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Noahs Ark Zoo farm provides a fantastic day out for people of all ages, with a wide range of animal species from Tamarins to Tapirs, and Gibbons to Giraffes. There are handling sessions for the children (and the grown up children) with rabbits, guinea pigs and chicks.
The Play areas are numerous and cater for all ages and in all weathers. The keepers are friendly and always have time to answer questions with a smile and it is obvious that they are all passionate about their animals.
People need to ignore all the negative publicity of recent times and go and see for themselves what a great place this is. I would be very surprised if you didn't enjoy a full action packed day out.
For mealtimes you can either eat a picnic on one of the many picnic tables (inside and out) or you can buy lunch in the café, which is reasonably priced and serves good quality lunches and snacks.
I would recommend a visit to Noahs Ark for anyone that enjoys family days out in the fresh air, and is interested in animals of all shapes and sizes.
Very enjoyable day out - amazed at the range of activities to do!The kids LOVED the 11 huge adventure playgrounds. I loved seeing the tigers in their massive enclosure. They were really active unlike some big cats I've seen in other zoos. They seemed healthy and thriving.The daily events are diverse and very hands on so I got to touch a lot of animals I never have before. Really good value for money for entertaining my family the whole day! Would definitely go back.
We had a great day out at Noah's Ark a couple of weeks ago, and would thoroughly recommend it, especially for families! There is lots of space for the kids to run around outside and some good playgrounds; our favourites were the giant tyre swings, the wire roundabout, and the big green slider. Animals include; tigers, lions, llamas, monkeys (the baby monkey is soooooooooo cute!), plus some more domestic animals like donkeys, sheep, horses.You can take your own picnic and enjoy while sitting on the grass watching the rhinos, awesome! :-)
Definitely a place to visit lots of big animals for those that want the real zoo experience but plenty of hands on with the smaller ones (some times not so small) you can get up close to all sorts, the shire horses who are very friendly and can be smoothed along with all the petting animals. It has a family feel to it and there is plenty to keep children entertained all day - Big indoor and outdoor playing areas, including zip lines, big 20ft sliders, trampolines, drop slide, a splash pool, and loads more. There are places for picnics. The café can get busy but is a great spot to chill on the balcony with a coffee. They have come under fire from some people that think they should not be allowed to have a religious point of view and some false allegations where brought about regarding animal welfare. (That could well be linked to the same group) but I am confident that it's all rubbish. They have respect for all religions and care for their animals very well.
There is some religious stuff there to read if you are interested in that sort of thing or you can just get on with having a great day out.
I found this on the internet regarding the zoo -
"This zoo was exposed in October 2009 after one of their deceased tigers was illegally buried on land belonging to the zoo. The tiger in question, whose name was Tira, was on loan from the Great British Circus, one of the few remaining circuses in the UK who still use performing animals in their shows, and the only one still to use tigers. Tira died 10 days after giving birth to four cubs. All four of her cubs also died."
"After receiving information that Noah's Ark Zoo had been using Tira to run a breeding programme for the circus owner, the Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS) arranged for one of their investigators to work undercover at the zoo. The findings of this investigation were particularly shocking and were televised in a report by the BBC's Inside Out West on 19th October 2009.
The investigation revealed that several tigers and camels were on loan from the owner of the circus for breeding purposes. When questioned by the press and public as to where these tigers had come from the owner of the zoo had claimed they were from a private collector in the north. It was discovered that this 'collector' was Martin Lacey, owner of the Great British Circus, a fact that had also been withheld from the zoo trade body, the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). After carrying out its own investigations, BIAZA terminated Noah's Ark 's membership for bringing the organisation into disrepute and deliberately keeping it's dealings with the circus hidden. This is a highly unusual course of action by BIAZA and illustrates the severity of the situation."
"North Somerset Council, the body responsible for licensing the zoo, was so concerned about the findings of the CAPS investigation that it launched a full investigation of its own, and has since attached seven conditions to the zoo's licence to prevent further breaches of regulations. These include more regular visits by the zoo's vet and ending displays where non-domesticated animals are handled for the benefit of the public."
You may find more information about the CAPS investigation on their website:
http://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2009/noah.html and the Council investigation at http://www.captiveanimals.org/news/2010/noah.html
Noah's Ark has also attracted a great deal of recent criticism for its excessive use of creationist propaganda throughout the zoo, a fact which its owner, Anthony Bush, is happy to admit. In January last year he told the Church Times, "From the outside, our farm is not overtly Christian, but, from the inside, we are very strongly Christian. I am a Creationist, and we see the farm as a mission station to give people scientific permission to believe in God"
Examples of this at work include a large poster on the gibbons enclosure listing '30 reasons why apes are not related to man'; a poster claiming that birds sing, among other reasons, to 'praise their Maker'; and signs describing how the 'three great people groups' may have descended Noah's three sons.
