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Paradise Wildlife Park (Hertfordshire)

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Paradise Wildlife Park White Stubbs Lane Broxbourne Hertfordshire EN10
7QA Tel: +44 (0) 1992 470490 Fax: +44 (0) 1992 440525

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    13 Reviews
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      02.03.2012 11:16
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      A good family or group day out

      During one of the sunny weekends last year my friend and I decided to visit Paradise Wildlife Park which is near Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. The Park is situated just off the A10, not far from Junction 25 of the M25. It is clearly signposted with brown tourist signs from here so easy to reach if coming by car. They also offer a courtesy mini bus service from Broxbourne Rail Station. We came by car and drove straight in, paid and parked, and then wandered the park. We got a map as we arrived. It cost £16 per adult, and it is £11 for Pensioners and children, plus they do a variety of family tickets and discounts. The park seems to offer a kiddie play area as well as a woodland trail and railway, amongst other activities. We didn't really explore this aspect of the park as we had come to see the animals. I do think this park is geared up for families, so kids would have plenty to occupy them. There are a number of food/drink options, such as a Diner offering sit down meals - mainly the Hot Dog or Jacket Potato variety, plus a few snack or drink kiosks. There is a nice coffee shop by the Tigers too. There are some picnic areas also. The Park is not large and the wildlife section seems a bit random as to its layout - for example the meerkats are next to the penguins. During our visit we saw a number of fellow visitors who had animal encounters, which can be purchased from the park. A half hour penguin or meerkat feed was about £99 (ouch!), but everyone seemed to have a lovely day. On our map it indicated that there was soon to be a penguin talk so we decided to start there. The penguins are African penguins, so quite small and there were about ten of them swimming in their lovely clear pool and popping out for a walk as the mood took them. You can look at them at ground level, or climb up some steps to look down on their enclosure. The keeper gave a short but informative talk on them, and answered questions. There are two meerkat enclosures, but we spent the most time at the one by the penguins, and you can see them quite well from the upper penguin viewing platform. Again there was someone having an encounter and feeding them, but no official talk. However as you are close to them we could hear what the keeper was saying to the lucky visitor. Apparently the meerkats only trusted the visitor as the keeper was with him, and they showed their trust by sitting in their food bowl whilst the visitor was holding it (he was sat on a rock) and by climbing on their keeper's shoulder and grooming his hair for potential bugs! As soon as anything flew overhead they ducked down and once fed, one of them climbed their mock anthill home to keep watch for incoming predators. There is a little kiddie sized tunnel under the enclosure, allowing kids to stand in the middle (under cover) and view the meerkats. Also near here are the wallabies, these were mostly sunning themselves, and we did spot one with a joey in her pouch. The tapirs and zebras were busy eating and again can be viewed from an upper platform. I think this is a well thought out touch by the park, allowing you to get a good view of animals that either climb or tend not to linger too close to the fence. The wolves however, were quite good at hiding, those that were awake at least, we spotted one having a mid-afternoon snooze in the shade. The lions has worked out the best place to lay that allowed them to be concealed by the upper platform, but we could see them through the glass wall at ground level. He-lion was kipping, but the lioness got up and moved about briefly before returning to the important stuff of kipping some more. When we went passed later on the way to the alpacas, he-lion was more alert and I got a couple of good photos. There is a rainforest house here, representing the Amazon and it is hot and humid here with lots of water dripping (be careful of cameras), and it was a bit stuffy and stinky, not everyone seemed to like it. Here there were Amazonian reptiles, frogs and similar. I think the sloth was here too. There is another small Toucan house - I wasn't so impressed with this - there was one toucan, some noisy birds of paradise, some tortoises in their shells (to escape the noisy birds I suspect), and some bats in a corner. There are not a great deal of primates here, there were some gibbons at the bottom, near the penguins, they had two lovely large enclosures, as well as little private huts for sleeping in which we could see into. There was a slightly raised platform that you could walk along to see them swinging. There is also a mirrored door in the enclosure (presumably for keeper access) which fascinated them. This was another example of how well designed the enclosures were, with lots of different levels and things for the animals to climb/sleep on and keep them active and entertained. The big cat area is also well designed with a high platform with various access points to view the cats who have climbed to various parts of their enclosures. The lions aren't in this section though, they are elsewhere. The snow leopard was another animal that had worked out the best place to sit to confuse visitors - right up against the window of the upper viewing platform. There is a big jungle type cage holding the jaguars - a spotty one and a black one. Here we bumped into someone who had done the Big Cat Keeper experience, and he raved about it, having picked up lots of anecdotes about the cats, such as how the black jaguar, the most dangerous resident, uses her dark coat to hide in the shadows to try and jump out at the keepers. A nearby crying child was of great interest to her also, presumably for a mid afternoon snack. All the big cats were behind thick mesh bars (two lots in the case of the jaguar), and there was a wooden fence. Some were behind glass. I found it quite easy to take photos of the animals as you were not too far away, plus I had a good zoom to cope with the less obliging residents. The enclosures seemed a good size for the animals - there were usually only 2-3 big cats per enclosure - although there was one cheetah that had a smaller enclosure. There was a notice explaining why: she was rescued from another zoo where she had a much smaller enclosure, moving her straight into a larger enclosure had scared and distressed her, so they are gradually expanding her space to keep her calm and comfortable. She still had lots of branches and trees to climb on and a little box with a window that visitors could look into, where she could have a quiet snooze. I had a peak at her through the window - because the sun was shining on it, I put my hands up either side of my face to block any reflection - only to find the cheetah staring straight back out the window at me, about a foot away! We also caught the big cat feed and talk. As we were leaving the lemurs who had been having a post lunch nap and a sedate mooch about when we went past earlier were getting livelier. There seemed to be a kind of lemur domestic going on, which involved a lot of shrieking and angry swinging and jumping. There are also reptiles, red pandas, and reindeer in the park. All in all we really enjoyed our afternoon, yes it is pricey, but the animals and the park were clean and well kept, the animals seemed content, and we felt the information plaques on each animal were generally informative. As small as it is, they have a good selection although traditional zoo favourites like elephants, hippos and giraffes aren't here, presumably as they would need such a large enclosure. If you are in the area, especially with the family, then I do recommend this for a day out. If, like us, you are visiting as a couple or a group of adults, then you will probably be able to do the Wildlife section in 3-4 hours easily, including catching a couple of talks.

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      • More +
        31.10.2011 02:31
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        A fantastic day out

