Advertorial content for Coral Island, Blackpool
We visited Coral Island in Blackpool on a super hot and sunny day in July last year but had to cut our day out short to get home as we had Mum’s dog staying with us. We’d had so much fun that we promised to return when we could – and so, after a busy weekend of work for me, bank holiday Monday seemed to be the perfect time for a family day out to Blackpool.
Having already written a full review of Coral Island last summer, this time I wanted to share some tips for making the most of your visit to Blackpool’s largest indoor family attraction.
1. Where to park when visiting Coral Island
On both of our visits to Coral Island we’ve parked at Bonny Street car park (use postcode FY 5AR for your sat nav) which is open 24 hours a day and is perfectly situated for Blackpool’s main family attractions and of course the beach itself. Bonny Street car park is a pay & display car park, with the machines taking cash or cards and charges start at £3 for up to 2 hours rising to £20 for 96 hours!
2. Get to the Coral Island arcade early
Both times we’ve been over to Coral Island, we set off first thing in order to avoid any traffic which has meant we’ve been at Coral Island pretty much for opening time (which incidentally is 10am during the week and 9.30am Saturdays and Sundays). As such this has meant that the arcade has been fairly quiet – we’ve been able to play freely on whatever we wanted without having to wait or feeling that we needed to move on so that someone else could have a turn. By lunch time, the arcade is much busier and this makes it harder to keep an eye on three excited kids who want to put money in everything that flashes or beeps at them!
3. Have a look round before you play
Coral Island is vast, with a huge variety of slots, games and rides to try. It is tempting to just start pouring money into the first thing you see but I do think it’s worth having a look around first to get your bearings and highlight any favourites so you can work out where you want to spend your cash! With this being a return visit for us – all three kids had remembered things from last time which they wanted to try again but also spotted new things to experience!
4. Set a budget (and stick to it!)
Nothing is really expensive in Coral Island with most things the kids wanted to do being around £1 or less (apart from the VR Ride Simulator which is £3 a pop). Obviously those £1s can add up quickly but luckily our three love a 2p machine and you can make a few quid’s worth of coppers go a long way!
As part of our trip this time, we were given £30 in coins and this lasted us a good couple of hours. We made it clear to the kids from the start that we wouldn’t be adding any more money to the pot, and that when it was gone it was gone. I do think this is a really important lesson for them when it comes to playing arcades – the money isn’t endless and when what you’d planned to spend has run out, you should stop.
And, following on from that:
5. Remember that you are buying fun, not investing money
This was displayed on a poster in the toilets in Coral Island and I think it’s a really important point to make. We have taught our children that they are not playing to win – they’re never going to beat the machines or come home with more money than they set out with – they are just playing for fun.
6. Try out some of the rides for little ones!
At 5, Amy couldn’t manage a lot of the games the older two wanted to play, but she was more than happy to spend her money on rides! Both the Pirate Flyer which goes right around the venue, above everyone’s head and this little roller-coaster of vehicles were a big hit with her. Nobody wanted to ride the ghost train this time though (I couldn’t even convince Ben to try it for extra money to play with!)
7. Don’t forget to try the more traditional games
Bright screens, flashing lights and loud music are all well and good but you can’t beat a good old fashioned Camel Derby or a 2p machine. The Camel Derby at Coral Island is great fun – Dave and Ben did really well this time, both almost winning but then being pipped to the post. I do think if we were going again we’d try and go on super early when less people were racing to give the kids a fighting chance!
8. Pop upstairs for a game of prize bingo!
I’ve always fancied playing a proper old fashioned game of bingo with a card and a dabber – but the prize bingo at Coral Island is way easier than that – you just tap your screen and it highlights the numbers for you which I guess takes away the skill but makes it much easier for the kids to take part! (Point proven by Chloe winning a line and cashing her points in for sweets.)
9. Remember that kids eat free
If you get a bit peckish during your time at Coral Island, it’s well worth taking advantage of the “Kids eat free” offer whereby one children under 10 eats free for every paying adult in all four of the restaurants on site. Last time we tried The Buccaneer which we felt was cheap and cheerful, this time we visited Captain Jack’s which has a much calmer atmosphere – the service was spot on and the food tasty so we all left feeling satisfied (and without having spent a fortune!) – we’d definitely go back.
10. Cash in your tickets for prizes
Many of the machines in Coral Island will spit out tickets for you as you play – these can be cashed in for prizes (or saved up for another day). We picked up around double the number of tickets we had done on our last visit and were able to trade them in for a travel sized game of Guess Who – perfect for our upcoming holiday! It’s worth making sure you fold your tickets neatly – it makes it much easier to keep hold of them and to feed them into the machine at the end. We saw some people who were clearly pros at this, stood nonchalantly feeding their bazillions of tickets into the machine and one couple who had the biggest pile of tickets I’d ever seen – just patiently folding them all up neatly so they could feed them into the machines quickly. (The machines do get quite busy so you want to be as efficient as possible!)
11. Have fun!
I asked the kids what advice they would give to someone who was visiting Coral Island for the first time – any tips they wanted me to pass on or recommendations and Amy said, “Have fun!” – which I thought was the best possible tip to end on!
*We were invited to visit Coral Island and compensated for our time in writing this post*