on June 30, 2009
South Lakes Wild Animal Park is about 10 minutes away from us, so we visit at least twice a year, and we are never bored. It’s not so much a zoo as an animal experience.How to get thereThe zoo is in Dalton in Furness, a small town in South Cumbria. It’s about 30 minutes from the M6 motorway along the A590, or you can get there by train or bus. If you’re using public transport you’ll have a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest bus stop and a 20-30 minute walk from the train station. There’s a free car park, unfortunately this isn’t the biggest car park in the world and gets full rather quickly. There is an overflow car park and staff will be out to direct traffic is necessary, the over flow car park is a couple of minutes walk from the zoo entrance.Admission InformationAdult: £11.50 Child 3-15: £8.00 OAP: £8.00 Under3's: FREE Friend of the Park: £1.50 Opening Times 4th April 2009 - 1st November 2009 10am - 5.00pm Last admission 4.15pmThe park is fairly unique in that many of the animals are free roaming, or are allowed to roam within their own areas in amongst the visitors. The free roaming animals are found in the Australasia section of the park, with lemurs, kangaroos, emus, etc. Food can be purchased at 50p a bag to feed the emus and the ducks. The lemurs are the only animals in that section that cannot be fed or stroked by visitors. The lemurs are the funniest animals in the zoo, they pretty much go wherever they choose, and are not afraid of people at all but they can bite, which is the reason you’re not allowed to feed them. Being approached by an emu can be a little scary at first, but they are quite gentle when taking the food from your hand. Also in that section there is a large walk in aviary, with parrot and vultures, visitors can watch the vultures being fed daily. This bit is only open to walkthrough when the keeper is there, if you go early in the morning you might find that the keepers are all busy elsewhere, in which case you can view the birds from outside the aviary. Another great feature of the park is the high walk ways. These allow visitors to see the animals from above, and in the case of the tigers on their climbing frame, the visitors can see them on the same level with no bars to spoil the view. The owner of the park also began the Sumatran Tiger Trust, so every day there is a talk on the work of the trust just before the tiger feeding. The zoo is quite proud of the way in which the tigers and lions are fed. It is unique in that the meat is attached to 6 metre poles and the cats have to climb for their food. This stops the cats becoming overweight because they actually have to work for their food. During the summer the walkways can get very crowded because everyone wants to see the cats climbing, so you’d be just as well to get to the walkway early and hang around for a while. It might seem a bit boring, but the wait is worth it, to see the power in the animals.The park is great for kids, as well as being able to feed the emus, ducks etc, they are able to join in with the lemur feeding under the supervision of the park staff. They can also help to feed the penguins and giraffes. They also have a ‘Meet the Snake’ time, where visitors can see a snake close up, and have the opportunity to stroke one.FoodThere are indoor and outdoor tables for taking picnics, and there’s also a restaurant on the site. They serve a limited range of hot foods, but they’re all of good quality, and they have a selection of cold snacks.Beware though, there are no lockers in the zoo, so you’ll either have to carry your picnic around, or you will have to leave it in the car until you are ready to eat.AccessibilityThe zoo is fully accessible for the disabled. There are very few steps on the walkways, and where there are a couple of steps they have a ramp beside them. The elevated walkways are all accessed by walking up ramps.It might not be the biggest zoo in the world, but I think it is the best thought out and the owner is interested in the conservation of animals not just creating a tourist attraction.
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