        Paradise Wildlife Park is a privately run zoo with huge play areas. It is located in Broxbourne, not too far from North London, and the park can easily be accessed from the A 10. Broxbourne also has a railway station and this is served by the park's own free shuttle bus. We didn't use this service so I can't tell you in which intervals the shuttle bus arrives at the station or if you have to call them from there to tell them that you wish to be picked up. If you are interested and want to find out more you better contact them directly. We arrived by car and found that the way to the park was well signed out. The parking area is located at the back of the park, a rather unusual lay-out which means that there is a road leading right through the middle of it. The pay booth is located somewhere in the middle of the access road; you just drive up, tell them which ticket option you require and pay with either cash or card. I didn't pay any attention what they expect visitors who are not arriving by car to do - and if they'd have to queue up in between the cars - but guess that there is a separate booth somewhere away from the road that I just failed to see. Our kids had decided not to have a "normal" birthday party this year and opted to take one friend each on a speical day out, and the Paradise Wildlife Park had been their choice for the occasion. At the ticket booth we chose a family ticket, which covered my husband and me and two children, and two separate children's tickets. The family ticket was £50 and the two single tickets for our little guests were £11 each, which added up to a heft £72. To find a parking space was easy, the facilities are ample, the park wasn't very busy and we'd arrived fairly early. From here on it was walking back to the entrance area, I really can't get over this lay-out ! The zoo area of the park is located in one half of this divided park while in the other half you will find mainly play areas, in and outdoors, the restaurant and a forest trail. Every time you want to change to the other area of the park you will have to cross the road. There are zebra crossings and cars are supposed to go slow but I still think that this is not ideal in a place where there are that many small children running around. After the long journey, it takes us around an hour to reach there, we thought it would be best to take them to the play area first so that they could let of some steam. There is a really nice big playground with lots of wooden play equipment, a "Thomas" engine to climb on and have your photo taken in, a carousel (extra fee), a train ride (also extra fee), play area for children with special needs and a second play ground we discovered later on. After some playtime we took the girls on the small train which lead us through a forest in which all kind of "Dinosaurs" are living. These are pretty good models and some looked so realistic that our little daughter asked me a few times very cautiously if I was really, really sure that they weren't alive. The ride lasts about 5 minutes and if I remember it right was £1 per person, kids and adults alike. As the forest trail is also located in this area we went to have a look and found enclosures with woodland animals like deer or beaver to explore. The beavers were a bit shy and we didn't spot any but some of the deer came quite close and we were all able to have a good look. We also managed to get up and close with one of the Dinosaurs we'd seen earlier on the train ride and our little one was finally convinced that these weren't really alive. At the end of the trail we found the second playground, this time not with wood equipment but more the metal style climbing frames I'm used to from my childhood. This play area is very large, the equipment might be older and a bit dated but is well looked after, and of course the girls wanted to try all. By now was close to noon, our daughters and their guests had signalled that they were getting hungry and we decided to keep the zoo area for after lunch and made our way to the picnic area. This is located at the rear end of the park, next to the parking area.It means that you do have to walk all the way back again but is handy as you do not have to carry your picnic a long way. The other practical side of the strange layout was that you don't need to leave the park to fetch something from your car, no need to queue up and get an ugly stamp on your hand that shows that you've paid already. The picnic area is designed like a garden, very pretty, and on the day we visited we had no problem finding a table. Directly next to the picnic area is a small paddling pool with some water features. Neither of us knew of this facility before so none of the kids had a swim suit or a towel and during lunch I got quite a few complaints for not being more attentive. It was a rather hot day and the water is only a few centimetres high so the girls could have used it to cool down a bit. I did feel sorry for them, and guilty for not checking teh website better, and had to promise not to forget the swim suits ever again if we should visit again. After lunch it was finally time to go and see the animals. Before we reached them on the other side of the park we had to cross some kind of fun fair area. Here you can find a few more rides, mainly again against extra fees, some stands where you can hook a duck and similar games, buy popcorn or a hot dog, or dig for gold nuggets - and spend, spend, spend. By this time we'd grown a bit tired of all the extra costs on top of the park admission and were glad that all girls were eager to see the animals now. They didn't pay all a lot of attention to the few rides or sweet vendors and wanted to get into the actual zoo. This can be accessed from several points and we started in the small farm animals section. Here you can find rabbits, sheep, goats and the like, touch them and feed them. Paper bags with suitable animal food is sold in this area also but there are a few more animals around the zoo which you can feed with it so you might want to keep some. They don't sell it in any other section so if you use it all here you'll have to go back if you'd like to find another animal later on, The animal enclosures are kept as close to the natural habitat of the animals as possible, which is not only good news for the animals but also looks great. The downside for the visitors is that some animals are hard to spot and you might not be able to see all the animals that life here. They have a lot of walkways on elevated positions to make sure that your chances are as good as they possibly can be but still there were a few we had no chance spotting. For a small, family-run business they do have a lot of animals from all around the world and we were really impressed. If a few in between are not in the mood for visitors, there are still enough others to see and you probably won't get disappointed. The big cats are especially impressive and thanks to those walkways you can get really close to some. We were able to get within a metre of a leopard, which is the closest I've ever been to one. It would go too far to mention all the animals we've seen and we were really, really impressed by the variety and the way they are kept and presented. There were definitely many more species than we thought there would be, their enclosures are spacious and offer enough hiding places for them if they want to stay out of the picture and the whole park, not just the zoo area, are kept impeccably clean. The reptile house, always one of my favourites, is rather small and I'd have loved to see more of them but I've seen bigger parks that do not offer any at all. When you arrive you will be given a leaflet with the feeding times of some of the animals so if you want to attend you'll need to schedule your visit around those times. This can be a bit daunting and I always find it stressful to add too many of these feeding times to our visits. Nice as it is, I just don't like having to check the time every few minutes and rushing from one end to the other to make it to the right enclosure at the right time. We usually opt for just one and otherwise discover the zoos we visit at our own pace. At Broxbourne the feeding of the penguins was scheduled just half an hour after we arrived in the zoo area, so that's where we headed. Penguins don't seem to be the big sensation and there weren't many other visitors apart from us to watch how they were fed. Good for us as we all, no matter which size, had no problems seeing the event and the kids loved it ! They do offer a tractor ride which will take you around the zoo which we happily took. We'd all got started to get a bit tired and sitting down sounded good. Toilets and stands selling refreshments or ice-cream can be found all around the zoo. The aviary, where you can see lots of birds of prey and other feathery friends, is located at the far end of the zoo. Here is also a theatre for shows, not a facility we used and I can't comment on the quality or even remember what those shows are about. During our visit we managed to stroke a very friendly camel, make friends with some entertaining merkats, and spend ages watching the lions. The later had just been fed and where lying lazily in the sunshine, directly under the viewing platform. It was more like watching a game of "Whoever moves first has lost" and we did get very good idea of the impressing size of a lions' mouth and teeth while it is yawning . Time just flew by and by the time we left the zoo it was tea time and thus feeding time of the children was on the plan. We'd only brought lunch as a picnic, so headed for the restaurant. The restaurant is a large purpose built hall with a covered outside sitting area and cheap furniture. The counter where you order your food is at the back of the building and as soon as you enter you can tell from the smell that grease is the word - and it that it will be not such a great dining experience. Nevertheless, we don't judge the book by the cover or the eating facility just by its smell, and went to check the menu above the counter. Not very surprised we found burgers, nuggets, hot dogs and the like, chips as side orders, no veggies or salad anywhere. The kids all wanted chicken nuggets, we opted for hot dogs, and the orders came up fast. They were fairly busy at lunch time when we had our picnic, but now there weren't many guests left and we waited only a few minutes. We ate outside and the food was, as suspected, not great. I didn't try the nuggets but my chips were very oily and the sausage wasn't very good. With lots of mustard and ketchup it all went down. Only one of our little guests was clearly not impressed at all and refused to eat her food (can't blame her) . I wished I'd prepared a second picnic for tea. For desert it was ice-cream for the children and some more time on the play ground, and when we realised that there is a café in the indoor play area we decided to let them have a go there instead. This a good sized indoor play ground with a large playing frame and some areas like ball pools for smaller children. One of our guests wasn't wearing socks, which is required in all indoor play areas, and a member of staff quickly delivered her back to our table. The problem was solved fast, they sell socks for such emergencies, rather nice ones even and not expensive. Within 2 minutes she was able to join the others again and we enjoyed a peaceful cup of coffee. We hadn't prepared any party bags for our little guests and I wanted to buy them something from the park as a little souvenir. I left the husband in the indoor play area with the kids to sneak over to the very large gift shop on the other side of the road. They have a huge variety of gifts, covering probably all price ranges and tastes, and you can find everything from small erasers, bouncy balls, postcards and pencils, over caps, mugs, bags, to T-Shirts, umbrellas and so on. Everything here is animal themed and of course many items carry their logo. It wasn't hard to find some nice stuff for the two girls to take home, and a little souvenir for our daughters too. It would be very easy to spend a small fortune in here and I was glad that I went alone without the children. The stuff happily obliged to divide all the little presents in separate bags, instead of one big plastic carrier, so each girl was handed one little goodie bag when we reached the car. This of course also kept them fairly busy until we were about half way home and the first one of the girls fell asleep. We all had a great day and enjoyed the visit to the park and I'd happily come back for another visit but would not eat in their restaurant again. It is a bit annoying that there are so many attractions in this park that will cost extra money on top of the rather expensive admission fee. You'll need to be a bit tough and say "no" quite often, or you'll end up spending a small fortune. The zoo is great and was much better than we'd hoped it would be but the many play areas distract a bit and we had one guest moaning constantly that she'd "rather be in the playground". Sigh ! If I'd visit without children just to see the zoo I'd probably feel pretty cheated to have to pay for more than half a park that is really only suitable for kids. For all those who want or need to know, they also offer arranged children's birthday parties and "Keeper for a day" experiences. Many of the keeper experiences require a minimum age and come with a big price tag. You can find more information on the website. http://www.pwpark.com White Stubbs Lane Broxbourne, EN10 7QA This review has been published on other websites under the same user name. Thanks for reading !

