"To celebrate my 21st I thought I'd be a bit different and not just go for a major night out, though I did have a couple of smaller affairs. For the big celebration however I decided to go on a big park visit instead. So after a brief discussion Oakwood was chosen as the target park, and it was decided to go to Oakwood Theme Park in Wales. After the overnight stop (Although it is possibly to drive for 4.5 hours from my home to the park, I wasn't looking forward to it or the trip back) we headed off for Oakwood.
As we got closer to the park we realized the weather was not going to play ball with us. It had been about 28-33 degrees C every day for the past three weeks here in Britain so of course the one day I went to a park it was going to have to rain! Looking back, this was possibly a blessing in disguise, as we were visiting on a Saturday in the summer holidays the park could have been packed. As it was the rain kept the queues away!
Arriving in the car park, we parked the car and wandered over to the park entrance. After a surprisingly cheap £14.50 park entry fee, we took the train to the entrance. First stop was the gift shop so people who hadn't brought waterproofs (a.k.a. everyone but me) could purchase a poncho. These were clear plastic and thus gained the title of 'Full Body Durex' for the remainder of the trip. We then headed off for the first coaster, Speed: No Limits...
Well we tried to! Fitting in Speed has meant that Oakwood has had to redesign the paths and thus it is a little confusing to get there, the direct path stops at the Wacky Warehouse just before it. Nevertheless after several false starts we arrived at Speed, Britain's and my first 97 degree drop. There was very little queue so I strapped in, being offered the front row as it was my birthday. The ride was good fun, so fun in fact we went straight back into the queue and rerode. The area that Speed is in however is not so good and looks very unfinished at the moment, this particularly stands out with the quaint and pleasant atmosphere found in the rest of the park.
After two rides on Speed we decided to explore the rest of the park. First was Treetops Rollercoaster, a large Zierer Tivoli coaster. While a standard design, it weaves in and out of the trees, adding a new danger if you are tall like me, I nearly got a branch in the face a couple of times. Then we headed straight over to The Bounce, a Huss Shot and Drop. These are very similar to the S&S design but carry 24 guests and launch straight from the ground, rather than lifting off the ground a little bit before the launch. The ride was fun but forgettable. Next up was a Huss Pirate Ship that I elected to sit out, lest my stomach try to redecorate the surrounding area in a pebbledash effect.
Following my sit down I was ready for more rides and Snake River Falls, the parks dinghy slide was nearby. Myself and one of my friends chose the 'Cobra' and discovered that two 21 year olds can make a dinghy go quite fast by the time it's reached the bottom. For a laugh we then hit the pedelo lake before Megafobia. Unfortunately I got a hideous boat that wouldn't steer, so we scraped round the lake and back into the station.
Next we rode what has now become my favourite wooden coaster, Megaphobia. This airtime packed coaster was built by CCI, and is a great ride, with just one point where I got bashed into the side of the train a little hard. As a final ride before lunch, we rode the Toboggan Run. Here I learnt an important lesson, when they tell you to brake they mean it! As a result of this I ended up temporarily separated from my sled and with a few bruises, two small burns and a wet backside to remind me to pay better attention next time! Let that be a lesson to you kids, a wounded pride hurts!
For lunch we ate on the Smuggler's Island and watch Megaphobia and the rain from the comfort of a shelter. We then decide the rain would get us wet anyway and thus decide to ride Hydro which had only opened an hour before. Here I started to regret mocking the ponchos as they stretched over people’s knees. My waterproof on the other hand did not....oh dear.... As I skwelched of Hydro with a very damp crotch I was glad I'd worn my thinner trousers that would dry quicker, especially with the help of the nearby driers.
We then rode Megafobia again to dry off further before hitting the Spooky 3D ghost train. While aimed more at younger kids, this would have been better with glasses that actually had earpieces, and that you didn't have to hold on. We then revisited Bounce and Speed, before my friends went on Plane Crazy, a Larson Flying Scooter ride. I opted to sit this out, because although my stomach was fine, after a trip on a spinny ride like that, it wouldn't be. Finally two of my friend raced down Waterfall, another dinghy slide type ride but with a steep drop and a skim across a pool of water. Unfortunately for comedy fans neither fell in.
We then left the park and headed to Oakwood's CC2000 family entertainment centre. Here they have a mock-up of the Crystal Maze, from the TV gameshow of the same name. For those not familiar with the show it involves charging round a maze split into 4 zones and completing challenges in the 4 zones for crystals. You then have a final round for points in a big crystal dome where you have to hit buttons when they are lit and lose points for hitting a non lit light. Each crystal gives you more time in the dome and the winners obviously have the most points. We managed to come 4th that day and it rounded off the day nicely."