Crossgates, Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria LA15 8JR.
Telephone & Fax 01229 466086. email: DavidSGill@WildAnimalPark.co.uk. „
I had the opportunity to go to this animal park with my work recently and I would definitely like to go again. The park is based about 20 mins away from the main lakes so handy for that but quite a trek if you are coming from anywhere else.
The park opened in 1994 and it set in 17 acres it is not the biggest zoo you will ever visit but it certainly packs a lot in. The park includes:
River Sand Wallaby
Western Grey Kangaroo
White Throated Wallaby
White Handed Gibbon
Aloatran Gentle Lemur
Belted Ruffed Lemur
Black and White Ruffed Lemur
Red Ruffed Lemur
Ring Tailed Lemur
White Fronted Brown Lemur
Red Eared Terrapin
European White Stork
Cotton Topped Tamarin
Colombian Spider Monkey
Brown Capuchin Monkey
Black Howler Monkey
Two toed Sloth
So, as I mentioned, loads to see. The cost is currently £13.50 for adults and £8.00 for children and the park opens at 10am and closes at 5pm. Personally though, we found that even though there is loads to see, we were done by 3pm. The book (and it is a book) that you can buy at the entrance is just a few pounds and really worth the money. It has a map at the back and potted histories of the main animals in the park.
The thing that makes this park different is that you actually get in among a lot of the animals. You can walk freely through lemurs, Emus, wallabies and goats (to name but a few) and even my older child loved this (as did we adults). You can even buy bags of food to feed them with. The penguin enclosure is a little disappointing but the rest of the park is great. There are even current plans to expand it. There are also set feeding times advertised when you can watch the bigger animals being fed.
In terms of amenities, I only found one set of toilets which can be a bit annoying but they were ok. There is a restaurant that is not too badly priced offering basic food but there is no alcohol for adults (not an issue for us but I did overhear a few complaining that they could not get a pint). There are plenty of picnic tables around though so I would certainly recommend taking your own food but just make sure you eat it all before you go into the Madagascar area where you can walk among the animals as if you have food you have to leave your bags at the gate (something I was not comfortable doing).
If I didn't live so far away or if I was in the area I would absolutely visit again.
During the Easter holiday I took my kids to the Lake District for a few days and while we weren't blessed with gorgeous weather we did have a lovely time. One of their favourite things we did during our trip was to visit South Lakes Wild Animal Park.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is the only open zoo in Cumbria and it was my first experience of visiting an open zoo but hopefully it will not be my last.
Getting there was relatively easy by car. We were based just outside Lake Windermere and the park was located in Dalton in Furness which was about a 20 minute drive away. The journey was pretty straight forward and the park was well signposted so we had no troubles with finding it. Once we got there however we did struggle to find a parking space as it was very busy but we got one eventually and it was free to use the car parking facilities.
The park crams in such a lot to see and so that I would recommend you set aside an entire day to see everything factoring in some time to have some lunch. Entry was £13.50 for me and £8.00 for each of the kids though we did have leaflets which got us a few pounds off the entrance price.
The best thing about this park in comparison with other zoos that I have visited is that you do get so close to the animals here and you are even allowed to walk freely amongst many of them. The park has a great selection of animals such as Giraffes and Tigers and smaller animals such as Wallabies and Lemurs.
The first animals that we saw in the park were the Giraffes being up close to these wonderful creatures was a real highlight of the park for me. The park is split up into sections of the world with their respective animals that are native to that continent.
The favourite part of the day for the kids was the feeding times of the animals and the fact that they were allowed to actually feed some animals themselves. They got to feed the Giraffes and the penguins themselves and seeing the tigers and lions being fed was a real experience if not a little scary.
You are allowed to walk freely around some animals such as the Lemurs and the Wallabies. The Wallabies especially were so cute and friendly and you are allowed to hand feed them.
At most of the main animals there are talks given at certain times of the day which are not only educational but really interesting. The times of the talks given are all well-advertised and I would recommend that you don't miss out on them.
For lunch we went to the on-site restaurant 'Maki' which was ok but nothing special but it wasn't as expensive as some restaurants at tourist sites can. The best thing about the restaurant was the outside decking which is high up and offers an aerial view of the animals down below.
There is also a gift shop that sells not only gifts to take away with you but also food to give to the animals.
I would highly recommend South Lakes Wild Animal Park as it was a fabulous day out and a real highlight of our trip to The lake District.
The fact that we got to see so many magnificent animals up close is something that I will remember for a long time and I am already looking planning my next trip.
For those who are interested in visiting the park it is open every day of the year except Christmas day.
We are lucky enough to live only a few miles away from the South Lakes Wild Animal park (how many people do you know that get to see giraffes and rhinos at the side of the road on their way to the supermarket?!!), which is situated just outside Dalton-in-Furness, between Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness.
As it's not in the central Lake District or on any of the usual tourist routes I think a lot of people overlook it in favour of the more well-known/central attractions, despite being well sign-posted, practically from the motorway. This is a real shame as it makes a fantastic day out for all ages. It is also more affordable as they often have special offers on entrance fees - leaflets through local papers, half price if you take a receipt from the local Morrisons, Tesco clubcard vouchers accepted etc, although the best by far is the free entry between November and February that they've started doing in the last few years. I suppose they came to the conclusion that people through the gate and spending in the gift shop and cafe was better than nobody in at all. It seems to have worked though, as a recent article in the local paper said the numbers through their gates was up, as was spending in said areas!
The free entry in December is especially welcome as they go all out at Christmas and put up thousands of lights, create a skating rink and basically provide a fantastic, fun festive experience aimed at children.
The usual entry price is £12.50 for adults and £8 for children, so if you're a family of four it can be quite expensive if you don't have any of the money off materials, however, for what you get for that entry price I think it is still really good value for money. And there are no restrictions on taking your own picnic in with you, so altough there is the option of eating in their (very reasonably priced) cafe, you don't have to and can save money by taking your own. Parking is also free and right on the doorstep.
This isn't a typical zoo, it's so much more than that, hence the name wildlife park rather than zoo. There are demonstrations and talks given by very knowledgable employees. There are feedings that you can take part in with the less dangerous animals (penguins, giraffes etc) and fantastic feeding displays featuring tigers and lions, where they place food at the top of telegraph poles and then let the animals out into the enclosures. The high level walkways they've built around the site enable you to look down on the animals and also be at a great level to watch them climb the poles for their food.
There are also other animals just wandering around amongst the visitors so one minute you'll be looking at the penguins and the next thing you know an emu will appear next to you. Whilst this can be scary for younger children as they are very big birds, they obviously wouldn't be able to let them roam like that if it was dangerous.
There is a huge aviary with vultures, parrots etc that you can actually walk into, there are monkeys, bears, otters, kangaroos, lemurs, sloths...all kinds of weird and wonderful animals. It is a very easy place to just wander around and around and around all day long, seeing something different on each circuit, and there is usually staff available and ready to answer any questions or give information about specific animals.
One of the most impressive aspects of the wildlife park, however, is their attitude towards conservation and the environment. Many of the animals, particularly the bears, have been rescued from horrendous, abusive situations and are lovingly restored to their natural state. But great care is taken that, if at all possible, they are reared so that they can be returned to their natural environment.
All in all this is a great day out for children and adults alike (we've been both with adults and children and enjoyed it equally with both), although if you don't want to spend a whole day there I would recommend you go in the afternoon rather than the morning, as this is when most of the feeding demonstrations seem to be. Whilst the full ticket price can be expensive if there are a lot of you, it is still worth the money, especially when you know that it isn't pumped into generating profits for shareholders, every penny of profit goes into improving life for endangered and abused animals.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated in Cumbria and was somewhere we had be recommended to visit on a recent trip to the lakes and it was certainly worth the visit and exceed our expectations of a zoo trip.