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          13.06.2010 13:21
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          A Fantastic Day Out For The Whole Family.

          When speaking to my sister recently about something to do in the local area she recommend the Paradise Wildlife Park to me. While I have been there before I haven't been in a good couple of years and so before I knew it we were on the train to Broxbourne station. Upon arrival I asked at the ticket office and they called Paradise Wildlife Park who arranged a free pick up for us from the station. We were picked up in a minibus by a very friendly member of staff who did lots of different jobs at the park and both on the journey there and the return to the station in the evening I noticed that the staff members seemed very happy in their work and very keen to know what your opinions of the park were. When you initially arrive at the park you are dropped off and instructed to go to the ticket office to buy your tickets or show your pre-printed E-Tickets. As we had not purchased in advance we paid £16.00 each, however, had we booked online a day before we could have received a £1 discount each on our tickets so this is definitely worth doing. Children can enter for £11 each, senior citizens for £11 each & guests with disabilities & their carers £8 each. Also, if you group book (20+ people) you will get in for £8 per person also. A family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) is £50 and a family ticket (1 adult, 1 child) is £25.00 so there are savings to be made if you are visiting as a family or as part of a group or even if you just book in advance. The park opening times are 9.30am - 6pm Spring/Summer & 9.30am - 5pm Autumn/Winter with last admissions being 1 hour before closing I do believe. We paid for our tickets and were promptly handed a map of the park and told the times that the minibus would be taking people back to the station (this is also displayed near the ticket office) and it was every 30 minutes. The park itself is well laid out with a restaurant serving food & drink (including alcoholic beverages) on the left hand side of the land, along with a woodland trail and a large children's play area. On the right hand side of the park is the gift shop, amusement area and the vast majority of the animals. There is a separate area for birds where you can see lots of different birds and there is a display once or twice a day to show you the different types of birds and introduce you and your children to them. This is a fantastic photo opportunity and something that I would firmly recommend. In terms of animals there are reindeer, jaguar, tigers, white tigers, lions, camels, alpacas, alligators, penguins, wallabies, meerkats, zebras, tapir, wolves, cheetahs, snow leopards, otters, squirrel monkeys, monkeys, reptiles, rabbits, pigs and many more than I can remember right now. There is something for everyone in the family whether it's a dangerous animal that you can admire from afar or a pig that you can actually stroke or feed by buying a bag of food for £1 at any of the various points around the site. The animals are all well housed in the relevant environment for their species and there is even a rainforest area complete with water showers and boiling hot temperatures that was very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed watching people opening the door and getting a waft of hot air all over them! This may be a little bit too uncomfortable for young children though so be warned about this. There are plenty of things to keep little ones entertained and some of the animals even get removed from their houses and take part in shows such as the animal Olympics. You can also go along at feeding time to some enclosures and watch them being fed and enjoy seeing what kind of diet they live on. Some of the animals were close enough to touch and stroke such as the camel who did not hesitate to eat the hat off my head as I walked past. He then trotted off and spat it out in the middle of his enclosure and I didn't fancy climbing in to get it. There was a sign advising that the camel would eat anything but I never thought they meant my clothing/accessories! It was great fun getting to stroke pigs and reindeer and feed the zebras too. There are signs on each enclosure advising which of the animals can be fed and which of them are on a restricted diet, unfortunately this did not seem to stop everyone from trying to feed the ones on restricted diets as there was lettuce and carrot and other bits of food scattered all over the place. I was very pleased with the quality of the park and even the prices in the restaurant was quite reasonable with a meal and drink coming in at just under £6 and while it was takeaway style food I didn't mind one bit as it meant a day off from the diet. The park was lovely and clean and no smoking was permitted throughout which meant that everything was lovely and clean and nice. There were toilets on site should you need them and they were nice and clean and tidy also. I saw quite a few staff and some young teenagers while in the park and they were going around cleaning everywhere which reassured me that the animals are well looked after and germs are dealt with as necessary. Our total visit to the park was around 4 hours which was ample time to see all the animals, walk the woodland walk, see a show, visit the gift shop, eat and then get the minibus back to the train station. You could easily spend a whole 8 or 9 hours in this park though and there was lots for children to do. There was even a bouncy castle and some little childrens rides which were free of charge which I thought was a fantastic addition, particularly if you had already spent your budget on entering the park. I think it's fair to say that the price does reflect the animals that are on site and the amount of work that goes in to caring for them. This does rival the likes of London Zoo as while it may not get all the press London Zoo does there are lots of animals at the Paradise Wildlife Park and the staff are all lovely and friendly. There seemed to be someone around most of the time to answer any questions or point us in the right direction of something and I will not hesitate to return again next year with some of the little ones in my family. The park is clean, tidy and well staffed. The prices are reasonable. There are lots of animals on site and I spent the vast majority of my time just looking at the animals and taking lots of photographs. The park was not packed on our visit as we went during the week but I'm sure that I have been at the weekends before and while it was busy providing you didn't arrive later in the day there was still plenty of time to see everything! Overall we had a fantastic time and this park is very well suited for the whole family with reasonable prices throughout whether it's buying food for the animals or food for yourself and there is plenty to keep you and your little ones occupied the whole day through.

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            27.03.2010 14:34
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            Fun for all the family and reasonably priced

            I was lucky enough to receive a 'feed the tigers' voucher for Paradise Wildlife Park last October. We attended the park and were surprised but pleased to note how quiet it was, perhaps the advantage of going off peak, and avoiding school holidays. The park itself is wonderful and the interactive vibe does not just extend to guests who are lucky enough to receive an experience day. The animals look extremely happy and well-cared for and the staff were extremely knowledgeable. Feeding the tigers was absolutely incredible, and a 30th birthday present I will remember always. Stroking and feeding a 40-stone tiger is just a phenomenal experience, particularly hearing this giant male purring at strokes! Not for the squeamish, big chunks of meat are taken from your hand, so prepare to get bloody (from the meat and not the tiger!). I am sat here in my 'remember the day' t-shirt with an inane grin on my face just remembering the most fantastic experience in my life.

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              25.11.2009 13:18
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              Good Day Out, Kids loved it and then visited the indoor play area.

