At the end of the summer we wanted to do something fun as a family and this trip to Tayto Park in Ashbourne, Co. Meath was as much for Mommy and Daddy as it was for the toddlers.  I’m going to save you a lot of reading time here,  whether or not this is a great idea for your family is going to depend on your toddler’s personality and how long a drive you have to get to the park. 

Yes this is us, don’t let it stop you from reading though! 

*please note this is not a paid for post. We bought the tickets ourselves and it’s just a personal account of the day which may help you decide if it’s worth the trip. 

Let me paint you a picture before we get into my thoughts on the process. We live about 40 minutes away from the park. Our kids are a very energetic just turned 4 years old and 2.5 years old who has a ‘hanger’ problem. Sound relateable? 

Let me start by saying this was an expensive day out in comparison to the other family day trips we did but in our opinion, it was well worth the money and it was cheaper than a day out at EuroDisney.  I was slightly put off by all the negative reviews on Tripadvisor but in the end, we went and we had a ball. 

The Costs

The park has a set entry fee which you can see hereYes, that does mean that the entry fee no matter the age, is the same for everyone. A toddler who only has access to 1/3 of the park pays the same as a teen or adult who has access to the entire park. 

The park works on wristbands or tokens. I will just say, buy the wristband. We only bought bands for the kids and not for ourselves because we knew we wouldn’t get to go on a lot of the adult rides. We also knew that we needed to take in a show to allow the kids to sit still for a while and being toddlers, they wouldn’t understand the word ‘No’ without a tired tantrum at the end of the day if we ran out of tokens. So for us, it was €86 euro to enter the park and the girls had unlimited attractions. We paid 10 euro extra for show entry for ourselves and that was it. 

The Attractions

For this price the toddlers have access to quite a number of fantastic playgrounds, the attractions at Eagle’s Nest, the World of Raptors, the zoo, the circus, the Tayto Factory Tour and Dinosaurs Alive.  For some of the rides, Mommy and Daddy had to go too and well the Honey Pot Bears were my personal favourite. All attractions are accessed via height restrictions (or no restriction) so it doesn’t matter what age your children are it’s their height. You can measure them before you go and check what attractions they can go on using the Tayto guide here.

My toddlers spent hours going between the same 5 attractions and then we broke for lunch. We used the zoo to calm them down and then the youngest had a nap during the World of Raptors show that Mommy and Daddy enjoyed very much.  If you had to pay tokens each time they both went on the rides we would have spent well over the amount of the bands. 

Eating Options

Some of the Trip Advisor reviews had issues with the price of food in the park. To me it was the same as eating out in Dublin city years.  For €22 we had 2 toddler sandwich meals and two adult hot rolls and tea, coffee and 2 desserts in the main restaurant. 

For dinner, we had two hot meals and one children’s meal that we split between the two toddlers and that was under €30 and I couldn’t finish mine. All the food years the park was fresh and was gorgeous. The staff helped so much between finding seats, cleaning the tables and helping with carrying items and water. They even acknowledged our kids instead of blanking them like a lot of restaurants do. They took their order and made it a big deal for them which really added to the experience. 

If grab and go food is what you are after you can also have pizza, pop into the ice-cream shop, nab doughnuts, burgers and chips and so much more throughout the park and it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Everything was really good quality and the coffee from the coffee dock is good! I know you want to know! 

There are also options within the park for picnics if you wish to pack a lunch and bring it with you. We are not that organised and it was a spur of the moment decision to go based on the weather. 

The Park

The park itself is beautiful. It’s pathways and surrounding walkways are clean, it has ample restrooms which are clean! The staff on the attractions couldn’t have been nicer to us or more helpful. 

My advice with toddlers, as you probably aren’t getting a lot of sleep anyway, is to get there early before the park gets really busy. We got there about 30 minutes after opening and our toddlers whizzed through the entrance queue and were on rides within 15 minutes. They had a good 2 hours of running between attractions before the queues got really bad.

Our kids loved running around Dinosaurs Alive. This was a complete shock as I thought they would be too young but they loved it and the zoo.  Don’t expect your kids to sleep because we were still on the carousel as the park was closing! 

Final Thoughts

I won’t argue with reviews on Trip Advisor as each family has a different experience within the park. To us, we couldn’t fault the food, the park, the staff or the value of the wristbands. Was this an expensive family day out, yes but it was also less expensive that other theme parks on the same scale. The kids absolutely loved everything and didn’t want to leave. This is very much a treat but when our kids are older we might consider a season pass.

It is worth bearing in mind that toddlers are finicky creatures and if they are having a bad day then this could be a heap of wasted money for you e.g. if the toddlers are clingy or scared by large groups of people. Our eldest gets scared in large crowds and when the park was busiest that’s when we did the zoo and the shows to keep her calm and comfortable.

The younger fell asleep in the sling (we still have carriers for our kids) within the park at the end while the 4 year old ran about using the ends of her energy. If you can do the park with a sling and not a buggy as this helps in the playgrounds and queues. We also went on a very hot day and being able to just pop the toddler on our backs and carry on walking around the zoo was worth it. the carriers also fit in a backpack so we never go anywhere without them still.

I was really apprehensive about going especially because of the price and the toddlers but they laughed all day and we only had one meltdown due to our kids being tired and hot.  Mammy and Daddy are also considering going to the park minus the toddlers so we can do the rollercoasters while the kids are in school, but ssssh! 

I really hope this post helps.  Apologies for the photos in this post but all were quick dash phone pics as I was trying to wrangle two toddlers and sometimes doing it alone while Daddy was ‘exploring’ 😉

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