The best attractions for kids in Cornwall


Kids need stimulation. Make no mistake, some children love Cornwall’s lush garden attractions and its museums, galleries and historic houses. But all children love theme parks, animal sanctuaries and venues with grand play areas. So we at Proper Cornwall have chosen our 12 best attractions for kids in the county. Just to be sure: this list focuses on attractions that are partially or entirely geared towards the little ones who haven’t reached their teenage years yet. Each one spells stimulation and fun, fun, fun. In alphabetical order, here are the 12 Cornish attractions we reckon your kids will just love…

Bluereef Aquarium Newquay

Type: Major aquarium
Suitable for: Kids who like fish and sea animals
Location: Towan Promenade, Newquay

What little monster doesn’t like, well, little monsters from the depths of the ocean? Sharks, crocodiles, octopuses and turtles await at Bluereef alongside a dizzying array of tropical fish. There’s an underwater tunnel, interactive workshops, feeding demonstrations, fishy activities and a rolling programme of events geared towards young people. For kids who love aquariums, there’s nothing as big and bright as Bluereef for miles around.

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Camel Creek Adventure Park

Type: Theme park
Suitable for: Kids who like rides and activities
Location: Treddinick, Wadebridge, near Newquay and Padstow

Theme parks and kids. They belong together. And Camel Creek is one of Cornwall’s best. This all-weather theme park comes equipped with a plethora of rides, many of them suitable for even the youngest tots. There’s even a whole zone called Kiddies Kingdom and then there are play areas across the attraction alongside venues where they can meet animals like meerkats and reptiles. A big day out for the little ones with fun on every corner.

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Type: Farm animal attraction
Suitable for: Kids who love meeting animals
Location: Tresillian Barton, Newquay

This one’s simple: meerkats, lambs, ponies, guinea pigs, rabbits. Milking ‘cyber cow’ Clarabelle. Horse rides. Bottle-feeding sessions. Animals that can be petted. Rides. Play areas. Drop slides, soft play, climbing nets and ball pools. A go-kart track. Tractor rides. A zone dedicated to bugs. Want us to go on? I think not. The little ones have already made up their minds and they want to go to Dairyland.

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Eden Project

Type: Major attraction
Suitable for: Kids who love nature
Location: Bodelva, Par, near St Austell

Cornwall’s biggest attraction appears on a lot of must-see, must-do lists. But it needs a mention here too as those two biomes feature loads of activities and exhibits geared towards youngsters. They can wander through rainforest clouds and meet the critters in the Minibeast Mansion. There’s a ‘breathing sculpture’ that kids love and indoor and outdoor play areas. Plus, they’ll learn how to conserve our planet for the future.

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Type: Theme Park
Suitable for: Kids who love rides
Location: Clodgey Lane, Helston, near Porthleven

Fast, adrenaline-fuelled rides are the order of the day at Flambards. Some kids will go for that. But then there are slower and quirkier rides that cater for the younger crowd as well as loads of sideshows and activities on offer for children at this famous theme park. Plus, kids always love the experience of walking through The Victorian Village and Britain in the Blitz due to the sights, sounds and even smells in these lifesize exhibitions.

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Lappa Valley

Type: Steam train theme park
Suitable for: Kids who love trains
Location: Lappa Valley, St Newlyn East, Newquay

When you mention trains, you always think that it’s the older generations who have an avid interest in them. But, of course, kids love trains too. And Lappa Valley is certainly geared towards the little ones. The steam train rides are the big draw here but then there’s a pirate ship, crazy golf, pedalo swans and a ton of play areas with tunnel slides and pedal cars. This is a full day out which will get the rugrats on track for the rest of their holiday.

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Monkey Sanctuary

Type: Animal attraction
Suitable for: Kids who love monkeys
Location: Murrayton House Street, Looe

Oo oo oo. They wanna be like you oo oo. Actually, they want to be with you and the kids at the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe. More than 40 pretty primates, including capuchin monkeys and marmosets, are the kings of the swingers at this animal attraction. Then there’s a Wild Play Area for the kids with all sorts of obstacles and there are children’s workshops for craft-making and face-painting. It’s time for the little monkeys to go ape for a few hours!

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National Maritime Museum

Type: Museum
Suitable for: Kids who love the sea
Location: Discovery Quay, Falmouth

Not all museums are boring for kids. Far from it. The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth tailors many of its exhibits towards children. With five floors containing 15 galleries to explore, the museum covers local maritime history, boats, shipwrecks and fishing. Until December 2022, its ‘Monsters of the Deep’ exhibition is perfect for the little ones, with stories of giant sharks and krakens to mesmerise those young minds.

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Newquay Zoo

Type: Zoo
Suitable for: Kids who love animals
Location: Trenance Gardens, Newquay

If you have kids, you can never go wrong with a zoo. And Newquay Zoo is the county’s finest. More than 1,000 creatures greet visitors within this attraction’s walls. Penguins, lions, spiders, antelopes, red pandas and many, many more beasts await. There’s also a Village Farm with more traditional British farm animals to meet alongside a host of activity trails, play areas and a special Dragon Maze. Again, you can never go wrong with a zoo…

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Paradise Park and JungleBarn

Type: Animals and kids play attraction
Suitable for: Kids who want to play and meet animals
Location: Tresillian Road, Hayle, near St Ives

This attraction is a real two-for-one. Kids will love the Paradise Park wildlife sanctuary with its red pandas, red squirrels, flamingos, donkeys and Asian otters. And they will also adore the JungleBarn, a massive play area jam packed with stuff that the little monsters will go crazy for, like giant slides, soft play areas with climbing ropes and a toddlers’ zone. Animals and play. This is indeed paradise for young visitors.

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PK Porthcurno

Type: Museum
Suitable for: Kids who love interactive exhibits
Location: Eastern House, Porthcurno

Tell little Jimmy or Sally that we’re going to PK Porthcurno – Museum of Global Communications today and you’ll probably be met with comments like ‘don’t want to’ and ‘boring’. But explain that it’s home to interactive communications exhibitions for kids, has live scientific demonstrations, contains underground tunnels, has a ‘secret bunker’ and runs regular fun events then you should be met with comments like ‘are we nearly there yet?’.

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Shipwreck Treasure Museum

Type: Museum, me hearties!
Suitable for: Kids who love pirates and treasure
Location: Quay Road, Charlestown, near St Austell

This museum in Charlestown was built for little landlubbers. The Shipwreck Treasure Museum exhibits bucketloads of objects that have been found by divers in Cornish waters over the years, including gold bars, cannon balls and precious coins. There are underground tunnels too and plenty of stories about pirates to keep the kids entertained. This place is a treasure trove for families looking for an engrossing afternoon on dry land.

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Via Ferrata Cornwall

Type: Unique high-wire challenge on the cliff walls of a granite quarry
Suitable for: Families, couples and teams of friends
Location: Goodygrane Activity Centre, off the A394 at Long Downs near Penryn and Falmouth

Via Ferrata Cornwall is in a beautiful granite quarry on a 60-acre site near Penryn and Falmouth. Here, you ascend cliff faces, cross high-wire bridges, scramble over rocks, tackle high challenges and ‘zip’ back down to ground level at the end. There are two courses to take part in and anyone aged eight and over and under 18 stones can take it on. Via ferrata challenges are popping up all over Europe but this one is the only one in the South West. The team behind it says that it’s ‘more than just an adrenaline rush’. Read on for more…

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