Today our four year old turns five. What with him starting school a few weeks ago I’m fresh out of emotions at milestones, so I’m coping just fine! Five suits him, and I remember from the teen that five is a good year. Less tantrums, more personality. Though this kid has personality by the bucketful already, I’m not sure I could handle any more! We didn’t throw him a party this year, as he doesn’t know all the kids in his class yet, so instead we took him to Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
It’s a dreary Monday and I’m the bad (good?) sort of mum who makes her kids go to school on their birthdays. He opened all his gifts before school – a street sweeper, mini bus, log lorry, crane and sea plane in a variety of Lego, Playmobile and Sika…he’s a total vehicle geek. Another thing he geeks out over is dinosaurs. He geeks out over those hard. We’ve seen every dinosaur movie possible, our house is over run with books and toys, and the little dude can tell you facts about the most obscure dinos (as well as pronounce their names).
So when I first heard about the Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens I knew we had to take him. Animatronic dinosaurs would blow his little mind. I had the tab open on my browser for months until the tickets went on sale, and yesterday it was finally our time to experience the magic.
getting there, getting in
I’ll get the bad bits over with first. The tickets for Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens weren’t cheap – for a family of four it was over £10 per perso. The customer service is poor to non-existent too. I raised a request via Eventbrite and got no response, and on Facebook had to chase for a reply which was curt to say the least.
I also didn’t like the booking process. If you’re thinking of going when the tour moves on to other areas of the country, don’t book as soon as the tickets go on sale. I did that, only to find that a discount code was released the next day. Not a nice way to treat your most keen customers. The tickets are also non-refundable, which isn’t great when you’re buying in advance for children. Better hope they don’t come down with chicken pox or something on the day!*
Obviously if you catch the tour somewhere else this one may not be an issue, but specific to Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens there is no dedicated parking. We didn’t see that as a problem but I thought it was worth a mention here. We got parked on Byres Road, which was free and unrestricted as it was a Sunday. There are also a couple of car parks nearby. But I would guess the car parks would fill up quickly, and they aren’t free. On-street parking is restricted and most of it is residents only, so I’d recommend public transport if at all possible. Our friends got public transport, which is great to that part of the city.
the dinosaur experience
The dinosaurs are laid out at points along a route through the Botanic Gardens. The route was well sign-posted and was fine for pushing a pram along, though due to where it is there were hills and part of the route does take you out on to a road.
We were greeted by a colossal Brachiosaurus as we made our way up to the start of the route. The wee guy was a bit nervous at first! The dinosaurs make noises, and he wasn’t too sure about that. He soon warmed up though, when he saw some Pterodactyls in the trees. After that he excitedly ran from dino to dino, getting up close and really enjoying himself.
The models themselves were really good, and there were facts about each one. A lot of them moved and made sound so it was a lot of fun being roared at! It was really busy when we were there, but the models are spaced out well enough that there’s plenty of room to see them and pose for photos.
Highlights of Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens for us were the Raptors snacking on another dinosaur, the Euoplocephalus and of course the enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex! It was also nice to see the Botanic Gardens, which I haven’t been so since I was a kid. We’ll definitely be visiting there again once the dinosaurs have moved on.
facilities and extras
There were portaloos and catering facilities at the mid-point, although we didn’t need to use them. There was also a merch trailer selling all things dinosaur. Our little guy chose a plastic model Pachycephalosaurus (he can pronounce it, I can’t) which was £9. I actually didn’t think the toys on sale were too badly priced.
There were ride-on dinosaurs and a VR experience, both which cost extra. The wee guy wasn’t interested, so I don’t know if they were worth the money.
There are also an egg and a dinosaur’s jaws near the entrance, to use as photo props. They are free, but the queue for these was pretty long so we didn’t use them. As you can tell from his pained expression in the photos, the birthday boy wasn’t in the mood to pose!
overall – is jurassic kingdom at glasgow botanic gardens worth it?
Given the bad experience with booking, I was really worried that Jurassic Kingdom at Glasgow Botanic Gardens was going to disappoint. I’d read some less than positive reviews from other stops on the tour, especially about the condition of the models. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. The models were all working and all looked great.
In terms of value for money…are these things ever value for money? But I didn’t feel ripped off as we walked around. Sadly the weather was pretty awful for us yesterday. But we were waterproofed up enough to still enjoy it and see everything there was to see. We could have easily made a day of it, with a picnic and going round the route more than once, had the weather been at least dry. We’d love to do it again for that reason, though not at the current price.
The tour still has some places in the UK to visit. I’d recommend it if you have a little dinosaur nerd like ours, particularly if they’re under the age of ten. Though I did see childless adults enjoying it just as much as our crowd!
*They say they’re non-exchangeable too, but Eventbrite do let you change the names on the tickets. So if you are unable to go you could always sell your tickets to someone else.