I am obsessed with safari parks. Obsessed.
I’m not sure if it started before or after I was lucky enough to go on safari in Botswana when I was a teenager, but at some point in the last 15 years they have just become a real favourite of mine. When it comes to family days out, a trip to the safari park is usually top of my list of suggestions. I have actually been twice on safari in Africa; once in the aforementioned trip to Botswana and once in Uganda and both times it was absolutely incredible. I would love to one day take Meg and Eli to experience something similar because there really is something totally breathtaking about seeing the animals in a natural habitat.
I mean, my actual, literal dream is a stay in Giraffe Manor in Nairobi because I truly think that would be something else. But that is a post for another day!
So when it came to James planning a surprise day out for my birthday, I don’t think it was too tricky for him to come up with an idea; a day out at West Midlands Safari Park which is located in Bewdley.
I grew up (between the ages of 11-20) in Wolverhampton so the West Midlands Safari and Leisure Park was our local option. These days it’s a bit more of a drive and they have added a lot more to it since I was last there, making it a much more rounded family day out.
We actually arrived quite late in the day so didn’t get to spend an entire day putting the Park through it’s paces. I don’t know whether this gives a fairer assessment however, of exactly how long you need to see the park in its entirety. We only managed to go around the safari once (usually we would do it at least twice) but I think we saw almost all the animals. The African Painted Dogs were having none of it, and we only briefly got to see the tigers.
Side note: Elephants are my absolute favourite, favourite animal. We spent a good 20 minutes just sitting and watching them. Too good!
There are lots of different animals to see and we spent a decent amount of time in each section. As you might expect, the big cats were quite popular and patience is always key when visiting a safari park, especially on a nice day; we have always found if you take things slow and just wait your turn then you’ll have good opportunities to see the animals. As I mentioned, we would usually go round at least twice to ensure we see all the animals we want to fully, but I think we did pretty well considering our time constraints.
We decided to forgo a second trip around the safari in favour of stretching our legs and seeing what else was on offer. There is a Walk-Through section which offers:-
- Adventure Theme Park
- Ice Age
- African Village
- Land of the Living Dinosaurs
- Boj Giggle Park (for younger visitors)
- Discovery Trail
As well as the option to see penguins, a sea lion show, the hippos, a Bug House and a Bat House.
We had neither the funds nor the time to make use of the theme park so we gave this a miss. The great thing was that on entry, we were handed a voucher offering us a free repeat visit within a specified time period. We have to be in the same vehicle but it means we can put our entry cost (which was around £65 for the four of us) towards wristbands for the theme park instead. It does work out cheaper if you purchase your entry ticket online, and even cheaper still if you buy your admission and your theme park wristband at the same time. The wristband gets you unlimited access to the theme park rides. Well worth considering.
With the time that we had left before park closure we did manage to enjoy the Land of the Living Dinosaurs and Ice Age; both of which we found to be informative and engaging for the kids (and the adults!)
There are a couple of different live shows on offer in the Walk-Through section as well but we didn’t have the time for these either unfortunately! Something else to make use of on our return visit.
Overall, I think there is a lot going on at the Park, considering the price you pay. A quick look online shows that over the summer months it would cost approx £80 for a family of four including ride wristbands for two children (which is how we would book it as both our children are older). It’s fairly comparable with most days out, and there is plenty to keep everyone occupied, both in and out of the car. To save money we took a packed lunch and enough drinks to keep us going but there are also a couple of restaurant options and gift shops and stands dotted about as well.
We will definitely be making use of our return visit and look forward to putting the rides through their paces. Well, Meg and Eli are…I will no doubt be the coat holder standing at the side!