WHEN is the best time to see local attractions?
The answer is NOW!
Months before the holiday crowds arrive, a growing number of venues are helping Blackpool work towards its aim of becoming an all-year round destination for families.
If you fancy an inland adventure head to Blackpool Zoo, home to more than 1,500 animals. The East Park Drive attraction opens daily 10am, closing at 3.45pm throughout January (last admission 3pm). Special zoo treats you can buy include the Big Cat Experience (over-18s only) for £110, and the attraction is also popular as a children’s birthday party venue with packages including music, games and food, as well as the freedom of the animal park. Hit www. blackpoolzoo.org.uk or ring (01253) 830830 for details of opening times, prices and membership.
Back on the seafront, you’ll have to wait until Saturday February 9 for the ﬁrst of the Pleasure Beach Half Price Weekends running until the end of the month. On these fun days all full park wristbands when booked online are £17.50 for age 12 and over, £15 aged two and over, and Pleasure Beach Passes £3. Nickelodeon Land wristbands are not included in this offer and are £17 online and £22 on the gate. For just £10 you can buy a Thrill-O-Matic preview ticket to join the dynamic duo on their adventures through the twists and turns of the world’s only Wallace & Gromit ride, valid on specially-selected preview dates before its official opening. Hit www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com or ring 0871 222 1234 for details.
Across the Promenade, the Sandcastle Waterpark, a year-round escape with tropical temperatures no matter how big the waves are outside, remains closed for maintenance and refurbishment until February 9, re-opening for two weeks at half term, followed by weekends only until April. Hit www.sandcastle-waterpark.co.uk or ring (01253) 343602.
Moving to the Golden Mile, families can join the action, comedy, drama and crime inside Madame Tussauds, where Blackpool’s visitors are sent on an engaging and entertaining interactive journey featuring wax models of some of the country’s best-loved stars. The attraction is open daily at 10am. Hit www.madametussauds.com or ring 0871 282 9200.
With a brand new Ocean Tank set to launch in time for Easter, the Sea Life Centre has some spectacular displays from the aquatic world. Centre stage currently goes to the Turtle Shelter, home to an array of some of the world’s oldest creatures. Species on display include the alligator snapping turtles from the US, Musk Turtles and Map turtles from the Mississippi River. Hit www.visitsealife.com/blackpool or ring (01253) 621258 for times and prices. On the ground floor of the Sea Life building you’ll find Pirate Adventure Golf, a spectacular undersea-themed cavern complete with ghostly pirates, sunken treasure and shipwrecks, also open daily. You’ll find a link at www.visitsealife.com Otherwise ring (01253) 621258.
Visit the Blackpool Tower Dungeon and turn the clock back to the darkest chapters of Fylde and Lancashire history, complete with white-knuckle ride Extremis. Or take a trip to the top of the seafront landmark and the Blackpool Tower Eye. The lifts whisk families up to high level observation decks (subject to winter weather), to step out onto the glass skywalk. Blackpool Tower Circus, which hasn’t missed a show since it began in 1894, presents Alice’s Adventures in Mooky’s Circus Wonderland, taking audiences through the rabbit hole and into a magical world of amazing acrobatics and hilarious capers, weekends only until January 20. There’s a range of price deals available for the Tower’s attractions, open year round, and all are cheaper when booked online. Hit www.blackpooltower.com or ring 0871 222 9929 for details.
You’ll usually ﬁnd the gates locked for winter, but this year Blackpool Model Village and Gardens, nestling on the East Park Drive side of Stanley Park, is remaining open out of season, weekends only, until March 17. The village, converted back to its original 1972 lay out, welcomes families between 9.30am and 4pm, weather permitting, at reduced rates. Hit www.blackpoolmodelvillage.com for details.
On the outskirts of Blackpool,you can meet horses and ponies and enjoy guided tours each Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am to 4pm, at World Horse Welfare Penny Farm,on Preston New Road, Peel. It is a great day out for all the family and don’t even worry about bad weather because the stables are indoors. Hit www.worldhorsewelfare.org or ring (01253) 766983 for details.
Cleveleys seafront has its own indoor ice rink, Sub Zero. Hit www.subzeroleisure.com or ring (01253) 822254 for opening times and prices.
Finally, Farmer Parrs Animal World on Rossall Lane, Fleetwood, opens daily, 10am to 5pm, boasting more than 50 species of animals, housed in over 30,000sq ft of undercover attractions and 12 acres of paddocks and walkways. The attraction is also home to the Fylde Country Life Heritage Centre with 26 major exhibits set out in realistic scenes of shops, rooms and buildings. Hit www.farmerparrs.com or ring (01253) 874389.