Roar of approval for Southwater’s dinosaur adventure park

Dinosaur Island official opening in Southwater Country Park  11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095446008
Dinosaur Island official opening in Southwater Country Park 11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095446008

Hundreds of youngsters channelled their inner Tyrannosaurus Rex at the official opening of a new dinosaur-themed play area on Saturday (July 11).

Children in prehistoric costumes descended on Southwater Country Park for a fun day at the Horsham district’s very own Jurassic world, Dinosaur Island.

Dinosaur Island official opening in Southwater Country Park  11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095548008

Dinosaur Island official opening in Southwater Country Park 11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095548008

The highly anticipated play area partially opened for the May half term, but is now fully opened to the public.

It was celebrated by local parents as well as political figures.

In a letter to the County Times, Henfield mum Michelle Taylor wrote: “As a mother of a three-year old girl and an 11-year-old boy, finding things to do that they will both enjoy is not easy.

“We quite often find ourselves driving well out of the area to find the kind of fun that entertains both. So it was an absolute joy to discover the all new Dinosaur Island.

Dinosaur Park, Southwater opening 11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095816008

Dinosaur Park, Southwater opening 11/7/15 (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150713-095816008

“It has been well designed and looks like it is built to last. The kids loved it and didn’t want to leave.”

Horsham District Council vice-chairman Christian Mitchell cut the ribbon to officially open the play area.

He was joined on the day by children clad in dinosaur costumes for a procession, while Horsham MP Jeremy Quin was also in attendance.

He said: “Dinosaur Island is brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed. Kids love it and you can see why!

“With the summer holidays nearly upon us I think Dinosaur Island will be getting a lot of use in the next few weeks.”

Taking place between 12pm and 4pm, the fun day was hosted by Horsham District Council and Southwater Parish Council and included prizes for the best costumes.

There was also face painting, boats to race on the lake, real dinosaur bones to play with and a hunt the dinosaur competition.

The Southwater Infants Academy school choir performed dinosaur songs, a firework display by Aurora Fireworks took place, as well as live music, a skate jam at the skate park, arts and crafts.

HDC cabinet member for leisure and culture Jonathan Chowen said: “I am delighted that the council’s exciting plans for the dinosaur adventure play area have now come to fruition and the play area is ready for children to enjoy over their summer holidays.

“The new play area caters for disabled visitors and aims to provide inclusive play for all ages and abilities. I would encourage as many of you as possible to put on your dinosaur costumes, come along to the celebration fun day and enjoy all the entertainments and benefits of this unique park.”

The play area features special effects including an active volcano, red hot lava flows, a tar quagmire, dinosaur swamp and prehistoric jungle.

Youngsters can cross deadly swampland, swing through the jungle, climb the volcano, zip wire across lizard infested ditches and traverse aerial walkways along sheer slopes to look out over the country park lake.

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