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I'm Wild About This Animal Park
South Lakes Wild Animal Park (Cumbria)
Member Name: chocaholic110
South Lakes Wild Animal Park (Cumbria)
Advantages: Lovely setting, lots of animals
Disadvantages: Pushchair access not alwyas the best
Well, the weather has turned cool so in an attempt to recapture the warmth of the previous weekend I decided to write about our recent trip to South Lakes Wild Animal Park.
** What it is **
As the name suggests, it is a Wild Animal Park, although it does have a bit of a difference from the usual animal parks and zoos that I have visited in that many of the animals are roaming around freely or with minimal walls and fencing (although obviously dangerous animals are well contained!)
**Arriving at the park **
On the day that we visited there was some sort of diversion around the park and it was a little bit tricky to gain access through narrow congested streets. However, we arrived and were directed into the car-park where we were easily able to park the car. Parking was free and the car-park was filling at a rapid rate. The entrance to the park was located nearby and although there were queues, they moved fairly quickly.
**Entry and Pricing**
Pricing depends upon the time of year when the visit occurs. Summer prices are as follows:
4th April - 1st November
Child 3-15: £8.00
Under 3's: FREE
Prices include a £1 voluntary donation. The website says it is possible not to make this donation and pay £1 less per person but this wasn't mentioned at the gate. Once through the payment kiosk a member of staff takes details to be able to claim Gift Aid on your payment.
Under 3s FREE
The park is quite happy to accept payment via Tesco Days Out vouchers.
Pricing at both times for Friends of the Park is £1.50. It is possible to become a friend of the Park for £10, after admission has already been paid. Friends of the Park also receive 10% off food, drinks and gifts purchased in the park and invitations to special events and evenings.
Park guides and maps are available to buy at the gate and I think the price was £2.50.
There are a whole range of animals available to see and the design of the park makes it easy to get up-close to many of these. Many animals are freely roaming the park, including lemurs, peacocks and emus. My husband and son were very amused when I turned around from one exhibit to come face to beak with a rather large emu. They thought I would be rather amusing not to warn me and indeed it was amusing... for them! If you're not a big fan of birds this might not be the place for you!
Among the animals that can be viewed are giraffes, bears, tortoises, rhinos, tigers, lemurs, penguins, vultures, apes, snakes and many types of apes and monkeys.
Over the course of the day there are a number of sessions whereby keepers give talks and demonstrations which can be heard over loudspeakers and these include hand-feeding giraffes, feeding of apes, monkeys and tigers, hand-feeding penguins, apes and monkeys talk and "meet a snake". These sessions are quite interesting and add to the range of things to do there.
Information boards are plentiful and provide a good ecological message and information about projects that the park is involved with all over the world.
If you are interested in such a thing, it is possible to adopt the various animals and also, if the donation is high enough, to name them. If you donate £100 or more you can become a "Keeper for a Day" and learn about being a zookeeper.
**What else can I do there?**
There is a small train that runs around the park to give your feet a rest. Tickets cost 50p per person. There is also a small play area for under ten year olds. This tended to be quite busy while we were there and it was spoiled for our toddler by the fact that there were a number of boisterous, unattended, obviously older than ten-year olds running and jumping everywhere without looking where they were going. Obviously though the South Lakes Animal Park cannot be criticised for this! There is a café and places to buy ice cream, although we did not buy anything here. We did however eat our lunch in the indoor picnic area which was quiet, cool and clean - an excellent spot for lunch.
**My opinion **
The scenery and layout of the park is lovely. Paths and wooden walkways meander around the park, in and out of each other making it a lovely relaxing walk with plenty to look at. The way the animals are kept means that often several species of animals are found altogether in one enclosure and often I wouldn't spot some species until I had been looking for a while, so it really is a place to relax, linger and take your time. There is plenty to do to spend a good few hours there and it has an educational value as well as a fun factor. The facilities we used (picnic area, toilets and baby change) were all clean and tidy. In fact, the only slight downside to the park is that the paths aren't always easy to push a pushchair along; some are narrow or steep, or both and I think it might be tricky with a wheelchair.
**Where it is **
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is found in Dalton-in Furness, Cumbria. Directions to get there (Taken from the website)
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated at the southern tip of the Lake District in the North West of England on the A590 trunk road.
Take Junction 36 from the M6 and follow signs for Barrow in Furness, until the brown Elephant Tourist Signs take over.
** Opening Times**
During the summer, the park is open from 10am - 5pm and during the winter months it opens 10am - 4.30pm. Last admissions are 45 minutes before closing time.
If you wish to find out further information, see photos or find out about projects the park is involved in check out the website at http://www.wildanimalpark.co.uk/wildlifepark_home. asp
Summary: An excellent day out for all the family
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