Joanna Lovell reviews East Park in Hull
WHATEVER the weather, you can always rely on East Park for some family fun. Whether its pulling on your wellies on days like today and wrapping up warm for some fresh air, or visiting in the height of summer for a full day out, East Park has something for children of all ages.
Despite living across the other side of Hull, we always choose East Park over the others in the area when we want a few hours outside.
As soon as you are through the gates and into the 130 acres of open space, it feels a world away from the busy city that surrounds it.
For me, as I’m sure it is for many locals, the park is a place full of childhood memories and now somewhere I’m making new memories with my own children.
It’s the city’s largest park and Hull City Council bill it as one of the premier park venues in the North of England.
It was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and recently underwent a £10m transformation.
We usually start in the play park. It’s got everything from swings and slides to a zip wire and trampolines.
The last time we went, my four-year-old son Oliver was having such fun on the trampoline that his trousers fell down!
No visit to East Park is complete without a visit to the animal education centre.
If you’re feeling brave, get up close to the indoor collection of snakes, tarantulas, millipedes and beetles.
You can walk through the centre and into the outdoors again at the other side, where you will find everything from guinea pigs, rabbits and goats to deer, alpacas and wallabies.
There is also a walk-through aviary, which is one of the largest in the country and includes Koi carp, waterfall gardens and exotic birds.
Visitors are reminded not to feed any of the animals and birds because they are on special diets and the wrong food could be harmful.
In the warmer weather, if you have young children, a donkey ride is a must. My children love having a go.
The splash boat is just one of three in the country and has been providing thrills and memories for visitors since 1929.
A footpath runs alongside the length of the water chute so viewing is made a lot easier, and wetter.
The splash boat will be open every weekend from Saturday May, 4 and from the May Day Bank Holiday it will be open everyday over the summer months.
There is also a 16-acre boating lake which was dug out by unemployed locals after World War I. Today, you can take a peddle around the lake during the summer in a swan pedallo boat, or enjoy a trip in a more traditional row boat.
All boats run from the wooden jetty in front of the boathouse and charges apply.
If you enjoy hearty homecooked meals, visit the family run Pavilion cafe.
The cafe is popular with local community groups and welcomes residential home outings.
There are a wide selection of specially adapted bikes for use by children and young people with disabilities and their families and carers in the park.
The scheme is also open to adults with disabilities.
The water play area is still closed while the council consider it’s long term future.
Location, prices, opening times and website
Getting there: Holderness Road, east Hull.
Open: The park is staffed daily from 7.30am until dusk. Times depend on season.
Prices: Free entry.
Call: 01482 300300.