Reviewed by Joanne Watson
As a family of 5, with children ranging from 20 months to almost 8, we often struggle to find suitable places to visit, so we were excited to give the West Midlands Safari Park a try.
We arrived at 10:00am which is the time the park opens. Straightaway an attendant came to our car, welcomed us warmly and offered us a guidebook to purchase. There were already quite a few cars waiting, but within 10 minutes we were at the entrance. We were given a map of the park and we were offered the chance to purchase animal food – which we very excited about!
We entered the first part of the park, the ‘African Plains’, and we were able to use our animal food straightaway. We were able to open our windows and hold out the food, and the animals came and ate out of our hands! It was a great experience for my older son, but also my younger twins loved seeing the animals up so close.
Next we entered the next part of the park where we saw wild dogs and rhinos. Throughout our visit, we were constantly pleased at the size of the enclosures. The animals all had large areas to roam, with appropriate surroundings (waterfall, rocks, lakes, trees, grasses, logs etc…) and it all felt very ‘natural’.
When we entered the big cat zones, there was a great ‘double gate’ system to keep both the animals and the visitors safe. We had to wait for a green light to go through, but we didn’t have to wait very long at any point. This green light system had an extra purpose in controlling the flow of traffic through the park, meaning we were constantly able to move and the park never felt congested.
Throughout there were very clear signs telling us when we needed to close our windows for safety, and when we were able to open them. There were lots of clear instructions in several languages and also with very clear illustrations so visitors from around the world could enjoy the park.
We saw the very endangered white tigers – a real treat! There are no white tigers left in the wild, and the Safari Park are trying hard to breed them. It’s brilliant to know that the park supports breeding programs and enables the public to still see these beautiful animals.
Next we saw lions – in fact we saw a whole pride of lions! This was probably our favourite bit of the park as there was an optional ‘off-road’ track and a wonderful carved rock which reminded us of pride rock from The Lion King! The lions were gnawing bones, playing with each other and resting on rocks in the sunlight. We saw the white lions and cheetahs too.
Once we left this zone we were able to open our windows again as we entered the ‘Asian lowlands’. We fed many of the deer-like animals; with many of the animals putting their head right in to our window much to the children’s delight!
We went on to see ostriches, camels, and my favourite, zebras! We were able to get fabulous photographs with the animals as they came so close up to the cars. There were rangers in jeeps all around the park so we knew that the animals’ safety was paramount throughout.
Next we drove through an area full of giraffes! Being able to see these beautiful animals so close up was a real experience. It didn’t seem real that these wonderful animals were walking around us!
‘Elephant Valley’ was another high point for us. We watched the elephants for a long time, using their trunks to feed themselves. The children were in awe of the elephants and we stayed there for quite a while. At no point on the safari did we feel pressured to move on. We could spend as much time as we liked in each zone.
The tour in total took us around 1 hour 45 minutes. You could probably spend longer, but the children had been sitting for a long time, so we headed to the parking area. Attendants were visible to direct us to a parking spot, and we were very fortunate to be able to park really close to the second part of the park.
We walked through the ‘Lost City’ in to the Discovery area. We saw penguins, bats, all kinds of creepy crawlies and fish in the aquarium. We were able to get extremely close to all these animals and there was lots of informative information all around us.
We were starting to get hungry at this point so we went into the ‘Explorers Restaurant’. Firstly, we so pleased to be able to get two highchairs for our twins – a problem we often incur! We ordered the children explorer lunch boxes and we had sandwiches. The food was reasonably priced for a venue like this and the staff were all incredibly polite and helpful. There were also fantastic baby changing facilities which we always make note of!
After looking around the reptile house, we ventured in to the Adventure Theme Park! We picked up wristbands and headed for the rides. My son was in his element! At just over 1.2m tall, he could go on almost all of the rides and we enjoyed taking turns to accompany him. As the twins were only just 0.8m tall there wasn’t much they could go on unfortunately, as most of the rides for their height were unsuitable for adults, but they are too young to go on unaccompanied yet. This would be the only area for improvement really – it would be great to see more rides for the youngest children where parents can accompany them. I must say however, I spoke to two members of staff to ask which rides would be appropriate and they were very informative and apologetic. All the ride attendants made conversation, asking about our visit to the animal park and how our day was going. They were enthusiastic and smiley and also very safety conscious which was great to see.
The last part of our visit was a walk around the Lemur Woods, the Meerkat Mayhem and the Goat Park. The Lemurs were simply amazing! There was so many of them, all springing about. This was a pushchair free zone, but luckily my twins were ready for a walk at this point. They were in awe of the lemurs! We were able to use up the last of our food in the goat park and enjoyed watching the playful meerkats.
I have to say at this point, we were all absolutely exhausted! We had had a fabulous day, the son had shone, and we had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our day. It was the perfect place to visit with children of different ages as there truly is something for everyone. It is expensive to visit the park, but you can see why the entry fee is what it is because there is so much to do. Wristbands are an additional expense, but the rides were a lot of fun. This is a wonderful treat for all of the family and a day here will create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
To book tickets (book online and save up to 10%) click here.
For more information, animal A-Z, special events etc… visit www.wmsp.co.uk.
West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 1LF
01299 402114 | firstname.lastname@example.org