On the weekend we went for a day out to Paradise Wildlife Park. Neither me or the kids had actually been to a zoo before! They have loads to do, both on the animal side and areas for the children to play so I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a family day out. It took us one hour from where we live in West London so not too bad at all.
First I will show you some of the animals we saw
Lemurs, these are the black and white and there are also some red ones. They have plenty of space in their enclosure where you can see them jumping from ledge to ledge, climbing around and eating their food
Camels, there were quite a few and it does say watch out because they will eat anything if you leave it within their reach eg even your bags and whatever you have with you!
I was really happy to see signing promoted here
But then I didn’t notice this anywhere else round the park. It would be lovely if they could extend it to all the animals, because even though one of my little boys communicates a lot in sign I don’t know all the specific animals when there are rare ones around like snow leopard (you will see later), I would have loved these signs to be up everywhere to support in teaching him the animals as we go around.
I did notice though that the park is overall pretty accessible and accommodating for special needs. The concession rate for those with disabilities and for carers is clearly marked. We didn’t actually need to get it because I had our tickets provided as a thanks from Buy A Gift for some work I did with them in the past, but I was happy to see this for future visits. They also have an area of the children’s playpark which is adapted for children with mobility problems, to use the swings in wheelchairs and they have ramp access up to the higher viewing platform in the animals area. At first I had not spotted the ramp and I was thinking it was going to be a pain to get up there – but it is there by the lions.
Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent so back to the animals…!
Sheena the cheetah. These big cats do have quite a large area, so at first when looking into their space we could not see any animal, that is because they move around from the higher to lower levels and obviously don’t want to be too cramped. Once they start moving around they are easy to spot and the children were so excited seeing this Cheetah come near to them. There is information up near to every animal and I found this interesting to read and also reassuring to know that the animals are being well cared for and their welfare is being kept at the forefront of the agenda. I learned that this particular cheetah is one who has been born in captivity in another facility and came to the Paradise Wildlife Park later on. She was in a much smaller enclosure initially so they are gradually increasing her space so that she can get used to it without feeling freaked out
Here we have a white tiger. These are in a bigger space than the cheetah so you walk all round the edges of their enclosure and can see them that way. A really beautiful animal!
This is a ball which had been in with the tiger for a couple of weeks, on display so you can see how strong the tiger is and what damage it has done. This ball was originally stronger and harder than a human skull! My boys were quite interested in this tiger ball!
Lions! These lions were really beautiful and they have a 6 month old baby lion cub who was born in January. They were sleeping when we first saw them then we came back and the Dad lion was awake and roared (I had not heard a real lion roar before so quite cool!) and the little one was playing jumping on his head, which is so cute to see.
Here’s my older two (4 and 3 yr) looking through the glass into the snow leopards enclosure. You can see them either from above on the viewing platform or on the ground, depending whereabouts they are in their section. Here the two snow leopards are sleeping but after a little while they got up and their keeper was going to give them some food.
I just missed the second he jumped from up here on the higher platform down to get his food! Kids distracted me for a second – what a shame, I would love to see that but maybe next time!
There are two snow leopards here, a male and female and it was written that the male is newly arrived from another park and he is settling in well.
There are a lot more animals we saw but I don’t have photos of them all, and I don’t think we even managed to see all of the animals in the park as there are so many to get through in an afternoon so next time we go we will see the ones we missed. I would recommend going in the morning to get the full days worth, we didn’t get there til lunch time as we had a bit of a slow start in the morning.
As I had never been to a zoo before, I did not know what to expect in terms of the animals whether they would look well cared for and given enough space as some relatives have been to other zoos and found it sad to see the state of the animals, which is horrible! I can say I really did find the animals here looked well kept and healthy. Hearing the park workers talking about the work they do with the animals it seems like they do a great job with them and its a zoo you can feel happy to go to as the animals are treated properly and their welfare is the most important thing. The animal workers were saying they do go inside the enclosures with the animals and have built up a lot of trust with them.
As well as the animals, the children really enjoyed all the play areas and its great they have a lot of different attractions to balance it out, as I find with the young kids they need something active to do as well as looking at the animals.
There are several real vehicles which have been turned into play spaces for the children. The old steam engine and fire engine here, and a digger too. They have stairs and a slide built into each of them and the children can also sit at the wheel and play with the old controls. This was a big hit with my transport crazy boys, as it probably would be with many young kids!
The digger one has a much bigger slide, which is more of a spiral slide and these two are slightly smaller.
The main adventure play area is good too, with a very exciting pirate area which they boys enjoyed
When you go behind the ship play equipment, you can find some secret paths and a secret cave tunnel which is pretty cool
It also has all the usuals like swings, slides.. plenty of equipment for all the children if it did get very busy. (It wasn’t too bad the day that we were there)
There are also little extras like a bouncy castle – free of charge (there are quite a few paid extras around the site though, like those little ride on rides, and the machines where you put some money and win a teddy)
A sand play area with bricks to do construction play
There is also a nice woodland train ride for 1 pound per person, which we all enjoyed. You see some large model animals and dinosaurs as you go around.
There is a soft play area too which we did not have time to go in. If you look on their website you can see all the different sections to the park.
Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby, we really enjoyed it and my personal highlight was the beautiful snow leopard and the baby lion cub.
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