Tayto Park is great, but it's an expensive day out
Cathy Mitchell took her two youngest children, Jodie (12) and Ben (9) to Tayto Park, Co Meath, a theme park based around Ireland's best known crisp factory, on 55 acres of farmland.
While Cathy had positive comments to make about her visit, overall she found it was an expensive day out, particularly for families with older children.
"On the good side, the park is very well run, with plenty of staff and lots of coffee shops and places to eat," she said. "There is a really great playground, with bark on the ground but it's for those who are eight years old and younger. There is also an open zoo but my two just walked around it once. My friend's kids who are younger were more interested."
Cathy's issue was that having forked out €30 for the three of them on the entrance fee, there wasn't much they enjoyed free of charge and the cost of the pay-per-go rides soon added up.
Tayto Park boasts the most extreme zip line in the country but it is €4 for the experience.
"I went and Jodie and her friend went and that was €12 gone straight away."
The tubular slide and the climbing frame were priced €2-€3 per go.
"You wouldn't see €40. There is very little to do that doesn't involve spending more money."
According to Raymond Coyle, the owner of Tayto Park: "The average price of entry into Tayto Park is €10 inclusive of VAT. The majority of the activities, including the animal zones and the playgrounds, are included in the price admission. The activities that have high labour costs, such as the Zipline, are €4 per trip. The average price of entry into activity parks in the UK is £35. Everyone that visits Tayto Park receives a complimentary bag of crisps when they leave."
As a mum of three, including Ryan (19), Cathy has learned the hard way how to save money on a day out. She recommends bringing a picnic even if there is food available.
"I just open the kitchen cupboards and pour stuff into a bag."
She also often brings along a little gas camping stove and cooks up sausages and rashers.
"The kids love the smell of them cooking."