Who would have thought that in the Bedfordshire countryside a pride of lions, herd of elephants and many more animals would be roaming free? Ok, they’re not technically running riot but in the safety of Woburn Safari Park, where visitors can come up close to almighty wildlife you’d expect to see in an African National Park.
I visited with my almost three-year-old nephew, Teddy, and his mum. We started our drive through the animal enclosure, spotting antelope and our first exciting close up; a rhino! It was then a gentle drive by the elephants who were entertaining visitors by throwing mud over themselves. A quick Google and apparently they use it as sunscreen!
Our excitement built as we entered the wildcat enclosure, eagerly awaiting a sighting. I loudly read the signs that said: “Do not feed. Keep windows closed.” I followed it up with some roaring, which in hindsight was probably a bit much for the toddler seated in the back, as at the first glimpse of a tiger he declared: “I’m sad and I want to go home.” His mum & I were however gripped, in awe of the giant striped creature that prowled in front of the car. I must admit I was a bit scared myself, I’ve never been so close to a tiger without the protection of secure metal bars. The lions were a little disappointing as they lazily slept in the sunshine.
The monkeys provided more entertainment as they swung from trees and cradled their cute babies. The giraffes were gentle giants, practically performing for the queues of cars as they crossed the road and peered into vehicles.
We parked up and explored the rest of the attraction, viewing otters, seals, leemars and petting farmyard animals. We picked up lunch from the restaurant, but there’s plenty of seating if you wish to bring your own picnic. We worked off lunch with a jump on the bouncy castle.
Unfortunately, Teddy was too short to experience the swan boats on the lake, but we had great fun watching the wallabies in the ‘Australian Walkabout’; another close up encounter. I thought they were kanagroos, which resulted in me losing the bet and buying a round of ice creams! If you have time, hop aboard the train that takes you on a journey around the park.
I asked a tired Teddy at the end of the day, “What was your favourite bit?” He replied: “Errrr…bouncing!” Then he fell asleep.
We were lucky enough to visit on a warm day but Woburn Safari Park can be enjoyed year round. There’s plenty to keep toddlers, children and teens entertained, and even adults too!