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Spring Grove, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 1LF
Adults (16-64yrs): £19.99; Children (3-15yrs): £14.99.
See website for times, Open Feb-Nov only.
West Midland Safari & Leisure Park is an award-winning family attraction, which really is the perfect kids' day out in Worcestershire.
It combines a four-mile self-drive safari park with Discovery Trail, live shows, African Village and Theme Park. A new animatronic dinosaur attraction opened in March 2015, which lets you walk amongst moving, life-sized models.
Hundreds of magical animal encounters are included in the standard admission charge, which comes with a free return ticket. We have the largest pride of stunning white lions and the largest group of cheetah, plus there's rhino, white tigers, giraffe and elephants. Under-3s are free.
But it's not just about animals. The Theme Park is packed with some great family attractions including two water rides (Zambezi Water Splash and Wild River Rapids), Venom, Rhino Rollercoaster and Twister.
Theme park rides cost extra.
Times and prices are subject to change. Contact venue before setting out.
We returned in May half term to see the new £2.5m dinosaur attraction. This is tucked just beyond the Sea Lions, on the way to the roller coasters.
If you have a dinosaur-mad child, this is a properly fantastic opportunity to let them show off their knowledge. I was rather gobsmacked to be educated about the facial features of an apatosaurus by my very animated 8-year-old...even if I had to simultaneously pacify my scared 3-year-old who spent the walk face-buried in his dad's neck.
You walk amongst dinosaurs from the Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, and it really does bring their size and scale to life. The robots aren't absolutely realistic - they swish their tails, move their heads and emit rumbling growls - but would you want them to be? The proportions of the utterly enormous Sarcosuchus super-crocodile are terrifying!
Now, a preliminary look at TripAdvisor revealed a lot of complaints about the long delays through the safari park. There are good grounds for this - it took 10 minutes short of THREE hours to drive through the park. It was jolly lucky we had our picnic with us. So, if visiting during bank holidays or busy summer weekends, consider visiting the fairground attractions/sealions in the morning and the safari in the afternoon when it seemed pretty civilised. And keep your good temper - the cause of our delay turned out to be some cheeky giraffes at the final gate who wouldn't budge until they'd been hand-fed by the inhabitants of each car.
We had a fantastic day out at West Midlands Safari Park, on the first day of the Easter holidays.
We opted to go straight into the theme park because our boys wanted a run-around after the drive, and were surprised to have the whole place to ourselves. We were handed an Easter Eggstravanganza treasure hunt quiz which gave us some structure and we were off.
The penguins were good fun (nothing like Pingu, DS2 found to his surprise!) and we were rather amazed to find real alligators and some absolutely enormous boa constrictors in the Reptile House, as well as poison dart frogs and some impressive pythons. The enclosures are well thought-out and make the animals visible even to knee-high tots.
Before very long, though, we were at the theme park rides, which I'm afraid dissolved all interest in the poor animals for a while. My three (aged 2,4 and 6) absolutely adored every minute.
We had multi-ride wristbands, which are worth investing in - if we'd gone for single tickets, we'd have spent too much of the morning in deep discussion with the four-year-old about how he needed to research the rides and make his decisions about which ones to go on in advance. (aargh!) As it was, they just went round and around different rides having a whale of a time. There are clear height restrictions, but we found WMSP perfect for kids of our age-group (unlike some of the other theme parks I think). I went with the six-year-old and four-year-old on the log-flume and we had a fab time getting soaked. The rhino roller-coaster was a hit with the four-year-old, and my husband went solo on Venom, a stomach-lurching vertical drop.
You do have to walk to the far end to find the toddler park though. My 2-year-old adored flying aeroplanes, pandas (?!) and the magic carpet, as well as being a steam-train driver.
We found the staff extremely well-trained, patient, and good-humoured. Some even let us have another go for free when it was quiet - which made us feel very privileged! But children should be warned - they were very strict when we tried to claim our Easter Egg prize. We had missed out a couple of clues but could easily guess the magic answer, but we weren't allowed a chocolate egg until we'd done it all properly (fair enough!).
We finally detached ourselves, and ate our picnic (picnic table near the car park) before heading off for the safari park. We probably should have done this first, really, as it was really busy at midday, which meant you had about 20-30 cars in an enclosure, all waiting to feed the giraffes with special animal food you're encouraged to buy at the start, by holding handfuls of feed out of the car window. I'm not sure if the feeding-animals bit is such a good idea. There are rules about which animals you can and can't feed, but people can be really, really stupid. We saw one family hurling their sandwiches at some deer, another trying to feed camels (against the rules), and one boy-racer trying to hoot, then nudge an inquisitive buck out of the way…with his car (idiot).
However, the children loved doing it, and it is amazing to get so close to some magnificent animals. We were particularly taken by the white rhino, the cheetah, two young African elephant and the pride of white lion (munching companionably on a haunch of meat). The tigers kept themselves slightly out of view, which we didn't mind really, as it added to the sense of the animals having some autonomy.
We arrived back in the park for "one last go" on the rides and to see the Sea Lion display. This time, we discovered the pod of hippos from a viewing platform. The kids were really awed by their size and their intimidating open-wide jaws. We had a run around the African Village, where you can see meerkats, goats and lemurs, before heading back for another exciting trip on the wild water rapids.
It was a really happy day out, with something for everyone. We had been unceasingly entertained from 10am until 5.30pm, which is no mean feat. We will definitely be taking them up on the free return trip!
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