Latest News & Offers

Posted on 14th October 2014

Christmas is coming! The Ark’s Magical Christmas Grotto At The Cricket Pavilion, Poole Park

This Christmas is going to be really special at The Ark, Poole Park.

From 27th November to 24th December, we’re transforming Poole Park’s cricket pavilion into a magical winter cabin, complete with Father Christmas and his elves.

Sprinklings of snow, twinkly lights, jingling bells and jolly cheer; The Ark’s one off not-fo-profit  fairy-tale Christmas Grotto is set to thrill and delight, capturing the imagination of visitors - both big and small! Meet Father Christmas in his enchanting log cabin where children will receive a special gift, be entertained by his mischievous elves and have the chance to make magical reindeer food to take home - the perfect treat to leave out for Rudolph and friends on Christmas Eve.  

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Explore the magical kingdom of The Ark with its real ice rink, split-level soft play and stylish café area. Visitors to the Christmas Grotto can enjoy £1.00 off a visit to the ice rink on the same day - simply present your grotto ticket to staff.

Tickets cost £12 per child. Two adults per child only. Book Here

Recommended for children aged 6mths – 12yrs.

The Ark Grotto is a one-off event and not for profit initiative. All profits will be donated to Fernheath Play Charity No. 1148263, a local charity which provides specialist free play and short play breaks to fully able and disabled children.
For further information, visit

Posted on 26th September 2014

Let It Go! The Ark Launches New Frozen-Themed Birthday Parties

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new Frozen-themed birthday party package, inspired by Disney’s enchanting hit film.

Specially designed for children aged 2-11, our Frozen-themed parties include all the magic and adventure you need to celebrate your special occasion. Choose from our soft play or ice rink, perfect for fairy tale ice princesses, talking snowmen and guests!

The Ark specialises in children’s birthday parties for groups of 12 or more, with a variety of entertaining themes from tots to teens.

All parties last for 90 minutes and include:

A dedicated Party Planner to help you book, organise and prepare for your party
A dedicated Party Host for the duration of your party
Exclusive use of a private party room
60 minutes for your chosen activity and 30 minutes for food and present giving
A hot or cold food buffet
Party invites and thank you cards
Party bags for all children
Present for the party child

For details of other party packages, click here

To find out more or to check availability, please call 01202 717197 or send us a message

Posted on 25th September 2014

The Ark, Poole Park Wins Development Of The Year In The Sibbett Gregory Poole Tourism Awards

The Ark, formerly Gus Gorilla’s, closed last September for major refurbishment to transform it into a brand new family destination. Local couple, Richard and Sarah de Lisle, invested more than £1.6m into the project creating a stunning new café, soft play, ice rink and ice cream parlour at the heart of historic Poole Park which opened in December 2014. 

“After months of hard work, we were thrilled to finally unveil The Ark last December.  Our vision was to create a family-friendly, welcoming destination where local people and visitors to the area could meet up, socialise and enjoy great food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere and I believe The Ark has lived up to that vision” said owner, Sarah de Lisle.

" We’ve had an incredible first year and it’s a real privilege to receive this accolade in recognition of our achievement to date." said Sarah.

 Find out more about the awards

Posted on 24th September 2014

The Ark Has Been Selected As A Finalist In This Year’s Dorset Tourism Awards!

The Ark has been selected as finalist in the 'Small Visitor Attraction' category in this year’s Dorset Tourism Awards which will be presented at The Tank Museum on 16th October. 

The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in 2013, and have gone to new heights this year with an increase in both categories and entries.  Their main aim is to raise the profile of Dorset as a destination and recognise its top quality and progressive tourism businesses.

The Awards saw an increased 67 entries across 16 categories, with each going through a three-stage judging process.  Firstly each entry was pored over and scored by tourism professionals; secondly, a programme of visits were carried out, leading to recommendations for each category; and finally these recommendations were considered by an independent panel. Finalists were selected from across the county with businesses from Lyme Regis, Poole, Weymouth, Cranborne, Sherborne and Bournemouth amongst the list.

Andrew Alder of headline sponsors Saffery Champness and a member of the judging panel said: “We have been delighted by the high standard of entrants and the quality of their submissions.  It’s quite clear from all the hard work and commitment of the businesses involved that these awards have captured the imagination of the regional tourism industry and the accolades they bring. We were particularly pleased by the entries for the Entrepreneurs Category which we helped to introduce this year. A big thank you for everyone’s time and effort.”

Robin Barker of Services for Tourism, who created and manage the awards programme, commented: “It is a real delight seeing the increase in entries this year, along with the commitment to quality shown by all concerned.  The judges have faced some very difficult decisions and I congratulate all entrants for their vision, drive and dedication.”

Find out more here

Posted on 6th June 2014

Anyone For Tennis?  The Ark Holds A Key To Poole Park Courts

The Ark holds a key to the Poole Park courts and can take bookings.  Just pop-in, pay and play*!

* Subject to court availability

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