Sunday 1 February 2015

Braving the cold at The New Forest Wildlife Park

Despite the chilly weather conditions we decided to venture out of Dorset and visit The New Forest Wildlife Park which is located as the name suggests in the beautiful surroundings of the New Forest.

We paid £10.50 per adult and Elliot was free as he is under 3. This is really good value when you compare to other wildlife parks in the area. There was plenty of parking when we arrived and the Woodland Restaurant looked very inviting as we approached the entrance! More on that later...

Our first animal encounter was in the shape of an otter and it was fun to watch him jumping in and out of the water. Elliot loved it because the otter kept coming right up close to the glass so he got a great view of him! The park has several different types of otter, many of which are rescue otters.

The park is wheelchair and buggy friendly but we did have to jump over a few big muddy puddles yesterday so wellies are definitely a good idea! (That Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for!!)

The park has different keeper talks throughout the day and we were in time to catch the giant otters being fed. The park was really quiet so we were able to chat to the keeper and he was very informative, telling us about how fussy one of the otters is. Apparently he's a real fan of trout and will turn his nose up at other fish that is offered to him! We also met two smaller otters who just couldn't wait for their dinner, one was trying to bury under his enclosure to get to the fish and the other was climbing the fence and making a really loud squeaky noise, you could almost hear him saying "I'm hungry!! Feed me now!"

The wildlife park has two types of deer and we met a couple of the Fallow Deer who were roaming around in the deer encounter area. Elliot automatically said they were bambi's! We also saw lots of different varieties of owl, including my favourite the Barn Owl.

Next up was a creature that I definitely didn't expect to see in the New Forest - bison! One of them was stood right next to the fence scratching his head on a tree and it was pretty amazing to see him up close. Elliot however was not a fan! He refused to go near it and just hid behind my back!!

If adventure playgrounds are your thing then you will have loads of fun swinging and climbing in the "Go Wild" play area. Elliot was a little young for this section (aimed at kids 6+) but we did have a laugh watching Daddy on the zip wire...and then falling off the zip wire haha! Fortunately for Elliot there was a mini Go Wild playarea for little 'uns which had plenty of things to keep him busy - he loved playing in the sandpit with the buckets and spades!

We were lucky enough to catch the Lynx keeper talk and it was interesting to hear that a reintroduction to the UK is being considered. I've never seen one up close before and their ears are amazing!

We also saw some "big black pigs" (wild boars!) and Elliot really liked watching these, especially the one who had an itchy back and kept rubbing it on a tree!

Sadly we didn't spot any wolves in the Wolf enclosure (or werewolves as Elliot calls them) but we did see lots of other creatures including wallaby, ram, polecat, badgers and a fox!

On our way to the toddler playground we spotted 'Bug -ingham Palace' , a bug hotel which kids can help build. Elliot loved picking up sticks and finding holes to poke them into. Dread to think what was lurking inside!

Our day ended with lunch in the Woodland restuarant where the boys tucked into jacket spuds and a yummy panini for me. Everything was reasonably priced and freshly made. Managed to resist the cream teas!

A quick stop in the gift shop for a rubber rat (Elliot had the pick of the animals and he wanted a rat?!) and we were on our way to Dorset.

We really enjoyed visiting the park and will definitely return in the warmer weather when the Butterfly House is open. We liked the fact it wasn't busy and there was lots of space for an excited toddler to run about! Perhaps next time my husband won't be so quick to go on the zip wire though ;)

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  1. Love this! Looks like you had lots of fun! thanks for sharing :) x x x

  2. Looks beautiful! Thanks for linking up x

  3. This sounds like a great day out with a good variety of animals to see. I'm not surprised Elliot was scared of the bison though - they are BIG! I particularly love the wild boar but then I am a bit of a fan of pigs ... and we currently have 6 here including 2 piglets.

    Thank yo very much for joining in with #AnimalTales ... I think you have brought us our first otters!

  4. I don't like zoos but I'm a fan of the New Forest Wildlife Park. I took my kids there when they were little and hope to take them back again next time we go to the New Forest.

  5. Lucas says - What an AWESOME place. I love Wolves too and I sometimes call them Werewolves too! Wolves are my favourite animal, apart from Ash the Dog. Looks like you had a great day seeing all those cool animals. #animaltales


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