When questioned about the zoo's creationist agenda, the Head of Zoology at Oxford University , Professor Paul Harvey replied: "The zoo is conflating science with religion. They are proposing a two-stage process: initial creation followed by evolution through natural selection. The first is not open to scientific testing while the second is. This is educationally unacceptable."
There have also been a number of Health and Safety concerns raised at the zoo, an example of which is that it was learned more than a month after the arrival of the tigers that the zoo had still not acquired adequate anaesthetics with which to tranquillise a tiger in the event of an escape. It is not clear whether this issue is still to be resolved and it was drawn to the attention of the council for the benefit of their investigation."
After all that i don't think i'll be visiting them! Also they have been given planning permision by the council to build a elephant enclousure which they hope to fill with 4 ( i think ) elephants... Which the RSPCA have condemend. I doubt very much they will be able to look after them properly. Steer well clear i reckon.
Noah's Ark Farm is situated between Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare - in Wraxall just 7 miles from the Centre of Bristol. It is a great place for a fun family day out. It is different to a typical zoo - it has less enclosures then Bristol Zoo but it has much more of a friendly, family feel and is much more of a hands-on experience. I loved it and would even consider buying a season ticket so I can keep going back.
One of the main attractions is being able to feed and touch the animals yourself, although you pay a small price to buy suitable food from the shop - just 50p a bag for either animal or bird feed. I would definitely recommend buying the animal feed as you can feed the llamas, camels, goats and deer amongst others. The llamas were particularly friendly! I found feeding the birds a little less exciting (mostly ducks and geese that you could actually hand-feed) so would probably just stick to the animal feed next time. Other animals in enclosures include a giraffe (they are hoping to get another one soon), bison, rhinos, zebras, ostriches, horses, donkeys, emus, tapirs, gibbons and meerkats so there is a wide range of animals to see. There is also a reptile house and a barn which had smaller animals such as lambs, rabbits, and chipmunks.
One of the best parts of the day is that the keepers often walk around with the animals, such as the llamas or lambs so you can stroke and feed them up close. They also add events throughout the day you can go to which means there is always something to do - these change depending on the time of year you go so each visit is unique. On that day they had a lamb race, a falconry display, a meerkat feeding and talk (where I fed them an egg!) and at the end of the day they put the rhinos to bed. One of the barns also has seating where they hold talks about the animals but it was such a hot day that we stayed outdoors for the day.
We also saw a tiny baby emu - who had escaped his enclosure into a bigger one with other emus and a big pig - but luckily the keeper quickly got him back! They also had a baby tapir so it was a good time of year to go.
We also had a tractor ride - it was extra for this but for just a pound each the tractor takes you on a quick 15 minute tour around the park - although it is quite bumpy so may not be suitable for everyone. You also have beautiful views of the working farm and out towards the Bristol Channel - stunning on the hot day that I visited.
There are two mazes here as well. An easy one for young children and a more complicated one (with questions) for adults and older children. It is quite a walk around this one (especially if you get some of the questions wrong!) and they recommend you leave about 45 minutes for this which was about right. Some of the fences were a bit broken where people had obviously cheated and the hedges are still growing but in time, this I am sure will be improved and it was fun - reminded me of my childhood!
The emphasis is definitely on family here. There is plenty to keep children entertained as well - many indoor and outdoor playing areas, including a rope swing and a splash pool - great on a hot day but kids will need wellies! There are many places to sit and have picnics - some undercover in case it rains. There is one café which can get busy and is quite expensive so perhaps bringing some food and drinks is wise. Although the food we had there was delicious.
There is a small gift shop which sells the usual type of items - although not many were actually branded by Noah's Ark. As it was my birthday the shop assistant (and the farmer's wife!) wrote me a birthday card which was very sweet!
There seemed to be ample parking although we arrived quite early so I imagine it could get quite busy during the summer. It is open seasonally - 10.30am to 5.00pm Monday-Fridays and a ticket for the day cost £10.50 for adults and £8.50 for children except under 2's are free and there are family deals or season tickets for those that want to visit more often, especially if you live close-by.
I definitely would go back again in the summer, it is well worth another visit since I feel each time would be unique. They are also expecting Bengal Tigers in the summer and they were completing their new enclosure while we were there so I imagine this will be very popular.
I would highly recommend this zoo park. The friendly atmosphere is a big advantage over more conventional zoos; the enclosures and environment also seem to suit the animals - who all seemed as relaxed and happy as the visitors.
