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Howletts Wild Animal Park (Kent)

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6 Reviews

Near Canterbury, Kent. Over seventy acres of ancient parkland. It has the largest family group of gorillas in human care in the world and Europe's largest breeding herd of African elephants. There's also Indian and Siberian tigers, plus other anim

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    6 Reviews
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      27.12.2010 15:01
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      A great day out for all the family

      Last Christmas we wanted to do something different for our son as a present and as he has always loved gorillas since he was a small boy we decided, through the help of the Aspinall Foundation, to adopt a Western Lowland gorilla for him. His adopted gorilla's name was Djumbah and from his gorilla profile he seemed a bit of a character. For one thing, he didn't like bananas which is very unusual. About May of last year we received an e-mail from the foundation to say that Djumbah had been transported to a zoo in Budapest for breeding purposes. At first we were a bit sad because this meant that Djumbah would no longer be the responsibility of the zoo in Kent and perhaps we would lose contact with him. On the other hand, one of the functions of the zoo is to protect animals such as the West Lowland gorillas from harm, introduce breeding projects so eventually the animals can be returned to their natural habitats and be rehabilitated. Because Djumbah would be in Budapest the Aspinall foundation asked us if we would like to adopt another gorilla and of course, we said yes. My son's new adopted gorilla is called Oundi and she is one of the youngest, if not the youngest, gorilla at Howlett's. Oundi was born in February 2006 which makes her 4 years old

      In September of this year we decided to visit the family in UK and my son thought it would be an excellent idea to go to Kent to visit the zoo and actually see Oundi. My only concern was - how would we recognise her - don't all gorillas look the same?

      How did we find Howlett's Zoo?
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Locating the zoo was a simple operation. We were staying in Peckham at the time so decided to catch a National Coach from Victoria station to Canterbury. The zoo is about three miles from Canterbury in a village called Bekesbourne. We jumped on a train at Canterbury station going to Dover Priory and got off at the first stop. Trains run every hour and the journey takes about 4 minutes.

      For some reason, we thought there would be a mini bus waiting to pick visitors up from the rail station but couldn't see any vehicle that could fit this description. As it was a reasonably bright September morning we thought we would take a chance and walk to the zoo although there was a big black cloud in the distance. Leaving the station we turned left and walked a few metres to a main road. This is where we bumped into the local postman; a nice friendly chap who asked us if we were going to Howlett's. When we replied yes, he said that it was a long walk especially with a pram and the road was dangerous. It would be best to go back to the station and wait for the mini bus. Apparently there was a board with the information giving a telephone number to phone. We phoned the number and explained we were waiting and was it possible to be picked up. Within minutes an old beaten up Volvo appeared outside the station gates and as a joke I said, 'Oh, look! Here's our taxi.' I was thinking of all the Gerald Durrell books I had read and the beaten up Mercedes with the Greek taxi driver who used to chauffeur the Durrell family around. I really didn't think this clapped out vehicle was our 'mini-bus.' Then a voice said, 'Are you going to Howlett's? Jump in.' The mini-bus was in the garage being repaired. I couldn't help but smile. Our 'chauffeur' was a lovely man and very talkative. He told us about the busy road and all about the Zoo and said that when we were ready to leave if we went to the main reception and he wasn't there to ask for Joe, someone would find him and he would drive us back.

      Before I go any further, let me mention John Aspinall.........

      It turns out he was a bit of an eccentric. He was born in India in 1926, had a public school education that didn't turn out too successful, being thrown out of one school due to a low concentration span and failing to sit his final exams at Oxford due to the fact he loved horseracing and gambling more. In his adult years he became a bookie but was only allowed to take legal bets on horse racing. This didn't stop him from gambling illegally and often set up gambling parties for the 'toffs' in rented houses while his mother bribed the local police officers. The one time she forgot to pay off the police was when he was hosting a party at Howlett's where he was then living and this ended in the party being raided and broken up by the police. Aspinall took this case of harassment to court and won the case.

      sources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Aspinall_(zoo_owner)

      So where did his love of animals come from?

