Our favourite place to go and see animals up close is without a doubt, Paradise Wildlife Park. We have visited before and it left quite an impression, you can read all about that experience here This time around, we were invited to try their Snooze At The Zoo experience – essentially a zoo sleepover – and I didn’t have to ask the boys twice!
We went during the recent half-term so it coincided with Hallowe’en which lent our visit an extra special vibe.
As my hubby is not very animally (that’s a word, right?) we took my lovely friend Kirsty and her son Kai, who is one of Harry’s closest friends. What a fantastic time we had!
Here’s our vlog of the experience, go have a watch and come back for lots more pics and details!
Ok, so essentially, this is THE coolest gift for a birthday or any special occasion. We saw people there doing a ‘Meet The Lemurs’ experience which gives you a chance to get up close and personal with them in their own habitat.
Actually, there were people doing so many interactions, it was a bustling hive of activity – no wonder this is the leading zoo in Europe for animal experiences!
As far as ours was concerned, we were treated to the VIP package – we had a two full days in the park (included in the price), after hours play in the playgrounds and paradise lagoon, crazy golf, animal feeding bags, a ride on the woodland railway and our overnight in the lovely Zebra suite!
At night when the zoo closed and we made the most of our exclusive early evening use of the play areas, we headed out a few short miles away and enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant, as there is no on site dining after hours. This was made all the more exciting as we got our own fob to let us in and out as we pleased. We didn’t even have pudding after our meal, we were so keen to get back to our Zebra Suite!
Really spacious and SUCH comfy beds, we had a lovely evening. Prosecco for the mummies (obvs!) and snacks and treats for the kids as we enjoyed an X-Factor and chatting night in. We were all exhausted after our full day at the park and were so excited for our treetop breakfast the next morning we couldn’t wait to get to sleep!
As we got all packed up next day, we heard this almighty, ground-shaking roar and once we got over the initial shock, we were sure it was sounds piped in to give us a more authentic experience….but no! As we made our way to breakfast we were treated to it several more times and it was indeed the incredible roar of the lions which echoed eerily through the early morning mist.
Now, at the forefront of our minds – and especially my animal-loving friends Kirsty’s – was the well-being of all these magnificent animals around this zoo.
Zoos in general, prompt a moral question really….is it really okay for these fine beasts to be kept in captivity? Well, we certainly asked lots of probing questions and we scrutinised the animals habits and behaviour that weekend. What we found was that, other than the overwhelming sense of family we were enveloped in at Paradise, the animals were largely rescued from life-threatening situations or are being snuffed out by money-hungry humans in the wild so are therefore sheltered and nurtured here at the park.
The darling gent who gives the daily Big Cat talk speaks tear-jerkingly of how he hand reared a lion here in his younger days and spent most nights nurturing and – when necessary – nursing his furry friend until he was no longer allowed to due to obvious safety regulations and sadly in time, his best friend passed away in old age. I mean, this is the stuff my kids only usually hear about on deadly 60 or the like but here we have it to enjoy in real life – it is quite the life-changing experience I have to say.
So back to our brekkie! We were treated to a lovely warming continental breakfast in the Treetops cafe, EXCLUSIVELY for us!!! We were so fortunate that our trip fell on a rare weekend where we were the only sleepover booked, so we had the place to ourselves, which made it all the more special.
We watched the three majestic tigers loll around and play as we ate and observed in awe.
Despite all of the amazing encounters we had through this whole visit, I think this was the highlight for us all. Well, that and getting to see my favourite boy of all, Baikal, the white tiger I fell in love with on my last visit.
He really is a splendid creature, my ambition is to do the big cat feeding experience with him. He is all kinds of awesome, I never tire of watching him pad around and play on the multi-level area he has as his own kinda kingdom.
Something that really amazes me at Paradise is how they manage to fit in so many aspects other than animals – it’s crazy! Mini-golf, train rides, play areas, a woodland walk, bouncy castle area – there truly is just so much to do over and above the obvious!
We go and review a lot of places and see a hell of a lot of animals, parks and the like but hand on heart, we adore Paradise and love going back time and time again. When we left the park, we headed off to Zippos Circus, and you can see our vlog of that here!
Have you ever been to PWP? Which was your favourite animal? Have you ever thought about booking an animal experiences? I’d love to hear from you!