Noah's Ark Zoo farm is situated near Wraxall between Weston-Super-Mare and Bristol. We went to the farm as a day out back in August and found it one of the best animal farms we have very been to there was so much to see and do. The farm is based in 100 acres of beautiful Somerset countryside. Which means that there are loads for room to let the children run free safely?
The farm is home to a huge range of animals out across the fields there is a track, which will lead you past Rhinos, Zebra, Deer and Camels. At the end of the track is an enclosure, which contains Giraffe you can go inside the shed and stand on a high platform to look at Gerald the Giraffes face I loved this, as he looked so gentle and had kind eyes. I have seen Giraffe before but never for there level had the children also loved this as they could look down over the park and see loads of the animal. You can then walk back from the Giraffe enclosure past yet more animals including rare cattle, Tapir, Capybaras, Buffalo, Goats and sheep. There is a play area out by the animals so the children can climb and play on a tractor and run around while there parents can look at the animals. There are plenty of picnic areas too with benches and large areas of grass.
There are several shed near the entrance to the park, which contain Gibbons, Reptiles and some other small animals. Some of the sheds smell a bit too strong because of the animals I am guessing this cannot be helped but it means staying inside the sheds for a long time is not an option.
When we were at the park, the keepers and staff were getting out allsorts of animals to hold and look at throughout the day. We held a snake, ferret, rabbit and guinea pigs as well as feeding a baby lamb.
There is a café onsite, which was slightly expensive although they always are at the parks we bought a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake and it tasted very fresh. The café has some tables inside and outside which were clean and well maintained.
The indoor play area was our favourite part there were slides, climbing ropes, ball pits, trampolines, etc it was amazing and the children were happy inside there for hours! We played tag, hide, and seek inside the barn. The children said on the way home there favourite part was the play area and holding the animals.
They offer tractor rides but these were at additional expense so we decided not to go on a ride round. There was a barn with horses and ponies in and a barn with hay bales and a rope swing. There were a few toilet blocks but when you have small children, you can never have enough toilets.
There was a gift shop but unlike many other places we have been you do not have to go in there to get out of the farm! We did go for a little look and they had some nice things like t-shirts, pencils, etc.
In one of the barns was a seating area where they do talks about the animals this was very interesting. It was a good length and very factual and informative. They had animals as props during the talk the only thing I was not that keen on was the religious side of things Noah's Ark seem to be very Christian and there were many stories about god etc. that might not suit everyone.
The park is open from 10.30 am until 5.00 pm Monday to Saturday. The park is seasonal and is opened from the 9th of February through until the 7th November.
Information on direction from there website www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk
The X7 bus stops at the Noah's Ark Zoo Farm gate.
There are two ways to get to us via train:
1) To Bristol Temple Meads train station.
Then catch a bus to the bus station in the city centre (the No. 8 or 9.) From the Bristol bus station, you can then catch the X7, which stops at our gate.
2) To Nailsea and Backwell train station.
This is a smaller train station, but closer to us.
Day ticket prices
Admission prices for 2009 (valid until 7th November 2009)
Babies (Under 2) Free!
Child (Aged 2-16) £8.50
Family (2+2) £35.00
Family (1+3) £33.00
Free car parking!
Also posted on Ciao under the same username Jenjade
My little boy turned 3 this year, he's a huge fan of animals and I always enjoy taking him for days out to different animal parks and zoo's. For his birthday I did a lot of research into different parks in our area in the hopes of finding somewhere with a few larger more exotic animals then we usually see. My search turned up Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, just outside of Bristol in the area of Wraxall, it claimed a wide variety of animals from traditional farm animals to larger wild animals such as giraffe and rhino as well as many hands on experiences, well I was convinced by that, it was years since I'd last seen such large animals and it sounded just the kind of place my little boy would love.
Noah's Ark, situated just 6 miles out of Bristol, was started in 1998. The Farm is owned by Anthony and Christina bush and was a dairy farm for 35 years. The farm covers 300 acres and was once part of Lord Wraxalls Tyntesfield estate. Since its opening the farm has seen many improvements and additions such as the Arkiventures play barn in 2000, the monkey house in 2002 and the arrival of the Rhino in 2005. This year saw the addition of the gibbon gallery and expansion of the reptile house. The farm boast over 80 sorts of animal and 11 play areas as well as tractor rides and hands on activities.
Animals and attractions-
As well as a wide variety of birds, cattle and farm animals the farm also has bison, capybara, llamas, camels, water buffalo, wallabies and more. There are animal shows, falconry displays, animal handling opportunities and tractor rides as well as many picnic spots and play areas all set in the beautiful grounds.