              Paradise Wildlife Park I Visited Paradise and had not been there for over 10 years, the changes and improvements that have been made amazed me, the animals look very heatly and seeing the passion between animals and there keepers was beautiful. every keeper i spoke to helped me or advised me on why animals were kept in certain enclosures, on first glance the cheeta looks in a very small enclosure but when asking a keeper i was informed it is proberly a bit too big, she keeps herself to herself, in the wild she would run to find her food and in captivity she dosent have to, the keepers have a trust with her and are able to go in and hand feed her, i think this is amazing, they give each other trust and it is just the best. people look at things because of the way animals are broadcasted on tv, all you have to do is ask a keeper and they will tell you exatly why things are done how they are. the shows and bird of prey show are amazing, all anaimals mess up now and then but its just so natural everything they do, at other zoos you have parrots riding bikes etc but here at paradise wildlife park its more natural which is what some people obviously dont like, me and my chrildren learnt about all the natural behaviours of animals such as, Tenrecs, Skunks, Parrots, Ferrets, A Pig, Bearded Dragons and soo much more, the bird of prey show was brillant seeing the birds fly and always the special treat of seeing the ducks and a keeper running and the lovebirds was brillant, the keepers work long and hard hours there and by looking at the animals it pays off. enlosures can look small but when the birds are out being flown or being handled on a daily basis it is very good size for a bird of prey. I hope to revisit in summer i would advise this place to everybody familys couples or visitng on your own, the experiance and photographs you can get ae spectacular.

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                13.10.2009 11:05
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                a busy day out

                Paradise Wildlife Park is a good place to take the kids for a day out. Essentially it is a zoo. It has lions and tigers, camels and wallabies, alligators and lemurs, penguins and meerkats, snakes and parrots. The animals seem well looked after, and at the same time is it possible to get close enough to get a good look at them. Especially the jaguars and leopards - they are often asleep on a platform, and you can climb the stairs and stand right next to them (behind a lot of heavy duty wire, obviously). As well as the animals there are lots of playgrounds. There is a pirate-themed one with a boat, an adventure-style one aimed at slightly older children, and a real old train engine (painted like Thomas) and a fire engine that they can climb on. Further through the zoo there is another playground, and also a small train ride through the woods (you have to pay extra for that one). There is a fairground carousel ride that is free to go on, a helterskelter and a bouncy castle. And yet another playground round another corner with more climbing things and swings. We like to meander between the animals and the playgrounds and the combination works well. A bit of looking, a bit of doing. Particularly as the children get older and I actually get to sit down in the playgrounds! There is a decent-sized cafe and also outdoor picnic seating. We usually take a picnic to save some money. It isn't somewhere I'd recommend going on a rainy day - almost everything is outdoors - so a picnic fits in with that. Then, once we've done all that, there are the bits they really want to get to - first the indoor soft play area. This is the usual crowded hell smelling faintly of feet, but the kids love it and they sell Starbucks coffee and muffins. After that, the paddling pool. It's big, shallow, and has seats around the edge. After this, everyone needs a complete change of clothing (including me, often, after I've rescued my fearless youngest a few times). We try to avoid the shop so I can't tell you about that. And the toilets are next to the carpark on the way out, most convenient. In all, it is a very full day out and the children come home exhausted, which we like. We usually pay with Tesco vouchers - otherwise it is £14 for adults and £11 for over-2s, which is a bit much for us. I think the only real downside it that sometimes the children can be standing at close proximity to the most amazing, beautiful wild animals, whining that they want to go to the soft play area! I think the site might be better without that - although it is handy if it rains.

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                  01.09.2009 00:30
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                  One of my favourite wildlife parks

                  First of all I am not a huge fan of Theme / Wildlife parks , but last week I made an exception and I visited Paradise Wildlife Park. Park is situated just off the junction 25 ( M25 motorway) and is easy to find. I visited park last thursday to avoid crowds - unfortunately park is very busy at all times / days. Park is open all year (except Christmas day) from 9.30 - 6.00 (summer) or from 10.00 - 5.00 (winter). They have reasonable prices compared to other zoos. Family ticket costs 48.00 (price for 2 adults and 2 children) but they offer concessions and season tickets as well. They offer feeding experience and adoption certificates at extra charge. Majority of attractions is free, you will pay separately for : Panning for gold, Krazy Sands, Train Rides etc. Surprisingly two bouncy castles, roundabout and large slide were free to use! One large playground and Blue lagoon ( paddling pool with small slide) are situated within walking distance to the entrance and are free to use as well. Amountr of animals did not impress me and my family - i remember all of them! My son could feed some of them - farmyard animals, reindeers etc. You can meet some endangered species including african lions, red pandas and others. I think it is a great park for whole family. They have excellent facilities ( all toilets have disabled access and baby facilities), several food outles with ice cream, hot-dog, BBQ, large bistro, cafe and number of picnic areas - you can eat your lunch watching birds flying display ( Bird presentation area)! A fantastic day out with loads of play areas for all children and nice areas to relax for adults,too.

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                  19.08.2009 20:29

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                  overall, a good day.

                  Having lived only down the road from paradie wildlife park all my life i have been there a fair few times! I have now grown up and take my own children there around once a year. It's a wonderful little wildlife centre. I defiantely wouldn't call it a zoo but it does a wide variety of animals, big and small. prices are a bit much. its quite expensive to get in. i can't remember exactly but for adults its around the £15 mark. and considering the size of the zoo prehaps a little over priced. The food and drink is also quite expensive. its nothing amazing either. but theres lots of rooms for picnics. there's lots of animals experiences like most zoo's i.e feed the penguins and meet the lions and so forth. Whilst you can walk round the and see the animals in a couple of hours, there is a train based on thomas the tank thats a pretty nice ride for kids and a couple of adventure parks and a giant paddling pool. overall a good day out. There is also a minibus service from Broxbourne station. so if you cant drive there this makes it much easier. this is a free service and you ask at the ticket desk when you get to broxbourne station.

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                  26.03.2009 01:29
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                  Have a ROARING good time, ay!

