My friend Sophie came to visit from London at the weekend and I wanted to take her somewhere in Leeds that she hadn’t been to before which was a bit different from the usual city centre activities.
I decided that Tropical World was probably a good idea, and since I haven’t been in years (maybe even a decade) was quite looking forward to it.
It was as good as I remembered and we really enjoyed ourselves. If you’ve not been before and are planning on visiting, here are a few tips:
- Parking: You can park for free on the streets by Tropical World. Mansion Lane (by the Roundhay Fox) is the obvious choice, but it’s always busy, so unless you’re really lucky and someone’s just coming out, and you’re pretty confident with parallel parking, I wouldn’t bother and instead would try one of the car parks lower down or roads around the park.
- Queuing: There was a really big queue when we got there early in the afternoon – it came out on to the street and nearly put us off from going. But seeing as the sun was out and we had some mini-eggs to keep us going, we didn’t mind waiting and joined the line. It took about 20 minutes to get in from queuing outside by the road. It’s worth the wait, but bring something to keep the kids entertained if you’re going with family!
- Price: It’s £5 for adults, £2.50 for kids aged 5-15, and free for under 5s. If you have a Leeds card it’s £3, which I think I do but didn’t realise until afterwards – d’oh. Seeing as we were there for an hour and probably could have stayed longer, it’s definitely worth the money. Be warned though, as with most places, you have to go through the gift shop before you even get in and there are plenty of pricey toys for children to throw a strop about wanting.
- Humidity: This might come as a surprise, but it actually feels quite tropical at Tropical World and is very humid. Don’t wear a big coat. Also, it’s not the best place to go with a hangover. We found that out the hard way.
- Animals: So it’s obviously not as big as a zoo, and not as interactive as a petting farm, but there are still some ace animals at Tropical World. There are plenty of butterflies zooming around; lots of birds squawking away; the meerkats are as adorable as ever; the chameleons have a really funny walk; the monkeys are a bit mental; there are long-necked turtles which just look really freaky and yes – the crocodile is real, even though it’s just stood there not moving with it’s mouth open.
- Other activities: My intention was to wander around the gardens and then also walk around the lakes at Roundhay Park. We were a bit short on time so didn’t get a chance to do it, but I’d definitely recommend combining the two together if you’re making a day out of it. There’s also a cafe at Tropical World, but I haven’t been so wouldn’t be able to comment on it, and I’ve always wanted to try the Roundhay Fox pub which looks quite nice. Has anyone been? Let me know if it’s any good.
Despite being aimed at families, as two friends in our late (eek!) 20s, we had a really fun time. Another awesome thing to do in Leeds.