      According to Wiki, his love of wild animals stemmed from reading a book about a Zulu Prince who left his family tribe to live in the wild amongst the animals. While living in Eaton Place, Aspinall or Aspers as he was also called, housed 2 brown bears, a tiger and a Capuchin monkey in a shed in the garden . He later purchased the attractive country house and private land in Kent which consists of 90 acres and opened Howlett's Zoo to visitors. This was the beginning of the story of the John Aspinall Foundation and Howlett's Zoo. Later, another zoo for endangered species was opened at Hythe in Kent and is called Port Lympne.

      sources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Aspinall_(zoo_owner)

      Reception and admission
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      After leaving the old jalopy we went straight into reception which is a large room with a till and counter plus several shelves filled with books and 'animal goodies' like soft toys, games, wooden toys and jigsaws, sweets and soft drinks. We only had to purchase two admission tickets as my son had a free ticket due to him having adopted a gorilla. Price of each ticket was £16.95 . My granddaughter who is 18 months old didn't have to pay anything. At first, I thought the ticket was a bit expensive but afterwards at the end of the visit I changed my mind. It is good value. We were given a map and a discount voucher for the other animal park, Port Lympne. Reception staff were polite and friendly.

      Forward March - On to the enclosures and the gorillas etc
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      The entrance to the enclosures is at the back of reception and all of us couldn't wait to find the gorilla enclosures. The first one we came to was huge and glass fronted with many ropes cascading from the roof. Swings made from tyres were placed in strategic points so the gorillas can play and exercise. The floor of the enclosure was covered in a thick mattress of hay/straw and the environment looked a clean and healthy one. Some of the young gorillas were sleeping while the Silverback male was grooming himself. They are such beautiful creatures - we just stood and stared for ages. The construction of each enclosure has been well thought out and is created on the social structure in the wild. Generally, gorillas live in groups consisting of one male, several females and their young. The primate enclosures here at Howlett's accommodate family groups as well as other male gorillas who don't have families.

      At first we were trying to see if we could spot Oundi in the first enclosure but all the gorillas seemed too large. I then noticed at the end of the play enclosure an adjoining building which was the sleeping quarters. Upon this wall was a list of the gorillas in that enclosure and Oundi wasn't on the list. I did think to ask one of the keepers but at that time we couldn't find anyone.

      Moving on, feeling very emotional at the sight of these giant animals we came to a few enclosures joined together and it was here we saw Oundi's name. We picked her out straight away as she was the smallest of the baby gorillas. I can't really explain how I felt as I was so overcome with a wave of happiness and I looked at my son and he just seemed transfixed looking at her. It was a lovely moment and very emotional. She looked very happy, sat on the floor picking at the straw looking for bits of food that had been dropped. At one time she jumped on the ropes and swung high into the air and then fell on her friend and together they rolled and romped around in play fighting. A very special moment.

      Western Lowland gorillas are not the only primates at the zoo. You can see Gelada Gibbons who are always entertaining, Grizzled Leaf Monkeys, Heck's Macaque, Java Gibbon and a very cheeky breed of monkey known as a Javan Langur. This breed have two very distinctive colour forms - jet, silky black and a bright orangey ginger colour. I sat and watched these critters for a long time as they are so agile, make a lot of noise and are quite naughty.

      Another favourite family enclosure was one that housed the black and white ruffed lemurs. This was an open enclosure but before entering we had to wash our hands with a special antibacterial gel and leave all bags, coats etc in a sort of cloakroom. There was a park attendant on hand if we needed to ask questions. There are 11 lemurs at Howlett's but we only saw about 5 and they were curled into tight balls asleep. The others must have been in hiding in the trees. I wanted to say 'Come on, you lazy lemurs, wake up.' They are such furry creatures with piercing eyes. They always look astonished.