                  Paradise Wildlife Park is situated in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. It is easy to get to by car (junction 25 off the M25) and is well signed up. The park have also set up a free shuttle service from Broxbourne train station to Paradise Wildlife park - just call the park when you arrive at the station and they'll come and collect you in a mini bus! The park is open all year round (March - October: 9.30am - 6.00pm. November - February: 10am - 5pm). Tickets cost £13.00 for adults, £10.00 for children (2-15 years), £10.00 for senior citizens, £7.00 for guests with disabilities, £22.00 for a family of 2 and £44.00 for a family of 4. Infants under 2 go free. The park is passionate about conservation, charity and educating children about animals and the importance of conservation (they invite schools to the park aswell as visiting schools with some furry friends in tow). I have visited Pardise Wildlife Park more times that I would like to admit to. The last time I visited was last month so that's primarily what I'll be basing this review on. When you arrive at Paradise Wildlife Park you drive up a driveway which has the zoo on one side and adventure playground on the other side. At the end of the driveway is a cabin where you pay for your tickets and pick up your map, you then drive into the car park. The car park isn't huge but I have never not been able to get a space, even when it's been packed out. If you have kids you have the choice of either starting your day off with the childrens activites or the zoo. Usually I would have started with the zoo but last time I visited I was with my daughter and nephew and they were adamant to play first, so that's what we did. During the summer months there is a free of charge large paddling pool area called 'The Paradise Lagoon' so don't forget to bring your swimming stuff. This isn't open to the public during the autumn, winter or spring months. A place for adults to unwind and children to let off some steam is in the 'Tumble Jungle' which is a big indoor padded play area. There is a Starbucks which sells drinks and snacks and has a seating area. I had a sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea whilst the kids had a crazy half an hour. Next up is a huge adventure playground with all different kinds of equipment. The playground has everything from slides to swings, and climbing frames to tunnels. There is even an area for children with disabilities called 'The Special Place' which is really nice. The playground has different themes (such as The Pirates Cove) and a real life fire truck and train to explore. There is a 'Woodland Train' which is a small steam train ride which is decorated to look just like Thomas The Tank Engine - it takes you around the forest where some dinosaurs are hidden and the fee is £1 a ride per person. If you prefer to explore the woodland by foot then the 'Woodland walk' would be a good choice - you might get to see a red deer, fox or owl.. however I've never seen anything in there! Everything in the playground (except the woodland train and panning for gold) is free for everybody to enjoy. There is a restaurant next to the playground which has a indoor and outdoor seating area. This is primarily a fast food restaurant but they sell a variety of different food. Outside the restaurant there is a zebra crossing which you have to cross to get over to the zoo. The zoo itself is quiet small but they have a good selection of animals. The first enclosures you come to are caoti, meerkats, wolves and lions. There are stairs leading up to a viewing deck for the wolves and lions. Nearby is a toucan house with a selection of tropical birds. The next animals are the zebras, capabaras, maras, taipers, wallabees and meerkats. There is a tunnel that goes underneath the meerkat encloure for kids to crawl through and pop up in the middle through a little window! Next to the meerkat encloure is a relatively new penguin enclosure. Nearby is the rainforest excibition which is an indoor house which is home to tamarin, squirrel monkey, marmosets, armadillo and gorgeous two toed sloth. Because of the animals which are being housed in the forest excibition the climate is warm and humid, which makes it really smelly and quite uncomfatable if you stay in there for too long. Outside of the rainforest exibition are the emus, reindeers, alpacas and camels. You can also catch a free tractor ride around the park from this part of the park. The 'Angkor Reptile Temple' in an indoor area which is home to different species of snakes, lizards, tarantula, tortoises and aligator. Outside the temple is the red panda and otter enclosure. You can stop here for an ice cream and toilet stop - not the two together I hope! Next up are the big cats which include 2 siberian tigers, 1 white tiger and 1 jaguar. They are all amazing to see but my favourite has to be the jaguar as I've never seen one in captivity before. They are all kept in clean, quite large and enriched encloures and all seem happy but I do find it a little hard watching big cats in captivity. There is an indoor area where the big cats sleep at night which you can walk through but beware - it really stinks. The next big cats are the snow leopards which have a set of stairs which lead up to a viewing deck. The next lot of animals are the pallas cats, ocelots, fox, geoffreys cat, cheaters and more lions. There is an overhead deck to look over the cheater and new lion enclosure. You then move on to the farmyard where there are chickens, sheep, goats, a skunk, mice, hedgehog, pigs and guinea pig. Next to the farmyard are lots of different types of lemurs and an oppourtunity for the kids to get their faces painted (I think it costs around £2.00 and it's very well done!). Nearing the exit of the park are mccaws, parrots and a rabbit town. There are a few childrens activities at the exit including a helter skelter, 2 bouncy castles and a merry-go-round which are all free of charge (which I thought was a fantastic idea). There is also adventure golf, arcade machines and a food stand which have to be paid for. The last part before making your way to the carpark is a pond (good for having picnics around in the summer) and a giftshop. Unlike a lot of zoos Paradise Wildlife Park offers the public the oppourtunity of getting up close and personal to the animals. Many of the animals are in reach of the public and can be touched and stroked. You can buy food (compromising of different vegetables) for £1.00 a bag and these can be fed by hand to animals such as zebras, reindeers, camels, emus and the farm animals. If you take a liking to a particular animals you can also adopt one for a fee (not sure how much as I haven't done it). In the car park, away from the zoo is a walkway where you come to the birds of prey section of the park. They have different species of owls and falcons, where the keepers perform frequent shows and talks with them. You can also purchase an experience package which includes shadowing a keeper, shadowing a reptile keeper,shadowing a big cat keeper, meet the meerkats, face your phobia, feed the lemurs, magic day and feed the big cats. These experiences are truly fantastic but don't come cheap and cost between £90 - £250. The only downsides I can really think of is that the entry fee is a little overpriced - I have been to plenty of other zoos which have a larger selection of animals (elephants, rhinos, sealions, giraffes etc) at the same entry price. The food is a little overpriced too but isn't excessive. Overall a really good day, especially if you visit in the summer where you can also have picnics, use the paddling pool and get a sun tan at the same time! Best suited for children, adults, couples, families and of course - animal lovers.

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                    09.01.2009 18:15
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                    A great day for all the family to enjoy and guaranteed to wear the kids out!

                    Paradise Wildlife Park is one of the best days out you can have. apart from all the Fab animals, there is so much more to do, especially for the kids, from the Thomas the Tank train ride through the dinosaur woods, to the mini fairground rides, bouncy Castles, Pirate Island adventure playground and loads of fun climbing frames, slides and swings. If the weather is typically British there is a fantastic indoor soft play area or if Global warming is around then there is a fantastic giant paddling pool with beach area, so remember to pack a towel to dry the kids off! There truly is something for everyone of all ages and I can't wait to get back there again with my boys a bit later this year. Most important of all is the wonderful welfare of the animals and the great viewing galleries they have, so you really can get up close to the big cats. Prices are very reasonable to considering how much some Zoos and theme parks charge nowadays, but as usual with most places like this, the food prices are a bit steep. My only real gripe is the lack of baby changing rooms, I've only ever come across one and there is always a queue for it, but apart from that paradise wildlife Park gets the thumbs up from me!

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                    14.11.2008 19:51
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                    Great place to visit with or without children

                    Paradise Wildlife Park (PWP) is located in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, easily accessed by road (M25 J25 then off the A10) and rail. Broxbourne main line train station is the closest station and PWP offers a free shuttle bus service to/from the park, if you ask at the station they will call to organise the bus to pick you up. Opening Times 1st March to 31 October 09:30 - 18:00 1st November to 28 february 10:00 - 17:00 Entry prices Adult £13.00 Child (2 - 15 years) £10.00 Senior Citizen £10.00 Guest with disability £7.00 Family of 2 (1 Adult & 1 child) £22.00 Family of 4 (2 Adults & 2 Children) £44.00 Obviously the main attraction at PWP are the animals so I will give you a bit of information about what you can see should you go and visit. They have a good selection of Big Cats which include African Lions, White Lions, Tiger, White Tiger, Cheetahs, Snow leopards and Jaguars. You will also be able to see Alpacas, Camels, Reindeer, Emus, Penguins, Wallabies, Tapir, Capybara, Zebra, Wolves, Meerkats, Coati, Raccoons, Toucans, Rabbits, Lemurs, Parrots, Red panda, Beavers, Foxes Owl, Deer and Otters. In the Rainforest area (it's really hot in there!) you will see tamarins, two toed sloth, armadillo. There is also a range of Birds of Prey and Owls in th Birds of Paradise area. In the Reptile temple apparently (I didn't go in as someone told me one of the keepers had a snake out on the floor!!) you can see Snakes, Turtles, Hissing cockroaches and Alligators. In the Farmyard area are goats, sheep, pigs. There may well be more that I have missed off the list! In addition to the animals there are a number of other things to keep children entertained. There are a couple of bouncey castles, a roundabout and a helter skelter (no extra charge) there are also large play areas including climb on fire engine and Thomas the Tank Engine, swings etc, an adventure playground. There is also a play area (The Special place) dedicated to those with special needs. Connecting these areas you will find the woodland walk where some of the animals are hidden away such as the deer, foxes beavers and owls. If you want to get an idea of where all the animals are you could hop on the tractor trailer ride to give you a tour of the park before you head off to see your favourite animals. If the weather turns a bit too cold or rainy for you there is an Indoor soft play area (for children under the height of 1.5m) with a cafe and plenty of seating for all the mums and dads. At the other end of the weather scale if the weather is hot there is Paradise Lagoon, a water play area. There a a number of other attractions for the children available at an extra cost, such as Paning for gold, crazy golf, the woodland train. There are numerous areas with picnic tables and there are a number of places you can buy food if you didn't get a chance to bring a picnic (I haven't purchased any food there so can't comment on the food or prices) Toilets are found throughout the park with disabled and baby change facilities available. Oh and of course there is a gift shop!! There are a number of experiences you can purchase to do at PWP such as face your phobias, feed the lemurs, feed the big cats, shadow a keeper (more details are on the website). I have visited PWP 3 times so far so even just from that you cann probably guess that I quite like it there!! My son loves looking at the animals and it's great having all the play areas too. My favourites are all the big cats and so far I've managed to catch the cheetahs and the african lions being fed while I've been there!! One of the great things about PWP is the fact that they have great viewing platforms round many of the big cats and some other of the animas. Not so great I guess for those in wheelchairs or unsteady on stairs as they are all up a flight of stairs but they enable you to see over the top of the enclosures which makes for some great pictures and a different experience than many other Zoos. The enclosures all appear to have been well thought out and designed the animals it will be housing so there are platforms for big cats to climb on, ropes and tunnels in the tamarin areas. For more information http://www.pwpark.com/index.asp

