Meet the boss who walks with Norfolk’s dinosaurs
He is a man who really does walk with dinosaurs. CAROLINE CULOT spoke to Adam Goymour, the 31-year-old company director at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure.
Adam Goymour is not the stereotype company director.
But the rugby-loving 31-year-old – who brings his beloved border collie Millie to work each day – is at the forefront of some serious changes at one of Norfolk's most-loved, award-winning visitor attractions.
Last week he officially became company director and his ambitious plans for Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure – the 85-acre, dinosaur-themed adventure play park based at Lenwade – are already taking shape.
He is well placed to take the new role in his stride because this is a family business with father Martin still the managing director and mum Caroline working as a senior advisory officer. He himself has worked at the venue since he was in his late teens, most recently as the park manager.
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However, it's Adam who is now in charge of more than 20 attractions, five annual events, up to 150 staff members at peak times and more than 115 dinosaurs.
The beasts range from terrifying animatronic creatures, to the huge Brachiosaurus, to the exhibit all the children love – the menacing T-Rex.
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'Some of the dinosaurs are made in Norfolk, we seek different suppliers, but they are mostly from China,' he said. 'The dinosaurs get sent to us in shipping containers and are assembled on site, they can come painted but we do employ our own artist to maintain all the dinosaurs.
'People ask me what I do and I say: 'I manage a dinosaur-themed adventure park,' it raises some eyebrows. People think that's cool, fun and exciting – and it is.
'My rugby friends at Diss RFC always jest with me and say 'What have you been feeding the dinosaurs with this morning' when I'm sometimes late for pre-match training.'
Last year's investment saw a whopping £2.6m spent on attractions like the Predator High Ropes, a themed restaurant called The Explorers and, of course, on bringing new dinosaurs to the venue – a single one can cost £25,000.
But Adam remains tight-lipped about what is coming next.
Adam himself first came to the venue aged just five on a family trip in 1992 but it would be 14 years later when his father acquired the attraction in 2006.
He lives in south Norfolk with Millie and actually started out aged nine working outside Banham Zoo managing the bouncy castle. Once he finished at Langley School and West Suffolk College, he worked in construction within the family's business portfolio in his late teens before travelling around Australia and New Zealand.
He returned to work as assistant park manager alongside his father who at that time also owned Weston Park Golf Club, Banham Zoo and what is now known as Africa Alive!
In 2011 they opened the Dinomite indoor play area on the first day of the school holidays which saw a huge spike in visitors from 143,000 to 179,000 in its first year of opening. The growth has continued from there.
In 2016 Dippy's Splash Zone was opened which saw a 16pc increase from 2015 with visitor numbers. And it's Adam who's behind the new look Dippy – a cuddly dinosaur and the venue's mascot which was taken on from acquisition in 2006.
'I have a vision for Dippy, he used to be a very rounded character with no personality but I have been working with branding agents to create something new.'
Based loosely on the Diplodocus, the new-look Dippy comes in different sizes and is dressed in a green t-shirt, purple shorts and shoes. A life-size Dippy is available for parties, and he heads up Dippy-Ville, a new indoor area specially for younger visitors.
This and a new-look party room will see a further £50,000 invested this year and Adam's aim is to increase the footfall from 300,000 to 400,000 over the next few years well as grow the number of season ticket holders. He reduced all admission prices for children by £2 from 2018. Other income streams involve the private hire of many of the attractions after hours.
'It's about innovation but also cost, as well as maintaining the high level of customer service and experience. These are all big challenges but I lead by example with my energy and I work well under pressure. I can't see myself doing anything else as working in the leisure industry runs through my veins, we are here to give people a fun day out, a release from the normal and to 'release their inner dinosaur'. Why wouldn't you want to be involved in a fun place every day that is so diverse and challenges you?'