My close friends will already know how much I love animals (mainly the furry ones, not the reptiles so much), so this weekend Adam and I visited the Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. I stumbled across the park a few months ago, and have wanted to visit ever since. So off we went!
Tickets cost £15.95 per adult / £14.30 per child, but you can save 10% by booking online in advance. Make sure you tick the gift aid box too to ensure the park can reclaim 25p tax for every £1 spent!
Once through the Welcome Centre, you’ll notice the site is split into two main areas. The west side of the grounds contains the actual Wildlife Park, whereas the east side has a Woodland Walk & Railway, along with a random Speedway Museum and kids play area.
You’ll be given a handy map upon entry which also includes feeding and talk times, so make sure you keep a hold of it. At the time of our visit the Woodland Walk was closed due to renovations. A new World of Dinosaurs exhibit was also under way, due to open in Easter 2018.
The park comprises of a few zones, easily navigated by your trusty map. Although the Wildlife Park wasn’t that big, and there were limited amounts of certain animals – mainly the big cats – it was still a good day out that I’d highly recommend. Prices weren’t extortionate, and if you can time your visit like us, when there is barely anyone else around, then you’ll have plenty of time to wander at your own leisure without disturbances.
We came across several animal keepers that were happily chatting away to visitors. Whoever the keeper was who looked after the two albino ferrets, he was very informative, although I did have to laugh when he mentioned that they are unable to tell the difference between them as they have no identifiable markings whatsoever.
So, what animals are you likely to see in the park? Here’s a quick summary:
Small Mammals – Our first animal sighting was the lemur enclosure. I love a good lemur and there were quite a few here! They were tucked up asleep when we arrived, but thankfully wide awake as we passed them again on our way out.
Hooves and Humps – No kidding, this was actually what this area was called! Here we saw a whole heap of animals including Meerkats, a lone Wolf, Zebra, Tapirs, Camels, Alpacas, and Emus. There was an overhead viewing deck above the tapirs too.
Penguin Enclosure – Located behind the Hooves and Humps crowd, you’ll find everyone’s favourite, the Penguins! There were quite a few Penguins waddling around, and I loved that there were two viewing levels here to help ensure you could see fully into their enclosure.
Amazon and Beyond – this area mainly contained primates. An Armadillo, Tamarin, Marmoset, Squirrel Monkeys, Gibbons – and my all-time favourite, sloths! Sadly the sloths were huddled in their box at the back of the enclosure, so we could see nothing more of them other than their furry bottoms!
Big Cat Territory – On the west side of the park is the cool Tiger Treetops zone. Here you’ll find a Snow Leopard, Jaguar, Tigers, Cheetah, White Lion. This section was impressive, but you’ll need to be lucky and hope the cats are out of their enclosures.
Birds at Paradise – Here you’ll find a selection of birds, as well as the lovely owls. In the centre of this zone is a good size bird show arena, flanked by benches on three sides for guests to sit and watch, and sitting is probably the safest option! Whilst standing up I had a lucky escape, with one owl flying a little too close to my head! Thankfully I’m short and he only skimmed my hair. It happened so quickly I could barely duck in time.
Angkor Wat Reptile Temple – This fun take on Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples is home to all the reptiles. My least favourite part, here you’ll find the Alligator, Snakes, Lizards, Dragons, Tarantula, Toads and some other pesky insects.
Check the reverse of your map for a list of daily talks, feeding sessions, and shows. All sessions are free and visitors can join as they wish. The talks and feedings sessions ran from 10:45 until 16:00, almost every 15-30 minutes and covered the majority of the animals that can be seen in the park. I would really recommend you join you a few of these, as they were both insightful, informative, and pretty much guarantees a good animal sighting!
We joined the Red Panda talk, and tried to join the Big Cat talk, but for some reason no-one showed up to host this talk which was disappointing. I would have loved to have heard the Penguin talk too, but sadly that wasn’t scheduled until later in the afternoon.
A great way to help support the animal conservation projects is by adopting an animal. Prices were pretty steep at £75, however this did include two adult tickets (which would retail at the value of £32) so you can come back and visit your adoptive friend another time. You’ll also have your name proudly displayed on a plaque outside your adoptive animal’s pen!
Why not watch a small video I put together from our day out at the park. Nothing fancy, but a fun little montage of our animal sightings.
Well actually, quite a lot to be honest. There’s a number of other things going on in the park too…
Gift Shop – All your animal memorabilia can be purchased here. Toys, pens, bags, postcards – you name it!
Feeding Station – For £1 you can buy a bag of food to feed a selection of animals, I’m pretty sure this was just some chopped up veg. There are certain animals you can and cannot feed, so keep an eye out for the comical ‘please don’t feed me, I’m on a diet’ signs dotted around.
On Safari Golf – I’m a big fan of mini golf and would have totally got involved if it wasn’t nearly freezing temperatures! A small but fun looking golf course was available for a quick time out from the zoo. Golf clubs can be borrowed from the gift shop.
Tractor Rides – Perfect for small children or the elderly, this slow-moving tractor takes you on a loop of the park along the Outback Trail.
Woodlands Railway – Currently under renovation, this railway takes you along the Woodland Path.
Adventure Land – It’s like the fun is never ending here! In case your kids haven’t had enough fun yet, they can run out the last of their energy in the play area behind the Pirates Cove.
Discovery Centre – A unique off-site work space that can be hired for events, conferences, and even weddings. Yes, that’s right. You can get hitched in the zoo!
Why not plan your own visit in 2018 and support the animals of Paradise Wildlife Park!