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                      25.10.2007 10:41
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                      Great zoo, lovely people, what an experience!

                      Last Christmas Dave bought me a fantastic present – the chance to feed tigers by hand! I am a full time carer to my mom who has Vascular Dementia and so he always tries to get something really special for me (bless him!) as I don’t get chance to go out much. I have always loved the big cats so this was definitely a winner!! The experience would take place at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire which was our first problem as we live in North Wales. When our nephew invited us to his wedding in Dorset we decided to make a week of it while mom was in respite and visit the Park, a couple of theme parks (reviews coming soon!) and then go on to the wedding. Getting There We were based in Basingstoke, as you already know because you’ve all read my last review (LOL), so we headed towards London and travelled clockwise on the M25. We got off at junction 25 and followed the brown tourist signs. It couldn’t have been easier to find. At the moment there are long term road works at junction 25 if you are travelling anti clockwise so you would have to get off at junction 26 and travel along the A121 and A10. Paradise Wildlife Park is in White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. First Impressions Before I go any further I must just tell you that we booked our tiger feeding in advance and so had to go on the planned day even though it was pouring down and was due to do so all day! This does mean that some of my observations are limited by the weather. As we drove into the park at about 11.00am we passed a small children’s play area which was still covered up due to the rain. We got to a small building where I showed my letter about the tigers to get my free entrance and Dave paid the standard adult fee of £12 and received a little map so that we could find our way around. Children and Senior Citizens are charged at £9 each and disabled guests and their carers at £6 each. There are also two family tickets available – one adult and one child for £20 and two adults and two children for £40. OK it isn’t much saving but every little helps and I was impressed at the fact that there was the ticket available for one adult and child. I haven’t seen that before. If you are organising a group of 20 or more contact the park for a special rate currently £7 per person. The park is open from 9.30 until 18.00 from March to October and from10.00 until 17.00 from November to February. Added Attractions As I have said there was a play area as we entered the park which consisted of a few small fairground rides. There is also an adventure playground for the youngsters. In the centre of the park is the Great Ormond Street Garden with access to the bouncy castle, helter skelter, roundabout and amusements. There is even a play area called The Special Place for disabled children to enjoy. For a small extra charge there is also On Safari Adventure Golf, Panning for Gold and the Woodland Railway. During the summer Paradise Lagoon is open for the children to take a dip free of charge. There is also the inevitable gift shop selling all sorts of things from stuffed animals to t shirts and pencils to mugs. Facilities The park isn’t particularly large, although there are plenty of animals there, but there are numerous drinks and snacks outlets and a restaurant if you want to sit down and eat. There are toilets and hand washing facilities available throughout the park so there’s no problem with hygiene if you get licked by any of the animals!! The Animals I bet you thought I’d never get round to the important bit did you? The entrance road runs down the middle of the park. To your left are mainly children’s attractions – The Woodland Trail, Woodland Railway, Adventureland, The Special Place, Paradise Lagoon etc. – set in an area of parkland. Due to the weather and the fact that we were more interested in the animals we didn’t go over to this side of the park at all. We did notice on the map that there were foxes, owls and deer over here though. To the right hand side are the main animal enclosures. Along the first path we encountered the Meercats which always fascinate me; I love the way they stand on their hind legs to look round. Next were the Wolves, then the Zebra and then the Capybara. These just tickled me! They sat there in the family group, hardly moving just watching the guests walking past with a sort of haughty look on their faces. I must admit at this point I wondered who was watching whom! The Tapirs were next to these at the end of the first path. We then turned and saw a new enclosure with a big sign saying the Penguins are coming, but they hadn’t arrived when we were there. Next along this path were Wallabies, Emus, Reindeer, Camel and Alpaca. Round the bottom of this path was the Farmyard with Sheep, Pygmy Goats, and Rabbits, etc. all of which were quite happy to be stroked and petted. Inside the Farmyard building there are sinks with soap and driers so that you can wash your hands as soon as you have finished handling the animals. Out of the Farmyard, past the Lemurs was the Reptile Temple. We didn’t bother going in here as neither of us are particularly interested in the reptiles and by now I was dying to see the cats! Behind this were the Asian Short Clawed Otters just like the ones I had been watching on Animal Park on TV! They were great fun to watch as they played. The next exhibit was a rainforest walk through which was interesting but extremely hot and humid as you would expect, but the smell of stale sweat in there made us hurry up and get out I’m afraid! But then around the next turn we were in Big Cat Territory! We headed for the Cheetah first – I just love the markings on their faces – he was walking round and round his enclosure. We viewed first through a large window at ground level and then climbed up onto a viewing platform above the enclosure. All the big cat enclosures had these platforms and they gave a superb view of the animals. While we were up on the platform two children walked down the side of the enclosure and saw the Cheetah through the bushes, they ran to the window to see him walk past. The Cheetah must have seen the children start to run and he began to run as well getting to the window as they did and barring his teeth at them! It made them jump! I know he was nowhere near full speed but it was lovely to see him run. We did see the Lion in the next enclosure but he was being a typical Lion. He lay on a platform in his enclosure and remained fast asleep for the duration of our visit! The keepers told us that he does that most of the time only waking up to be fed – what a life eh? Maybe I’ll come back as a lion then! We looked briefly at the Tigers who were in a tiny enclosure, which surprised me. What I didn’t realise at the time was that they had been put in that area so