Sunday, 20 January 2013

Britain's Best Days Out – Woburn Safari Park

We were very lucky to be sent a family ticket to Woburn Safari Park courtesy of Money Saving Expert and Tots 100 and their 'Britain's Best Days Out' promotion. We jumped at the chance for a family day out together during the Christmas break. I was curious to find out how a trip to a safari park in chilly December would work out but my fears of shivering monkeys hiding in their houses were unfounded – turns out winter is the time to go!!

On entering the park we decided to explore the safari element first and started the drive:

On the look out for some friends for giraffe!

We saw rhinos, emus, buffalo and elephants all strolling about and typically my 3 year old was very excited about the ducks on the pond!

We had a great view all the way around, there were hardly any cars there so we could tour at our leisure and stop for as long as we liked next to pacing tigers, lazy bears and curious monkeys. The highlight for me as a child at safari parks was always the monkeys jumping up on the cars. They didn't disappoint! One jumped onto the bonnet then climbed round to the wing mirror to get a closer look at my giggling daughter. Then he jumped on the roof for a ride causing excited squeals inside our car!

We also had a touch of extra excitement at the lion enclosure as the keepers closed the gate and a jeep told us to follow him out the side exit. Oooo we thought... what could be happening??! Luckily as it was so quiet we went round again and this time were allowed into the lions den. Here we found the beautiful (and huge) lionesses up on the hill looking down, just as curious as us, to see what was going on. It seemed as though the male had been taken inside for some reason. Probably something mundane like tea time but we made up some great alternative stories.

We followed our way out of the safari drive but our day was far from over as there is a fantastic foot safari area.

Some zoos, are really spread out but as the animals who need the space here have the safari area, this foot section is compact and the perfect size to explore with little ones. It's nicely laid out for exploring and more like a petting zoo but with exciting animals!

A big fan of the film 'Madagascar' my daughter was desperate to go through the walk through lemurs so we headed there first to avoid any nagging. On the way we saw tortoises and snakes, and were followed along the fence by free roaming marmosets.

The lemur walk through is fantastic, you have to leave buggies outside these enclosures but it's a short walk to retrieve them. You walk down a wooden walkway which in itself is an adventure for a toddler! The lemurs were all lazing about on the handrails looking like they weren't all too impressed with the English weather. It's fantastic just how close you can get to these animals. When they do perk up they make such a racket you wouldn't believe it.

On exiting we were at the base of the penguin pool where we were able to watch them swim underwater, it's not a huge pool but big enough, and at this time of year we had it all to ourselves. We sat here, just us, eating our lunch and watching the penguins play. My little girl adored it - every time she sat at the window, one came down to chat to her!

After a quick walk through the goats and a look at the river hogs we decided it was time to warm up a bit and went into the soft play indoor area. I normally avoid these bits on days out but in the winter it seemed like a good idea! Daddy and I enjoyed a hot cuppa while Squiggle had fun playing in the ball pit.

We had a couple more walk through areas to visit – the squirrel monkeys and wallabies – so once we had finally coaxed her out on we went!

The walk round 'monkey business' area here has to be one of my favourite parts, they are so playful and the staff are happy for a chat and answer questions. Last time we visited we had a slight mishap when one of the cheeky creatures went to the toilet on my daughters head – this time I was prepared and didn't linger under any trees!!

When we had first parked up we purchased tickets to the sea lion and 3d indoor show. Had it not been winter I might have skipped this as there are plenty of other things to do in the park. The sea lion show was great though and the 3D film was Christmas themed so my daughter enjoyed it. If you do go in the winter though don't expect to warm up in there... brrrrrr!!

With an exhausted but happy child it was time to head home and we still hadn't fitted in the walk round bird enclosure where you can feed them nectar, or any of the bird shows.

We had an absolutely wonderful day, completely relaxing, interesting, and full of memories.

I absolutely loved Woburn, there's no 'exit through the gift shop' attitude, it's the perfect size for little ones to explore, and the animals seem well cared for. If you do choose to visit the shop it has a nice selection of relevant toys and there are a couple of places to eat available. I wouldn't rave about these but I'm more of a picnic person and here you are never too far from the car to head back for your sandwiches!

We will visit time and time again I'm sure and I am definitely going to do another Christmas treat visit next year.


  1. what a brilliant review its changed a lot since I went there

    1. Thanks Claire! We used to go as children and they have massively improved it since then, a great day out x

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