Paradise Wildlife Park
Reviewed by Lindsey Knight
It was a wet and windy day but this didn't deter us from taking a trip to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. Our group consisted of 4 adults, 4 children and a baby. The park consists of two halves, an animal park and amusement park. On arrival we were directed to a space in the car park, which is free of charge.
We started out on the animal side. There was plenty to see, some favourites including lions, tigers and zebras. The enclosures weren't huge but as a result it meant it wasn't a long walk for little legs from place to place. We came across a tree top viewing walkway which was great, we were even more pleased to find a ramp at the end which meant we could go up with the buggy, however was slightly disappointed to find there wasn't a ramp at the other end? Luckily there were plenty of us and we just carried the buggy down the stairs, but a wheelchair user would have to go all the way to the beginning to get back to ground level.
After seeing the majority of the animals we thought we'd head over to the other side to grab some lunch and also check out the show that was advertised on our map for 12pm. We got over, found a picnic bench just in front of the Safari Stage, but then saw another sign saying the 'Trick or Treat' show started at 12.15pm. It was quite confusing, it seemed the schedule on the map didn't match the schedule over at the stage itself? However throughout the day the Safari stage seemed to frequently play some party tunes and have animals or zombies dancing on the stage, which the kids really enjoyed watching and dancing along to. Another thing I noticed was a goodie box was mentioned in association with the Trick or Treat Magic show on the website? However, I didn't see anyone receive anything of this nature?
There was quite a queue forming in 'Safari Sam's Diner' so we grabbed bbq'd burgers and sausages from a vendor by the stage and ate those while we watched the magic show, which the kids seemed to enjoy. Whilst the big kids ate, I set about looking for somewhere to heat a bottle for my 5 month old daughter. I was pleased to find with ease, a microwave set up in the diner for visitors to warm baby food/bottles.
Once we'd all eaten, we ventured over to the Woodland Railway. It was £1 per person. On the Paradise Wildlife Park website beforehand, I'd read, "There will be ghosts on the Woodland Railway", however I looked high and low and didn't spot a single ghost or ghoul, and there was nothing even slightly spooky about the train ride
After the train, we had a wander about and the kids made use of the bouncy castle, bouncy slide, numerous other slides and the adventure playground. Had it been a warmer day, I think we would have spent a lot longer in this section as the kids really enjoyed themselves.
We also tried out the coin operated go-carts which were great fun! At one point, even the torrential downpour of rain that arrived, didn't deter the kids or us adults from whizzing around the track!
Later on in the afternoon we ventured over to the Jungle Theatre to watch the Creepy Crawly Show. The staff on stage were very fun and lively. We were quite amused to find that a volunteer was needed on stage and my brother, more commonly known as 'Uncle Aaron' was beckoned onto stage to play the creepy crawly challenge, which involved being blind folded and reaching inside boxes that contained cockroaches, crickets and a fake spider! Alongside this, there was a barn owl that swooped about the theatre and some rats. It was a good show for a young audience, not sure how entertaining it would be for any child over the age of 12?
Also in the park was a great looking soft play area but we didn't get round to using it.
Overall we all had a good day out, I would definitely recommend it for families with young children, but think it might be slightly limited for older kids? The toilets and baby change facilities were always clean and warm. All of the staff I came across were pleasant and helpful. However with regards to the Halloween themed activities, I must admit I don't think they were great. As mentioned before some advertised activities weren't as they said or weren't on at the time stated. Unfortunately we didn't have a smartphone or tablet, so we couldn't check out the virtual pumpkin hunt, and I didn't see anyone else testing it out (that's not to say nobody did).
I would recommend Paradise Wildlife Park for families with young children and people close by like myself.
For more inormation or to book tickets visit www.pwpark.com