Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
The Dino Falls Adventure Golf is located just over half an hour from where I live, so I have driven past it countless times as it is located just off the M60 Motorway next to the Trafford Centre. Every time we pass by my children gasp and we always comment about how we really need to try it out, so what a lovely review this was to receive!
My children are aged 10, 7 and 3 and were so excited. There is plenty of parking and it is free, and as we arrived the staff could not have been more friendly and helpful getting us started.
There were two 18-hole courses to choose from, Rapids and Volcano. We chose the Rapids, but both take you on a journey into the land of dinosaurs. The models are huge and very impressive, with some moving and emitting realistic animal sounds. There was a waterfall, spectacular volcano with smoke and light effects plus shallow rivers running all around the course. It really is quite something. The course is also accessible for both prams and wheelchairs.
The holes were great as my 3 year old could manage them unassisted, yet there were some more challenging route options on some of the holes for my older children, plus we had the competition of who can take the fewest shots. It was definitely a course for everyone!
The course is full of “little extras” to keep people entertained, which is particularly helpful on busier days I would imagine as you wait for the group in front of you to move along. Sprinkled along the paths were benches, information boards in front of every model dinosaur, Tik-Tok areas, dinosaur word-search boards, photo opportunities in giant dino-eggs and even a mini dinosaur to sit on! There is such attention to detail and a real consideration into keeping everyone entertained so that children especially don’t get bored waiting. I have to mention the bins, as even these were dinosaurs that required you to throw the rubbish into their mouths.
I did wonder if being beside the motorway would be an issue with noise, but music played throughout the course (cue my kids having a little dance) so we didn’t really notice it.
We probably chose the worst day weather wise as we had rain and strong winds but on the plus side, it was quiet. We still managed to have the most amazing time which says a lot about a venue if you can spend the day laughing and cheering in freezing rain. I would imagine in the warmer months there may be some waiting time before you can move onto the next hole, but you have the other features to keep you entertained and so much to see.
There was an ice cream shack and benches near to the exit but this was closed today, which is hardly surprising given the weather. The cost for a family of four would be £28, with £5 for every extra child. For an 18 hole course of this standard it is fantastic value; we were advised that the course takes about an hour but we were probably there for 1 hour 20 as we took our time.
We decided to have lunch in the Starbucks Cafe and Bar, and whilst the menu was limited it covered the essentials such as pizza, burgers, wraps, breakfast and toasties, as well as muffins, cookies and chocolate. My two older children shared a 12 inch cheese pizza and it was huge, and a bargain for £8. I found the food to be reasonably priced and good quality. The cafe itself was a nice relaxing place to eat, and the staff were very friendly.
The final part of our day was the driving range, and I have to say this wasn’t an activity that I have ever considered as a family. I assumed it wouldn’t be my thing as my only experience of golf is the crazy variety, but honestly I could not have been more wrong. Yes, there were a lot of people with their own clubs who were clearly very experienced golfers, but we did not feel out of place.
We had to wait perhaps 10 minutes for our turn, but there are 53 bays so I doubt you would ever wait too long. We had our own bay with a seating area, and use of Toptracer Range virtual golf technology. You can even have food and drink delivered to your bay from the cafe. We didn’t explore the virtual tech a great deal as we just opted for a kids programme based on sea creatures where balls reaching certain distances triggered a score and a reward of items such as a clownfish, whale or an old boot. The only drawback to this is we didn’t really know if we were using it properly and there were no staff upstairs to ask, plus my younger two children didn’t hit the balls far enough to score. I wish that every hit had a least triggered some sort of token. However the kids loved to see our score increasing and little animals appearing on the screen so it was a positive addition to our experience.
The driving range had targets and distance measurements and was truly impressive and ideal for anyone who takes their golf seriously; a little wasted on my family perhaps as we just wacked the balls and hoped for the best, but we loved it and I do feel we all improved by the end. My point being, this activity is literally suited to any age or ability.
Our bay was upstairs, and whilst it was amazing to launch golf balls from such a vantage point onto the range, if my 3 year old wandered to the edge he could have fallen into a net several metres above the ground. If one of the older kids took a running jump they could potentially clear the net and have a really serious fall. Naturally our children were not going to do that and we watched them throughout, but if this makes you a little nervous (as I know it may with some families) then simply request a ground floor bay. I have to say that I am glad that we went with the upstairs driving range, it was quite an experience.
When we return to Dino Falls to try out the second course (which we absolutely plan to do), we will book the driving range again as it was the “cherry on top” for the children and for myself. The quote of the day from my 7 year old (who spent the day telling me how amazing this place was and how it was the best day ever) was “Whoever thought of hitting balls off a cliff is a genius”. He is totally right, it was brilliant and worth the money as we probably spent an hour hitting the 120 balls we were allocated.
I would award the adventure golf, driving range and café 5 stars out of 5 both individually and collectively; a unique and fun day out for families, friends and couples who just want to do something a bit different. We came away feeling warm and fuzzy like we had enjoyed the best day out.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Dino Adventure Golf
Under 16/senior/student £7
Family of four £28 plus £5 per extra child (up to a maximum of 4)
(half price same day offer on the second course, subject to availability)
Golf club hire if required (one driver and two irons) £10 peak, £6 off-peak
Ball prices for 40-120 balls peak is £8-£15, and off-peak £6-£13 including use of the Toptracer Range