that the keepers could briefly do some work in their main enclosure – silly me! We left the Tigers as we knew we would be seeing them in close up later. Next it was on to the Snow Leopards. There were three of these who were all dozing on a platform in their enclosure. From the viewing platform we got an excellent view of them as they were only about 2 – 3 feet away, behind two lots of bars I hasten to add! The keeper arrived whilst we were there with a lady who was obviously going to hand feed them so we watched that for a while. The feeding area for the Snow Leopards was rather cramped for the keeper and guest so I hoped my Tiger experience would be a bit roomier. Opposite the Snow Leopards was the Jaguar. Now this is a cat you don’t often see in a zoo and he was beautiful. Again he was up on his platform just feet away from us so we could see all his markings and get some good photographs too. The other cat that they had here at Paradise Wildlife Park was one called Geoffrey’s Cat which, although he is one of the smaller cats, it is one of my favourites. The Tigers By now it was 1 o’clock and time to go and meet the keepers ready for my Tiger feeding experience. We reported to the reception, where we had initially arrived earlier that morning, as instructed, where we were met by Brian and Chris who were two of the four big cat keepers. They took us back to the Tiger enclosure where they were both out and roaming around. We went through a gate in the first fence so that we were in a small area between the two fences. The area was about the size of half a tennis court so we had plenty of room. Dave came in with me so that he could take lots of photographs and the one keeper had a Polaroid camera to get some shots too – together with a tiger t shirt these formed part of my ‘experience’. As soon as went through the gate the two Tigers came to the fence to greet us. There was a fully grown Bengal Tiger called Rocky and a smaller, but still quite large, White Tiger called Narnia. The keepers told us that Narnia had been rescued from a circus in China (I think) where she had been ill treated and they had expected it to take her a long while to settle. In fact she and Rocky had formed an immediate bond and she settled within weeks. It was quite obvious that there was a mutual respect between the keepers and the Tigers and Rocky was soon rubbing against the fence waiting to be stroked and tickled just like a domestic cat! The keepers were both putting their hands through the fence to stroke the Rocky and I was soon given the all clear to have a go. Obviously it is a bit restricting because the gaps in the fence wire are only about 3 inches or so square, but I could get my fingers through and stroked Rocky. I was surprised to find his fur soft like a domestic cat – I expected it to be much coarser. Before we started the keepers asked me if I would like them to get the Tigers inside for feeding as we were getting wet out in the rain. Kind as this was my response was to ask what was best for the Tigers and the keepers told me that they would rather be outside whatever the weather. I said that I was just the visitor and that the Tigers were the first priority so I fed them outside in the rain. The keepers went through safety procedure with me. I was told that Rocky would be pretty safe as, being fully grown, his muzzle wouldn’t come through the bars at all, but I was told be careful of Narnia as her muzzle did come through just a bit and so I needed to be aware of that. I was told that if the keepers spotted any danger I would be told to ‘Step back!’ and must do so straight away. No problem with that then! The pieces of meat were about the size and shape of a large mobile phone and I was told to hold each piece with my thumb and forefinger touching one another so that no stray fingers entered the cage. The general rule was that anything that went through the bars the Tigers could have and anything that stayed our side of the bars we could keep! The keepers told us that they had lost hats and jackets to the Tigers when they had got too close and they had got hold of them through the bars! Then it was on to the feeding. I had to hold the meat as I had described and place it through the bars so that the ring made by my thumb and finger were against the bars and the Tigers would just take it from me. I had to do that at ground level first and then hold the meat higher up the cage so that each Tiger would reach up for the meat. That way the keepers can check their feet and underside to make sure there are no problems. Sadly it was all over too quickly. There was only one hair-raising moment when I was reaching to feed Rocky and Narnia came up behind me without me noticing her and she was just about to try and grab my hand with the meat in it when the keeper just knocked my hand away! He apologised for not having time to tell me to step back but I said that was OK, keeping all my fingers is quite important to me! After the feeding Rocky was licking the hand of one of the keepers, though the bars of course, and I tried to get him to lick my hand as well but he wouldn’t. The keepers gave me 7 photographs (haven’t the quality of Polaroid photos improved over the years) and my Paradise Park t shirt with Bengal Tiger on the front. It took about 45 minutes in all and it was amazing being so close to such glorious animals! When we had finished I had to ask Dave if it had been raining whilst I was feeding them as I hadn’t a clue and it had been pouring down! It was fantastic and the keepers were very kind and funny and gave us loads of information about the Tigers. Add to this the fact that safety was absolutely paramount and you have an unforgettable experience. Experiences at the Park As I said Dave had bought my ‘experience’ through a third party (BuyaGift) as a Christmas present but, when we got to the park, we realised that you can buy a variety of experiences directly from the park itself. Face Your Phobia – minimum age 10 years – about 30 minutes £90 Face your fear and handle a snake, lizard or tarantula – under supervision of course! Feed the Lemurs – minimum age 10 years – about 30 minutes £90 for two people Shadow a Big Cat Keeper – minimum age 18 years – 5 hours £200 weekdays £250 weekends. Shadow a Reptile Keeper – minimum age 10 years – 1 hour £90 Shadow a Keeper – minimum age 14 years – 10 hours £150 This is a more general day meeting lots of the animals. Meet the Meercats – minimum age 10 years old – 30 minutes £90 Feed the Big Cats – minimum age 16 years – 30 minutes £160 weekdays £180 weekends In Conclusion Paradise Wildlife Park is a privately owned establishment with the conservation of animals being the main objective of the place. It isn’t a huge park but I think that you could spend a full day there without getting at all bored whatever your age and I would certainly love to go back sometime. By the way – yes I do still have all my fingers! Paradise Wildlife Park White Stubbs Lane Broxbourne Hertfordshire EN10 7QA 01992 470490 www.pwpark.com

