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Cannon Hill brought bang up to date.

Byline: GRAHAM YOUNG

andlocked Brummies no longer have to go to the seaside to enjoy all the fun of the fair.

La new permanent series of attractions has opened in cannon Hill Park to bring the seaside - and Swan lake - to Brum.

Whether you want a leisurely glide across the lake, take a spin on rollercoaster, crash a dodgem or two or play a round of mini golf, there's something for all ages that will remind parents of trips to the coast when they were children.

add in the park's revamped tennis courts, the running, walking and cycling trails and the Mac arts centre for when the weather turns against you and it's easy to see how cannon Hill Park has become a one-stop, open air fun destination for the whole family to enjoy.

and don't forget, Warwickshire's edgbaston cricket Ground and the Birmingham Wildlife conservation Park are both nearby, too.

What's the NEW star attraction? The old crown green bowling facility close to the Mac was no longer being used so a small funfair has been built in its place. or to give it its proper name, a Fun Park.Mature trees and hedges mean that it doesn't spoil the look of the park and its popularity is already drawing people in. Things to do include sliding down a giant inflatable, riding bumper cars, going on the Hill Billy Railway train ride or the surprisingly smooth spinning rollercoaster which takes parents and children (taller than 95cm) for a spin. The Fun land express is for children up to 130cm tall, no parents. The Frozen Swing Ride takes children of all ages and parents, too. and the circus Tower Ride is for children above 100cm tall - no parents.

HOW much are the Fun Park attractions? For a refundable charge of PS1 deposit, you can obtain a credit card-style Fun Pass from the kiosk and load it up with however much you want to spend. or you can register and keep your card for a 20 per cent bonus on all future top ups (allow 12 hours for registration activation). a PS1 spend will earn you one credit and for PS10 you get 12 credits. You can get 26 credits for PS20 and 56 credits for PS40. a bumper car ride uses two credits, and the giant slide and rollercoaster 1.5 credits per go. all other rides are one credit. If three of you just want one go on the spinning rollercoaster, then you would pay PS4.50 and receive an additional PS1 back once you return your Fun Pass card to the kiosk. The bigger idea behind the Fun Pass is for it to become usable on the Golden Putter, Swan lake Boating and land Train as well as the Fun Park.

What's that next door? also designed and managed by Greenspace leisure, there's a 36-hole Golden Putter course and you choose which of the two 18-hole course you want to play - or both. The course is a triumph of design - it's large yet compact at the same time and packed with challenging holes and water features galore. It is open from 10am-8pm seven days a week throughout July and august and from 10am-7pm in September, reducing hours thereafter. details from www.goldenputter.co.uk HOW much is the GOLF? 18 holes: adults PS5.60; children/seniors PS4.60; under-fives PS3.60; family (two adults and two children) PS18; group of four PS20. 36 holes: adults PS8.50, children/seniors PS7; under-fives PS5.50, family (two adults and two children) PS28, group of four PS30. no need to book - simply arrive, pay and play. There is a 10 per cent discount for groups of 20 or more, but this must be pre-booked. call 01455 842318 from 8.30am-4pm or email zoe@greenspaceleisure.co.uk LIFE on the lake now you can go on to the main Swan lake in one of ten giant white swan pedalos which launch from a quality mooring area built out of decking. There are options for two people or up to four, but only two people can pedal each craft.

Participants can all wear life jackets if desired. Prices are pretty steep at PS8 for half an hour on a two-person pedalo or it's PS12 per half hour for up to four people. But you do get some interesting perspectives of the Mac that you probably haven't seen before. and, once you are back on dry land, you are very handy for the Verrecchia ice cream van where prices are PS1.50 for a single cone, PS1.80 (single flake), PS2 (twin flakes - aka "bunnies ears"), twin cone (PS2.30), twin with flake (PS2.50).

land train This has been named after louisa Ryland (1814-1889), who donated 80 acres of land in 1873 to leave cannon Hill Park to the citizens of Birmingham. a blue plaque in her honour is on the side of the park's lodge house. The carbon efficient train, from china, takes a route around the park, stopping off at major attractions, including the Fun Park, Golden Putter Mini Golf, Boating lake, Mac, Birmingham Wildlife conservation Park and Front Gates. It will run to a timetable and riders can get off at any time, with their round trip ticket valid when they get back on board.

Play areas There are two other children's play areas in cannon Hill Park. one is opposite "Swan lake" close to the Mac. The second is located to the rear of the Pershore Road car park.

tennis courts Recently refurbished with new floodlights installed, edgbaston Priory club is offering a coaching programme at the courts. coaching is available for all ages and abilities. Visit www.birminghamparktennis.co.uk for details of the coaching sessions and how to book one of the five courts. Alternatively, you can just turn up and play on any un-booked court.

Running, cycling and walks As well as the chance to wander where the moment takes you, there are also planned 2km and 5km walking routes in Cannon Hill Park. There is also a Tree Walk designed to help ramblers to identify the park's trees and plants.

BiRmingham wildlife CONSERVATION PaRk Situated at the Pershore Road end of Selly Park, the former Birmingham Nature Centre is still a mini zoo, featuring everything from European Lynx to monkeys, tamarins, lemurs, goats, pigs guinea pigs, sheep, cranes and ibises, snakes, lizards, red pandas, otters, antelope and wallabies. Admission prices here are adults PS6; adults accompanying a child under three years PS6; conc PS4.80, children aged three to 15 inclusive PS3.20, under threes, free. Season tickets: family PS70, single adult PS50, conc PS45.

what else is THERE to do? MAC Birmingham, now 54 years old, is a multipurpose complex that combines workshops with general exhibition space, dedicated galleries, theatres, dance, music, cinema and an open-air arena. As well as the restaurant and bar here, the park also has a Garden Tea Room close to the Russell Road entrance.

how do you get to cannon hill PaRk? Driving: There is a small car park just off the Russell Road entrance to Cannon Hill Park, and a larger car park off the Edgbaston Road, just opposite the Warwickshire (Edgbaston) CCC ground. Public transport: Buses are available from the city centre. The Number 1 route stops at Edgbaston Road, and Number 45 and 47 routes stop at Pershore Road.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 6, 2016
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