JUST like everyone else, the owners of a new children’s adventure park are hoping for a good summer this year.
But whether it rains or it shines, there will always be plenty to do at 4 Kingdoms Adventure Park, in Headley, just off the A339 on the very edge of Basingstoke and Deane.
Behind the new venture is Basing-stoke businessman Darren Lamb, who for 10 years has been running the popular JJ’s Play centre, in Morse Road, Basingstoke.
He is clearly very enthusiastic about the park, where visitors have the opportunity to get close to llamas, goats, lambs and chickens and Dave, a giant rabbit. They may even spot wild otters who have taken up residence in the park’s two large lakes.
Darren and his business partner Mark Knight acquired the 43-acre site in December 2011. Previously, it was Action Farm, which went out of business a couple of years ago.
Darren said: “We spent most of last year working on getting things sorted out – through all the rain.
“In December 2012, we had a pre-opening as a winter wonderland. It was more of a marketing exercise to let people know we are here and it went extremely well.”
The park officially opened for business in March and has attracted good visitor numbers, despite the weather.
“When we opened, we had an inch of snow, which isn’t ideal for a farm park,” recalled Darren.
“In our first week, we managed to sell 82 seasons tickets, which is quite good considering the miserable weather and the feedback we got on Facebook was extremely good.
“And during the Easter holidays, it was still bitterly cold with snow, but we still got 400 visitors a day.”
Darren and Mark have invested a lot of time and money in the park, which currently employs around 19 people.
Among the attractions on offer are an indoor soft play area, go-karts, pedal cars, laser tag and crazy golf.
In addition, there is the Knights-bridge Village, where visitors can climb into a bright red speed boat, besides a little post office, takeaway, corner shop, two-storey pub, cottage and a construction zone with mini forklift trucks and a sandpit.
“We hope to get children’s imagination going with different aspects of the park,” explained Darren. “We have a number of play activities that get children’s minds thinking in different ways.”