The Animal Park is situated at the southern tip of the Lake District in the North West of England on the A590 trunk road. If you take Junction 36 from the M6 and follow signs for Barrow in Furness, until the brown Elephant Tourist Signs take over. We had done a route map with the AA and this in combination with the brown signs got us there with no problems. You can catch a train to Dalton-in-Furness and catch a cab there as it is not on a bus route. The car park itself I think makes the zoo look as if it is going to be a disappointment as it just looks like a piece of waste land with a small entrance. However don't be dismayed as appearances here are definitely deceptive.
The park and our experience
The park was created and developed solely by David Gill. At the time of construction back in 1993/4 According to the website David built the Park with his own hands and to this day, still designs and builds all the facilities around the park but now with the help and assistance of the some staff. The park has expanded a lot over the years and built upon the conservation themes a lot.
The main entrance when we went was not selling tickets but a bit further down the hill a window in the café the tickets were being dispensed from here. We had been given a free entry ticket by friend so it was a cheap entrance for us so we decided to purchase both a guidebook at £3 and some animal feed at £1 taking our total price too £16.50. The animal feed bag tells you which animals you are allowed the food and this includes geese peacock's kangaroos and ducks. We feed a few of the geese and ducks on the lake by the entrance but wanted to save some for the other animals later on.
The guide books is a glossy book that has not only the map of the zoo but pages dedicated to each animal with its conservation status essential facts about the animal and is definitely worth the money we thought as it makes a lovely souvenir and is something we can talk about with our son due to the lovely pictures and information in it.
After our initial feeding of ducks we made our way to the Australian Pathway which takes you through various aerial walk ways and enclosures. You initially go through a gate with a sign asking you to not let the lemurs out. As you walking into the first part of this enclosure you are meet by various birds such as swans but what stands out more is the lemurs running around. This is the first time I have been to a zoo and seen lemurs being allowed out and to run wild as it were and they just seemed to love it. There are signs dotted around the places asking you to not feed them or touch them and if you do you will be asked to leave. My son was initially a bit taken a back by this but once he realized they were more than happy foraging in the bushes and trying to find a place to lounge in the sun he soon relaxed. You can get really close to these animals I would say at one point we were less than half a meter away from a pack of them sunbathing. Also in this section roaming free are emus and wallabies. We then wandered over the tropical house and the walk-in condor and vulture aviary. We were unable to go into the aviary as there was a sign up saying that you could only go in at certain times and this was something we never got back to do. My husband and son went into the tropical house whilst I looked at the mongoose babies. I went to go in there with them but made a swift exit after reading a sign saying not to touch the snake as it may bite! When my husband and son came out they assured me they hadn't seen a snake but lots of bats and kangaroos instead but this would not be an area I would be comfortable walking in.
We went to look at the big cats and the primates later on and were treated to various animal antics including a monkey trying to catch a bear. The other animals there are also in huge mixed enclosures such as the rhino's baboons and giraffes.
One of the treats about this zoo is the animal feeding times and through out the day there is a programme of times you can either go or watch the animals being feed or feed them yourself. These are very popular but on every occasion we went we were able to see the feeding clearly and take a turn. Each time there is also a talk about the animals and the work being done in a conservation project to save them from extinction. These talks are more appealing I think to the adults but as the animals are generally crowding round the keepers this seem to help keep the children's attention.
The first animals we went to feed were the giraffes; you get given some nice green leaves to hold out for them as they bend down to taken them from your hands with their very long tongues. Initially our 3 year old was content to watch and seemed a little unsure if he wanted to hold the leaves but after he saw that they hadn't bitten anyone he was very keen to have a go. I would definitely recommend letting the children see how it's done first as the children who didn't seemed to drop their leaves and then be upset that the giraffe hadn't taken theirs.
Later on we went to see lemur feeding the talk here was interesting and to the point. She also demonstrated how to hold the grapes for the lemurs to take them and how if you drop it to leave it on the floor for them to get. I have to admit my son was happy to watch the adults do this as the lemurs seemed to crowd around everyone with food. What amazed me was when they climbed up on the wooden fence whilst I had my hand out they were incredibly gentle at taking the grape and delicate too in the way they ate it.
The penguin feeding was my son's favorite and these animals are definitely used to the time of their fish fed as they were queued up ready for the keeper at the time slot. Again the talk was interesting telling you all about the penguins and asking questions to the audience on this occasions that got some of the children involved which I thought was a good touch. She again demonstrated how to feed them. My son was up for doing this straight away as I think he was now confident that the animals wouldn't hurt him. Several fishes later the penguins were well fed and we had a son with a huge smiley face from doing his bit.
The other animal feeding experience we saw was watching the tigers hunt for their dinner. This involved the animals going into the sleeping area so a keeper can then come and place meat both around the outside area of the enclosure and up trees and poles for them to find. The tigers are then re released into the enclosure and you watch them hunt and find their food and boy are they fast you wouldn't want to get in their way! This take a bit of a while to organize and my 3 year old got a bit bored of waiting so went with his dad to look at the lemurs again before returning to see them hunt. The talk for this one was very heavily emphasis the conservation work and how rare these Sumatran tigers are. Now whilst this is an important message I do feel the point was over labored at the expense of hearing about the tigers them selves and their habits which is a bit of a shame as you could see people getting bored and not listening to what he had to say.
The other thing we did was the train ride. Unlike the monorail at Chester zoo this is just a little train that goes along a small track before returning. This isn't a means of seeing more of the zoo but it was a bit of fun for my son and at 50 pence a time isn't a huge expense either.
Unlike a lot of attractions we have visited over the years the café at the animal park actually offers some meal deals to reduce the cost of the food on your trip. Now admittedly these are all burger and chip style options but as we hadn't had any junk food on our holiday so far we decide to take advantage of these offers. My husband and I had a cheeseburger chips and beans and our son had chicken nuggets chips and beans. Now whilst the burger was nice but nothing special in anyway our son's chicken nuggets were a different matter and these were lovely bits of chicken breast rather than formed meat in a nice light batter. We were able to all have a hot meal and drinks for under £15 which I think represents excellent value. You queue up to select your drinks or a sandwich but if you are having hot food you order this and this is cooked fresh to order your table. You are given a number and place this on the stands on the table and the food and your cutlery is brought to you. We had a wait of about 8-10 minutes for our food but this I don't think is bad for a busy restaurant where food is cooked to order.
The layout of the café is great with a lot of indoor seating but what lifts it is that some of the outdoor seating area is on raised platforms that look out onto the rhinos and the giraffes enclosure our son decide these were the best seats in the house so despite it being a bit cold we ate outside to enjoy the views.
There is also both an indoor and outdoor picnic area if you are bringing your own and again there is plenty of seating. But be warned if you are eating in the indoor picnic area there is a snake tank there to look at. You can see it from the outside on your way to the giraffe house and it was something I rushed past quickly being snake phobic.
The zoo is very child friendly with lots to see and do with the animal feeding and train rides. There is good baby changing facilities and plenty of clean highchairs in the restaurant area and the picnic area. If you are pushing a pushchair it will be a bit hard work at times as the zoo is on a hill and there are lots of ups to test your muscles.
As this zoo is on a hill if you are pushing a wheelchair it will be hard work. All the aerial walkways are accessed via ramps so this is no problem for access. However the zoo doesn't allow dogs of any kind into the zoo due to regulations so a guide dog be it seeing or otherwise wouldn't be able to guide you around the zoo.
