This review was done on behalf of www.whatsgoodtodo.com
We love a family day out so with that in mind a little trip from South Wales to West Midlands Safari Park was just the ticket for the bank holiday weekend. Myself and my little, big crew drove the hour and ¾ for animal fun and frolics.
Finding the park was very easy. From the motorway the brown signs took right to the doorstep. Entry to the park was incredibly simple. All ticket offices were drive too manned booths. I was already aware of the ticket prices and was impressed. Then when I arrived at the booth and paid we were given an additional return ticket free of charge. This was a fantastic addition to our trip. There were stewards directing traffic throughout. The whole entry was quick and efficient. There was excellent parking facilities that weren’t a great distance from the main entrance. My husband is a little precious about his car so initially the plan was to take a bus tour around the safari area however with restricted timings and an additional cost of £5 we decided instead to brave the use of the car.
The safari experience took us around 1 ½ to 2 hours. We drove through the track ways experiencing what it was like to be up close and personal with some of the most incredible animals in the world. Throughout the drive there were diversions that could be used to shorten the route if you especially had small children who may get a little distracted. You were able to buy feed that you could give to some of the animals but not all. I have to be honest when it comes to wild animals I’m quite fearful so this wasn’t something we did but there were many people on the route with feed. Sometimes this made the drive round quite long as you had to stop and start around those feeding. It didn’t take away from the experience at all. Throughout the route there were keepers on hand keeping things moving and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of both man and beast. When I ask my children their favourites. The twins decided they liked the camels best who put their noses in the car giving them a real up close and personal experience. My eldest son on the other hand was amazed by the majesty of the lions in their enclosure. He was most enthralled by the fact that one was munching merrily on a rack of ribs as we came in.
Following our trek around the safari we went into the main park. There were plenty of picnic tables available for families to eat at along with numerous facilities to choose your own food from. The park has a number of animal exhibits that you can visit. You can watch the penguins as they swim, or walk amongst the bats as they fly and watch the snakes as they slither and sleep. One of our favourites was the walking with dinosaurs. The models were so life like and huge. As we walked the noises and movements of the models made them all the more real. All my boys loved this section and we took so many pictures with these great beasts of history. Throughout the day there were educational talks that helped parents and children understand a little more about the different animals at the park.
I was somewhat taken by surprise when we finally arrived at the leisure area of the park. I thought I’d looked at the website carefully and clearly but obviously not. I wasn’t aware until we arrived at the parks leisure rides that there was an additional cost for these rides. It is noted on the website that there are additional costs however it is not fantastically clear and despite a number of visits to the website since our trip I’m yet to find the prices for the wristbands listed online. This information really needs to be more explicit to aid families in the planning of their trip. Rides cost between one or two tokens and you could get 4 tokens for £6. If you did not wish to choose the tokens then you could opt for the unlimited wristband which ranged in price from £8. I have to be honest as a mum of 4 children this additional expense made for a much more expensive visit than first thought. I know there is always the possibility of just saying no to the additional wristband but for my children half the adventure was to enjoy the rides as part of their day out. When I first saw the prices of the park I was incredibly impressed that they were so competitive when compared to the big Merlin names like Legoland and Alton Towers however once the additional cost of wristbands was factored in, the price really wasn’t as competitive. Importantly though there was little to no queuing time on any ride so it did mean you received value for money when using the wristbands unlike its Merlin counterparts where queuing is the biggest part of the experience.
There were a great range of rides for all the family. There were plenty of small rides that enthused my toddler twins and equally there were a number of high speed adrenalin filled fun for their big brother and their Dad. The leisure area was well maintained and staff were on hand throughout ensure the safety customers and cleanliness of the attractions. All my children thoroughly enjoyed the rides and it was lovely to see them experience so much family fun.
We finished off our day with a visit to the outdoor amphitheatre to see the Sea Lion Show with Jack the Sea Lion. The show lasted about 15minutes. This was absolutely perfect for my children as it was longer enough for them to learn some valuable information about Jack but not so long that they lost interest. Jack and his keeper worked hard showing us the tricks that they learnt to help keep Jack as healthy as possible. It was a perfect end to a lovely day of family fun.
So would I return? Definitely. We had a lovely time and yes there are some things that I think could be done better but now fully informed I would definitely visit again. We give West Midlands Safari Park 4/5.