Reviewed by Sarah Hicks
Well just returned from a lovely day out at Wild Place in Bristol. Wild place is an “offshoot” of Bristol Zoo, which is based in the residential area of Clifton of Bristol, the Wild Place site opened in 2013 and is some miles away in a more remote, but easily accessible location – literally just of junction 17 of the M5. Onsite parking is free and seemed plentiful on the day of our visit – a beautiful bright but chilly spring day.
As you pull into the car park you are greeted by a huge structure at the front of the site – which makes up the “Leap of Faith” part of the attraction. It’s huge, impressive and quite scary looking actually – it was being enjoyed by Brownie and guide packs and families alike – but the sheer scale of it put off our usually fearless 5 year old so we just watched others rather that attempting to scale the heights of its towers and rope nets! (“Leap of Faith” is not included in the admission price for the very reason that it would not be everyone’s cup of tea, further charges are payable it your brave enough!).
We are a family of 6 with children aged 7, 5 and twins at 3 years of age. It was one of our first family days out where we had not taken a buggy, which was an advantage on this particular occasion – the site is fairly pushchair friendly, but there are woodland tracks to follow – which in themselves would have been fine, but as mentioned it was spring and there were some area’s to negotiate that were quite muddy in places (a couple with a young baby in a stroller in front of us turned around as their buggy wasn’t “all terrain!”).
All the children enjoyed following the trails, checking out the Zebra’s, Okapi’s Wolf’s and Lemur’s and there are talks on the various animals at times throughout the day. There are also information signs dotted around the site – which are educational if you can get the children to slow down enough to read them!
The Play Fort was very popular – and provided a welcome seating area to supervising adults and also a place undercover for picnics to be consumed. There is an onsite eatery (which can be accessed without paying the entrance fee) which also seemed popular. We spent a lot of time playing in the sandpit, swings and trampoline area – always favourites with my bunch.
Wild Place is a lovely outdoor experience – we all left with rosy cheeks, but there isn’t really anywhere to “warm up” on wet or cold days, so to enjoy this experience to the full you need to visit on a dry day and dress warmly too!
As mentioned above, the site has only been open for 2 years, and you get the feel it is very much a work in progress – lots of huts and new exhibits were in the process of being built when we visited – a new Cheetah experience is due to open very soon, as well as a new play area – so I think as time goes on the site will offer more and more.
We all enjoyed our visit and all staff we came across were very friendly and knowledgeable, and the site itself was spotless (I also include the toilets on that statement!).
We’d give it a 4/5 for a family day out – as time goes on and the site develops more and more I’m sure this will be a 5/5 experience very soon.
Tickets cost from £6.25 (child) to £7.75 (adult) or take advantage of the annual pass for £18/£27. Leap of Faith prices start from £8 to £28.
For more information or to book tickets visit www.wildplace.org.uk.
Wild Place Project, Blackhorse Hill, Bristol, BS10 7TP | 0117 980 7175