Similar to a lot of zoo's there are experiences you can buy such as being a keeper for the day or adopting an animal. The zoo also runs themed events over Christmas and Halloween so it worth checking their website if you are going to be there during this time.
This is a fantastic zoo experience with lots of opportunities to get close to the animals and find out about their habits and work being done to conserve various species. I would definitely recommend a visit if only for the opportunity to get close to animals such as lemurs penguins and giraffes to feed them. The zoo is very reasonably priced and there was enough there it keep us interested for the whole day with the talks and feeding. I am going to give it a full 5 stars as it was overall such a positive experience.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park
Dalton in Furness
Tel: 01229 466086
Fax: 01229 461310
Registered in England no 3561692
Prices and opening times
Open every day except Christmas day. The only times showing on the website currently are below. I am assuming it may change In November so it is worth checking.
1st April - 31st October 2011 10am-5.00pm
Last admission is 45 minutes before closing.
Adults - £12.50
Children - £8.00 (3-15 years)
Seniors - £9.00
Under 3's are FREE of charge
Tesco vouchers can only be used towards admission costs
As the name suggests, the South Lakes Wild Animal Park is a collection of some of your favourite animals house in a park that allows the majority of its inhabitants to wander freely. The focus is very much on conservation and there is a lot of information about work that the park does to help animals in the wild. Not to be confused with a zoo, there is hardly a fence in sight, the park has obviously made a huge effort to provide as natural an environment as is possible in this country.
The South Lakes Wild Animal Park is located at the Southern tip of the Lake District in Dalton-In-Furness. To get there, you need to take the M6 to junction 36 and follow the signs for Barrow-In-Furness until you see the brown elephant signs that direct you to the park. I'll warn you now though it is a fair old distance around country roads once you have left the motorway, so you'll need to think of ways to entertain the kids before you set off! There is plenty of free parking on site, although it is in fields, so I would imagine it would be a pain in the rain or snow.
The park is open all year round from 10am until 4.30pm and last entry is 45 minutes before the park closes, although I would say that there is far too much to see and that leaving yourself 45 minutes would be utterly pointless. The entrance fee is £11.50 for adults and £8 for concessions in summer and £8 and £5 respectively in winter. These prices do include a £1 gift aid donation that you are not obliged to pay. I think these prices are pretty much the norm for this kind of attraction and you will get a whole day's entertainment for the price. We actually managed to find coupons that got us 50% off which was fantastic value and just goes to show that you can find the deals if you look!
If you particularly interested in the animals or are looking for a special gift for someone, the park does offer the chance to be a keeper for a day. There is a minimum donation of £100 for the experience, but you get all of your meals and snacks included as well as a memento of your day. I didn't do this, but there are a few testimonials on the website that indicate that it is a fantastic experience.
The park itself is split into areas relating to the natural habitats of its fifty species of animals and this makes it very easy to walk around. It's rather like going around a safari park but on foot. The areas are Africa, Asia, Australia, Indonesia, Madagascar, South America and the Rest of the World. Within these areas you'll find all the favourites, including tigers, lions, rhinos, giraffes, penguins and monkeys as well as plenty of more obscure animals that you'll have great fun learning about. As I said earlier, the animals are housed in large areas that give them plenty of space to roam around and there are also many animals that are free roaming. For example, don't be surprised if you have to give way to a monkey and be sure to stop and feed the friendly wallabies.
As with all places like this, you get the opportunity to watch the animals being fed. The keepers are excellent in educating you in a fun and engaging way, whilst they explain the natural habitat and food choices of their charges. Particularly impressive is the feeding of the endangered tigers. The food is placed at the top of very tall pillars and the tigers are then released to 'catch' their food. The keepers explain that this keeps them fit and reflects, in some part, their natural hunting techniques. Also not to be missed is the feeding of the penguins, which will have children of all ages squealing with joy. There is also chance to hand feed the majestic giraffes, which is not something to be missed.
There are shops and cafes in the park, although the prices are what you'd expect - not particularly cheap. We opted to take a packed lunch and found that there were ample places to enjoy it - as long as you don't mind the odd peacock wandering past!
Like I said, there are plenty of animals that roam freely. Many of them are just birds and things that have no interest at all in you. However some of the monkeys are more interested and will approach you - these are in an area that is enclosed within two gates that is easy to avoid if you want to. They aren't in the slightest bit aggressive although it can be a little daunting for smaller children.
I know that many people have objections to wild animals being kept anywhere other than their natural environment, but the South Lakes Wild Animal Park really has done everything it can to make this area as natural and pleasant for the residents as possible. It makes for a fascinating, fun and very educational day out and gets top marks from me.
If you need any more information, the website www.wildanimalpark.co.uk is very comprehensive and includes lists of the animals and maps of the park as well as details about group bookings and adopting an animal, so is well worth a visit.
I love going to the Lakes for a holiday. My last Stay was at Bowness at a Lovely little B&B. Whilst I was there I decided to have a look at some leaflets to see where I could go for a visit. I picked up quite a few and took them back to comfort of my room for a closer look. One of the leaflets was for South lakes Wildlife Park. I was instantly attracted by the price and the fact that you can feed the animals. Therefore, the next day we set off to arrive at 10:30.
The place was sign clearly sign posted from Junction 36 of the M6 and very easy to follow (just follow the elephant). The little village we passed through was very pretty, but we missed our turning as you need to make a sharp (nearly U-turn) right in the Village. A piece of advice, once you make the right, keep an eye out for the park sign as you can easily drive past it (like we did).
The car park was a fair size; we were early enough to get a space close to the entrance. There was not much of a queue when we got there (15th May). The admission fee was £10.50 for an adult, Child (3-15) cost £8.00,
OAP: £8.00 and Under 3's goes FREE, which I thought was reasonable. You had the option to buy a guidebook for £2. l recommend you purchase, as not only does the guidebook contain a map of the wildlife park and the feeding times of all the animals, it contains a great deal of information on all the animals you will see in the park. You are also able to buy a bag of food for 50p, which you can feed a variety of different animals written on the bag (such as geese, ducks, emus and kangaroos) but please do not feed any other animals with this as they are on a special diet.
First animal feeding was the giraffe. We made our way over to the Arial platform where a helpful member of staff told us a little about their giraffes before handing out a leaf to anybody who wished to feed them. Of course, I was first in the queue, fighting off Toddlers to get my piece of twig. l was shocked by how big a giraffes head is. I just could not resist touching its nose as I gave him my twig (very soft if you wished to know, like velvet). A giraffe tongue was impressive, very versatile, if a bit Slimy. There was plenty of food so nobody was left out (I even got a few more chances to feed the giraffe, 5 times in total). In the same enclosure, you can see baboons and the rhinos. When we went there were many baby baboons. I enjoyed watching them playing. I was lucky to be there when they had the baby Rhino. It was fascinating watching it running around and having a great time. I actually got fantastic video footage on my camera of the baby rhino playing with its mother, along with chasing baboons and giraffes.
The lemurs in the park are allowed to roam free, so make sure you look after your bag or they will be in it. While I was there a lemur pinched a banana from the picnic table next to me. The only time they are all in one place is feeding time in the Madagascar area of the park. The member of staff gives a talk about how people have been hunting lemurs for their fur before giving out grapes to feed them. You could only feed the Lemurs if they were perched on a certain fence. You held the grape between your thumb and fingers and the lemurs gently take the grape with their teeth. As the lemurs used their paws to hold onto my hand, I notice how soft their pads were. Yet again there were plenty of food for everybody to have a go.