      One animal that I can never believe the actual size of when seeing it eye to eye is the African elephant. They are really massive creatures and in the zoo here have a very large enclosure to stroll around in. I think this was one of the last enclosures we visited - well, stood outside and peered in. The elephants were gently walking around but then a crack of thunder hit the skies and there was a torrential shower of rain. At this moment they started to move a bit quicker and it was quite exciting watching the herd get together and stomp their way out of the rain. We decided to follow suit and make a quick dash for an empty marquee.

      Being a cat fan it is always exciting to see the big cats and the tigers are impressive. I think the most beautiful species has to be the Sumatran tiger. He is the smallest of the tiger species alive today and what makes these tigers stand out is the dark markings on their coats and the colour of their coats - a cross between bright orange, red with a touch of yellow. They have a furry ruffle around their necks and very long whiskers. Although, these creatures are wonderful they are extremely strong and can be very dangerous . There is a monument erected to two zoo keepers who were mauled and killed by this species of tiger. Howlett's has a reputation of encouraging keepers to get close to their animals which can be viewed as a good idea if a little unorthodox but remember, these are wild animals and at any time can turn nasty.

      I have only covered a few of the animal species kept in the zoo but if you would like to see and read more about the animals then you can log on to the zoo's website. I will leave a link at the bottom of the page. The zoo was very quiet when we visited - I would say that about only 20 other visitors where there which was nice for us as we could stroll around in our own time and not feel claustrophobic stood in queues etc.

      Walkways and other facilities
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Walking around the animal park is a wonderful experience as the grounds are really beautiful with many wooded areas consisting of very tall trees. The time of year we visited was the time when you don't know what clothing to wear because the sun keeps darting in and out of the trees. One minute we were cold and the next minute our coats were being taken off and thrown underneath the pram. The trails for walking which lead from one enclosure to the next are expansive and I loved the feeling of so much space and a sense of freedom. I was particularly knocked out by the grounds - so spacious and elegantly landscaped. As always I imagined living in the country house which from the exterior seemed to be in excellent condition and being able to walk around my gardens and woods like Lady of the Manor. The whole park is beautifully cared for and a fine example of a zoo and country park.

      Toilets
      ~~~~~

      Toilet stations are dotted all through the park and are clean and very people friendly.

      Cafes/restaurants
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Cafes range from small kiosks which just sell soft drinks, coffee, tea and sandwiches to larger inside establishments with tables and chairs. These generally sell cakes, ice creams, light lunches and hot drinks. You don't have to eat inside if you choose not to as there are many wooden tables placed under trees for you to take food out or bring your own picnic food. We took our own food and had a very enjoyable lunch sat outside listening to the birds in the trees and the various noises from the wild animals.

      I did come across one very large restaurant, the Pavillion Restaurant, which had a slight canteen feel to it. I went in to use the toilets but had a look round. Food is self service and from the smell chips were high up on the menu. There is also a vegetarian menu which states that ingredients used are locally sourced. There are refrigerated cabinets with cold desserts and cream cakes in but they looked a bit artificial to me. On the walls were prints of animals such as tigers and elephants - obviously animals that are kept at Howlett's. I should imagine in summer this restaurant will be packed out with families.

      Children's play area
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      The play area is large and well structured made from wood and carpeted in soft barkdust. My granddaugter liked the swings and the roundabout which is brightly coloured painted in blue and yellow. There are climbing frames for older children, slides and swing ropes so little children can pretend to be naughty monkeys!

      Gift Shops
      ~~~~~~~

      I don't know whether it is my imagination but there seemed to be a lot of gift shops situated throughout the park. They are very jolly inside though and the various goods on sale are well made, bright and cheerful. I think there is probably something for everyone who has a love of wildlife and conservation. All profits from the shops go to a great cause - saving endangered species and help towards the running of Howlett's animal park.

