centre of the park where we have our Domain of the Dinosaurs, there are about 20 more static dinosaurs in there lurking amongst the trees. It is marked out clearly on our map but maybe I ought to look at more signage. As new owners last year we also plan to increase the Dinosaur theme even more throughout the park after we have completed all our improvements for the animals in our care. We are really pleased that you enjoyed your day though, and hope to see you again in the future.

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1,085 - 1,089 of 1,303 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2013

We have a two year old and a baby and had a fantastic day here today. We left the pushchair in the buggy park at the entrance and kept the baby in a sling - this worked really well.

The staff were all really friendly and it is clear the new owners are making great efforts to invest in the park so it will continue to improve.

We were at exmoor zoo two days prior,which is also good, but this was different so worth two separate trips. The variety on offer, the novelty and the friendliness of the staff sets the dinosaur and wildlife part apart.

Our two year old was amazed by all the dinosaur models hidden in the valley and that mixed in with all the other wildlife really was a special combination. The small indoor softplay for young kids was also a great at keeping our two year old occupied while we had lunch. The sun was shining brightly today and it was lovely to shelter in the natural shade of all of the plants.

Thank MiddleJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2013

Thank you for your review and we are so pleased that you had a fantastic day here. We do try and provide a variety of things to appeal to all of our visitors. Hopefully you will visit us again sometime in the future.

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Reviewed 7 July 2013

My partner and I are keen on visiting animal parks and (well run) zoos. Our friend and his 8 year old came too. Yes it is steep and hilly but so is the rest of the surrounding countryside. We are from Norfolk which is totally flat and we had no problems walking up hilly paths in fact we found it quite fun although we are people of average fitness. People with buggies and prams may have a few issues but if you are fairly fit and not too lazy it is doable. The owners clearly do their best to accommodate but if you don't like hills, don't go to hilly places, as some meerkats would say....."simples"!
We had a really nice time and appreciated the various aspects of the park. I wasn't really bothered about the dinosaurs and would prefer they weren't there as for me they add a touch of fake ness however they are not aimed at me they are for the kids and the kid who was with us enjoyed them as we'll as the Egyptian 'tombs' ,the dinosaur exhibit and the bugs. We did see the wolf talk, the birds of prey talk and the otter talk and as the owner has mentioned in a few review responses, if you get involved you get your money's worth. I get fed up with people wanting to constantly be entertained and complaining that everything costs too much, how about encouraging your kids to look at things and taking the time to interact with the animals, then on the way in or out read the information which tells you about all the good work that places like this do.
We spent about 4 hours here and had a lovely time, the animals were all well accommodated and seemed happy. The only thing that bugged me a little is the same thing i have seen in other zoos recently and thats the rabbits in a concrete area, they do have a hutch and seemed happy laying on the concrete in the sun but i would really like to see some grass or some semblance of a natural habitat in there (especially as it mentions in the rabbit info that their favourite pass time is digging and burrowing. I know for obvious reasons you can't put them on a field but just some grass maybe? there may be a reason why they are in a concrete pen but if it's purely so they dont escape, i would rather not see them at all. (Whilst I mention this I don't doubt that they are well cared for)
With regard The price it is about the same as anything you go to these days. we expect that to be entertained for a day you need to spend a bit of money and we try not to be too penny pinching about places doing a good job, they obviously spend a lot just to maintain the place and we thought it was good value for money.

1  Thank georgieworgy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2013

Fantastic, you make the point perfectly. Our visitors who get involved during their visit will have a great time and will definately get value for money with all the encounters, talks and shows we have going on throughout the day. We are really pleased that you had such a lovely day with us and thank you for appreciating the running costs needed to maintain a park like this. Being located in a holiday destination in rural Devon we don't have the luxury of having the entrance money of millions of visitors to ease the pressure of it so it is really important to us that we provide value for money for the customers we do have so that they will recommend us to others. On your point regarding the rabbits, yes there is a reason why they are on concrete and it is probably the same one for other zoos that you have visited. Initially our rabbits had grass in their enclosure, and I agree, I would prefer them to have that. Unfortunately rabbits do tend to be prone to a lot of diseases and it is impossible to clean the enclosure adaquately to prevent this if it contains earth which harbours bacteria. Subsequently, after having a few issues we were advised by our vet to take out the earth and grass from their enclosure and have concrete so that it can be extensively cleaned on a daily basis. The rabbits are given grass to eat daily, and various enrichement items to subsitute this but thank you for making the point and giving me an opportunity to address it. I really appreciate the time taken to write your review and hopefully we will see you again in the future.

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Reviewed 6 July 2013 via mobile

We absolutely loved our day out here. As we drove into the park I thought it would be a short day out as it looked very small. However we spent about 6-7 hours there and didn't want to leave. The animals were all so lovely and the keeper we spoke to as she was feeding the animals was very polite. We listened as she spoke to another family and I was impressed by how dedicated she was to the animals. The otters and lions weren't out when we went but there was still plenty of other animals to see. We didn't expect the train ride to be the way it was as explained by another visitor. But it was brilliant how it happened.
The only problem we had was the queue to order food in the cafe. It took about 15 mins to get served as it was busy and only one person was serving but food arrived quickly and was very tasty.
All in all it was a great day out and I would recommend this place to anyone visiting North Devon.
Just wear decent walking shoes.

Thank Maria_Andy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2013

Wow, five stars and such a lovely review.We are so pleased that you enjoyed such a full day with us. We have a really great team here who are all very dedicated and knowledgeable and work hard for the animals in their care. It is a shame you didn't see our Otters and Lions but as a responsible zoo we provide areas they can hide if they want to as this reduces stress for animals in captivity. Thank you so much for recommending us to others, it is very much appreciated.

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Reviewed 5 July 2013

We went to the wildlife and dinosaur park today and it was a beautifully warm sunny day. We went with a 4 year old and a 1year old (in a push chair)
The park is on a steep hill, but we were aware of this before the visit and although the paths were sometimes a bit of hard work with the push chair there were plenty of signs advising of easier routes around the park for pushchairs or wheelchairs.
The first thing we did was go for the meerkat experience where you actually got the chance to go into the enclosure with the keeper while he fed them and gave a informative and well pitched presentation.
We then managed to see the owl show which was good fun and again the keeper was very knowledgable and the presentation was pitched perfectly for our 4 year old.
On the whole the park is in need of upgrading and some areas looked particularly tired and dilapidated. Having said that all the animals looked very healthy and the keepers clearly knew their stuff.
The sea lion show was brilliant and at the end there was a chance to have their photo taken kissing a sea lion (although it was actually through the glass of the enclosure)
Before we left we went on the train ride which wasn't quite what we expected. At the bottom of the track there was a little model dam and a voice over talking about an earthquake which triggered a flood. This was shortly followed by a deluge of water splashing us all. Our 4 year old thought it was hilarious but our 1 year old was hysterically crying for the trip back on the train!!
All in all it was a fun day out for a reasonable price. The park needs upgrading but this is clearly being done bit by bit.

Thank Owl77Sheffield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dawn G, Owner at Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2013

Thank you for taking the time to write your review and we are really pleased that you enjoyed your day. As new owners from the beginning of 2012 every possible penny is being reinvested back into the park and as you have mentioned this is clearly being done as our visitors can see the new areas and enclosures we have already completed. We could have possibly done a bit more if we hadn't have had our 2000 tonne landslide in the winter! The weather has not been kind to us since we took over! Thank you for your support and we hope to see you again sometime in the future.

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