The Penguins were a bit on the smelly side, as you would expect. I did not realise how close you could get to these amazing birds, they were all around my feet. Just watch out they do not peck you as it does hurt (I know). They did not seem to bother with the amount of people in their enclosure. The member of staff gave everyone a fish to feed them. They were not as gentle as the giraffe or lemurs as they do tend to grab, which could be quite scary for a young Child.
The tiger feeding was simply amazing. Just the power of the big cats climbing the pole to reach their dinner (a raw chicken). If you want a great view of this fantastic spectacle, I suggest you make your way to the Arial platform in good time other wise you might not get a good view. I managed to get a superb view and got excellent film footage of the tiger biting into the Chicken and all the guts spurting out. They are hoping that their Sumatran tigers will mate as they are dangerously close to extinction they hope to release them back into the wild.
What surprised me the most was the lions are able to the same. I was under the impression that lions could not climb trees. How wrong l was. They have two lionesses and one lion and they are all feed on different days. They starve the lions one day, this is not to be cruel, this is to keep them in perfect condition (not fat cats). Before they feed I recommend you enter the lion house as they keep them in so they can put out chickens on the poles. I have never been so close to a lion (about 4m)
As far as the Layout of the park, all areas are within Short walking distance the park is Separated into different continents:
African Lion, Black Footed Penguin, Giraffe, Hamadryas Baboon, Mandrill, Meerkat, Pygmy Hippo, White Rhino, Fennec Fox
Amur Tiger, Rodrigues Fruit Bat
Australian Ibis, Black Swan, Emu, Red Kangaroo, River Sand Wallaby, Swamp Wallaby, Western Grey Kangaroo, White Throated Wallaby
Babirusa, Sulawesi Macaque, Indonesian Otter, Siamang, Sumatran Tiger, White Handed Gibbon
Aloatran Gentle Lemur, Belted Ruffed Lemur, Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Black Lemur, Mongoose Lemur, Red Ruffed Lemur, Ring Tailed Lemur, White Fronted Brown Lemur
Andean Condor, Cotton Topped Tamarin, Geoffroys Marmoset, Emperor Tamarin, King Vulture, Lowland Tapir, Macaw, Spectacled Bear, Colombian Spider Monkey, Capybara, Scarlet Ibis, Squirrel Monkey, Brown Capuchin, Roseate Spoonbill
Rest Of The World:
Red Eared Terrapin, Tortoise, European White Stork, Snowy Owl, European Spoonbill,
All areas are wheel chair friendly. Although I would like to warn you that some of the slopes are quite steep (so make sure you have great hand brakes!).
You are allowed to bring your own food and drink into the park they have a special Picnic area next to the cafe (just keep an eye on those thieving Lemurs) I did try the cafe for a cup of tea which cost me £1.20. This is mostly self-service. They had a variety of different types of tea bags to choose from, along with a coffee machine. The member of staff at the till was very polite and friendly.
3rd November 2008 - Easter 2009
10am - 4.30pm
Last admission 3.45pm
4th April 2009 - 1st November 2009
10am - 5.00pm
Last admission 4.15pm
Feeding times and talks :
11.30 pm Hand feed Giraffes - walkway inside if wet
12.00 pm Meet a snake and cure any fears
12.30 pm Apes and Monkeys feeding
1.00 pm Rhino conservation talk
1.30 pm Spectacled Bears
2.00 pm Lemurs - you can help us feed them
2.30 pm Tiger feeding - unique in Europe see video now
3.00 pm Penguin Feeding- Hand feed our colony of penguins
3.20 pm Vulture feeding
3.45 pm Giraffe conservation talk followed by
4.00 pm Hand feed giraffes
4.25 pm Lions attack their food up 6m high trees
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated at the southern tip of the Lake District in the North West of England on the A590 trunk road.
Take Junction 36 from the M6 and follow signs for Barrow in Furness, until the brown Elephant Tourist Signs take over.
Well, the weather has turned cool so in an attempt to recapture the warmth of the previous weekend I decided to write about our recent trip to South Lakes Wild Animal Park.
** What it is **
As the name suggests, it is a Wild Animal Park, although it does have a bit of a difference from the usual animal parks and zoos that I have visited in that many of the animals are roaming around freely or with minimal walls and fencing (although obviously dangerous animals are well contained!)
**Arriving at the park **
On the day that we visited there was some sort of diversion around the park and it was a little bit tricky to gain access through narrow congested streets. However, we arrived and were directed into the car-park where we were easily able to park the car. Parking was free and the car-park was filling at a rapid rate. The entrance to the park was located nearby and although there were queues, they moved fairly quickly.
**Entry and Pricing**
Pricing depends upon the time of year when the visit occurs. Summer prices are as follows:
4th April - 1st November
Child 3-15: £8.00
Under 3's: FREE
Prices include a £1 voluntary donation. The website says it is possible not to make this donation and pay £1 less per person but this wasn't mentioned at the gate. Once through the payment kiosk a member of staff takes details to be able to claim Gift Aid on your payment.
Under 3s FREE
The park is quite happy to accept payment via Tesco Days Out vouchers.
Pricing at both times for Friends of the Park is £1.50. It is possible to become a friend of the Park for £10, after admission has already been paid. Friends of the Park also receive 10% off food, drinks and gifts purchased in the park and invitations to special events and evenings.
Park guides and maps are available to buy at the gate and I think the price was £2.50.
There are a whole range of animals available to see and the design of the park makes it easy to get up-close to many of these. Many animals are freely roaming the park, including lemurs, peacocks and emus. My husband and son were very amused when I turned around from one exhibit to come face to beak with a rather large emu. They thought I would be rather amusing not to warn me and indeed it was amusing... for them! If you're not a big fan of birds this might not be the place for you!
Among the animals that can be viewed are giraffes, bears, tortoises, rhinos, tigers, lemurs, penguins, vultures, apes, snakes and many types of apes and monkeys.
Over the course of the day there are a number of sessions whereby keepers give talks and demonstrations which can be heard over loudspeakers and these include hand-feeding giraffes, feeding of apes, monkeys and tigers, hand-feeding penguins, apes and monkeys talk and "meet a snake". These sessions are quite interesting and add to the range of things to do there.
Information boards are plentiful and provide a good ecological message and information about projects that the park is involved with all over the world.
If you are interested in such a thing, it is possible to adopt the various animals and also, if the donation is high enough, to name them. If you donate £100 or more you can become a "Keeper for a Day" and learn about being a zookeeper.
**What else can I do there?**
There is a small train that runs around the park to give your feet a rest. Tickets cost 50p per person. There is also a small play area for under ten year olds. This tended to be quite busy while we were there and it was spoiled for our toddler by the fact that there were a number of boisterous, unattended, obviously older than ten-year olds running and jumping everywhere without looking where they were going. Obviously though the South Lakes Animal Park cannot be criticised for this! There is a café and places to buy ice cream, although we did not buy anything here. We did however eat our lunch in the indoor picnic area which was quiet, cool and clean - an excellent spot for lunch.
**My opinion **
The scenery and layout of the park is lovely. Paths and wooden walkways meander around the park, in and out of each other making it a lovely relaxing walk with plenty to look at. The way the animals are kept means that often several species of animals are found altogether in one enclosure and often I wouldn't spot some species until I had been looking for a while, so it really is a place to relax, linger and take your time. There is plenty to do to spend a good few hours there and it has an educational value as well as a fun factor. The facilities we used (picnic area, toilets and baby change) were all clean and tidy. In fact, the only slight downside to the park is that the paths aren't always easy to push a pushchair along; some are narrow or steep, or both and I think it might be tricky with a wheelchair.
