Adventure Island, based in the Sunken Garden on the Western Esplanade in Southend, is a free-admission amusement park with more than 50 rides and attractions. The origins of the park go back to the 1920s when the Sunken Garden installed a few children’s rides by the north end of the pier. There has been a full amusement park here, operating under a variety of names, since the Miller family purchased the site in the mid 1970s. First known as Peter Pan’s Playground and then as Peter Pan’s Adventure Island before assuming its present name of Adventure Island. Along with the changes in name, the park has increased in size over the years, notably in 1995 when more land to the east of the pier was added to the park site.
Unlike many other amusement parks, visitors to Adventure Island will not find themselves visiting a series of themed zones during their visit, and the park does not charge an entrance fee. Instead, visitors can buy coloured wristbands that allow them access to a particular range of rides. The rides are divided into categories from Mini to Big Adventure depending on the age of child for which they are most suitable. For parents of younger children this system has advantages as they don’t end up paying for rides that their child is too small to enjoy, as can be the case at parks that charge one fee for all the rides.
One of the benefits for all visitors to Adventure Island is that with so many rides in a comparatively small site the queues to get on the rides tend to be quite short. This means everyone gets to spend less time queuing and more time actually enjoying the rides.
Enjoy big attractions
Rollercoasters are one of the biggest attractions at Adventure Island. Green Scream opened in 1999 and for a while was considered to be the park’s signature ride. In 2000 the second rollercoaster, known as the Barnstormer, opened to the public. In 2003 the Mighty Mini Mega followed, the most recent big rollercoaster to open is known as Rage, it’s name being chosen by a public competition. This ride began thrilling visitors when it opened in February 2007, and it has become the new signature ride at the Adventure Island. At 75 ft in height and with a 97-degree drop, a vertical lift hill, a vertical loop and a Zero G Roll, Rage is not a ride for the faint hearted. The slogan used is “For Superheroes only!”, and it truly is an extreme ride for those seeking the ultimate thrill. If something less heart-stopping is preferable then the Kiddi Koasta, a children’s rollercoaster, which opened in 2011 may be a better choice.
Rollercoasters are not the only attraction at Adventure Island. In addition to a host of exciting outdoor rides, in 2015 the park debuted a new soft play area, known as Adventure Inside on the site of the former Pirate Boat ride.
Adventure Inside does have rides, such as Dune Buggies, The Pirate Plunge, Caousel, and Smiles Per Galleon, but there are also the Play Stack a multi-storey soft play area for children up to the age of 12, and the Play Pod soft play area for all children up to the age of 4.
Adventure Inside is also the place to go if you enjoy arcade games. There are over 100 arcade games located across Adventure Inside. These include some of the latest family games from right around the world. The tickets that you can win on the machines may be exchanged for a wide range of prizes to suit every taste.
Whatever type of excite you are looking for, you will find it at Adventure Island, the free-entry park on Southend seafront.