When we woke up this morning and looked out of the window, it made me want to go straight back to bed. It was dark, grey and raining, not the most inspiring weather for a day out. Like normal M was full of energy so I decided that we would head to Leeds and check out Tropical World. It is situated in Roundhay Park, a 700 acre park to the North of Leeds a place I have been meaning to go for ages and the word tropical sounded very enticing.
It is really easy to get to by car from York, it is basically 40 minutes straight down the A64 to Leeds. Signs take you to a free car park and you walk for 5 minutes, following the signs to tropical world which is on the opposite side of the road (we got lost and had to ask directions!) It is £6 for an adult and free for under 5s, £3 for over 5s so really reasonable for what you get. To get to the desk to pay for entry you walk right through the shop and if your one is anything like mine they will be off with sticky little hands over everything so it took us a little while to get in and luckily without a purchase or tears.
My advise it to dress coolly; the humidity when you get into the first room hits you and I immediately stripped myself and M out of our multiple layers we had needed outside, down to t-shirts. The first room is the butterfly house. One of Ms favorite books at the moment is The Hungry Caterpillar and so he was very excited to see the cocoons and butterflies emerging from them. I love butterflies, I think they are beautiful and today they were fluttering all around us showing off their myriad colours. There was a pond in this first room with huge fish. We had brought some food at the ticket desk for 50p so M had great fun feeding them and watching them all gobble up the food with their big noisy mouths.
Next is the aquarium, lots of tanks of different fish from piranhas to the beautiful clownfish.
The next rooms are the rainforest floor and then the rainforest canopy. We spent quite some time searching for the birds hiding in the trees and plants. There are some beautiful waterfalls and M was fascinated by the tank of caiman
The place we spent the most time was the desert area where the meerkats are. We sat on the wall and watched them for ages with their lookouts, digging holes, eating and having well deserved rests. They were quite inquisitive about us too and came up to the glass to have a good look at us.
The nocturnal room is next with bats and owl monkeys and lots of other creatures that come out at night. It was quite dark and I don’t think that M really understood this room as much as the others, there is a red light so that you can see the creatures but we moved quite quickly through with minimal interest so maybe he was a bit young for this one.
Tropical world is pram and wheelchair accessible and there were quite a few when we were there moving around with no problems. They have good baby change facilities and the cafe is big and has a good menu. We of course had to sample it and had a coffee and a little cake. The lunches looked nice, good selection of hot and cold sandwiches, jacket potatoes and salads. We took a picnic which we ate in their picnic area outside, it had stopped raining by this point and the sun even tried to come out. Tropical World sits in some lovely formal gardens of Roundhay Park and it was a lovely place to eat our lunch and M could get down and run around and I could see him.
The park is huge and we had a little wander around. There are lakes, woodland walks, formal gardens, several cafes and two playgrounds. You could spend a lovely sunny day just in the park exploring all the different areas. One website states it is one of the largest urban parks in the world which is quite impressive. There are events held throughout the year and I noticed a food festival in July so we may be back to sample that.
Next to where we parked was one of the playgrounds so we spent a bit of time trying it out. It is a lovely park with some nice things. The one that M liked the best was the snake that you can walk along, simple but evidently very enjoyable for a 2 year old.
A really lovely day out and perfect for a typically rainy British day.