20 October 2006
This is a short review of the Tropical World, in Roundhay Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire. We took along our baby daughter and so include information relevant to other parents attending with babies and young children. We had a push chair with us and found no restrictions through use of the push chair.
The Leeds Tropical World is at Roundhay park, a short distance outside of the City of Leeds. There is a car park marked as the car park for the tropical world, but it was full when we visited. It appeared to be mainly footballers using the fields nearby. We instead drove outside of the park and found an on-road parking space almost directly outside of the Tropical World.
The price is quite reasonable at only £3 for adults, and free for under 8s. Which compared to the Butterfly Farm in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire was quite welcome. Although it doesn't compare directly with a butterfly farm. We were expecting to see a large number of butterflies at the tropical world, but in reality saw only one. There were however a few other attractions worth seeing.
As you first enter the tropical world it is supposed to be as though you were emerging from a ship. The first area shows a beach hut and a bit of scenery. Although this looks quite nice I think it's a bit of wasted space which would be better used for other things. Between some of the greenhouse areas there are a number of tanks holding tropical insects, mammals, reptiles and fish.
The next part is the first large greenhouse which is home to the butterflies. On the day we visited there appeared to be only one buttefly that we could find. Perhaps there were more out of sight, but either way there were not many. I imagine the number of butterflies will fluctuate as they emerge, so hopefully there will be more at other times. There is a wide variety of different plants and some extremely large Koi Carp in the pond, which is crossed by a wooden bridge.
The next greenhouse features a river complete with tropical rainfall, which you can walk behind. There are also some terrapins.
Another area includes exotic ducks on a river and pond area. The ducks can be seen from two different levels in the same greenhouse. One from the same level and the other from above. All the changes in height are achieved using gradual sloping paths and were ideal for taking push chairs or wheel chairs. I was disappointed to see that some people think that a pond with ducks is a suitable place to through coins in. This is effectively the same as throwing litter, and could be dangerous to the ducks. Perhaps it just shows the ignorance of some people.
There are also some Iguanas living on the upper branches of the trees or the greenhouse structure.
Then there is a dessert area, which includes meerkats as well as a number of different cacti.
Then it's back through the butterfly greenhouse, through a ship scene and back into the gift shop.
The visit doesn't end there though as there are Lemurs outside along with some ponds and decorative gardens. Due to the weather we didn't spend long looking around the gardens. We did however visit the tropical world cafe, which served a selection of hot and cold meals, including children's meals. They also had a wide selection of cakes, although none of them were labelled or priced. Whilst the food wasn't particularly expensive I got the impression from other peoples purchases that the cakes were a bit expensive.
The tropical world had good toilet and baby changing facilities and also had toilets and baby changing at the cafe. Push chair and disabled access is excellent. It is well worth a visit, and good value for money. Highly recommended.