Have you heard of Tayto Park? Have you been? I must admit that when I first saw the advertising for it last year, I had my doubts. First I wondered if it was an elaborate hoax to gain some publicity for Tayto Crisps. And then when I found out that it was in fact real, I was still a bit dubious. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Tayto-themed park. So despite living just thirty minutes or so from Ashbourne, Co. Meath, where the park is located, we never made it there last year.
But the weather was glorious last week, and we decided to take the plunge and check it out. I guess all that advertising got to me! We set off early of course, and we arrived about five minutes after the park opened at 10am. We got a parking space close to the entrance. (When we were leaving a few hours later, I was very glad that we are such early birds. The first carpark was full, and they had opened up an overflow carpark. There were parking attendants on hand at all times though to make sure parking was organised.)
From the moment we arrived, we were so impressed by the whole place. The park looks so well designed. It is beautifully landscaped, and in the warm sunshine, we felt as though we had been transported to somewhere in the Mediterranean. Entry to the park cost €12 per adult, and children under 3 are free.
So what’s there? Well, we headed straight for the animals. There are plenty of pet-farm animals there – pigs, hens, ducks, cattle. And drawing from the potato/American theme, there are lots of exotic animals – some like the skunk are only considered exotic in Ireland, while others like the wild cats are exotic in most parts of the world.
And when we were done visiting the animals, there was still plenty left to entertain us. In the Native American Village, you can wander around the TeePees, and have your photo taken with the totem pole! (A nearby sign warns that it is forbidden to climb the totem poles, much to Little Man’s disappointment!)
And if that’s not enough, there’s a fantastic playground in the centre of the park. I think the pictures tell more of a story here than my description does. Lots to climb and explore. It’s colourful, enticing, and well-maintained.
The toddler climbing frame was a great size. We were able to steer Little Man towards it and away from the larger climbing frame without any difficulty.
When you get tired of climbing, there’s a picnic area beside a huge sandpit, stocked with lots of toys to keep little ones entertained. Some of the toys were looking worn, and a few of them were broken, but it didn’t seem to bother Little Man.
He was able to play happily while we sat beside the sandpit enjoying the sunshine. If we were going again, we’d probably pack a picnic to eat here (assuming the sun shines again!). We were sorry we didn’t have one with us, because they didn’t start serving hot food until noon, by which time Little Man was exhausted and more in need of his nap than some lunch.
For older kids, Tayto Park offers ziplining, aerial trekking, super soakers, bucking broncos, climbing walls, air jumpers, and an opportunity to pan for precious gems. Good to know there will be plenty to keep us coming back even as Little Man grows.
You can find out more about the park on their website: TaytoPark.ie
I did not receive any compensation for completing this review. All opinions are honest and my own.