Blackgang Chine is the Isle of Wight’s biggest attraction for children – if you ignore the natural ones, like the beach and the fields, that is. It’s a fantastic place of imagination, and if left to roam, little children go from pirates to cowboys to fairies and back again in quick succession. In the summer months Blackgang Chine offers evening openings and events and last night my small people and I went along to the “Dino Nights: Are you brave enough” evening.

We almost didn’t venture out because it was one of those days where the mist hung low on the island and we had to drive with fog lights on. While not cold, it was wet and really, who wants to go out in that? As it turned out though, a misty night in Blackgang Chine is perfect! It adds atmosphere, with dinosaurs peaking out behind trees, and cowboy villages hidden in mist. Absolutely fantastic, actually!

But of course, the main point of this visit was the Dinosaur enclosure known as Area 5.

(If you can’t make it to the Island for this adventure, there’s a video here with a full walk through of Area 5. Not my footage, just sharing the link)

I have to admit, I was impressed. We have visitors from abroad at the moment, and they were impressed. My brother’s first comment was “It looks like Jurassic park! (Just smaller)”.

Blackgang Chine Dino Nights

As we waited at the closed gates of Area 5 for a guide to come along we could hear the roar and rumble of dinosaurs hidden in the foggy mists. We were met by a guide in safari outfit, complete with hard hat – I guess no one wants their head pretend taken off by a pretend dinosaur. They put so much effort into this whole experience, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

After signing disclaimer forms – insurance doesn’t cover being eaten by a dinosaur, you see – we were led through into the enclosure where we ‘overheard’ that someone had left a gate open and some critters had escaped, so we all had to be on the look out. Then the guides were having a private-not-private conversation about a poacher that had been spotted in the fields and we were instructed to keep an eye out for him.

As we walked through the enclosure we were introduced to the dinosaurs with a few key facts about each species pointed out, and added extras thrown in, like the hand sanitiser we all ‘had’ to use (this wasn’t enforced) to protect the dinosaur eggs from human contamination. We were shown an egg that was actually ‘knocking’ as the dinosaur was trying to hatch (in 8 weeks, conveniently after the summer ends ūüėČ ) covered in pink slime for ‘protection’ and audience participation.Blackgang Chine Dino Nights

Next we went down to the T-Rex where we found the poacher… but of course the guide didn’t see him initially, but when he did he shoo’ed everyone off so we didn’t have to ‘see this’. He radioed in to say they’d found the poacher and could they send a clean-up crew – and someone actually responded on the other side, so it was all very realistic.

Finally we ‘discovered’ that the poachers had cut the wires so there was no more electric fencing to keep us safe from the ravenous and angry dinos so we were rushed out of the enclosure by a frantic guide. We were all laughing and had such a fun experience. The children especially really lived into the whole thing.

Normally on the Dino evenings there is also other entertainment, including fire breathers, a live band, BBQ and more, but as the weather wasn’t great and there were only about three families in the park past 7pm, they cancelled everything. We still had a fantastic time though, loving the eerie quiet of mist and beautiful up-lighting.

Blackgang Chine also have a Wednesday night fireworks extravaganza over the summer, and as annual pass holders we’re sure to be back many times in the next few weeks. For non-pass holders a once off fee of ¬£18.95 is quite a lot, but at least you’re able to reuse it as much as you want for 7 days. This means with your once-off entrance you could visit on Monday night, visit again on Wednesday night, spend a whole day at Blackgang Chine and go back the following Monday for once last visit to Area 5, if you wanted to – in those terms, it’s rather good value for money, specially since there’s not that much that’s¬†child friendly in the evenings!

So my advice is this: visit Blackgang Chine’s Dino Evening when the weather is great, of course, but when it’s misty and eerie and a little bit spooky, definitely get yourself there, it’s the best way to experience it!

There’s also currently an, erm… cullinary experience, the Taste-Bud Trail, on the go at Blackgang Chine. For ¬£5 you can go around the different eating spots at the park and enjoy¬†Crocodile steak, Chilli hot chocolate, putrified Shark Meat, Frankenstein Fudge, Dinosaur Ice-Cream and Garlic and Nettle cheese. We spotted the fudge while buying hot chocolate. It has actual meelworms in it. Yummy.

Blackgang Chine Dino Nights

For more information on Blackgang Chine, visit their website.

For up to date information (although it didn’t mention the cancellations or early closure last night) follow Blackgang Chine¬†on Facebook here.