Last weekend we traveled down to Broxbourne (Hertfordshire) to visit Paradise Wildlife Park. It is about an hour away from Northampton and a pretty straight route so really easy to pop down to for a day out. Ted actually went with my parents last year although he doesn't really remember it and we were keen to go as a family.
Arriving at the park there were several car parks, we decided to park at the first one and wander up into the park but there were plenty of spaces further into the park. As we entered the park we spotted a huge play area with lots of those old slides you used to find in pub gardens in the 90's, the ones shaped like trees and boots etc. I had always wondered what happened to them and now I know!
We picked up a map from the Discovery Centre on our way in and Ted loved using it to guide us through the park.
One thing that really stood out was how child friendly the park is. There are play areas, rides and photo opps like this huge gorilla around every corner. There were pay to play ride ons but also a lot of free activities which is always a bonus in my books.
The first place we went to was the farm area. Callie loved seeing the pigs, goats and sheep. She adores animals and was making tiny squeaks of excitement as they came towards her. We fell in love with the dormouse who was super sleepy and the rats were also cute in a strange way!
Ted showed off his best poses at every chance. Check out this one on the Zebra! I think this picture looks like a postcard and we will be printing it out to put in his bedroom.
As we arrived around 11am we weren't far off lunch time so ventured into Jungle Sam's Cafe which was actually reasonably priced. A jacket potato with 2 toppings, a gourmet beefburger meal and a child's cheeseburger meal with drinks came to just over £20 which for a treat was fine. There were a lot of places to sit and eat picnics though so next time we will probably take our own.
The food was quite nice and the portions were really big too. One thing we noticed across the park was how friendly the staff were and the restaurant staff were just as nice.
One of our favourite areas was the Woodland Walk which had nature areas for creepy crawlies, a bug hotel and lots of nooks and crannys for animals to make homes in. We do love a good forest walk and spotted lots of acorns along the way.
There was a cute mound with a dustbin inserted into it, not sure if it was made for climbing in but it seemed clean and the kids enjoyed pretending to be Teletubbies peeking out from the hole.
Also in the woodland area were deer and these gorgeous reindeer. Ted was convinced they were waiting there for Santa to be ready. Such beautiful animals!
After the Woodland Walk we let Ted run off some energy on the play area. He braved the rigging of the pirate ship and explored the steam train and fire engines.
Wandering back to the other side of the park we stumbled upon the bird display and this Great Grey Owl swooped down from his perch just missing mine and Joe's heads, he was an incredible bird. (check out our video at the end for the near miss!)
We also spotted another owl that looked like a fluffy penguin. His eyes were huge and he had everyone in the park swooning over him.
My Dad breeds tortoises so we grew up around them. I always like sitting with them for a while when we go to the zoo as they are so slow but very calming. This big one had an impressive shell and was easily the biggest tortoise Ted had ever seen.
We watched the Wolf show although they were hiding from us all in the bushes. We saw a White Tiger, Zebra's, White Lions, a Lynx and an enormous Anaconda which was truly terrifying (think The Jungle Book 1994). Sadly we didn't get to see the Cheetah's which Ted was desperate to see but they weren't up saying hello.
The meerkats were on top form as usual. Everywhere I see Meerkats they are always showing off and this time was no different. Play fighting and biting each other it was really funny to watch.
Before we left we were going to go for a paddle in the outdoor pool but it was really busy so we decided to play with the building blocks and sand pit. Ted built a house around Callie and she loved getting involved with the building process!
We had such a fun day and the last of the summer sunshine came out for us. I highly recommend visiting as it is perfect for young children. The park also had excellent disabled access, left and right access toilets and even a specially designed wheelchair accessible swing in the play area!
I think Paradise have a lot to offer. They are currently building refurbishing the bat enclosure and the experience days sound fab, especially the Rainforest Sloth Experience. The entry fee would be around £50 for us (2 adults, 1 child and a baby) including the 10% online discount. Certainly book ahead to save money as on the door prices are always higher.
I bumped into Katy from What Katy Said while we were there, I am sure she will be sharing some pictures from their day and they are always off on adventures if you want to see more things to do in Hertfordshire then do pop over!
Here is the video from our day:
Have you been to Paradise Wildlife Park? What did you think?
*We were given entry to the park in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are our own.