Having heard nothing but good things about Oakwood we decided to take the 5 hour journey to south wales in the summer of 2006. We visited for the weekend leaving on Friday afternoon with the intention of visiting Oakwood on the Satrurday and Folly Farm on the Sunday. We stayed just outside Tenby in a Travel Lodge which was central to both attractions and cheap.
Unfortunately for us and other visitors to Oakwood this was the wettest day of the year by far and we ended up completely soaked through to the skin within about 1 hour of arriving at the park and we still had another 9 hours until the park was closed.
The park is located a few miles from Tenby just of the a40, its well signposted from Tenby and the M4. its probably no more than 25 minutes from Tenby.
On the day we visited in the height of summer 2006 standard entry price for over 10’s was £14.75, Junior £13.50 and then various reductions for disabled and family tickets with an after dark (entry after 5:30pm) ticket at £10. The only additional charges in the park are for Vertigo the skycoaster which was about £30 for a single rider. Once you get your tickets you jump on the park train and take this into the park, the train takes about 5 minutes and doesnt really give you a view of anything as most of oakwood is in a valley.
The main reason for my trip to Oakwood was to ride the wooden coaster Megafobia, built by CCI coasters international in 1996 its considered to be the best coaster in the country and always comes out high on the favoured coaster list of many coaster enthusiasts.
From the photo above the lift hill on the right and first drop on the left hand side under the trees. The ride boasts an impressive 2956ft of track with a maximum speed of 48mph and a height of 85ft. This is one of those rides you really have to ride to believe, it is absolutely stunning and a credit to the park. On the day we visited we got to ride it 8 times and its just kept getting better. 😉 They also have one of the most entertaining ride ops I have ever met, i didnt catch his name but the guy is nuts.
Speed(new for 2006)
Speed built my Gerstlauer in 2006 is the first ride in the uk to feature a 90 degree lift hill and a 97 degree first drop.
As you can see from the picture above the lift hill is 90 degress and you get the impression you are going to roll back out of your seat as you climb it, in a way you feel like an astronaut in a space shuttle, once at the top of the 115ft tower the car just rolls over the top and you drop. One thing about a coaster with a vertical lift and an over 90 drop is you dont see the track until the last minute, then of course its too late.
This is looking up from the bottom of the first drop. I enjoyed speed this was the first ride on a coaster like this for me and i hope it wont be the last, unfortunately the photographs dont do it justice, the weather was that bad on the day only a couple of speed photographs turned out how I wanted for a more detailed look at speed have a look the 97 degree website
Built by Intamin Hydro opened in 2002, its a 121ft plunge ride down a 87 degree drop. According to the offical oakwood website it took 3 weeks to fill the 1 million gallon pool of water at the bottom. Hydro opens at 12:30pm and its the only ride i know which has a changing room you get that wet. I had no intention of riding this but people i know that have ridden it say its some experience, perhaps next year if the weather is a bit better.
Tree Tops Coaster
A family coaster that everyone can enjoy, it doesnt go high and the trip is through a forest.
Spooky 3D is a Ghost train type of ride that uses 3D models to enhance the experience, for me this didnt work as you are made to hold the 3d glass up to your eyes for the trip, it would have been allot better if you had goggles like every other 3d ride, but the kids enjoyed it.
The ride starts by shooting you up 160ft, then it bounces about a bit and you drop to the ground, just as you think the ride has stopped you are hoisted up again slowly this time and the ride eventually drops you after a few second wait, I enjoyed this and im normally not a fan.
Vertigo is a sky coaster, you strap yourself into what looks like a sleeping bag, get hoisted backwards and then dropped on cables, it looks great but theres no chance i would do it. Apologies for the picture quality.
This was a very enjoyable ride, you sit in a bob that hoisted to the top of a hill on cable and then its freefall down the channelled track until you get back to the ride station, on the day we visited the ride ops were encouraging everyone to use the brakes due to the track been wet as it does pick up speed quickly.
The final straight back into the ride station.
Snake River Falls
This is pretty good, collect your dinghy and choose one of four ways down, two routes are covered. Some of these boats come down really quick and it was quite common for some to stop by hitting the barriers were onlookers were stood, quite funny for the spectators to watch but probably terryfying for the riders.
Another water ride similar to Snake River Falls but more like a huge slide, guaranteed to get you wet.
Not much different from any other pirate ship, but i like the idea that every hour or so they run the ride at half height so the younger kids can have a go, this is a really nice touch i wish other parks thought about younger visitors this way. well done Oakwood !!
The Brer Rabbit ride is an enjoyable journey on a train through Brer Rabbits hideaway, its a nice leisurely trip and the youngsters that rode with us really enjoyed it, some of the scenes are quite funny.
Oakwoods newest family ride is plane crazy, climb aboard and the ride spins round, you can control the height of the ride using the sail or rudder.
The park also has a mini golf game and a boating lake.
Kidzworld is an area especially for the younger children, they have about 7 outdoor rides including a ferris wheel, mini coaster, carousel and tractor ride.
Also part of kidzworld is Wacky factory, this is a themed ball park that is huge, you can quite easily loose kids for an hour in this place.
I think they have a couple of slides a waterfall and an area set aside for even younger children.
Techniquest is a science discovery attraction also in Kidzworld, it features lots of hands on activities for kids including how to piece together a human body and various puzzles and games, they also have really helpful staff who walk around the area getting involved with the kids.
After dark is an event which is run for a month each year, for 2007 the dates are 1st August through to the 31st, this involves the rides staying open later and some entertainment provided in the theatre near Brer Rabbit, the shows are pretty good but dont last that long, by the time you have a pint and your settled its over. I think they do a couple of shows a night up to about 9:45 when everything is then taken outside for a water fountain display, outdoor live show and a firework display. 2006’s firework display was pretty good. They also have Matt the magic man at the park for 2007 i havent seen him so cant comment, for all events take a look at the parks website
Food and Drink
Theres a large cafe just as you get off the train to enter the main body of the park serving meals like fish and chips they also have more healthy foods on offer which are all good quality a meal for 4 with a drink is about £25 which is good value. The park also has various outlets offering fast food and a nice cafe in Kidzworld. If im honest the food as Oakwood was some of the best ive had at a park this year.
Considering the amount of rain that fell on the day we visited I found all the staff extremely friendly, approachable and happy. It cant be a nice job when its pouring with rain and your having to check restraints on rides over and over again.
Im my opinion one of the best days out of the year, me and my family thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it rained all day and we all ended up soaking wet for most of it, even after a change of clothes at 5pm we were wet again for 7pm.
Ive visted lots of parks in 2006 and if your reading this thinking is it worth a visit the answer is a definate YES. Its an ideal break for a weekend especially if you visit the wonderful indoor fairground at folly farm.
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Thanks for reading.