Friday night I spent frantically looking for places to visit on the following day with the family. Having a 16 year old as well as a 4 year old. we often struggle to find something that suits everyone. In my quest I naturally turned to google and searched for parks in North West England. Eventually I stumbled upon Roundhay Park and Tropical World in Leeds. I must admit, I had never even heard of this park before, and so I did my customary check on TripAdvisor. I was surprised to see this previously unheard of park has a 4.5 rating. Reading about Roundhay Park, I discovered that it is one of the largest parks in Europe covering 700 acres. Its features include woodlands as well as lakes. I was extremely excited to visit this huge park and so Saturday morning we prepared a picnic and headed out.
Studying a map upon our arrival, we realised just how vast the park really is. We decided to start out at the Tropical World side of the park and see how far we could get. We enjoyed some hot drinks at the Tropical World Cafe and found a lovely (but freezing) outdoor spot for our picnic. Despite the autumnal/winter weather, the gardens looked absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t resist taking some shots of the beautiful roses that are persevering this perishing weather.
A number of small gardens surround the Tropical World which I would highly recommend exploring. At this time of year, the colours are fabulous!
I cannot wait to see how these gardens will bloom throughout the spring and summer months.
We then made our way to the Tropical World. I have been to many butterfly houses and small ‘zoos’ in my time, but this one really did exceed all expectations. We entered the centre through a fabulously well stocked gift shop. We paid a mere £18 for the four of us, money well spent! The attraction is split up into a number of different sections, each one taking visitors on a different adventure and exploring a range of animal habitats.
Firstly we entered the butterfly house. A large number of beautiful butterflies flew around us and provided for some fantastic photo opportunities.
The trail flowed rather well into the Amazon tank. This was undoubtedly an eye-opening experience. We viewed a multitude of different species of fish in well kept, clean tanks. Some of the fish, were absolutely enormous! We even saw Nemo and Dory as well as Catfish and Pacus fish, relatives of the infamous piranha!
This area appeared to have been subject to some recent renovation and contained some superb wall decorations and waterfalls to add to the ‘Amazonian’ atmosphere.
This area was undoubtedly my favourite! Beautiful birds confidently roamed along the paths amongst visitors and flew above us. We were lucky enough to be there during feeding time!
The paths led to a huge waterfall and the sheer number of wondrous and exotic plants and trees was most impressive.
The Dessert House and Meerkats
Meerkats have always been a favourite of my children, and seeing so many of them in this wonderful enclosure was an enjoyable experience. I have been to many places which house Meerkats, the difference with Roundhay Park’s Tropical World being that great efforts were taken to create a natural environment for the adorable creatures. The area was hot and humid, like the climate of their natural habitat.
The area also housed numerous delightful birds.
As well as bats…
We spent a total of 2 hours in Tropical World – indeed we could have spent much more time exploring had it not been for the tantrums of a tired toddler! We were genuinely astounded by the sheer extend of Tropical World, a place we had initially assumed would be rather small. It was huge and filled with all sorts of extraordinary animals and wildlife. Furthermore, the animals were evidently well cared for, in clean and spacious enclosures.
The entrance fees were also a surprise to us, value for money at its best:
Children (5-15) £3
Under 5’s Free
Free street parking close to Roundhay Park is ample and we parked within metres of the entrance gate to the park.
We will be sure to visit Roundhay Park in the very near future, there is still so much we have yet to explore. (We only made it around the Tropical World section of the park in our 6 hour visit – the majority of the park is still unexplored by us!) What’s more, my children (and indeed my husband and myself) are eager to return to Tropical World for another exciting adventure!