We recently completed the Leeds Jurassic Trail (2) with the dinosaur mad Master of Mischief.
Firstly, I just want to say, WOW!
It was a fantastic day for many reasons, the main highlight was that it was a FREE EVENT!!
There are 13 different dinosaurs over 12 locations within Leeds city centre. You can collect a map from various points of the trail depending on where you start. We picked ours up from the train station information centre when we arrived in the city. From there, we walked to each of the locations. These included; the Train Station, The Trinity Centre, which is home to a spectacular giant animatronic T-Rex, Trinity Kitchen, Briggate, The Corn Exchange, Kirkgate Market, Victoria Leeds, The Core, The Light, St Johns Centre and The Merrion Centre.
A dinosaur shop has been set up inside the Trinity Centre (first floor next to Next). The store has dinosaur merchandise on sale, a ride on t-rex, and activities that run throughout the day. Kirkgate Market also had an activity pen which was full of dinosaur colouring supplies for children to use.
What’s Right With It?
Almost everything, the staff situated at various points along the trail were all friendly and helpful. The paper map we collected when we started included a multitude of discounts and offers from companies involved with the event. At each location, you get a stamp to show you’ve visited that dinosaur. The Master of Mischief particularly enjoyed collecting each of these.
The locations themselves were grouped close enough to easily follow and not feel like a marathon but distanced so that we felt like we’d explored a lot of different places.
The movements and sounds of the animatronics, while not enough to scare an adult, are advanced enough for kids to feel like they are face to face with a real dinosaur. I saw so many children looking up in wonder at what was in front of them. The Master of Mischief was in awe for most of the day.
Another feature I liked was that each location included a poster telling you where to get your map stamped. There was also a host of information about the dinosaur you were looking at.
A new feature of the trail is a downloadable app for your smartphone. Through the app, you can access the map and receive a notification when a dinosaur is nearby. An egg would appear on my screen & clicking it would cause it to hatch. You can view the hatched dinosaur through AR technology and take pictures that can be saved to your gallery. Once a dinosaur has been discovered, they are added to your in-app dinosaur counter. There are prizes advertised for those who find the most between the dates the event is running. It must be noted that the app is not necessary to follow and enjoy the trail.
Points to Note
The event is free, meaning anyone can pick up a map and start hunting. However, the dinosaur rides at various locations have a small charge. When planning your day, be sure to factor in travel and food & drink costs. We paid for an open return train ticket into Leeds meaning we weren’t tied to a specific time we had to leave.
As far as food & drink go, Leeds city centre is packed with an abundance of places to pick up a bite. We enjoyed lunch in the Trinity Kitchen, which has a mixture of street food vendors. Kirkgate market has a similar set-up with food stalls and vendors situated around the dinosaur. There are also shops, bakeries and café’s that fit any and all budgets.
One tip I would say is to take a water bottle and plan for a toilet break mid-hunt. There is nothing worse than getting halfway between two locations and hearing the dreaded words ‘I need a wee’.
Another tip would be to check the weather before you go. While the walks between locations aren’t far, I wouldn’t want to get caught in a downpour. We planned for a bit of rain as per the forecast but were lucky that the sun shone the whole time, or unlucky if you consider we ended up carrying our coats for most of the day.
All in the Leeds Jurassic Trail is a great family-friendly event that can be as cheap as you make it. The kids all had a fantastic time, as did me and the hubby. It was nice to get out and was even nicer seeing the Master of Mischief’s reaction to each dinosaur. It’s probably the closest he’ll get to a Jurassic Park experience.
If you are local to or visiting Leeds with kids, I would highly recommend this event.
It is currently running until 12th September. Happy Hunting!