Super Safari: A review of West Midland Safari Park
With its safari drive through, adventure theme park, land of the living dinosaurs and ice age exhibitions to explore, West Midland Safari Park is a brilliant day out for the whole family. We recently took our two boys (5 year old Olly and our 12 week old baby, Freddie) to the Safari Park and whilst the baby was too young to appreciate any of it, our 5 year old had a fantastic day seeing all the animals and enjoying the theme park rides.
On arrival to the park, we decided to head straight into the safari drive through. This was the main appeal for us and we couldn’t wait to see the animals close up, wandering around in front of us. You can buy some animal feed from the entrance booth to hand feed some of the animals on the safari, this is something my husband and Olly really wanted to do. Only some of the animals on safari can be fed, so watch out for the signposts around the park.
As we entered the safari park, there were various animals being fed in the middle of the road by other visitors and these animals are not shy at all. They will, if they get the opportunity, stick their heads into the car through the window which of course Olly loved watching. My husband fed several eland that seemed to enjoy the free food!
As we drove around the park, we saw Zebras, Congo Buffalo, Greater One Horned Rhino, the Cheetahs, the African Lions as well as the Tigers and Elephants. Our favourite part of the safari was when we were in the Lion enclosure and we saw the pride of lions roaming around to the side of our car. It was so wonderful to watch them and see how big they are in real life. Olly remarked that they looked smaller on the television. It was incredible to see the animals just metres away from us.
At all times we felt incredibly safe with staff in jeeps keeping an eye on all the animals (and the general public). It’s worth pointing out that you can’t leave your car whilst on safari which takes around an hour and fifteen minutes to drive around so make sure you all don’t need the toilet and you have plenty of petrol in the tank!
After the safari we parked the car and had a toilet and refreshment break. It was the first Saturday of the Easter holidays so the park was busy but not uncomfortably busy. We decided to buy our lunch in the park but of course you can take a picnic to save the pennies!
New for Easter 2018 is the Ice Age exhibition which takes you back millions of years ago to the time when prehistoric creatures roamed the earth. The exhibits are enormous towering above the paths with facts, information and fossils dotted around. Olly particularly enjoyed walking through the volcano and the ice cave and couldn’t believe he spotted an actual fossil!
After the Ice Age exhibition we wandered around the Land of the Living Dinosaurs where a brilliant selection of life-size dinosaurs come to life with sound and movement. We were really impressed with the dinosaurs and for dino-mad little ones, this is a fantastic experience for them to walk amongst the prehistoric creatures and take in what they would have sounded like. There’s also a sandpit where little ones are encouraged to dig for fossils and hidden treasure.
As we ventured further into the adventure theme park we came across the reptile house with its snakes and crocodiles. We spotted the penguins at penguin cove and had just missed the fun at the Sea Lion Theatre where there are daily shows to enjoy. We also gave the Lorikeet house a miss as unfortunately I’m a little bit afraid of flying birds, maybe one day I’ll brave it to see the colourful flock in action.
After seeing all the animals and taking in the exhibitions, it was time to try out some of the rides which are an additional cost. There are plenty of signs around the park to let you know which rides are suitable for each member of the family as there are quite a few bigger rides as well as smaller ones for younger visitors. Our five year old Olly is just over 1.2 metres tall so was able to enjoy some of the smaller rides. You can buy tickets or wristbands for the rides but the wristbands work out much better value for money if you’re planning on going on more than two or three rides.
Olly loved putting out a fire at Rescue Fire Rangers, whizz around a trail in a safari jeep at the Desert Convoy, giggled his way around the African Big Apple Coaster and loved the Flying Lion Kings. My husband isn’t a huge fan of rides but was perfectly happy to enjoy the smaller, more tame rides to accompany our son.
We ended our day with a run around in Boj Gigglypark. A brilliant multi-sensory play area for little ones with five multi-sensory interactive zones based on the adventures of Boj, from Cbeebies and S4C fame! Olly loved this playground and we spent the last half an hour of our visit here. There’s Boj’s Burrow to explore, music to make, a running track to enjoy and a bouncy trampoline. There’s even toilets and a baby change in this area which was really convenient for us as well as a refreshments van and picnic benches.
Although some areas of the park are a little worn down and could do with a refresh, it didn’t detract from the fun. There are plenty of food kiosks, toilets and picnic benches dotted around the park and I found it very pushchair friendly with wide paths and baby changes.
As family days out go, we all had a wonderful time at West Midland Safari Park. We loved seeing the animals on safari, the walk-through exhibitions are fascinating and the theme park rides are enjoyable with something for the whole family. It’s also worth mentioning that paying guests receive a free return ticket so that’s two days out for the price of one, such great value! We’ll definitely be back.