**Where it is **
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is found in Dalton-in Furness, Cumbria. Directions to get there (Taken from the website)
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated at the southern tip of the Lake District in the North West of England on the A590 trunk road.
Take Junction 36 from the M6 and follow signs for Barrow in Furness, until the brown Elephant Tourist Signs take over.
** Opening Times**
During the summer, the park is open from 10am - 5pm and during the winter months it opens 10am - 4.30pm. Last admissions are 45 minutes before closing time.
If you wish to find out further information, see photos or find out about projects the park is involved in check out the website at http://www.wildanimalpark.co.uk/wildlifepark_home.asp
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is a zoo with a difference!
We have been twice, the first time was around 11 years ago, and then more recently last year. Both visits were equally fantastic: The standard hasn't dropped at all, if anything it has soared.
Most people visiting Cumbria are there to see the beautiful Lake District, and we were no exception: South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated away from the picturesque part of Cumbria, being near the working town of Dalton-in-Furness, and does not look much from the outside: we originally only wandered there almost by mistake after we had 'exhausted' the lakes!
How happy we are that we did - this zoo is great, in fact I don't even like calling it a zoo, because wherever possible, the animals are roaming free: Don't panic, not the tigers and the like, obviously! But the more harmless animals are free to wander, and we humans walk through their territory. It's a great way of keeping animals, and they must be much less stressed because of it - if they feel like walking away, they just walk away!
The park is very rustic looking, and you walk around either on footpaths or platforms over the enclosures. You are able to be up close and personal to creatures like emu, wallaby, countless birds, most notably the peacocks, and small monkeys.
There are more fierce creatures such as tigers, bears, lions too: These are obviously safely enclosed, and humans walk around a raised platform to see them: At set times of the day, the keepers place meat at the top of a pole and you can observe the tigers climbing for it, which is a really interesting experience. They do this because it mimics their natural environment. They also do this with the lions, although we didn't see this.
There are also many talks and demonstrations throughout the day, where you can handle a snake, for example, or learn more about conservation of the different animals there.
There are loads of staff walking around all the time, and they all seem geniunely interested in the park and the animals - they seem to know the answers to all our questions, which was lovely.
A highlight for us was the giraffe feeding: Again, it is all tailored around the animal, not the human, which is great: We stood on a high wooden platform which is just the right height for the giraffe's long necks, and hand feed them: my daughter was beside herself with excitement when one of the giraffe's licked her hand (did you know, they have a dark blue tongue? I didn't, but I do now!)
We had lunch in the Maki restaurant, which sold the usual range of foods (for example baked potato, chips, sandwiches, and some more expensive cooked dishes) and a range of drinks.
The gift shop has a lovely selection of animal toys and souvenirs (we bought a fridge magnet , like we do everywhere we go, and it was around £2.00, to give you an idea of the prices).
There are also picnic areas around the park, and it is fine to bring your own picnic food. The rules are quite strict here though, to preserve the environment for the animals: no smoking anywhere, even outside, and no dogs, not even guide dogs.
The park is on a big scale, so you might get a bit tired walking around: there is a miniature steam train, which you can hop on and hop off, which goes in a big circle around the edge of the zoo.
Some areas are quite hilly or slippery when wet (as it was when we went) so anyone with reduced mobility should probably phone ahead and ask advice about access.
There is a winter special price of £7.00 adults and £4.00 children, until the end of March, so if you hurry you can get in cheaper - after that, it's £11.50 for adults and £8.00 for children and OAPs. Under 3's are free. All profits are ploughed back into the zoo, and you can also adopt an animal while you are there.
We entered the park using Tesco Clubcard Deals, so it didn't cost us anything this time.
We will definitely go there again, we live far away from that area, but I would recommend it so much that it really is worth a special trip.
I am not a fan of zoos, as I don't like to see animals in captivity. However I was persuaded by a friend that the South lakes wild animal park in Cumbria was different and well worth a visit. As my son's 5th birthday was approaching I decided a family day out to the park would be a fun birthday treat.
How to get to the park
South Lakes wild Animal Park is situated in Dalton-in Furness and the southern most tip of the Lake District in Cumbria. It is a bit of a pain to get to, as you will need to drive the length of the Furness peninsula. If you are driving then you will need to take the A590 and simply follow the brown tourist elephant signs to the park.
It is possible to visit the park using public transport. There is a train station in Dalton- in -Furness and from there it is about a 1 mile walk to the park. However the road is mostly uphill, so you might want to consider taking a taxi from the station.
There is a stagecoach bus service again only as far as Dalton.
Once at the park there is free parking although the car park is very small. There are disabled parking spaces available near to the entrance.
A bit about the park.
The south lakes wild animal park was the brainchild of David Gill. David Gill was an animal nutritionist who wanted to make the public aware of animal conservation and create a unique experience where the public could get close to the animals in a naturalistic environment. The park was built on farmland and opened its gates to the public in 1994.Today the park has over 100 species in its care. The park has raised over £250,000 for the Sumatran tiger conservation project making it the largest fundraiser for this project in the world. I could go on telling you about the work the park does, but want to move on to give you my own experience of this great park. If you would like to know more then visit the parks web site at www.wildanimalpark.co.uk
Inside the park.
It is a short walk from the car park into the park. Payment is by cash, credit or debit card. The park does not accept cheques. I would advise you to buy a guidebook; at £2 they are excellent value with lots of useful information about the animals you will see. We were also given a timetable telling us when the various animals would be fed.
We first headed to the giraffe area. There is a wooden walkway that allows you to be at head height with the giraffes. I strongly advise you to arrive in time for the hand feeding of these beautiful creatures. The keepers were really friendly and very knowledgeable. My children were each given a branch to hold out for the giraffes to eat. This is certainly the place to get up close and personal with these animals!
Looking at the programme of animal feeding times and talks we noticed that there was time between each activity. If we were going to have lunch then we would have to miss something! I suggest you take a few minutes to plan your day ensuring you don't miss any of your own must do's! We were all keen to listen to the monkey talk so headed over to the monkey area next. On route we spent some time watching the cutest baby rhino I have ever seen. There was an information sheet pinned up in the Rhino house with information about the new arrivals progress.
Luckily the park is not huge and is split into areas so finding your way shouldn't pose a problem. There is the African area, the Australian area and the South American area. These are all clearly marked on the, map you will be given when you arrive.
The monkey talk was very informative and both my children listened to every word. There was lots of information about how these creatures are struggling in the wild and what the park are doing to help. My children both loved the white headed gibbons.
As you walk from the monkey area you will pass the penguin enclosure. At feeding time members of the public are given fish and allowed to hand feed these endearing creatures. We spent some time just watching their antics and loving the fact we were able to get so close to them.
One of the highlights for many visitors has to be watching the tigers being fed. There is an Arial walkway about the tiger enclosure so everyone should get a good view. It is best to stand near to the top of the poles you will see at the end of the enclosure, as this is where the meat is placed. We waited in anticipation as the keeper told us all about these beautiful animals. When the tigers were let out of their house it was amazing to see how quickly they climbed the poles to get to the meat (a dead chicken). I believe this experience is unique in Europe. The tiger feeding is very popular so does get crowded. I suggest you make your way to the walkway early so you get a good view.
My son was very happy to be allowed to hold a snake; something his mother was not so keen on doing! The talk given was informative, if a little short.
However for me, the best part of the park was the Lemur area. The Lemurs are allowed to foam free and we were all fascinated to watch their antics. There were several tiny babies clinging onto their mothers. You are advised not to touch these animals as they bite! There are also signs telling you not to feed them, as some food could be harmful. However you do get the opportunity to hand feed them at the appointed time. I had told the park that it was my son's birthday so he had a special birthday mention and was given extra grapes to feed to the lemurs. One of the Lemurs climbed up a man's walking stick much to everyone's amusement! I loved the fact that these animals have so much freedom and seem to be able to coexist with their human visitors without any distress.
