We were lucky enough to be invited to a Jungle Dogs launch party at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park earlier in the week. After lunch we had the rest of the day to enjoy what the Safari and Adventure Park had to offer. The perfect place to spend an afternoon with a nearly 4-year-old Monkey son.
I hadn’t been to Longleat for a very long time, it’s set in wonderful countryside in the heart of Wiltshire and is over a 2 hour drive for us, but I knew Monkey would find plenty to keep him amused and it would be worth the trip.
My top tip: arrive early, the park opens at 10am. We arrived at 11am and it took 30 minutes before we got to the ticket kiosks to get access into the park. Worth taking into account if you have small children. I do have to say that all the staff we encountered during the day were very helpful.
It was 1.30 when we left the Jungle Dogs event, we thought that the Safari Park drive would probably be at its busiest, so we decided to explore the Adventure Park first.
Monkey had spotted something as we queued to get into the Park and was very eager to meet the person in question!
We made a beeline to the Postman Pat Village, Monkey, a big PP fan was very excited. The Postman Pat Village is a wonderful miniature Greendale village, home to Pat and his neighbours from the series. There is even a station for the Greendale Rocket. If you ask at the shop, you get 5 envelopes to post around the village – Monkey loved doing this, again and again! There are a number of interactive buttons to press around the village, with moving characters and vocals. We visited the village 3 times during the afternoon!
When I finally convinced Monkey that we really should explore the whole Park!! we figured that the Jungle Express train would be a good way to get our bearings.
Monkey loved the train ride and it was a great way to see the sights. We headed off to look at the smaller wild animals ……
We saw lots of lovely animals in the Jungle Kingdom – porcupines were a new experience for Monkey. He decided he didn’t want to meet any other Monkey’s so we missed the Monkey Kingdom! We saw the penguins but Monkey didn’t want to go inside the Penguin Island – a shame, as you can apparently now see above and below the waterline with large viewing windows. There is also a Stingray Bay which reminded me of our visit to Sea Life Centre in London – I find stingrays fascinating. We also visited the mini beasts in Animal Adventure.
By the time we’d had a good look round it was time for a well deserved ice cream (not over priced either!). We found a tranquil spot in the Secret Garden and settled down to enjoy our iced delights.
If Daddy P had been with us I might have headed for the various attractions in the courtyard – King Arthur’s Mirror Maze, Meet my Ancestors, Family Bygones Exhibition and Your Link to History. I would also have loved to visit Longleat House, but will save that for another visit.
It was now time for us to do our Safari Drive, I was a little nervous, as this was going to be my first time doing the driving! I removed Monkey’s sunscreen from his window and we were off. We’d picked the perfect time of day – it was 3.30pm and the Safari Park was much quieter than I’d expected.
As we entered the Safari Park we were given a brilliant, FREE, CD with a running commentary from Deadly Safari host Steve Backshall. As Monkey is still quite small we’ve not really come across Steve Backshall or the Deadly ….. series before, although I have heard other bloggers rave about it, so will have to investigate further. I think the CD is a great idea, especially for children – we really enjoyed listening to it. You can take part in a Deadly Challenge throughout the Safari Park, but we gave this a miss this time.
I didn’t want to risk some real Monkey’s wanting to get close and personal to my Monkey and our car, so we took a detour around the Monkey Driver Thru!
We had a wonderful adventure – the highlight for both of us being the beautiful Tigers – we were treated to 4 tigers, all wide awake and roaming close to our car – it was such a treat.
We spent over an hour in the Safari Park and we both enjoyed the experience. There was no pressure to move on, and we could spend time gazing at the Deer, Lions, Tigers, Rhino, Camels and Giraffe. We both love seeing these kinds of wild animals as you’ll know from our Whipsnade post earlier in the year. This was a real treat, to get so close to all these formidable beasts. Photo’s just don’t do them justice.
We parked our car again, and headed back to Jungle Kingdom and made our way to the Jungle Cruise – Monkey was convinced we would see Andy from the Cbeebies programme Andy’s Wild Adventures. Sadly, we didn’t but we had a great trip around the lake – saw some hippos, gorillas, pelicans and sea lions.
Before we knew it our day was over and it was time to head home. It had been a memorable day and I’m sure we’ll be back again. There are certainly a number of areas that we either just didn’t get to or that I felt Monkey was too young to fully enjoy.
To find out more about Longleat Safari and Adventure Park – visit their website here.
disclaimer: we were given free entry into Longleat following a Jungle Dogs event, our comments however remain our own honest opinions.