“ Seaview Wildlife Encounter / Seaview / Isle of Wight / Tel: 01983 612261 / formerly 'Flamingo Park' „
Two over 50's and an 84 year old mother in law somehow managed to spend over 3 hours here so must be good. Check their website for times for visitors to feed wallabies, penguins and to watch and interact in organised narrated displays of other creatures (chamaeleons etc.) (http://www.seaviewwildlife.com/daily-events.htm).
Only 3*'s (probably 4+ for children) because even though there are no steps some slopes are quite steep for the wheelchair bound (M-I-L getting heavy in old age!).Great for kids of all ages who want to view or interact with all that is here but bring your own food, Café may not be the worst or most expensive on the island but £3.40 (Oct 2010) for a cheese sandwich is a bit steep although the iced capuccino at £2 is v. reasonable and tasty.
All in all worth a visit but print off the discount entry voucher from their website. Good full half-day out.
On a recent trip to the Isle of Wight, I decided we would visit the many animal attractions as there was no sunshine, it was windy and rainy at some points, so as there was nothing else to do, other than waste my hard earned cash on the amusements I wanted to see the animals (yes I saw other things too - reviews to follow).
On our arrival we drove from East Cowes to a pub that had been recommended for lunch, as we drove we passed the Flamingo Park also known as Seaview Wildlife Encounter (I find all these attractions with two names very confusing). What is even more confusing is this is called Seaview due to its location in Seaview not the Wildlife Encounter with Sea animals.
Anyway, we went down the drive way and found ourselves in a car park, it was empty (just the way I like to be a tourist - by myself). The cost of getting in was rather expensive £7.95 per adult, I must admit with that price in mind I did expect a lot more than what was actually there.
What is at the Park?
In the park are a variety of animals:
And over 100 Flamingo's.
All in all the park is actually quite small and the animals are all very close together. This is definitely an attraction for those with young children rather than older ones. Although we enjoyed the park we did find it a bit small and simple.
There is quite a bit of greenery around the lake and water features behind the Wallaby enclosure and I'm sure if the weather had been good and we'd had a picnic it would have been better and more relaxing, as it was quite cold, we walked around (as it's all outdoors) and decided to see it and leave, not hang around. It took us 2 hours and that was with 2 talks the Penguins and Pelicans.
The best bit was the penguin talk, she talked to us about the Humboldt Penguins and allowed questions to be asked, then the keeper gave fish to everyone surrounding the enclosure and allowed us to feed them. It was a nice hands on experience. After they had all been fed and the crowd had dispersed a bit, the keeper proceeded to get one of the 6 month old ones out and allow people to touch and stroke him.
Unfortunately I did not get a chance to stroke the penguin, and don't get me wrong I would have loved to but there were two young girls in front of me and instead of their parents allowing them to stroke and move out the way for others, they stood at the front the entire time and didn't allow anyone else to have a touch.
Personally, I don't blame the children, but the parents entirely, the girls were also giggling and screaming with delight and while a appreciate them to be excited, what in the name were their parents doing allowing them to scream at an animal, a small, baby animal? The parents were beyond selfish and I ended up walking away or else my mouth would have got me in trouble by asking them to move out the way.
The park is good, and for little ones, but again animals are animals and if children aren't taught to appreciate these wonderful animals they will end up scaring them by banging on cages etc, I think zoo's should be a form of education not totally entertainment, it creates ignorant people.
There are also toilet facilities on site with a cafe and small gift shop. Around the park you will also find sinks with soap and water in case you have been touching any of the animals, there are signs about what you can and can't touch.
Overall this is a nice attraction and the staff were very friendly and knew about the animals, you could see they really cared. My only moan (except the unruly children) is the price, in comparison to the Isle of Wight sanctuary which was £5 roughly each, this is overpriced. I suppose the only good thing price wise, the car park was free, so perhaps it all balances out in the long run. It just seemed expensive for what it was.
April to November with reduced times open between October and November.
The park opens at 10am and closes at either 4pm or 5pm depending on the time of year.
Seaview Wildlife Encounter - also known as Flamingo Park, is an animal attraction specializing in domestic and exotic bird-life.
The park is set in beautiful surroundings, with views towards both the sea and the surrounding countryside. As most of the displays are outdoor based, a visit is best enjoyed on a non-rainy day.
All the animals on display seemed to be in very good condition, and their enclosures were large enough to roam around in.
Many of the birds - for example, ducks & other waterfowl, are able to wander freely amongst the park, with bags of feed available from the kiosk.
There are informative displays throughout the day which include Penguin & Pelican feeding, and insect / reptile handling. One of the highlights of the visit is the Wallaby enclosure - the Wallabies enjoy being stroked and the kids love them.
The Enchanted Forest area was a bit tacky, with creepy figures at the entrance, so I wasn't really impressed by that.
