Why We've Got Annual Passes to Drusillas Park24/09/2017
Drusillas Park is a ‘small zoo’ off the A27 between Brighton and Eastbourne. By small zoo it just means it has a more modest array of animals, like penguins, lemurs and flamingos rather than big tigers, lions or gorillas. But there’s also loads of other stuff going on: playgrounds, soft play, a train, even a little Hello Kitty theme park. There’s enough to do to keep the kids busy for a day, and because it’s open nearly every day of the year Drusillas is one of the few places we have bought annual passes for, and it’s well worth it.
Drusillas can be found along the A27, about 12 miles East of Brighton near Alfriston and Polegate. There are a few signs to it but for those using a satnav the postcode is BN26 5QS. Parking is usually OK but it’s better to get there early to save a trek from the overflow car park.
For tickets, Drusillas has peak and off-peak prices. Find out more at the Drusillas Times and Prices page. Peak is most weekends and the school holidays and the Park is only closed over Christmas. The current peak gate price is £19.50 per person and off-peak is £18.50 but you can save £2 on those prices by booking online - this also saves you a bit of queuing! Family tickets will also save a bit of money and it’s worth noting that under 2s go free.
There aren’t really any other deals around for Drusillas tickets, but you can use £6.50 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers in exchange for a one day ticket.
The annual passes are £68 per adult or child, so if you go 4 times during the year any other visits beyond that are free! If you renew the next year then you get 15% off that price. We ended up getting one each for our two kids and then one for Mum (Dad pays as he goes!). Our kids aren’t at school yet so it’s a great day out during term-time when it’s nice and quiet and serves as a place for meeting up with friends and letting the kids run off and explore.
Obviously there’s plenty of animals to get through! The way Drusillas is laid out takes you in a circle through the animal areas before leading you round to the play areas and cafes before finishing at Hello Kitty. Bizarrely, Starbucks is also at the very end! There are a few shortcuts to different areas but the layout really works and you can take as much time at each area as you need.
One of the first areas is the farmyard, then there’s the meerkats which has a tunnel you can crawl through and poke your head up to say hello. There’s an indoor area with pets and a big pool for the penguins which gets busy around feeding time. You can also walk amongst the lemurs in Lemurland and even pay £1 to go and feed honey to the lorikeets in Lori Landing. This is pretty fun as you get to stand there as the birds land on your hand to get the food. Most littles kids seem to enjoy it but one of ours didn’t like how eager the birds were so has never tried it again!
Once you’ve got the educational stuff out the way you cross over a bridge where the hippos are and there are some massive play areas to choose from. We’ve not really had a proper experience of the Go-Wild bit which is for 7-12 year olds but the Go Bananas area for 6 and unders is endless fun. For really small ones there are some swings and a trampoline area, older pre-schoolers can run about the tree houses and zip down the slides. If it’s raining then there’s a big indoor soft play so it works in all weather conditions.
Depending on the season you can then either get wet at the, er, Get Wet area or maybe even see Father Christmas. Get Wet is open between Easter and September and is perfect for letting the kids splash about in the sun, lots of jets and water cannons to keep them busy. If you go to Drusillas in the winter then their Wonderland Illuminations is worth a look plus you can pay a bit extra and get a pressie from Santa Claus himself. We did this last year and the kids loved it. There was a long-ish queue but we found it was better to do that first because later in the day the queue was even longer with it being situated at the ‘end’ of the Park. All the kids got the same thing - a cuddly husky - and they even had some real-life huskies for the kids to stroke. If you stay when it gets dark then Drusillas put a lot of effort into their lights and Christmas tree in the picnic area.
If all that wasn’t enough then you’ve still got rides to go on! Hello Kitty’s Secret Garden offers teacups, a mini tower drop and a pleasant pootle around in little 2-seater cars. The newly opened Go Safari has some bigger rides like the Hippopotabus and the Flying Cheetahs which whirls round 4-person ‘cheetahs’ and lets you move them up or down. Y’know, same as the Dumbo ride at Disneyland Paris and Go Jetters at CBeebies Land. Parents will have seen it all before but it’s still a classic!
Oh, and there’s the train ride around the park as well. It used to be Thomas the Tank Engine themed but sadly he’s been decommissioned (or some copyright expired more likely) and replaced with a more jungle-themed vehicle.
So whatever the weather, whatever the kids want to do, Drusillas is somewhere we go multiple times a year. I’m sure as the kids get older then the cute animals and low-key rides will start to seem little tame but until then we’ll keep renewing the annual passes for another year or two. To call Drusillas reliably entertaining might not sound like a ringing endorsement but when you’re shelling out over 50 quid for a family day out you want some guarantee it’ll be worth it! Every time we’ve gone to Drusillas we’ve always wanted to go back.