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                        01.12.2003 15:18
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                        Let me tell you of one of my favourite places. Just off the A10 in Broxbourne, Herts (not far away from Enfield, North London) are fields and woodland, and nestled amongst the trees is a real treat. A small family run zoo. No it isn't poor frustrated animals pacing about in tiny cages, these have large enclosures and a lot of environmental work is done here. I know there are some zoos that should be closed, but this isn't one of them. It used to be called Broxbourne Zoo put they changed its name to Park, so I guess it isn't a zoo after all. When you first enter you drive past animals on your right and an adventure area for the kids on the left. This gets the kids attention! You are given a little map when you pay , but as it is a small park there isn't a real need for it, but there are feeding times and show times on it which is very handy. So after dragging the kids past the FREE rides, and the gift shop, you head off for a leisurely stroll around to see the animals. I will try to do this in the right order , forgive me if I miss anything out... Walk into the main entrance and there is rabbit land on your right, where there are loads of cute bunnies in there own little houses with very long runs, on the right is sometimes someone selling animal food (mainly chopped carrots and cabbage) for £1, so you can have fun feeding the animals yourself. Further on the left is an entrance to the Farmyard area where you can try to feed the goats and llamas, but you have to be quick feeding them or they will just try to nick the bag of food off you, especially one of the goats . He throws a strop if you are lacking in feeding skills and head buts the bars or stamps his foot.. And the big llama never lets the little llama get a look in :oP Don't get me wrong, these aren't hungry animals, just greedy. So after walking through the farmyard and seeing the chickens and chicks and sheep, we come to Cheeta hs. Their area is quite large and sometimes you have trouble spotting (sorry!) them, as there is a lot of foliage and places for them to blend into. Feeding time is the best time to see them, that's at 2.30 and normally there are people crowded about watching... But if you visit them a little after, most people have lost interest and you can watch the two Cheetahs munching away on a side of meat in peace. At the far end of the Cheetah enclosure is a raised look out where you can sometimes get a better view of them without the wood, glass and metal in the way. Ideal for people with zoom cameras. Tucked round the back of the Cheetahs are the free Donkey and Pony rides, but this is for little people, as there is a height restriction.. my 8 year old is too tall for this which really annoys him, but then he is a tall little chap. Then it is a stroll around the perimeter of the park to look at Freddy the fox. He was bought in by someone when he was a pup and was deaf and blind, but nursed back to health since. He must be getting on a bit now as he was at the zoo when I used to take my eldest when he was a baby, so that was over 10 years ago. They have a vixen in with him now and he is almost tame, well as tame as a wild thing could be. He even goes to visit schools and was in the film 102 Dalmatians. Steven (my eldest) is sure that Freddy remembers him from when he was little! Then we come to the wild small cats. It isn't always easy to see them though as they have so much greenery to hide amongst they are normally well camouflaged. But when you do get to see one they are so cute :o) At the far end they are building a new enclosure for some Snow Leopards, that they are part of a breeding programme to help them get back into the wild as these are nearly extinct. :o( I have been totally ignoring what is on the right of our little stroll... It is an enormous double enclosure for the tigers. I remember them building this and when they got their first tiger, she used to be taken for walks on a lead around the park. Awwwww! She is fully grown now so I don't think they still do this! I am not actually sure how many Tigers they actually have now as they spend times in other zoos to help with the breeding programmes, but there seems to be at least 4. Two on each side of indoors housing for them.... Never walk through these if one of them has done their business in there as it totally stinks! Tiger poo is not nice on the nostrils! They have a ball on show that you can touch to show you the damage one of the tigers has done to it (yes they play with balls) The teeth marks are amazing to see and the fact that this is a large beach ball sized solid plastic ball, quite scary to think that a tiger can do that to it! There are two talks about the Tigers at 11 and 2, but we have never actually heard one! Also they get fed at 5 so you can see huge cats rip huge lumps of meat apart. In August they were having a special Save a Tiger month. So near to the Tiger Lodge there were some fund raising events, all the money made went to EAZA European Tiger Conservation and 21st Century Tiger. There were also educational areas where you could learn more about Tigers in the wild. My youngest loved this bit as he got to make himself a badge. Now we come to Red Panda island. They feed these at 10.45, so by the time we normally see them they are happily fed and just sitting about in the tree or wandering about slowly. Or on hot days inside their sleeping area. There is a free tractor ride near the Red Pandas and this is just a little ride around the park with commentary in a covered pulled wagon, pulled of course by a tractor. It doesn't last long, but is just long enough to keep the little ones amused, but not long enough for them to get bored. Which is good in my book, as there is nothing worse than sitting next to some screaming, bored toddler :oP On the left aft er the tractor ride is Monkey Island, where loads of small spider monkeys roam free and for the life of me I can't work out why they stay in the confides of the island as there are trees with branches leading to other trees off the island all around it, but the monkeys happily stay on the island! Next is a new bit for me, the Rainforest Experience. You walk into a heated shed (well it's a bit more than a shed, but I am not sure how to describe it!) and inside are snakes and reptiles (luckily behind glass or I would be straight out the door!) and Humming Birds flying among the tropical plants in the centre of the walk way. These totally took me by surprise as they are free to fly where they want and one nearly flew into me! I was then fascinated by these and was busy trying to spot them while the boys looked at the scaly things, think I spotted 6 but they move so fast it was hard to tell. The monkeys also come into here as this has their sleeping area in it, but they were too busy playing on the island. Now we pass the Alpaca's to visit another new addition, Meerkats! They have their own little termite look hill to stand watch on. There seems to be several families of them here, as there were loads of little baby ones playing and sunbathing . They also have tunnels and tubes to play in too. There is a notice up not to pick up the Meerkats as they just in an enclosure that is surrounded by a low wall, just the right height to look over to see them . I must admit it was tempting to take one of these little cuties home, but I don't think my cat would have been too impressed nor would the keepers! :oP There is a Meerkat talk at 10.30 and they feed them at 4.30. Have I written this much already! Sorry! I will move quickly past the Reindeer, Camels, Zebras, Tapirs, Wallabies Ostriches and Deer then. Apart from telling you that you are allowed to feed all of these out of your little £1 bag of food. Oh and the Ostriches have a habit of being a bit greedy too and can nip your finger if you don't let go in time. Now we come to the Lions, one lion and one lioness. Admittedly they don't do much, apart from at feeding time as they spend 20 hours asleep in the wild, and they seem to do the same here. But when they are asleep on there high up areas you can get a wonderful view of them from the high up look out, like with the Cheetahs. They are fed at 5 as well as the tigers so you have to pick which one you want to see. Another new addition are the wolves. There are two, and on our last visit I spent a very enjoyable 15 minutes watching one of them trying to get a broom off one of the staff, as he was trying to clean out their pool. :o) There is a wolf talk at 12.30 and 2.45 Then there is the Toucan house, with more different breeds of Toucans than I ever knew existed. There is a Lemur house and some Raccoons, some parrots that occasionally talk to you if they feel like it, Coatis, marmosets, Tamarins and some Porcupines. That's it for the "zoo" part... It may seem that when reading that there is a lot of animal for a small zoo, but it is well spaced out and everything seems to have enough space to be happy in. Also it isn?t a hard place to walk around unlike some zoo's or parks that I have visited where it seems that it is a maze and you walk around in circles for most of the day. Now we come to a separate part, The Birds of Paradise Section. This is tucked out of the way near the car park and is my youngest sons favourite place. They have Falcons, Buzzards, Owls, a Vulture, and various other birds of prey (not sure why they call it Paradise, but my youngest thinks it is). They have falconry displays twice a day at 11.30 and 2.30. And if you are still about near the closing time you can get to watch the birds get their dinner.. not for the faint hearted as it can be a bit unsettling seeing a buzzard eat a whole dead chic k! The displays are very interactive and my youngest has been in two so far, having a barn owl fly to his glove and having a falcon chase him as he ran along with a stuffed rabbit on a bit of string. He loves the Birds of Prey so much that I arranged a day of learning Falconry for his birthday with the Park, but that is a whole different story! Ignoring the child play areas for now I will tell you about the shows they put on in the Jungle Theatre. Reptile Mania is on three times a day at 11 and 1.30 and 5.30. In this you get to learn about the reptiles and have the chance to actually hold them, after they split the audience in two and make you answer questions. This is great fun for kids (and adults too). Pollywood Stunt Parrots is on 3 times too, at 11.30, 2 and 4. Here you get to see Parrots doing tricks such as riding bikes, doing impressions of films! And generally being very clever.. One of them can even do sums that the audience has to call out. Another fun show for kids and adults alike. DJ Jazzy's Amazing Animal Show is on at 12 and 3, but I have never seen this. That's it for the animals.. now on with the bit the kids are chomping at the bit for... Free rides! Although this isn't to funfair standards for the average toddler to 10 year old these are great. There is a helter-skelter, a small merry-go-round, go karts (foot powered) and a large jungle gym area. There is also a small railway that charges 50p to take you round a bit of woodland that they have placed large full sized dinosaurs in.. this is a bit naff for older kids, but little ones love it, especially the first time when they see a T-Rex in the trees. There is also a the largest inflatable paddling pool for them to splash about in when it's hot, but this again is for little ones and my 7 year old is most annoyed that he is too tall to be able to use it. There is a lot for the under fives to do, but saying th at even my 13 year old enjoyed it. There are two play areas that are more for the younger children, but that doesn't stop my youngest having a bash at playing there. Picnic tables are dotted about everywhere, as are small booths selling hot and cold food and drinks, and the prices aren't that bad. There are also several toilets about and they are all clean. There is an indoor fast-food type restaurant with a bar but that is always shut apart from when they have functions there (they were setting up for a wedding reception when we were leaving last time) so you don't have to eat outdoors. The gift shop isn't that expensive either unless you want to buy expensive stuff that is, as there is a wide range of things from pencils to ornaments and even clothing. There is plenty of parking spaces available and for those using public transport they offer a free mini bus service that will pick you up from the local train station (Broxbourne) and take you back again. Overall I think this is a brilliant place to visit, especially with younger children as so much is laid on for them, like the shows and attractions. For teens it may be a bit boring, unless they are animal lovers and don't mind being too big for some of the rides. The entertainment I have seen seems to have something for everyone and gets everyone involved. It is a fun place to visit! The prices are quite reasonable too Adult £9 Child (2-15) £7 Under 2's Free OAP £7 Family (2 adults, 2 children) £30 Family (1adult, 1 child) £15 Groups of 10-19 adults £8.50 each Groups of 10-19 children or OAPs £6.50 each Groups of 20 or more £6 each And the is one free adult with every group of 20 children Special Needs £5 Carers £5 The food is reasonably priced too. They are open 365 days a year, from 9.30 to 6 in the summer and 10 'til dusk from November to February More info can be found at www.pwpark.com, this goes more into the conservation side and tells of any forth coming special events. Have fun Sarah :o)

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