Tayto Park


Last week we ventured out for a fun day out to kick start the kids summer holidays.


We have been to Tayto park several times over the past two years and always find it to be a fun filled day out for the whole family. Once you get your head around the fact that you are headed to a theme park based on crisps, then you’re headed for a lot of fun.

Tayto park is a two hour drive from where we live, and about an hour and half from Belfast (there is one toll road which costs 2euro). Which really isn’t that far for all the activities available once there. I have heard people say its too expensive for a day ut but I honestly feel you get value for money.

An adult/child admission is 14 Euro and a concession (disabled, student etc) is 12 euro with Carers going free. You will need some form of evidence for your free carers ticket, we brought Elijah’s blue badge with us and previously have used his Autism NI card. The staff are very helpful and friendly when we explained we had two disabled members in our group, there where no judgy looks (trust me it happens, a lot), they gave us some maps and showed us where to go to purchase wrist bands.

When you go to Tayto park you can just pay the entry free and spend the day looking around the park, seeing the animals, visiting the crisp factory and taking in the surroundings, there are events such as animal feeding a birds of prey display and also face painting and sometimes free craft activities. There is a maze, water play areas, picnic areas, a small petting farm area and a little train. However if you, or your children want to go on the rides then you need to purchase tokens or wrist bands, The first few times we went we had an annual pass and wrist bands didn’t exist and we bought 20 tokens and those lasted us one or two trips. With the kids being taller, and braver now however it works out much better for us to buy an unlimited wrist band for them. This trip we bought three wrist bands at 15 euro each, (I wasn’t feeling great so I was chief bag watcher). We felt that the kids really made use of the wrist bands this time. It seems like a lot of money but the the park constantly expanding and new rides always being added, the wrist band is a great way for the kids to be able to enjoy their favourate rides as many times as they want.

Megan was finally tall enough for the wooden roller coaster, however she decided she wasn’t quite ready to give it a go , (much to her dads relief). We are hopful that we will go on it as a family once Elijah is big enough. Megan was desperate to go on the zip line but unfortunately she is still 1cm too small, she is now on a mission to eat every vegetable in sight between now and the end of the summer in order to grow tall enough and give it a go before she starts primary 5.

The absolute highlight of this trip was both my kids trying new things. Elijah went on the climbing wall which is something they have both done before but where as Megan was always steady and determined and got to the top, Elijah was left frustrated by being just a little bit too short to be able to reach enough to get any distance. This time he shot off like a rocket and got to the top in seconds, with no fear, and he did it three times.


As soon as we arrived at the park Megan and Elijah decided that they wanted to have a go on the, sky walk which is a three level adventure high rope challenge. When we arrived, Ben, Megan and Elijah headed off to do the bottom level. I settled down to watch them and was surprised at the speed at which Megan took on the course. Having done a similar course 18months ago at centre parcs I could believe how far her confidence had come on since them. Even on the lower level however I was still really nervous watching them. All three completed it and we headed off to the other side of the park to do some of the smaller rides which included a spinning boat (poor Ben felt very sick), a honey put spinning ride, a horse ride (which Ben seemed to love more than the kids), trampolines, the climbing wall, a vertical drop type ride a carousel and a Ferris wheel. After they had a go on all of these (and some several times) we headed in to get some food.


Usually when we go to Tayto Park we bring a picnic, its handy, we avoid the queues in the restraint and its usually summer so the weather when we go is generally ok. This time we decided we would just get some food once we where there. Adult meals were 12 Euro and we both had lasagne and chips and the kids had chicken and chips at 5 Euro each. The portions are huge and the food quality is brilliant. Although there was a largue queue when we arrived it moved quickly, there was lots of seating available and staff where extremely helpful.

Another food must have when in Tayto Park is the Twisted chip, go along and watch the twisted chip be magically made from a regular old garden spud and twisted into a work of art, baked and flavoured as requested. My kids love these, especially salt and vinegar flavour. We then grab a bench near the meercats and watch them play while we enjoy our snack.


After the food we headed back to the sky walk where Megan, Elijah and Ben completed the second level, with Megan speeding along again while I watched with my heart in my mouth and Elijah becoming quietly confident. after level two we headed across to the factory to watch the crisps being made and packaged. This is one of Elijah’s favourite parts of the park, he could happily stay here for hours watching the processes. We where surprised to see some changed to the factory this time, most notably the absence of the irritatingly catchy Mr Tayto song playing on repeat. On our way out we all had a go at walking through the vortex tunnel and subsequently walking slightly wobbly back into the main park area, where, you guessed it, we headed back to the sky walk area again.

I have to admit my the third level of sky walk I was walking through my hands, it was so high and my kids looked so tiny, Elijah was Slightly more hesitant this time and had a little help from a staff member, who was patient and kind. Megan again had no fear and zoomed round, stopping only when reminded to wait for the others. Megan would have happily gone straight back on, Elijah said he might stick with the second level for now. I was so proud of them both for being so brave.


We also enjoyed having a look around all the animals. we always enjoy the area with the little goats and sheep, its great fun to feed them and stoke them. we also enjoyed looking at the Tigers and there are feeding times and different events scheduled throughout the day on the park maps. The kids also enjoyed stroking an owl at the birds of prey area. On the way out we visited the ice age and dinosaur areas where you can dig for fossils and look at the giant models of dinosaurs and woolly mammoths etc. this is the one part of the park I find a little bit random but the kids love it.


We also discoved on this trip that athe admissions desk we could ask for an access card which allows us to take Elijah to the front of the queue six times throughout the day (only once per ride), which came in handalthough we didn’t need to use it six times. Also worth noting that when you arrive although the car park might seem busy and even if the queue for entry seems long, this is a big park and people disperse really well, Ben became a little anxious as we arrived this time but we had hardly any wait times even without the access pass and nowhere felt too busy or crowned. This is definatly one of my top ASD friendly days out.

we arrived at the park at 10 and we left at 6pm, we got lots done in the day without rushing, however there was still lots to do that we didn’t get round to on this  such as the show or the angry birds experience which just means one thing. Another trip to Tayto Park.

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