Overall though, I would recommend Seaview Wildlife Encounter, not only for the way it's presented, but also for the good condition of the animals and knowledge of the staff.
Seaview Wildlife Encounter, formerly known as Flamingo Park, has been helping to preserve wildlife for over 34 years. The park has a diverse range of different animals and birds, some of which can be fed and stroked by visitors. The park is set in beautiful surroundings.
***** Facts and Figures *****
^^ Location ^^
The park is situated on the north east side of the Isle of Wight, between the places of Ryde and Seaview. It is reached along the B3330.
^^ 2007 Opening Times ^^
The park is open from 1st April until 30th September 10.00 a.m til 5.00 p.m (last admission at 4.00 p.m.)
October opening times are from 10.00 a.m. til 4.00 p.m. (last admission 3.00 p.m.)
^^ 2007 Prices ^^
Adults - £7.25
Children (3 - 15 years) - £5.25
Senior Citizens - £6.25
Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children) - £23.00
(We paid only £5.00 per person using a discount voucher that was in the Isle of Wight pocket guide)
^^ Contact Details ^^
Seaview Wildlife Encounter
Isle of Wight
(01983) 612261 (24 hr information line)
***** Setting *****
The park is set within lovely grounds.
When you enter the park, you are at the top of a gently sloping hill, looking down onto the grounds. There is a gravel path that leads down to the bottom of the park, which takes you directly down to a large lake. The path turns and follows the edge of the lake and it then leads back up the hill on the other side of the park.
There is a pretty waterfall that runs down a tall brick wall at the top of the hill, just a short walk from the entrance. The water from this waterfall cascades and meanders all the way down the first slope, on both sides of the pathway, along rocks, stones, miniature waterfalls and under bridges. This water flows all the way down to the lake, which has some enormous and rather spectacular fountains.
There are lots of views of the sea that can be seen from various parts of the park and a small harbour is close by, which can also be seen.
The park has lots of greenery, grass areas and ponds. Although some of the animals are kept within cages in the park, these are disguised quite well within the surroundings and features.
The layout and features of the park are pretty and carefully designed to make a pleasant walk. It is quite hard to describe what the park actually looks like, but all I can say is that my mother in law, husband and myself were all very impressed and we all agreed that the appearance of the park was very appealing.
***** Wildlife *****
As the name of the park, Seaview Wildlife Encounter suggests, there were lots of animals and birds to discover within the park.
^^ Waterfowl ^^
The first slope that followed the waterfall was dominated by a vast range of ducks, geese and swans. This part of the park was described as being 'Tame and Exotic Waterfowl'.
To be honest, I was amazed at just how many different breeds of waterfowl there were. There were information boards describing the name and key characteristics of the different birds and it was lovely to see the animals wandering freely around the park. The ducks in particular, were having great fun paddling in the flowing water and there were lots of grassy areas for the birds to nest and walk on. We could see some of the ducks and geese flying and circling overhead, which was equally nice to see.
The park sells bird food and you are able to feed the waterfowl. We did not do this, so I'm not sure how much the food cost. Other people around were feeding the birds and they were incredibly tame, with some taking the food directly from people's hands.
There were lots of waterfowl paddling in the lake at the bottom of the slope, which gave us a good opportunity to observe the different colours and shapes of the many breeds.
Some of the more exotic and rare breeds of waterfowl were housed within cages along the slope which led back up towards the upper end of the park. Although these animals did not have the freedom experienced by the other birds, the cages were spacious and well kept with grass areas, trees, bushes and mini ponds.
^^ Owls ^^
There was a small walk through area with cages containing different breeds of owl, an area described as 'Owl Country'. As with the caged waterfowl, the owls were in spacious and clean cages.
^^ Pets Corner ^^
This was a small covered area which had pens containing rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and goats. As with all pets corners, there was nothing out of the ordinary or special within this area, but is always a nice touch for younger members of the family. There was a nice covered area at the end with wooden benches, which we chose as the place to eat our picnic and give Ellie her bottle.
^^ Wallabies ^^
This was one of my favourite parts of the park. This was, basically, a separate walk through area (Wallaby Walkabout), self contained within a fenced area and gates. Within the grassed area were lots of wallabies, brown and white, young and old. What was special, however, was the fact that the wallabies were freely roaming and they actually came up to you and let you stroke them!! This was a first for us all and it was a lovely experience for Ellie, at just 4 months old, to stroke a wallaby., especailly the young white wallaby, that was extremely tame and friendly.
^^ Meerkats ^^
I have been fascinated by meerkats ever since the first time that I saw them at a zoo. They are such fun creatures to watch and I like the way they are as inquisitive about humans as we are about them.