Next to the Lemur area is the Australian part of the park. Before you enter this area I suggest you buy a few bags of food from the shop as you can hand feed the wallabies and birds. This was another highlight and my children made friends with a very friendly wallaby. The only downside here was that as I stood and watched my children interacting with the animals I noticed several large rats running around! I have a real fear of rats so wasn't too keen! There were lots of birds in this area and all can be hand fed.
If you are interested in birds you will enjoy seeing the magnificent Condors and vultures in the cages next to the Australian area. There are lots of other birds to see and all looked well cared for.
Back into the African area are the lions. They tend to be fed at the end of the day. Like the tigers they are fed by placing the food, dead chickens, at the top of poles. The keeper gave us lots of interesting information about the lions before releasing them. They quickly climbed to the top of the poles and we were able to get an excellent view. They were fed several times so if you miss that important picture the first time you will get another attempt!
We usually take a picnic when we go for a day out as I object to the high cost of food in most restaurants and cafes. However as it was my son's birthday he wanted to eat in the restaurant. The Maki restaurant is conveniently situated near the entrance of the park. There is a large seating area with plenty of highchairs. There was a reasonable selection of food on offer and the prices were not to bad either. My children choose from the children's menu. Both had fish fingers and chips with baked beans. The potions were very small but at £2.99 I thought it was ok. I do wish restaurants would offer more in the way of healthy choices for children however! My husband and I both had a baked potato at a cost of £3.50. The meal was adequate and the staff friendly.
The restaurant also sells cakes and sandwiches in addition to the other coked meals on offer. The restaurant was cheerfully decorated with lots of animal pictures and animal masks made by the local school children.
However if like me you prefer to bring your own food then there are plenty of picnic areas. I would have much preferred to have done this as the picnic areas have good views of the animals.
The park is very accessible for those with disabilities. All the paths are flat and easy to negotiate. There are ramps to help access the walkways so they are wheelchair and pushchair friendly.
Dogs, including guide dogs are not allowed into the park. Obviously this is in the interests of the wild animals.
There are toilets situated next to the café. There are baby-changing facilities inside the toilets. The park only has one toilet block.
There is a gift shop situated next to the restaurant. It is worth noting that the gift shop closes at the same time as the park. I had expected the shop to close later than the park to give people a chance to buy souvenirs at the end of their visit. This has been my experience with other wildlife parks. The shop was well stocked with lots of interesting animal themed merchandise. They sell some beautiful animal puppets for example. My son bought a toy Lemur with his pocket money and it has pride of place in his bedroom. Many of the items were reasonably priced.
If you are concerned about animal conservation and want to do something to help then you can sponsor an animal from as little as £20.For more information about this scheme take a look at the wildlife protection website at www.wildprotection.info or www.tigertrust.info.
Opening times and prices.
The park is open all year as follows-
From 3rd November until Easter -10 am-4.30 pm.
From Easter until Nov 09-10am-5pm
Adults pay £7.00 and children £4.00- children under 3 are free. Senior citizens pay £4.00. As the park is fully assessable there are no concessions for those with disabilities.
These are the winter rates. The summer rates for 2009 are yet to be published.
We all really enjoyed our visit to the park, we learned a lot and were impressed with how well all the animals were cared for. The keepers were all very knowledgeable and the talks interesting and informative. We all loved seeing the Lemurs running free and watching their antics. All the animals are kept in naturalistic surroundings and I am impressed with conservation work that the park is involved with. The list of pros is far too long for this review!
The only real con was that feeding times are talks take up the whole day with no time for meal brakes! It was difficult making decisions about which activities we would miss as you really can't do it all in a day! Still that just means we will have to return soon!
Overall I highly recommend this park. We had an amazing day out that we will all remember for a long time!
Whilst we where on holiday recently in the Lake District we picked up a leaflet for the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in the main reception and noticed that it was only about 30 minutes drive from where we where staying so though it would be good for a day out.
Getting there is easy, from the M6 take junction 36 and follow the signs for Barrow in Furness (A590) and then follow the brown tourist signs with the elephant on them which takes you to Dalton in Furness which is just before Barrow.
Arriving at the park there is a medium sized car park which has the facility for a couple of coaches as well as cars with many parking attendants ready to direct you to an available space. This is really handy I think as there is nothing worse than having to circle around a car park to find a space and here you can be guided to a space somebody has just vacated with any problems.
There is a short incline from the car park to the main entrance with a couple of booths where you can part with your hard earned cash to enter the park. Current prices are GBP 10.50 per adult and GBP7.00 per child with a guide book and map priced at GBP2.00 which I would recommend getting as it is a glossy book with 100 pages and contains all feeding times for the animals as well as a easy to read map. The guide book also contains full details of what the park is about.
The Park itself is committed to conservation of animals both in the park and outside the park and is home to two international charities, the Sumatran Tiger Trust and the Wildlife Protection Foundation and a huge amount of information can be found in the guide book , on the park or on the internet both via the Parks own website or direct to both charities web pages.
Moving away from the serious fund raising there are many attractions at the park and one of the main reasons we decided to visit was that you can get hands on and be involved in feeding some of the animals, but more about this later.
The park itself is really quite small in comparison to a lot of other zoo's or wildlife parks but they have made exceptional use of the space and we found that even though quite small there was plenty to keep us occupied all day at a nice pace without having to rush to see all that you want to see as happens with larger places or return for a second visit. The park is split up into different sections with gates and high fences surrounding each area and signs for you to take care not to let anything out - hmm you can see what's coming - free roaming animals, interesting.
Reading our guide book we noted that though the leaflet advises that you can feed the Giraffe and Lemurs, you can also feed the Penguins and purchase a bag of animal feed for 50p to feed the ducks, emu, wallaby and kangaroo as you wander around the park. All of these animals roam free around the park which is a completely unique approach to getting up close to wildlife.
The main route through the park actually divides the park into two different sections, to bottom half of the park has the larger and more dangerous animals that cannot roam free such as Tigers, Lions, Rhino, Bears and Hippo where as the top half of the park has lemurs, wallaby, kangaroo ducks and many other species that are either free to roam around or have an enclosure for those who would not keep to the parks boundary, eg the vultures, however, you can actually enter the aviary cage to see the parrots and vultures up close, though you might get an unexpected present at the same time, remember to check your clothes on the way out.
I won't go through all the animals one by one but will try to stick to my favourites and the more magical moments of the day.
Lemurs - there are, if I remember correctly, 6 different types of Lemur at the park with most people more than likely being more familiar with the ring tailed lemur, the one with the black and white rings all the way down the tail and there are two groups of these living at the park. In the wild they live in groups so they are behaving completely naturally and are allowed to roam free across the top half of the park. There are a few who do manage to escape and sit around the main entrance to the park, escape route is over a roof apparently and they are rounded up at the end of the day as they don't leave the park boundary.
Feeding the lemurs is extremely popular and yes everybody gets a turn, the lemurs are gathered up to the Madagascar area of the park and they know what is happening as they are keen to get there hands in the bowls of fruit that the keepers have in their arms. You are given a very interesting talk about the lemurs, their habitat and what they are doing in the park to conserve the lemurs before the feeding takes place. It was grapes whilst we where there, one grape per person with the lemurs sitting on a shin high wooden rail waiting to be fed. You then move on to two other areas of the park to feeder the other types of Lemurs.