      I think I've covered everything or at least told you about my experience. If you want to know more about John Aspinall and his trust, Howlett's Animal Park and how to adopt an animal please take a look at the website: http://www.aspinallfoundation.org/howletts/

      It was a great day out for my little family and a very emotional one. It is one of the best animal parks I have visited mainly because of the spacious and creative enclosures. The grounds were wild but stunning and everyone we came into contact and spoke with were very friendly but then people from Kent generally are. It was a pleasure to visit Howlett's and next year we will probably visit the other zoo in Kent, Port Lympne.

      Highly Recommended.

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        08.10.2010 12:47
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        Fab day out!

        We recently spent a day at Howletts Wild Animal Park. We visited in September 2010 and it was a fairly sunny but windy day. It was a weekday and was in term time, therefore the park wasn't very busy.

        --Background--

        Howletts was set up in 1957 (but only opened to the public in 1975) by the late John Aspinall, along with another wild animal park in Kent called Port Lymne. Both parks work together with The Aspinall Foundation which is a charity whos commitment is to conservation, through captive breeding, education and reintroduction. Howletts/The Aspinall Foundation are probably best known for the work they do for Gorillas, which involve returning captive-bred gorillas to Africa via their rescue and rehabilitation programmes in the Congo and Gabon. You may recognise Howletts from TV shows such as Gorilla School (a documentary series on Discovery) and Roar (a childrens series on CBBC).

        --Location--

        Howletts Wild Animal Park is situated in Bekesbourne, Kent (South-East England). It is extremely close to Canterbury and is off the A2. It is well signed up and we had no problems finding it by car.

        --Prices--

        Admission prices are £16.95 for adults (over 17), £12.95 for children (3-16 years), £13.95 for students, £14.95 for senior citizens (over 65) and disabled adults, £10.95 for disabled children and £14.95 for carers. Family tickets cost £54.00 (2 adults and 2 children) and £62.00 (2 adults and 3 children). Annual passes are also available and children under 3 are free.

        If you book online at the Howletts website you can save 20% on tickets. Tesco Clubcard vouchers are also accepted (check the Tesco Clubcard website for more details).

        As you can see prices are quite high and this is likely to put some people off visiting. Luckily we traded some of our Clubcard points in for £20.00 Howletts vouchers, otherwise it would have been pretty costly.

        --Opening times--

        Howletts is open everyday throughout the year, except Christmas day.

        Opening hours in the summer season are 10am - 6pm. Opening hours in the winter season (from October 29th) are 10am - 5pm.

        --Arrival--

        When we arrived the carpark was quite empty. We made our way to the entrance and paid for our tickets at the reception desk, which oddly is situated inside the gift shop. The gift shop is a fair size and sells all sorts of stuff, although it's probably best to visit after you have been around the park.

        We were not given a park map, which we thought was quite strange, but according to the website you can purchase a 'souvenir park map' for 95p each. As you leave the gift shop there is a big park map to look at, which was useful for us.

        --Animals--

        As I don't have a map to recap I will be writing this review on my memory alone, oh dear!

        When you turn right at the entrance you will come to the African Wild Dogs and Asiatic Wild Dogs. Both enclosures were a good size and seemed well enriched. Unfortunatley we didn't get to see any African Wild Dogs as they had lots of bushes to hide away in, however there were lots of Asiatic Wild Dogs to see - and they were adorable! Further on down are the Black Rhinos. There were 2 Rhinos (that we could see) and again, they had a fair sized enclosure. They were quite far away from us but were still good fun to watch and take snaps of. Next to the Rhino enclosure is a large open grassy area where the elephants can roam, though there weren't any elephants roaming whilst we were there.

        When you turn left at the entrance the first thing you will come to is the Black and White Colombus Monkeys. They Colombus Monkeys have an indoor enclosure (that you can view through glass) and a large open-aired outdoor area. The outdoor area had ropes all over the place and looked great - quite a natural setting for the monkeys I thought.

