Set in beautiful scenery, Jersey’s newest attraction, Tamba Park, offers a range of attractions for people of all ages. The site was bought in late 2014 with the new owners starting to transform the once derelict park into something spectacular for families far and wide.
Michael Bee, General Manager at Tamba Park said: “The owner set up a charity in 2012 and wanted a sustainable business to support the charity, so we are a non profit business and the idea behind it was that if anything would happen to him, his charity would be able to continue.”
The charity, Ruff’s Kitchen, was set up by Tamba Park owner Jonathan Ruff in 2012 and was implemented to feed vulnerable children at school in Zimbabwe. The charity currently feeds over 5,000 children everyday.
Run by the Ruff family, the charity has set up seven kitchens in schools across Zimbabwe with each child within those schools receiving a nutritious; porridge based meal packed with vitamins. Due to the positive impact made by Ruff’s kitchens, by 2018 the aim is to be feeding over 20,000 children each day, across 30 schools.
Tamba Park is made up of a variety of areas including an outdoor area comprising an African Sculpture Garden, large lake with micro boats and remote control boats, a dinosaur trail with 16 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, children’s adventure playground and a café.
The African Sculpture Garden is created from sculptures made from artists in Zimbabwe. The sculptures are bought by Tamba Park as a way of supporting the African economy and are then put on display and sold at the park.
The dinosaur trail contains 16 life-size animatronic dinosaurs which work on a sensor basis, so when families are exploring the trail, the dinosaurs will start roaring and moving.
A café is also contained in the outdoor area where families can enjoy hot food, cakes and beverages before heading off to explore the park even more.
A second phase of work has recently taken place at the park, which has seen an indoor rainforest themed play area open as well as a mini arcade, 120 cover restaurant and a birds of prey centre.
The rainforest play area offers a full sensory explosion of light, sound and scent effects for visitors. Children of all ages can immerse themselves in the play area and will keep children entertained for hours with the mini arcade, slides, tree houses and zip line around the play area.
Michael added: “We opened the indoor area on Monday 29th February 2016 and then had to close the outdoor area for three weeks to make some of the necessary changes that we have planned, but by Easter everything will open and be operational again.
“We purchased phase one of the park in October 2014 and were open by 1st June 2015. With phase two, we started in late October/November 2015 and opened at the end of February 2016.”
Work at the park was overseen by park owner Jonathan with different contractors coming on board to finish different aspects of the development.
Michael said: “The biggest challenge on the project initially was how to plan the space correctly. A lot of it is water and there are a lot of banks where you can’t really build things, so utilising the space for phase one took a good two or three months for the owner to decide on how to best maximise the space.
“Getting the space to open in the time frame that we had was also a big thing. The building was in place already but it was a complete and utter rip out to the shell and then we used AWG Construction, a UK based company, to build the playgrounds. There were quite tight time constraints as well, but because it was the same company as phase one, they knew how everything worked and the standards expected, so it worked well.”
During the summer, Tamba Park is open from 10am until 6pm and during the winter it opens from 10am until dusk. The indoor area is open between Sunday and Thursday from 10am until 7pm and between Friday and Saturday from 10am and 8pm.
Since the park opened and is now offering fun family days out, Michael states that the feedback for the concept and the site has been extremely encouraging.
He said: “It has been fantastic and really positive and has been received really, really well.
“It is a great option for a small place because there aren’t really many places for family days out so the concept has been very well received. We have always kept our prices competitive and that is because the philosophy we have is to get people coming in two to three times a month and spending money in the park, rather than charging a high-end price and people only coming once.
“For the pricing concept in the new area, for a family of five people, we charge £120 a year for our annual membership and that is full access to the park and 10% off everything that they buy in the park and people really appreciate that level of pricing.”
It is now hoped that Tamba Park will continue to grow with further developments already in the pipeline.
Michael concluded: “There is opportunity for further developments but they are probably further down the line.”