"Paradise Park" your local garden centre for BBQ accessories, fruit preserves and anamatronic dinosaurs fresh out of 80's movie memrobilia.
If you havent visited Paradise Park in Newhaven, imagine a typical garden centre frequented by a clientele with an average age of around 80 years.
Except tagged on the side is a "Planet Earth" interactive museum, in fact right at the entrance to the centre you are greated by a couple of disproportioned veloceraptors which kind of set the tone for the rest of the visit.
Further on you are guided through an immersive experience that could well have been created (and most likely was) in an enthusiastic grandad's garden shed.
With full sized dinosaur figures which although move, and roar (if that's what you call a dinosaur noise) do so in a way that conveys the thought that they may have recently had a seizure.
Alongside these big ones you will also find scenes created in a skewed scale from collections of plastic toy Dino's too.
It's not just dinosaurs either, there's space travel, ocean discovery, Egyptians, rainforest and more - all again presented in a way that time truly forgot (think Blue Peter's Tracy Island)
The museum isn't where it stops either, there is a random cactus 🌵 collection, Grecian statue display (boobs and butts), Asian Koy Carp indoor garden, outdoor and indoor play, a nice little cafe and a scale model of the Brighton Pavilion & Chichester Cathedral.
Then out in the garden there is yet more dinosaurs, bigger this time and painted in an array of stripes and spots of different colours and a maze depicting a miniature world of famous historic landmarks around Sussex.
If walking around the maze seems hard work then you can even hop on a miniature locomotive to take you (at a pretty decent speed) around the whole park.
The driver of said train I suspect is grandad who made all the papier mache displays inside!
The whole experience comes across as an attraction with all the enthusiasm and expectation of Disney but with 1% of the budget.
It's amateurish, it's strange in parts, it's a little confusing even.....and we love it!
I don't know who created it but part of me hopes it was an old man; an enthusiastic crafter in his or her garden shed or garage, hand painting the life size cuttout of Darwin in it's slight disfigured form.
Whoever did create it has managed to get the balance of stimulation just right, that children (our kids at least) explore the centre in awe of the displays; quitely and thoughtfully taking in, unknowingly, the multitude of educational topics covered.
If you haven't visited I urge you to give it a go, even just for the coffee and cake!
What little gems do you enjoy visiting? And why?