Newest Review: ... itself and park your car. There are plenty of spaces for coaches and vehicles as well as picnic tables and even a BBQ area. As I said,... more
A Grrreat Day Out!
Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park (Stirling, Scotland)
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park (Stirling, Scotland)
Advantages: Good range of animals and things to do.
Disadvantages: Not much cover if it rains.
Blair Drummond safari park is located just outside Stirling. I've been here many times both as a kid myself and taking kids there as an adult. Although it is technically possible to travel there on public transport, you would miss out on the 'Safari' part of the trip if you did this so best to take your car.
When you drive in you'll find lots of space to park up and you'll find public toilets. If you've had a long journey you might want to use these before you enter the park as the first part of the park experience is the safari and you don't want to be driving around trying to enjoy the animals with a full bladder. You then drive through a toll booth style paying in desk. Prices are fairly steep but the kind of prices you would expect to pay for entry to any kind of zoo/safari park, I think. Currently it costs £12.95 for an adult and £9.90 for a child but there are concessions available for OAPs, the disabled, students and carers.
Once inside, the safari experience begins as you drive around a sign-posted route having a peep at the animals. Not all of the animals are in the safari area but a lot of the main ones such as the lions and the rhino are. I'm sure there used to be monkeys in this area, too, but I don't remember any the last visit so maybe they were too intrigued by the car windscreen wipers and the like! The animals must be well fed as they tend to not bother with the cars. Of course, you need to drive slowly to avoid injuring an animal but you'll want to drive slowly to get the best look, anyway. You can go round this area as many times as you want and when I travel here with kids they usually want to go round two or three times in a row before they get bored with this bit.
Inside the Park
Once you're all Safari-d out, you head into the park itself and park your car. There are plenty of spaces for coaches and vehicles as well as picnic tables and even a BBQ area.
As I said, not all the animals are in the safari area for their safety and your safety, no doubt (I'm sure no one would want their car stood on by an elephant and I'm sure the meerkats wouldn't be too chuffed sharing a safari enclosure with the lions)! So this is your chance to wander round looking at the other animals. Most of the animals are in one area but the elephant, giraffes and monkeys are elsewhere.
There is also a petting zoo area which sells feed so that you can interact with the animals. There are a lot of more common animals like goats and horses here but also slightly more unusual ones like llama. Small kids can find this part a bit intimidating sometimes but most kids find it good fun. There is a hand washing station outside of the petting zoo to keep things hygenic.
The monkeys are slightly more unusual in that they can be found on monkey island which you visit on a boat trip (all included in your ticket price). Sometimes the chimps hide away on their special island, though, so it really is your luck whether you see them or not but you can go on the boat as many times as you like (as long as you queue each time), so you should be able to see them eventually.
Like a lot of zoos, this safari park also has special talks on. The one it is most famous for and that is ALWAYS popular is the sea lion show. This takes place 4 times a day in a special seated venue and is always very entertaining. The show lasts about 20 minutes with the sea lions showing off all the tricks they've learned and is always a huge hit with adults and kids alike.
There is also a bird of prey talk but the birds are encouraged to fly over the heads of spectators so this is one to be wary of if you have any bird phobics with you!
There are also some other fun activities aimed at kids. The astroglide (a giant multi-laned slide) is always a hit. Kids grab a sack from the base of the slide, run up the stairs to the top where a member of staff waits to ensure everything is safe. They then get to hide their legs inside the sack and go flying off down the bumpy chute at a great rate of knots. Trying to get them back off the thing is always a challenge!
For the more adventurous or older kids there is a flying fox/death slide but this wasn't in operation when I last visited the park. Both of these are included in the admission price.
Pedal boats are in operation, too and are, again, included in the price of your ticket. Finally there is a large kids playground built of wood which the kids can have hours of fun on. It includes a giant fort and a pirate ship and is really quite an impressive play area.
Most attractions are included in the price of the ticket and I think you generally get very good value for money. However, there are a few things that aren't included in the ticket price and could make the day more expensive for you. There are face painting, a bouncy castle and a small fun fair/amusements. I'm not sure what the current prices for these things are as it has been a few years since I last visited.
As you would expect, there is also a small gift shop. It is relatively cramped, especially if the park is busy and sells various bits and pieces and a huge selection of animal cuddly toys. As you might expect, it is generally quite over-priced but kids will definitely want to take home a souvenir!
I don't remember there being a cafe when I last visited and there is no information on the website about it, so I can only assume that there isn't one. There is, if I remember right, some a takeaway type of venue which sells burgers etc. but I think the seating is all outside. To be honest, though, I usually prefer to take a packed lunch to places like this to keep the cost of the day as low as possible.
Other Things on Offer
Blair Drummond offers a whole host of experience packages although none of these come cheap.
Keeper for a day experiences are on offer for £160 for a weekday or £190 for a weekend day. Junior experiences are on offer but only for very slightly less cost.
You can get Elephant, Giraffe or Sea Lion Experiences for 2 hours which cost £120 for a weekday or £150 for a weekend day or £100 and £130 for the giraffe experience.
20-30 minute feeding experiences with the meercats and the lemur are available but these cost £60 for a weekday and £80 for a weekend day.
Finally, there is also falconry and bird experiences on offer as well as the ever popular adopt an animal scheme.
As I say, I've been here many times and always enjoyed myself. However, there is one major downside and that is that there is very limited cover throughout the park. The only real indoor areas are the sea lion show area, the gift shop and the very small amusements and this means if it rains, as it often does in Scotland, there is no where to go. The last time I visited with three children it poured down with rain and although I tried to be as cheerful as possible to not ruin the day for the kids and although the kids were largely oblivious to the rain for the most part, their little rain jackets didn't keep them anywhere near dry enough and with nowhere else to go to keep dry, the poor wee things (and myself!) ended up having to travel home soaking wet. Overall, though, it is very good value for money and a good day out.
Summary: A safari park just outside of Stirling.
More reviews in the field of Theme Park / Zoo National
- Thrilling rides; expensive tickets and horrendous queue times
- Well Worth Every Penny
- Great day out!
- My favourite place to visit!!
- 12 Months Free Entry to Many UK Attractions!
- Taste of the farm for the little ones
- Off to the zoo!
- A Family Friendly Theme Park..
- Cheap and Cheerful Zoo
- Bewilderingly Expensive
- White Post Farm Centre (Farnsfield)
- Monks Park Farm (Yorkshire)
- Wetlands Animal Park (Nottinghamshire)
- Tayto Park (Kilbrew)
- Crocodiles of the World (Oxfordshire)
- Robin Hill Countryside Adventure Park (Isle of Wight)
- Blackgang Chine (Isle of White)
- London Aquarium
- Monk Park Farm (North Yorkshire)