Giraffe feeding - this happens currently early in the day and late afternoon, we went to the late afternoon feeding which again is for everyone to have a turn and follows the same format as the lemur feeding with a talk about the Giraffes at the park before a small piece of browse is handed to everyone to feed the Giraffes. You really do get up close and personal as the feeding takes place on a raised wooden walkway leading out into the Giraffe enclosure which is shared with the Rhino and the Baboons - rather funny watching the Baboons stealing the browse from the Giraffe and running up the field with it.
Tiger feeding -no of course you can't hand feed a tiger but this is by far the most popular feeding session of the day and to get a good view, be very early, cut the lemur feeding short as this follows straight on. The tigers are fed in a unique way, the meat is not just dropped into the enclosures but placed up on the top of large wooden poles in order to make the tiger work its muscles similar to the way they would hunt prey in the wild. The view is spectacular as when the tigers are let out they are extremely quick at getting to the top of the poles and down again, blink you will miss it. The Lion feeding follows the same form and again as will all feeding sessions at the Park you are given a talk prior to the feeding.
Personally I really enjoyed watching the Lemurs as they really are very entertaining and funny especially when lying on their backs sunbathing, we where lucky with the weather, or chasing each other around. To get the opportunity to watch them up close behaving as they would in the wild is unique for me as at my nearest zoo, Chester, the lemurs live on an island in the middle of the lake and it can be very hard to spot them amongst the trees. Here they are much easier to spot as there are no barriers, of course there are plenty of trees for them to hide in and they have access to their indoor enclosures if they wish to stay inside.
One of the funniest moments of the day was whilst walking though the top part of the park where it is heavily planted with trees we stopped to look at the lemur sitting on the hand rail and my hubby turned round only to be face to face with an emu which he did not expect at all, not something you normally find on a path though.
The Park of course as a café for you to buy snacks and drinks with both indoor and outdoor seating and I have to say sit outdoors if you can as the view is across the Giraffe enclosure and they are often found right up next to the café as there is browse there for them. There are also indoor and outdoor picnic areas if you prefer to take your own. We opted for chips a cake and a drink, not very healthy but was something quick as we didn't want to linger too long.
The gift shop - yes there is always one, very nicely laid out with a jungle theme and nice and cool as well as walking around looking at what you could but - nothing really to write home about here, just the normal items you find in a gift shop but it is quite large.
Opening times March to October - 10am to 5pm, November to Middle March - 10am to 4.30pm.
Disabled access not brilliant as quite hilly in parts and could be an issue between some of the gates on a busy day but more than enough available for me to recommend a visit with a pushchair or wheelchair. Please note that no dogs are allowed in the park not even guide dogs and there are parts of the park where no food or drink can be consumed- mainly the top part where the animals roam free.
On the whole a most enjoyable day out and certainly far more than I expected from the leaflet we picked up to the point we are considering a day out there even though about 2 and half hour drive from where we live but for what you get, well worth it I feel.
For Full details see www.wildanimalpark.co.uk
review also appears on ciao.
Whilst visiting the Lake District recently, we spotted a promotional leaflet for the South Lakes Wild Animal Park. Initially we were in two minds whether to visit or not, as we had been to another zoo just one week before, however the leaflet made this site sound particularly interesting.
We were staying in Cartmel a small village in the Lake District, and getting to the park was easy. It is clearly signposted from Junction 36 of the M6 with brown signs showing a white elephant. These signs direct you along the A590 to the town of Dalton-in-Furness and the South Lakes Wild Animal Park. Free car parking is provided at the entrance to the park.
The park is actually home to two registered charities: The Wildlife Protection Foundation and The Sumatran Tiger Trust.
Admission to the park costs £10.50 for adults, with children and pensioners charged a reduced rate of £7.00. Under 3's are free. Regular visitors can become Friends of the Park by paying £10 after admission, then following visits cost just £1.00 ! A proportion of this fee goes directly to the conservation charities this park supports.
As soon as you walk in, you realise that this isn't just another zoo in fact they make a point of not mentioning the Z-Word in any of their literature. The first enclosure you come across is the Cheetah's. The enclosure is really big, and ensures that the four animals enclosed have plenty of room and vegetation. There is a wooden walkway that goes above the enclosure, and this highlights one of the main features of the park. Their aim is to get you closer to the animals, without barriers where ever possible. Looking down on cheetahs, you can see them basking in the hot sun or prowling around. This, of course, also makes ideal photo opportunities.
Another aim is to mix animals that would normally be found together in the wild, hence the next enclosure (which is huge !) has giraffes, rhino's and monkeys all together. Once again there are wooden platforms at both sides of the enclosure one of which is at head height with the giraffes.
As you progress through the park, you see so many different animals from all over the world, and most have very little barriers between you and them. Even the spectacle-eyed bears enclosure is only waist high, and photographs from here look as though it was taken in the wild.
I have many good memories (and photographs) of this park, but there are two that stand out above all others. Firstly there is an aviary that you can walk through but this one houses vultures and parrots. Standing just one meter away from a vulture as he spreads his wings and blocks your path may be slightly intimidating, but it is truly an experience you will never forget. The birds fly freely around the aviary and are amazing to see.
The only thing that topped this was the feeding of the tigers. At 2:30 each day, there is a talk by the keepers about the tigers and the charities efforts to prevent them from disappearing in the wild forever. This is followed by a feeding which is totally unique in Europe, as the tiger's meat is fastened to the top of wooden poles. When released back into the enclosure, the tigers climb the vertical poles to get to their food. Whilst this is an amazing sight for the visitors, it is not done for the crowd's entertainment, but rather to make the tigers work for their food and keep them strong and healthy.
The park aims to encourage interaction with some of the animals. As you enter the park, you can buy bags of food from which you are encouraged to feed some of the animals. Information is printed on the bag and on enclosures as to which animals you can and cannot feed, and this needs to be strictly adhered to.
Other animals, such as the lemurs, can be fed at set times under the careful supervision of the keepers.
Other facilities within the park include a small railway, with all proceeds going to support the ongoing charity work that the park does, a restaurant offering a wide range of snacks and meals at fairly reasonable prices and a gift shop.
The park is suited to families and visitors of all ages, although it should be noted that, for obvious reasons, dogs (including guide dogs) are not allowed in the park.
Overall, the South Lakes Wild Animal Park is an extremely interesting and entertaining full day out which represents excellent value for money, and I would highly recommend the attraction to everyone visiting the South Lake District area.
*Please note that this review was previously published under my alternative username BAW123 at youstayuk.co.uk
I had to write to say what a fantastic place this is. I was absolutely amazed at everything and have never experienced anything like this before.
Im an absolute animal lover and continue to be fascinated by wild animals. The park is thoughtfully designed and the animals seem happy here! Unlike other zoos I have visited, they have space to roam and you can tell immediately that their welfare is the most important thing to the zoo owner and keepers.
The keepers were very friendly and totally committed to the animals, special mention to the guy who delivered the lion talk and feeding time. The lions obviously recognised him and came to the fencing for a rub.....fantastic!
The lemurs are gorgeous and it was so entertaining to see them sneaking into the public areas!
I have recommended the park to family and friends and will be returning very soon.
At South Lakes Wild Animal Park the emphasis is firmly on conservation, as well as being the home of the Sumatran Tiger Trust, the park is involved in conservation projects throughout the world involving bears, giraffes, rhinos and monkeys to name a few.
