I recently took my eight-year-old son for a weekend in Bristol. I was hoping to visit We The Curious as we hadn’t been since he was tiny, like two years old, but unfortunately, it was still closed. The last time I tried to visit it was also closed due to a rare solar panel fire, so I took my daughter who I was with at that time to Bristol Botanical Gardens instead, but where to take my son instead that he’d enjoy?
A quick internet search and I discovered Wake The Tiger, an “amazement park”! It looked intriguing and a visual feast for the eyes, so I booked it and hoped he would enjoy it.
In this blog post, I’ll share my Wake The Tiger review and explain exactly what this curious named experience is.
What is Wake The Tiger Bristol?
Described as an “amazement park”, Wake The Tiger in Bristol is a mixture of a light show, interactive theatre experience, and art installation mixed with a funfair house…
As they explain on their website:
“A mysterious tree has stopped construction of some luxury apartments. What you stumble across is the opportunity to step through a portal into an alternate world; the world of Meridia. If you dare to take the leap, you’ll be transported into The Dream Factory in Meridia; a world of Explorers, Alchemists & Adventurers staging wild experiments to find the solutions to their world’s problems…not too dissimilar to our own world’s.
On this self-guided journey, you will explore 27 unique art installations with themes of connection and innovation, inspiration and discovery. From the underground networks of the Mycelium Room at the factory’s core, to the intergalactic explorations that await near the end of the journey, a world of intrigue and inspiration awaits.”
Essentially, there are many rooms to explore, each decorated differently some with lights, some with psychedelic patterns, some with steampunk features and some with actors inside to take you on a journey.
What mostly attracted me to take my son to the experience was the funky light rooms and patterned rooms which looked cool in other reviews. The reviews I had read online seemed very mixed, but I was keen to check it our for myself and experience something we hadn’t tried before.
Wake The Tiger Review: First Impressions
Having read reviews already I knew that many people were not so impressed with the start of the experience and I can see why. My son actually wanted to leave at this point and was trying to drag me out, but luckily I convinced him to stay! Basically, they try to create a story of a new block of houses/flats/whatever is being built, but there is a tree in the way which is essentially a portal to another dimension or crazy world. There are actors and it’s all a bit cheesy and pantomime-like. Great if you like that sort of thing, but I’m not so into it and it would appear neither is my son! But I knew once we got in, we’d find all these amazing rooms and be able to explore minus the actors and hopefully have a great time!
Once through the tree, my son was still begging me to leave so I didn’t really hear what the actors said, but we were able to explore this first room and to be honest, I did start feeling a little anxious as I wasn’t really sure what we were meant to do! We were trying some doors as I knew there might be secret passageways, but none of them opened and we were all kind of lost looking in this room. Eventually, I noticed some people found a door they could go through, so we followed them and entered the rooms where we could finally explore ourselves.
Personally, I’d skip that whole part at the beginning with the acting and story, and just make the entire experience exploring the rooms on our own. Add more rooms with more interactive elements, different light experiences and art installations. More secret passageways, longer and larger.
Wake The Tiger Review: Exploring the Rooms
Once we were able to explore the rest of the rooms by ourselves, we relaxed and enjoyed the experience a whole lot more. Especially when my son discovered the computer game he could play! He must have had at least 10 goes on the game, and if he succeeded it was linked to something mechanical next to us and it moved.
There are lots of rooms, but I’m certain we didn’t see all of them as I know we never saw the library room stacked full of books. We seemed to go around in circles and find the same rooms. I expect there is more to explore than we found!
As you can see, there are lots of cool light elements to see which make for great photos! There was so much more I didn’t capture in photos too as I was chasing my son around, mostly back to the computer console room!
The secret door room was pretty fun and we spent a lot of time here. You had to follow an exact sequence on the control panel, enter the code it gives you and one of four doors will open which you can then enter. We went through two of the doors, so I expect the others we did not go through may have taken us to the rooms we missed.
Wake The Tiger: Is it suitable for kids?
I think young kids will be mesmerised by the lights and enjoy the visual and sensory elements of each room. They may even like the acting at the start!
I’d love to take my daughter (11 years) and husband there and be able to spend a little longer there exploring the various rooms and taking our time.
Going with my son, who was 8 at the time, he became quite restless and wouldn’t spend long looking at all the different features in each room, but he did love the interactive elements and anything that had a joystick or game!!
He was not a fan of the acting, but if your kids love pantomime and people dressed up playing a part, then they will enjoy this much more!
It’s definitely worth seeing and I think for my son, he just wasn’t in the mood, was perhaps tired and didn’t know what was going on when the acting started!!
How Long is Wake The Tiger in Bristol?
We spent a couple of hours here. This was around half in the rooms and half in the cafe at the end where we stayed for dinner. I could have spent longer in the rooms exploring and absorbing the atmosphere, so I think up to 3 hours would be a good amount of time to really get the most out of the experience.
Is There Parking at Wake The Tiger?
Yes, there is an on-site car park and we were easily able to find a space mid-afternoon on a Saturday. The tickets are timed, so there are only a certain number of people arriving at each time. Even if we couldn’t find a parking space, there were nearby streets with free parking only a short walk away.
At the time of our visit, the first three hours of parking were free. Being an optimist I had expected we would be much longer than this, so I paid around £5 for parking to stay for longer if we needed to, however this wasn’t needed in the end!
Wake The Tiger Gift Shop & Restaurant
In the last room, you can either choose to go back into the rooms and experience or leave via the gift shop and restaurant. My son was keen to eat, so the gift shop and restaurant it was!
There’s a small gift shop at Wake The Tiger with clothing, books, postcards, chocolate and stationery. We found some delicious vegan chocolate and a pen for a souvenir!
Luckily the restaurant had a lot of vegan food, so we stayed for dinner. I had a vegan burger and fries. The fries are very generous and the burger was great! My son had the vegan macaroni cheese… only order it if you are a fan of mushrooms! I am, but he was not and it was filled with them, oops!
Would I return to Wake The Tiger?
I guess the big question for any review is whether I’d return. I would, once, to show my husband and daughter. I think they’d really enjoy it. Maybe not the acting part either, but definitely seeing and exploring the rooms. And of course the vegan food at the end!!
Otherwise, it’s really just a one-off experience.
Best parts of Wake The Tiger Bristol
- Amazing light features
- Secret doors
- Interactive rooms
- Photo opportunities at every turn
- Quirky cafe
- Great vegan food choices
- Friendly staff
Criticisms of Wake The Tiger Bristol
- Reasonably pricey in peak times (£33 for me and my child on a Saturday, plus parking charge if you’ll be more than three hours)
- Could be bigger
- Doesn’t need the acting at the beginning
- Straight into the rooms from the start would be better!
Where is Wake The Tiger Bristol?
The address is 127 Albert Road, Bristol, BS2 0YA.
For reference, here is the location on Google Maps from Cabots Circus in Bristol: