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A good wildlife park with large enclosures
The Wildlife Park (Cricket St. Thomas, Somerset)
Member Name: lyndsey1989
The Wildlife Park (Cricket St. Thomas, Somerset)
Advantages: Large Enclosures, Reasonable Prices
Disadvantages: Not many animal species
We took advantage of the Tescos clubcard deals offer a few months ago and exchanged £5 worth of clubcard vouchers for £20 worth of vouchers to use at Cricket St Thomas wildlife park. We finally got round to using them yesterday, myself and my partner took my niece for the day.
We arrived at about 11am, the park was fairly easy to find and although our sat nav told us we had reached our destination, it was obvious we hadn't however we just carried on through Cricket St Thomas for a couple of minutes and soon found the park which was very easy to see from the main road. When you get there you go down a private road through a vast amount of land until you reach the carpark. This is fairly large with room for a number of cars and you pick where you wish to park yourself, you have a choice of either parking on gravel or grass. The car park is right next to the park entrance itself and this is easy to locate.
You enter the park through one half of the gift shop. When we arrived there wasn't anybody else waiting and we were seen to very quickly. The woman took our deals tokens and deducted it from the total and then offered us to buy train tickets alongside our normal entry passes. My niece decided it would be a good idea to go on the train so we bought these too which were reasonably priced at £1 each. You are also given a map of the park which shows where everything is and also gives suggested routes and a printout of what is happening today eg. keeper talks.
The first things we saw were the reindeers who had a nice large enclosure and looked very happy. Every child seemed to be amazed by these and quite a few, including my niece were questioning whether or not they belonged to Santa! Next to the reindeer enclosure there is a pathway leading up to the avaries and down the bottom there is a small childrens playpark and a cafe. In the cafe they had a deal where if you buy a meal you get a free Cricket St Thomas teddy which was a good offer or the chance to have your photo taken and enhanced in with a picture of an animal eg.have you sat next to a tiger! I think this was £10 per picture.
Next we saw the camels, although to begin with we could only see one, she was right up next to the glass and we had a really good look at her. However, after leaving the viewing point you could see a lot more in the field and there must have been around 5 or 6 in total. They were great to see and very entertaining. Their enclosure was of a very large size and they had plenty of room to roam. Next to the camels were the Emu's who provided great entertainment for some time. Because there were a number of viewing points it meant that aslong as you looked hard enough you could get a good view of them. Luckily, on our visit they were right next to the fence and my niece had a fantastic time watching them try to eat the fence!
We then cut across the grass because my niece wanted to go on a blow up activity centre. This cost £1 but they were given a good amount of time on it, around 10 minutes. We then saw the hawk show which was very interesting as the keeper gave a long talk about them and it allowed us to see one up close. This talk happens 2 or 3 times throughout the day so it is easy to see it.
We then progressed on with the pathway and saw the Hunting Dogs. These were asleep down the bottom of the enclosure but we still got a fairly good look at them. Next to these were the Meerkats which of course provided light hearted relief for everyone! I was suprised to see how big their enclosure was as it was around double the size of any I had seen before.
Next to this was a field which contained orstich, zebras and tapirs. We couldn't see the tapirs but got a good view of the ostrich and zebras. Opposite this there is a small house containing the marmosets. Although the marmosets are small you can get a good view of them due to a number of viewing windows.
Opposite this is a large enclosure which houses a cheetah, rhea and lechwe. We couldn't see the other animals but we could see the cheetah well which was good to see, we could also hear it calling which was a great experience. Later when we walked back past two people we actually feeding it through the fence which was good to see up close.
There is then a courtyard which contains a pub, gift shop and indoor play area. The indoor play area was quite small but my niece enjoyed it. There is also a small arcade area with a pool table and shooting games (obviously for the daddys whilst the kids are playing!). There is also an ice cream place which serves very nice ice cream! The courtyard also contains the parrots and mongooses.
Continuing on there is another play area and a monkey island. The monkeys although far away were easy to see. There is also a train station here (next to the flamingos) which can take you to the other side of the park. Please note the tickets are one way only. Next to the flamingos are the wallabies and more Rhea.
You then cross the lake and can walk through the goats which my niece enjoyed tremendously! On this side you can also see members of the deer family. You then come to my personal favourite part of the day which was the Amur Leopards. We first could just see the one which was led in prime position on the platform but then walking further down the enclosure we saw that one was led on a log right next to the fence. She was great to watch and my niece soon realised that whenever she said 'silly' the leopard would turn her head! The other train station is located near here.
You can then see the Coatis and swans. There is a coffee bar which overlooks the lake and you are then back near the reindeer at the beginning! The gift shop, although quite small contains a lot of things all at varying prices eg. a small teddy was around £4.99, a pencil 99p, a small notebook 99p and sand animals between £1.99 and £2.99.
Admission prices for 2009 vary due to whether or not you are visiting in peak times, you can find this information out on the website. Currently prices are:
Family (2 adults+3 children):£27.50
The park is currently open from 10am until 6pm.
We had a nice day out at Cricket St. Thomas, although it is quite small and there are not a lot of different species of animals here it is a good day out and well worth the money. The keeper talks are interesting so do look out for those and we found all staff to be polite, helpful and keen to answer any questions you may have. We spent around 4 hours at Cricket St. Thomas and did everything that was there so you can expect to spend half a day there unless you want to spend time having a picnic and having a second look around. We found the park didn't get particularly busy and we were never having to wait to have a look at things which probably cut the visiting time down dramatically. I was really impressed with all of the animals enclosure sizes and didn't feel that any may have been unhappy there. Overall, I believed it to be a very good day out with quite a bit to do, we will be going back next year!
For more information please visit http://www.wild.org.uk/
Summary: Good park, worth a visit
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