The park itself is unlike any zoo I have ever visited with animals from differing continents being housed together, although thankfully the predators are kept separate. For example the African area contains an enclosure where the Giraffes, mix with Rhinos, Baboons and Porcupines, whilst the Lions are housed separately nearby. In the South American section Spectacled Bears share their enclosure with a Brazilian Tapir, a couple of mischievous otters and some ringed-tailed Coati. Now if you like to get really close to animals the Madagascar section has dozens of different lemurs running around your feet, you are asked not to feed the lemurs but next door in the Australian section you are able to feed Kangaroos, Wallabies and Emus with food available from the shop at 50p per bag.
As noted above the park is the home of the Sumatran Tiger Trust and the highlight of my visit to South Lakes was undoubtedly the Tiger feeding. Uniquely in this country, I believe, the tigers are encouraged to work for their food which is placed on the top of 6 metre high poles and you get to see these magnificent animals charging though their enclosure and leaping up these poles to collect their food. This is not done purely for the enjoyment of visitors, but ensures that the animals are encouraged to use their full range of muscles properly and therefore benefits the animals as well. South Lakes currently has four tigers, two Sumatran Tigers named Padang and Alisha, who the park hopes will shortly breed, and two larger Amur tigers named Egor and Nina who are described as ambassadors for their species as they are not required for the international breeding programme. The tiger feeding takes place at 2.30 daily and I would recommend going to the tiger enclosures early to claim a good spot as everybody wants to see this and it will get very busy. The African Lions are fed in a similar manner later in the day at 4.15.
In addition to the to the daily big cat feeding the park also provides daily conservation talks during the summer months as the other animals are fed. These take place as follows
1230 Monkeys and Apes
130 - Spectacled Bears
200 - Lemurs you can help with the feeding here
300 - Penguins
345 - Giraffes
As I have outlined above South Lakes is heavily involved in animal conservation projects and these talks are designed to inform visitors not only about the animals in the park but also about the animals in the wild and the projects that the park is involved in. The speakers are extremely well informed ansd these talks are all highly informative.
This is by far the best zoo that I have ever visited and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the Lake District. I would also recommend buying the Guide Book priced a £1.50, this contains a useful park map and absolutely loads on information about all the animals and projects.
Close to the entrance is a well stocked gift shop, Café selling hot and cold drinks, sweets, sandwiches and hot snack food of the burger and chips type variety at reasonable prices, an Ice Cream Kiosk, a wooden picnic area, Male and Female toilets and adjoining the shop are disabled toilets and a baby changing facility. There is also an education building, this was closed on the day of my visit but I presume that this is for the use of school groups and the like. Additionally there is a small adventure playground for the kids and a narrow gauge railway that runs along the center of the park costing 50p for the return trip.
Access for wheelchairs through the park is generally good with wide walkways around the park, ramped access to the shop and the provision of disabled toilets. The park is however rather hilly which may cause some difficulties and this does necessitate some steps within the Australasia section of the park although I believe that a more circuitous route through here is possible.
Opening Times and Admission Costs
From March to October the park is open from 10am to 5pm (last admissions at 4.15) and costs £9.50 for adults and £6 for children aged 3 to 15 and OAPs, customers who are registered blind are entitled to half price entry. From November to February the park is open at the weekends and during the Christmas holidays from 10 to 4.30 and the parks advertising states that entry prices will be reduced but doesnt say what to.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is situated just outside Dalton in Furness at the southwestern tip of the Lake District. By car leave the M6 at junction 36 and follow the A590 towards Barrow. The park is extremely well served by Brown Tourist signs sporting a white elephant and by following these you should find the park easily. The park has a reasonably sized free Car Park at the main entrance. For those traveling by public transport can either take the train to Dalton Station or the bus to Dalton Tudor Square and walk the final half mile or so to the park, but be warned it is up a very steep hill!!!
With rumours abounding that South Park the TV series is on the wane, not reaching the giddily brilliant heights of the first series and losing viewers at an alarming rate, the concept of stretching it to feature length is one to be greeted with caution. But the outcome is surprisingly agreeable. In its fun’n’filthy feature-length form, it provides more than enough choice comic moments to suggest that movies might be the way forward for this particular franchise. And of course a theatrical outing offers flexibility for a string of gags guaranteed to offend almost every audience member at some point. And swearing. Lashings of it. It’s the latter that forms the basis of the plot, as Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny, having been’influenced’ by the movie debut of flatulent Canadian comedy duo Terrence And Phillip, begin turning the air blue, much to the annoyance of their folks. Soon Kyle’s mom launches an anti-Canada campaign which culminates in the arrest of the twosome on national TV and, subsequently, Canada going to war with its American cousins. Meanwhile Kenny, having suffered the inevitably painful death, finally gets his kit off. Creators Parker and Stone use their clever plot to take prescient sideswipes at everything from censorship and parental control to internet porn and Jar Jar Binks, interlaced with a string of perky, hilarious musical numbers which could have come straight off the set of a Disney movie. Like the TV series, when it works (Cartman’s anti-swearing V-chip implant, a fabulous ER send-up featuring the voice of George Clooney), it’s outstanding stuff. However, like a lot of scatological humour, it suffers from a hit-and-miss quality; a subplot featuring Satan and Saddam Hussein as lovers is dragged out far too long, while the absence of key show characters (Jesus, Mr. Hankey, Pip the English kid, etc.) is sorely noticeable. Like the creators’ previous mov
ie outings BASEketball and Orgazmo, South Park movie will annoy and delight in equal measures, before vanishing from memory within seconds of the closing credits. As such it’s best enjoyed late at night surrounded by a large group of show devotees. Preferably ones who know all the words to Kyle’s Mom’s A Bitch.
I vowed after seeing a documentary about some of the worst zoos in Europe that I would never go to one again. However after reading about the ethics of this zoo I decided to go along, attracted by the conservation work they do and the “Cumbria for Excellence” Visitor attraction award they won in 1999. Their work is dedicated to saving endangered species and they are involved in many projects around the world. The Sumatran Tiger trust is one of these, many of the staff there have worked in south Sumatra protecting the tigers from trappers and trying to raise money for the project. The park is at Dalton in Furness near Ulverston and is open every day from 10-6pm, dusk in winter. Admission is £7 for adults £4 for children and when I visited there was a family ticket option to make it more family friendly. Wheelchair users visit free, although I think some parts of the park would be hard to access. The admission includes a guidebook for every 2 adults, which is really informative, giving you a map of the area and detailed information about each animal you will meet along your route. The zoo aims to educate as much as possible, a lot of talks are given by the staff when visitors are gathered at feeding time. There is a schedule starting at about 12.30 with a chance to meet a snake, then giving you the opportunity to hand feed lemurs and witness some of the more unusual methods they have for keeping the animals alert as possible. The animals food is hidden or put in high places in order to make them work for their food as they would in the wild and sounds of their natural habitat are played to make them feel as though they need to look out for predators. The last feeding session is the tigers, preceded by a talk about the project in Sumatra and lots of interesting facts about the differences between the breeds they look after. The food for them is put at the top of a 20ft pole, in order to keep the tigers fit and active, making them use all
of their climbing skills. The park is divided into areas of the world. I liked the Australia/Madagascar section best; most of the animals there are allowed to roam freely within the compound. You may find yourself being scrutinised by an Emu! There are barriers, but they are only a few inches high and are for the privacy of the animals, rather than to benefit the humans. Parrots fly overhead and lemurs swing from tree to tree around you. Other animals at the zoo to name but a few - otters,meercats,rhinos,zebras,giraffe,bats,several kinds of monkeys and lots of wild cats. I can’t recommend this park highly enough for a family day out. The kids will love it and the presentations are educational without being too long or boring for them. The staff are so committed and are only too happy to answer any questions you have. Please go and contribute to their work. Further information is available on this website www.wildanimalpark.co.uk