Alongside the day to day opportunities the farm also has special event days such as the Christmas nativity days(1st, 8th, 15th Dec) and Venomous snake week which took place earlier in August. There is more information on special events on the Noah's Ark website.
There are also Keeper Experiences available for £80 where you can get up close to some of the farms animals and take care of them. Once again you can get more details of this on the website, where you can choose the animal experience you want and find details of how to book.
Prices and Opening Times-
Child (Aged 2-16) £7
Babies (Under 2) FREE
Family (2+2) £28.50
Child Care (1+3) £26.50
Group Bookings for Schools, Groups & Parties
12-24 people £6.00 each
25+ people £5.00 each
100+ people £4.50 each
Child (Aged 2-16) £35.00
Babies (Under 2) FREE
Family (2+2) £142.50
The park is open seasonally, this year from Saturday February 10th 2007 - Saturday November 3rd 2007. It is open from Monday to Saturday every week, ALL SEASON but no Sundays.
The park is open 10:30 am - 5:00 pm.
How to get there-
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm ca be found on internet route finders under the following address
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm
If you are in Bristol you can catch the X7 bus which takes you up to the park gate. Naturally you can get to Bristol via train, after catching a bus from Bristol Temple Meads Station to the Bristol Bus Station you can then catch the X7. You could also catch a train to Nailsea and Backwell station which is much closer to the park and then order a Taxi for the rest of the journey.
Driving to the park can by done via the M5. If you are travelling southbound you need to get off at junction 20 sign posted Portishead. Travelling north means you need to get off at junction 19 sign posted Clevedon. You need to take the route through Easton In Gordano then Portbury.
A word of warning though, the park isn't well signposted!
Well I should really start by talking about actually getting there as we nearly missed the park altogether. It's not that the gate is small or hidden away but it is so poorly signposted that you are unsure if you need to take turnings or go straight on etc etc, at one point my husband was convinced he'd gone the wrong way and wanted to turn around and go the other way. Definitely take a map or print out!
When we arrived at the park there was a short drive to the overflow car park, which was actually a large field, as the smaller "concrete" car park was full, still there was lots of space for parking and it was absolutely free, so no complaints there. To get to the main gate from there we actually had to follow other groups of people (who seemed to know the way) as there were no signs telling you which way to go. The main gate is actually a small hut, manned on our visit by a very polite young woman who took the time to tell us what attractions there were and give us a map of the park. There were a lot of cars when we were parking and a small queue at the gate, it's clearly a popular place but so spacious that you were rarely pushing for space.
We happily paid the entry fee as it was a special occasion however with entry costing £9 each for my husband and I and an additional £7 for our little boy it was more expensive then visiting Bristol Zoo which has equally exciting animals, is better looked after and a lot closer to us than Noah's Ark. We were able to pay for our entry via credit card but this would be the last time the plastic was flashed during this day out.
We decided to have a wander around the park before stopping for lunch. The park is large and spacious and is lovely to walk around, the animals are in large enclosures, although they aren't necessarily catered for their specific needs like they would have in the wild. Each enclosure featured a board with information on the species within and when the particular animal joined the farm. I have to admit we were slightly confused by the map they'd given us and so gave that up and just wandered and hoped for the best. We stopped off first by the goats and let our son feed them which he loved, our little girl was probably old enough to feed them too but being a panicky parent I kept her firmly in her pushchair and let her enjoy them from a bit more distance, still she seemed impressed and kept pointing at them telling her daddy "I want that" which soon became her favourite phrase!
The animals were by far the success of the day for me, Christopher would probably have been happy just to play in the parks all day but we made a point of visiting all the different species. Of all the animals his favourite was the cows, cows of all things! There were rhino, giraffe, camels........................and he picks the cows! Oh well. I loved the giraffe, he only seemed young but he was lovely busy munching away on his dinner as if he wasn't being watched by dozens of human beings, he's due to get some lady friends this year too which will be lovely. I also loved the rhino, they didn't get up to much, mostly sleeping but I'd never seen one before and so felt like I was experiencing new things just like my children were. We all loved the adorable Meerkats whose enclosure was tucked nearer the back of the park and the playful gibbons who attracted a lot of attention from the guests. One complaint I do have is that some of the fencing was simply wood stakes and chicken wire (or something to that effect) while it provided a good clear view of the animals it also allowed some less friendly animals, the emu for example, to get a little too close for comfort.
