Over half term we went to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. I’ve not been before and it’s only forty minutes away from our home!
Family days out, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, don’t always go as perfectly as you’d like them to, so keeping it real, here is an account of our day.
Sign blindness! You know when you’re trying to follow signs to somewhere and then trying to figure out which is the correct entrance and queue or car park! Trying to figure out where you’ve got to go, or what you’ve got to do! It means our family day out starts with my husband and I in a mood. I get frustrated with him as he can’t follow directions and he gets annoyed with me as I gesture madly the turn he should have taken.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is easy to find and clearly signposted from the roads. There is a relatively short driveway, straight up to the entrance payment kiosks, where you can pay by cash or card from the comfort of your car. Rather than unloading everyone and the first attraction being the entrance queue with the kids!
You are then directed by happy staff along to the next empty parking spot. From there, as you’re in and paid, you just set off in which ever direction you fancy!
The park is quite open, you can see some of the animals in the distance from the grass car park. Most impressive is the white rhinos on the lawn in front of the Manor House. The park is easy to walk around, push a buggie or wheelchair around and if you get tired of walking, there is a little train that takes you on a loop around the park.
Our favourite by far, was the impressive giraffes. It was the closest I’ve ever been to one! There is a walkway that takes you in to their enclosure, to stand next to them at head height. They seemed totally unfazed by the visitors and were munching away inside and then sauntered outside to take a look around. They are incredible, beautiful creatures!
The walled garden is gorgeous, with beautiful flowers and that’s where you’ll find the cute penguins and funny meerkats.
Our eldest Monroe loves Monkeys, but Lorne our little one was rather wary of them. Especially the noisy ones chattering loudly and swinging around excitedly, as they knew it was nearly feeding time!
When it came to our feeding time, we noticed loads of people were tucking in to picnics at one of the many seating areas provided, or on the lawn in front of the manor house with the white rhinos and zebras in view. I hadn’t been that organised! I was little hungover and hadn’t really planned ahead. So unfortunately we had to join the very long queue for the cafe. My husband and toddler were ‘hangry’ and we nearly had to call it a day! Luckily everyone managed to hold it together long enough to get through the 40 minute wait in line. The food was okay and there was a good choice of freshly made meals or snacks at a moderate price for a animal type theme park. We will definitely take a picnic next time though!
After we’d eaten, it was time to let our little monkeys run free! The kids park area is fantastic. There is a huge adventure playground with an amazing ‘Skymaze’ with interconnecting treehouses, bridges and slides! I was nervous watching Monroe as he sat perched at the top of a slide with a scary looking vertical drop, he went for it though!
We really enjoyed our family fun day out! In conclusion, it’s easy to access, well managed, nicely kept, a moderate entrance fee and a great place to go with family of all generations, friends and even without kids! We’ll definitely be going back in the summer holidays!