"There are creepers on the walls and jungle animals peeking out from behind the undergrowth!"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
This one is sure to be a delight for those with kids – although there are some points for parents to watch.
For example, in order to get to the entrance you have to go through the shop which is stuffed full of fluffy animals and cute toys. So the chances are that you will either get an ear bashing from your kids who want you to buy stuff for them or have to work double hard to stop your buggy based baby from grabbing whatever is at knee height off the shelves.
And you really need to book – cos it is usually very busy and kids don’t much like being told that they can’t eat NOW. Sometimes, if the wait isn’t too long, they will take you down to the bar. The décor in this place is amazing. There are creepers on the walls and jungle animals peeking out from behind the undergrowth – butterflies with gently waving wings are a particular favourite. The bar has high stools in the shapes of animals – which naturally the kids want to sit on. But they are high and you know what kids are like on stools.
When your table is ready, you are walked across little wooden bridges that span streams to your seats – some of which are right next to the wonderfully lit fish tanks. Whenever we have been there, there has always been several birthday parties taking place - but the singing is sometimes a little drowned out by the regular very loud thunderstorms (parents of younger children beware - the toddlers at the next table had their heads firmly buried in their parents arms during the simulated storms). But older kids will adore them with the flashing lightening and thunder claps. Storm over and you get to gaze upon a starlight sky. And all in the middle of a dark and realistically sounding rainforest! It’s really lovely.
The fantastic gently moving elephant, gorilla, snake and other animal models amongst the rainforest back drop and waterfalls more than make up for the noise. Kids will spend ages wandering around the place seeking new creatures. And the staff are marvellous and don’t seem to mind dodging numerous wandering small people while they carry stuff to and from the tables, which are covered with bright animal pattern water proof table cloths.
The food there is OK - they have a great kids menu (£10.90 for a main course and a dessert – drinks are extra at around £2 for a smoothie) with some healthy options. Although the past favourite of hot diggity dogs appear to have been discontinued. The adult menu is eclectic and extensive and has cute names for the usual things like burgers, ribs, pasta, pizza and salads and also some fish dishes (sea bass and bream). I have had the Calypso chicken sandwich (£12.70). Also, the vegetarian, dairy free, egg free and gluten free options for those who have dietary restrictions are clearly marked.
But it is the decor, environment, animal models, atmosphere and the incredibly friendly staff who make it such a great place to take kids. Colouring pens and activity sheets are also provided for those with a short attention span.
KimT reviewed The Rainforest Cafe on Tue 05 Aug 2008