The area in the park, described as 'Meerkat Madness' (which I think is such a good name for them) had lots of tunnels for the meerkats to explore, sandy ares and fake rocks from which they could stand on their hind legs and keep watch!!
^^ Flamingos ^^
There are three separate displays of flamingos in the park, the 'Lesser' flamingos, the 'Chilean' flamingos and the 'Caribbean' flamingos.
As with the other animals within the park, the flamingos had plenty of space within their enclosure, they had grassed areas and a large pond. The flamingos were pretty to look at and brought a lovely splash of colour to the park.
^^ Pelicans ^^
The pelican enclosure is called 'Pelican Bay', an area consisting of a large expanse of water, a stone area, a wooden bridge and a wooden hut providing shelter.
For some reason, we did not really spend much time at this enclosure. I'm not really sure why, but the pelicans did not really inspire us much. I wonder if everyone who visits the park feels the same way??
^^ Parrots ^^
The parrots were caged in an area called the 'Flight Aviary'. This was one large cage, providing lots of space for the birds to fly in. As with the pelicans, we did not spend much time in this area of the park, mainly because this was our last cage to visit and we were running out of time.
^^ Penguins ^^
The 'penguin pool' is right at the top of the park, close to the entrance / exit, on the opposite side to the waterfall.
The penguins have a large enclosure which consists of a large, deep pool area and a land area with covered shelters.
We were surprised by just how many penguins there were, which are a breeding colony of 'Humboldt' penguins, a breed I had never heard of. We spent a long time watching the penguins, especially those that were swimming and diving playfully within the water. They were great fun to watch and each penguin seemed to have its own personality.
***** Tropical House *****
The tropical house is a fairly new feature within the park. Work started on the tropical house in the late 1990's.
The aim of the tropical house is to preserve bird and animal features. and also flora and fauna from islands around the world. It consists of water features, ponds, fountains, waterfalls, plants, trees, flowers, free flying birds, caged birds, caged insects and reptiles and fish.
The tropical house was also one of my favourite parts. The water features were spectacular and the fish, including Koi carp, were lovely to watch. As with the rest of the park, the tropical house had been carefully designed and it was a pleasant area to walk around or to sit down and relax.
My only disappointment within this area was the limited number of free flying birds, but maybe more will be added within the future.
***** Activity Programme *****
Although we did not catch any of these activities, the park has a daily programme of activities and talks.
Pelican Bay - 11.00 a.m. (feeding)
Penguin Pool - 11.30 a.m. (feeding)
The Flight Aviary - 12.00 a.m. (feeding)
Wallaby Walkabout - 2.15 p.m. (walk with the wallabies)
Meerkat madness - 2.30 p.m. (meet the meerkats)
Pets Corner - 2.45 p.m. (meet the animals )
Penguin Pool - 3.30 p.m. (feeding)
As we did not participate in any of these activities, I cannot comment on the quality of them. I do think, however, that there is a really good range and selection of activities and more than you would find at many other animal parks.
***** Other Facilities *****
Other facilities in the park include a cafe (Tortoiseshell Bay cafe - what a lovely name!!), a gift shop, picnic areas (covered and uncovered), toilet facilities, including disabled and baby change, information display areas, discovery zone and incubation rooms.
We did not really explore these facilities too much, but the coffee and hot chocolate were good and the toilet facilities were clean.
***** Overall Impressions *****
On my many trips to the Isle of Wight, I had not visited this attraction before. I was very impressed and would definitely visit again.
The park has been carefully set out and the animals are looked after well and have spacious enclosures. The grounds are beautiful and very pleasant to explore.
This is easily a whole day attraction, which makes for good value for money, especially if you use a discount voucher like we did. We spent a good 3 - 4 hours at the park, without doing any of the programmed activities.
Although the park is on a slope, the gravel pathway makes for easy accessibility. We found it easy to push a buggy along, so I should imagine that it would be ok to push a wheelchair as well.
There is ample car parking, which is close to the entrance.
My only (small) criticism is that some of the displays are set out in a way that means you have to go along the same path twice in order to see everything. This is not a problem ordinarily, but may make life more tricky for anyone experiencing mobility difficulties.
I would definitely recommend a visit to 'Seaview Wildlife Encounter' during a visit to the Isle of Wight. It's a great family day out, but I guarantee that adults would enjoy the 'encounter' as well!!
The Park is home to a huge diversity of rare and beautiful birds and animals, not just the famous flamingos and critically endangered Humboldt penguins but has evolved from a bird gardens into a unique wildlife encounter. There are mammal species from around the world where visitors have the chance to meet wallabies and meerkats, a truly incredible experience. You can feed and stroke and learn all about the animals at very close quarters. This attraction formerly known as the Flamingo Park has been helping to conserve exotic bird species and wildlife for over 34 years and decided to change the Park's name to better reflect the continual growth and expansion work that is ongoing.