        Further down are 2 seperate Gorilla enclosures (almost identical), which are home to 2 groups of Western Lowland Gorillas. The enclosures seemed like a decent size (they have a large outdoor area and a smaller indoor area) and were brilliantly enriched. The ground was covered in straw, there were ropes everywhere and they had plenty of things to stimulate their minds - they even had a giant slide! It was brilliant to watch the Gorillas, they were constantly on the move - it almost felt awkward at times as they are so human like! There are benches all around the enclosures for you to observe for as long as you like. Each group had about 15 Gorillas in each and they were all different sizes - from really old and calm Gorillas, to tiny mischief making baby Gorillas, so cute! Their outdoor area is surrounded by bars, so although you can get quite close to them, it is also quite hard to take a good photo. The same applies to their indoor area, which is behind glass. We caught a keeper feeding them by scattering fruit and seeds over the top of the enclosures - half of them climbed up and took the fruit from the top of the enclosure and the other half hunted for seeds in the straw on the ground - great to watch. Inside we saw a couple of Gorillas using sticks to poke nuts out of a specially made box, not only was this brilliant to watch but seemed like brilliant enrichment for the Gorillas. We also caught a talk with a keeper where we learnt lots of interesting Gorilla facts - he informed us that some of the Gorillas at Howletts were taken in after they were orphaned as a result of the bushmeat trade. Between Howletts and Port Lympne there are 74 Gorillas, which is the largest collection of Gorillas in human care in the world.

        On from the Gorillas is the Canadian Timber Wolf enclosure. The wolf enclosure seemed a good size (quite long) and was full of trees and bushes. We saw the 2 wolves that lived inside - they got quite close to us, but didnt really acknowledge us and just walked on by. Lovely looking creatures.

        Nearby is a Capybara and Giant Anteater enclosure. The Carybara were nice but the Giant Anteater was the best to see as I haven't seen many before. Again, their indoor and outdoor enclosures seemed a decent size and well maintained. Also nearby is a Sumatran Tiger enclosure, which was fair sized and had lots of things inside, including a pool area. There are 2 Sumatran Tigers, however we only saw one at the far end of the enclosure.

        Next to the Tigers is a walk through Black and White Ruffled Lemur enclosure. You have to enter and exit through secure doors and there is hand washing facilities at the exit. You are able to walk through the lemurs outdoor enclosure (complete with trees and ropes) but must stick to the path. You can also view the lemurs indoor area from behind glass. There are 11 lemurs but most of them were indoors, with the exception of two or three curled up asleep on the grass.

        Opposite the lemur enclosure are the Siberian Tigers. Siberian Tigers are recognised as critically endangered and Howletts run a sucessful captive breeding programme. The enclosure seemed spacious and we got up close to the tigers via a glass window (the rest of the enclosure is caged). The tigers looked quite healthy which was nice to see as sometimes captive tigers look abit scrawny.

        There is a path that leads down to the Elephants. Along the way I recall seeing some funny looking Red River Hogs and Treetop Challenge. Treetop Challenge is a obstacle course set up in the trees - there is an additional charge for this and height and weight restrictions apply (see website).

        Howletts house 13 African Elephants, some of them very big and some of them tiny! Although the elephants had lots of space to roam, they seemed happy to stick together in a group under a shelter. The floor of the enclosure was covered with sticks, dirt and tires which the elephants were picking up and throwing with their trunks! Brilliant to watch.

        Other big cats at the park include the Bengal Indian Tiger and Snow Leopard (lovely).

        Other dogs at the park include the Iberian Wolf.

        Hoofed animals at the park include the Blackbuck Antelope, Bongo, Brazilian Tapir (which we tried to see but couldn't find), European Bison (huge handsome chaps), Greater Kudu Antelope, Hog Deer, Nilgai and Pudu. All of the hoofed animals I recall seeing had big open spaces.

        Small cats at the park include the African Wild Cat, Clouded Leopard, Fishing Cat, Indian Desert Cat, Lynx, Ocelot, Serval and Pallas Cat. Many of these small cats were hard to spot as most of them have lots of trees and bushes to hide away in, plus they are very small. You could mistake many of them for domestic cats!

