Reviewed by Bharti Patel
Shepreth Wildlife Park is located in Hertfordshire just South West from Cambridge, and easy to get to from the A1(M) and M11 if you are going from the south. Upon arriving we struggled to find a parking space, there is not lots of spaces so it is advised to go earlier rather than later else you are relying on someone to leave to get a space. The entrance prices are average for this type of park, however it did feel like at least your money was going towards the conservation of animals rather than into someone’s pocket which makes it very appealing. The park itself is not too big; I would say it’s the perfect size for a day out without worrying you won’t get around to see everything. There is plenty of time for a casual stroll around, time for the kids to have a play in the play areas, time for a picnic and then to go back to your favourite animals for one last visit.
As we entered we saw that the outdoor play area was really large, this is perfect for children from around the age of 3 upwards, luckily it was a lovely sunny day and the area was popular with the children. Our one year old did manage to have time for the sandpit at the end of the visit with supervision.
As we started to walk around we noticed how large the areas are for the animals, they are not in small cages or look trapped and everything was really well set up and signposted. There were lots of benches and areas to sit and everything looked very well looked after. We had a wander around before going to lunch, we had left a little unorganised and went to Ringo’s café to grab some food which is also the play barn, soft play area.
This is area is small, it does have outside seating which is limited and it was a hot day so the indoor section was quite stuffy as the kitchen is in the same area heating the room up too. I was really disappointed with the service and food options available on what I would call a not very busy day in March. I was told there was a 30 minute wait for hot food which was fine we just needed food for our one year old so I opted for the reasonably priced children’s lunch box. The lunch box was £3.95 and comes with about 5 items one of them being sandwiches. My son being a vegetarian had the option of a cheese sandwich which is fine except they were out of cheese sandwiches by 1pm and only had cheese and ham. The employee working at the till refused to make me a cheese sandwich and told me it would be a 30 minute wait, for a cheese sandwich! I explained that there was no cheese sandwiches left in the pre-made sandwiches and there were no other options as hot food was also 30 minutes and she was totally unhelpful whilst my child was screaming out of hunger. Now this may be my fault for not taking my own food but I cannot understand why they could not simply make a cheese sandwich up. Now as I said the restaurant wasn’t super busy so I do not know how they will cope when it’s the holidays or summer weekends but I highly advise you take your own picnic. There is plenty of picnic benches scattered around and you could probably find grass space if you had a blanket,
So back to the wildlife park. Once we had finished feeding my little boys snacks and such we happened to be in the right location for the Tiger Talk, this seemed to be my son’s favourite enclosure. The staff managed to get the male tiger Rana put into a side section; where he seems to know is where he waits before he is fed, quite easily without distressing him before the staff went into the enclosure to go and hide food. They hide it around the enclosure so the tiger has to work for his food and search around, moving things and climbing, I really liked this part. They also tried to make it interactive and ask the visitors where they should hide it whilst giving some background on where the tigers were from, how they are being poached in the wild and how it is affecting their numbers. As you enter the park it mentions to educate and this talk was doing exactly that. They offer holiday clubs which was mentioned during the talk and the staff did a quick tidy up whilst in the enclosure before they let Rana back in. It was one of the best animal talks I have seen as it wasn’t done from an entertainment perspective but for the animal and for education to the children.
We then went on to visit the rest of the park, my son loved bunny land where you can walk around in the bunny area and watching the meercats. There is a good range of animals and as I mentioned the way the whole park is set out makes it feel like the animals are the priority. The staff were all very polite and friendly and seemed to love their jobs which always makes you feel like the animals must be well cared for.
We went on to the play area as our last stop. This area alone is great for kids even if they aren’t interested in the animals as much as you would like, ranging from trampolines, swings, climbing frames and sandpits. There was so much for them to do I could imagine you could spend hours in that section alone. My son loved playing in the sandpit and visiting the ducks in that section, unfortunately the wallaby section was closed so we just saw them from afar. There is lots of work being done so I assume this is for the upcoming months to get the areas ready for more visitors.
Overall, despite the issues with lunch we had a fantastic day, I really liked this wildlife park and we do visit quite a number of them. It is well thought out and feels like a nice day out rather than a rush to get around to everything. As mentioned earlier I really recommend getting there early for parking, although the train station is pretty much next door if you can travel by train. Do take a picnic if you have a child who cannot wait for their lunch or has dietary requirements or if you just don’t want to have to wait around for food. I would definitely visit again as it is such a lovely place and they are doing everything they can for the animals. If you need something to do to entertain the children, educate them and let them burns off energy go visit Shepreth Wildlife Park it’s a great family day out.
Tickets cost from £9.95 to £11.95
For more information or to book tickets visit www.sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk.
Shepreth Wildlife Park, Station Rd, Shepreth, Herts, SG8 6PZ | 01763 26 22 26