Dinner unfortunately became a bit of a disaster. We went up to the small restaurant area and found a seat on the picnic tables outside. My other half went in to peruse the menu, which wasn't particularly exciting or appetising and was quite pricey at £4 for a jacket potato (or somewhere in that region) it was then we found out that they didn't accept any kind of card payment, there was also no way of obtaining cash within the park and with no cash on us that meant no dinner. We popped across to the small shop to see if they had any way of accepting cards or giving cash but they didn't either and we were reduced to scrubbing together our loose change in order to buy a mars bar and milky way, which were on the expensive side at 50p a go, on the plus side there were playhouses outside the shop which kept Christopher entertained for a while. There are plenty of areas where you can stop for a picnic both indoors and outdoors (we simply didn't have one) and many of these have children's play areas nearby with slides and toys suitable even for babies and toddlers, it's nice because they have really thought about the different ages of their guests and provide something for even the youngest of visitors, I often find myself complaining on days out that there is not enough for the tiny ones, so it makes a lovely change to see them catered for here.
The park really does have a lot of play areas, something they're proud of, ranging in age group from babies to big kids. There are both indoor and outdoor play areas meaning there's somewhere to go in the wet weather, even though you'll still need to brave the weather to see the majority of the animals. My little ones are a bit young for such things as the Diplodocus Drop slide but the kids using it seemed to have a great time. Christopher had a play in the indoor soft area which was complete with slides and ball pit, while Elsa (who is only 1) played in the specially designed baby play area, which actually had some popular baby toys like the "Bounce and spin zebra" and door frame bouncers (hung from the ceiling) as well as slides, rockers and soft foam shapes. They also both enjoyed playing with the pedal cars, although Christopher mostly tried to run over Elsa who had taken to walking around the track! Unfortunately out of the 4 available cars only 2 worked properly meaning many children having to wait. We also stopped off briefly at the sandy play area and Christopher had a play in the sand until the pigs, who were housed nearby, got a bit feisty and reduced Elsa to hysterical tears, no amount of soothing or introducing her to the "nice piggys" was going to work so we made a quick exit.
We decided against the tractor ride (we'd spent our remaining change on the chocolate and couldn't afford the £1 per person charge) but we did see the falconry display, which we enjoyed and found quite impressive, that is until the bird flew into the rhino enclosure, at which point we then got a bit concerned as the handler just hopped in and fetched it. We also didn't see the lamb racing as there were too many people around to enable us to give the kids a good view.
We tried our hand at the maze and were doing quite well, they have a small 5 minute maze as well as the larger maze which we took, as I said we were doing quite well but then things started to get confusing as the wire that mapped the route had been trampled. The maze was also very overgrown, being constructed out of bushes, and there were a lot of thistles, nettles and thorns making it difficult to get around. We also found that it was very narrow and made it tricky to traverse with the buggy, so once again we had to give up, exiting the maze at one of the regular exit points (for those who are bored or simply lost)
As far as the facilities go, well I'll call them "rustic", the toilets were small and old fashioned although well kept, the shop was housed in an old stable and stocked the typical range of branded merchandise and the food for feeding the goats and chickens. Even the play areas were a little battered, it all appeared a little shabby really, which you have to put aside and just enjoy the animals and activities. While the terrain isn't too hilly the ground is uneven, the main pathway around the enclosures is gravel and at times was tricky to get across with the buggy, the park claims to be wheelchair accessible but I wouldn't necessarily agree with that having struggled at times with our pushchair. There is a first aid station, in the stable block by the shop but we had no need for that, which is a good thing.
It sounds like the trip was a total disaster reading a lot of that but we actually had a nice day, all the bad points aside we enjoyed walking around the grounds looking at the animals and the kids had a ball playing in all the different play areas, they really had a good day and that's what counts, Christopher enjoyed his birthday immensely. The weather was on our side and there were a lot of different activities scheduled throughout the day, although we didn't attend them all, meaning you could really make a day of it there. Ok, so it isn't a place I would visit often, yes we know where it is now but it can still work out expensive to get there and to visit to often would mean the novelty would wear off. If I was to go again I'd certainly make sure we took our own lunch, that way we could enjoy it at our leisure, not having to fight for space in the café, and I'd take a push chair for Christopher too, he may be 3 and is used to a lot of walking but the mixture of the long walk around the animals and the play grounds meant he got quite tired, and we all know tired toddler means grumpy toddler!
I would recommend it as a family day out, though for the cost and the journey I'd advise getting there at an early time and making the most of all the activities and attractions, take food and a football and obviously make sure you've got money with you too, because once you're inside the gates there's nowhere to get any. It's definitely worth visiting at least once.
Visit Noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk for more on the farm, its animals and attractions.