        Other Primates included the Banded Leaf Monkey, Javan Langur, Lesser Spot-Nosed Monkey, De Brazzas Monkey, Dusty Langur, Gelada Baboon, Grizzled Leaf Monkey, Hecks Macaque and Javan Gibbon.

        Not to forget the Honey Badgers and Snakes near the back of the park.

        --Shops and Restaurants etc--

        There was a gift shop at the entrance/exit and a gift shop nearby the elephants.

        There was a snack bar nearby the wolves, with picnic tables (which was closed during our visit) and another snack bar nearby the Siberian Tigers, where we got ice creams and drinks. Prices inside the park are quite high, which is to be expected I suppose. A regular bottle of drink (Coke etc) will set you back almost £2.00!

        There is a restaurant at the back of the park called The Pavilion Restaurant (we didn't go inside), with a large picnic area outside and Peacocks roaming around. Around the back is a large playground which my daughter enjoyed. Next to the restaurant were dinosaur footprints on the ground which led to a wooden walkway - we were all quite excited about what we were going to find, but it just lead us to a gift shop! Disappointing! They did have some Blind Cave Fish to look at though...

        --Overall--

        We had a great day out at Howletts Wild Animal Park and enjoyed the large selection of animals. Our favourites would have to be the Gorillas, we could have watched them all day! I enjoyed learning about their conservation efforts and their successful breeding programmes - it's nice to see a park actually practice what they preach! All of the animals had large and enriched enclosures which was great to see as the welfare of the animals has to be the single most important aspect - even if it means us not getting the best view of them! The park was clean and very well maintained.

        Downsides? Well there were lots of primates, hoofed animals and small cats, however there were lots of missing animals that you would have expected to see - Eg. Giraffes, Lions and Sealions. Also the admission prices are very steep.

        The animals have such big enclosures that the park is very large and we were so tired by the end of the day - and really regretted not taking our daughters buggy! Unfortunatly for this reason we had to skip some of the park at the back and missed some of the animals.

        Do I recommend visiting? If you are within an hour or two of Howletts then I definitely recommend a visit!

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          28.05.2009 12:44

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          Fantastic day out.

          I go to howletts wild animal park at least once a year. I do live near it (within half an hour) but I would even go if I had to travel further. Howletts is set in a large area of land, which allows you to walk around the spread out grounds at your leisure. Howletts is based around a house (well a mansion) built in the middle which started the park. The house is not open to the public however. Surrounding the house are large enclosures with a wide variety of animals to look at. There are two tiger enclosures, two elephant paddocks, rhinos and many many more. The highlight for most, and howletts speciality are the monkeys. They are two main monkey areas in the zoo both very large. You can sit for hours and watch the monkeys at play.

          There are lots of picnic areas, or cafes to buy from including a pizzeria at reasonable price and good taste!

          Howletts has such beautiful scenery its definitely worth a day out.

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          16.10.2008 11:39
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          wildlife park, outdoor activities in kent

          This is a wildlife park situated in the northern parts of Canterbury in Kent covering an area just short of 100 acres of lush greenery.

          We took our 2.5 year old for a day trip as we live only 30 minutes driving distance from there and she has had an absolute fun day watching all the animals she had only known existed as cartoons on the telly.

          There were about 5 tigers in two enclosures, African rhinos, great varieties of monkies and gorillas ,two pythons, loads of elephants , pangolins, hedgehogs, varieties of deer , leopards, tapirs, , macaques and the likes. All kept in well spaced and clean enclosures and with plenty of food and play area/item.

          There are many benches and resting places all over the park for childrean and anyone else wanting a rest or sharing a picnic.
          There is a large sand play area for the younger children as well near a food-court with several cafes, pizzerias and noodle places.

