Newest Review: ... Tailed Lemur White Fronted Brown Lemur Red Eared Terrapin Tortoise European White Stork European Spoonbill Carribean flamingo Prarie Ma... more
A great day out for all the family
South Lakes Wild Animal Park (Cumbria)
Member Name: redhead78
South Lakes Wild Animal Park (Cumbria)
Advantages: Unusual animals, hands on activities, reduced entry offers
We are lucky enough to live only a few miles away from the South Lakes Wild Animal park (how many people do you know that get to see giraffes and rhinos at the side of the road on their way to the supermarket?!!), which is situated just outside Dalton-in-Furness, between Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness.
As it's not in the central Lake District or on any of the usual tourist routes I think a lot of people overlook it in favour of the more well-known/central attractions, despite being well sign-posted, practically from the motorway. This is a real shame as it makes a fantastic day out for all ages. It is also more affordable as they often have special offers on entrance fees - leaflets through local papers, half price if you take a receipt from the local Morrisons, Tesco clubcard vouchers accepted etc, although the best by far is the free entry between November and February that they've started doing in the last few years. I suppose they came to the conclusion that people through the gate and spending in the gift shop and cafe was better than nobody in at all. It seems to have worked though, as a recent article in the local paper said the numbers through their gates was up, as was spending in said areas!
The free entry in December is especially welcome as they go all out at Christmas and put up thousands of lights, create a skating rink and basically provide a fantastic, fun festive experience aimed at children.
The usual entry price is £12.50 for adults and £8 for children, so if you're a family of four it can be quite expensive if you don't have any of the money off materials, however, for what you get for that entry price I think it is still really good value for money. And there are no restrictions on taking your own picnic in with you, so altough there is the option of eating in their (very reasonably priced) cafe, you don't have to and can save money by taking your own. Parking is also free and right on the doorstep.
This isn't a typical zoo, it's so much more than that, hence the name wildlife park rather than zoo. There are demonstrations and talks given by very knowledgable employees. There are feedings that you can take part in with the less dangerous animals (penguins, giraffes etc) and fantastic feeding displays featuring tigers and lions, where they place food at the top of telegraph poles and then let the animals out into the enclosures. The high level walkways they've built around the site enable you to look down on the animals and also be at a great level to watch them climb the poles for their food.
There are also other animals just wandering around amongst the visitors so one minute you'll be looking at the penguins and the next thing you know an emu will appear next to you. Whilst this can be scary for younger children as they are very big birds, they obviously wouldn't be able to let them roam like that if it was dangerous.
There is a huge aviary with vultures, parrots etc that you can actually walk into, there are monkeys, bears, otters, kangaroos, lemurs, sloths...all kinds of weird and wonderful animals. It is a very easy place to just wander around and around and around all day long, seeing something different on each circuit, and there is usually staff available and ready to answer any questions or give information about specific animals.
One of the most impressive aspects of the wildlife park, however, is their attitude towards conservation and the environment. Many of the animals, particularly the bears, have been rescued from horrendous, abusive situations and are lovingly restored to their natural state. But great care is taken that, if at all possible, they are reared so that they can be returned to their natural environment.
All in all this is a great day out for children and adults alike (we've been both with adults and children and enjoyed it equally with both), although if you don't want to spend a whole day there I would recommend you go in the afternoon rather than the morning, as this is when most of the feeding demonstrations seem to be. Whilst the full ticket price can be expensive if there are a lot of you, it is still worth the money, especially when you know that it isn't pumped into generating profits for shareholders, every penny of profit goes into improving life for endangered and abused animals.
Summary: Get away from the Lake District crowds and treat your kids to a great day out
More reviews in the field of Sightseeing National
- A good way to spend an hour or so
- A towering cathedral full of splendour
- One of the oldest buildings in South Yorkshire
- Feeling like Greta Garbo
- Felt like a film star
- Where's the castle?
- A day at the Mid Hants Railway
- Masses to see at (Dunham) Massey
- one of the best castles around
- The Monument celebrates the real Braveheart!