          The path going around the zoo is clean and wide enough for wheelchairs and double buggies .There are canopies of tall trees that make your walk pleasant on a sunny day as well.
          Ticket pricing are as follows if you are buying online...but an added 20% more at the centre itself
          Adult and Senior Citizen £11.56
          Child (4-16yrs) £9.16
          Family - 2 adults, 2 children £44
          Family - 2 adults, 3 children £51.50

          you can also buy annual passes.

          Toilet facilities are provided in two places as well as a gift shop at the entrance where you can buy gifts to take home.

          All in all it was money well spent.

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            09.10.2008 12:49
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            A wonderful adventure for all of the family.

            Howletts Wild Animal Park is in Bekesbourne, Kent and is signposted off the A2, three miles south of Canterbury.

            Howletts is a 90 acre animal park located in beautiful ancient parkland. You are able to experience "close encounters" with animals at the glass fronted enclosures. Animals include tigers, gorillas, clouded leopards, monkeys, tapirs, giant anteaters, macaques, rhinos and many other rare and endangered species from around the world.

            **About Howletts**

            Howletts (and Port Lympne which is another Wild Animal Park) was set up by the late John Aspinall with the aim of protected and breeding rare and endangered species and returning to safe areas in their native homeland.

            The Apsinall Foundation, a registered charity, works to ensure that the John Aspinall's innovative work in protecting and breeding wild animals continues.

            Howletts is are very different from conventional zoos. It is not always possible to return animals to the wild and sometimes the only hope for the long term survival of certain species is to be able to live and breed in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible

            **Opening Times & Ticket Prices**

            Howletts is open every day except Christmas day.

            Summer: 10am - 6pm (last admission 4.30pm)
            Winter: 10am - 5pm (last admission 3.30pm)

            Tickets cost £14.45 for adults and £11.45 for children (4-16 years old).


            Howletts Wild Animal Park
            Bekesbourne
            Nr Canterbury
            Kent
            CT4 5EL

            **Adopting an Animal**

            The Aspinall Foundation is a charity, and if you want to help them out a bit more, you could always adopt an animal. Its also a great gift for someone.

            You can choose from a list of animals from Pandas, elephants, tigers and gorillas.

            It's a great way to do your bit for these wonderful animals.

            **Your Visit**

            I would recommend you allow at least 4 hours to enjoy Howletts. There is plenty to entertain the whole family for hours no end. There are 90 species of endangered and rare animals at Howletts so make sure you view them all.

            **My View**

            I have never really liked the idea of zoos in general, mainly because of the cages that the animals are in, it makes you realize that they are not free and wild. At Howletts all of that changes. Yes the animals are in enclosures (no free roaming tigers, don't worry!), but they are huge open enclosures, with glass fronted walls, so you can see in and not feel like you are staring through bars of a prison.

            Howletts is a fantastic place to go to view some stunning animals, and it's a great way to educate the younger generations on conservation and endangered species, especially with the education centre and the keeper talks.

            There is a new walk through lemur enclosure as well which is great fun.

            I wholeheartedly recommend this wildlife park, make sure you go at least once.

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              25.08.2000 04:33
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              This is one of the two animal parks owned by the late John Aspinall. John was a great man with two pasisons.....gambling and wild animals. He used his gambling to pay for his love of animals and what a fantastic result. John's aim has always been to breed endangered animals and release them back into the wild which he has achieved which great success. His great passions were the gorrillas and the tigers. A vast majority of the park is taken up with different breeds of monkies and gorillas. There are also tigers, elephants, lions, wolves and many more rare and endangered animals. The most unusual thing about howletts though has to be the fact that the keppers do actually go in with the animals and have phsical contact with them. I know that keepers have been killed but these men have a passion to and they know the risks. The park has recently been taken to court by the local authority because of this but after a long battle, I am pleased to say the park won. If your are ever close to Canterbury it really is worth going to see Howletts. I can spend all day just watching the gorrilas in their brilliant new enclosure! If you cant make it down there in person then have a look at the website (www.howletts.net). They have got some brilliant webcams so you can have a look for yourself.

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