I thought I’d start a bit of a series writing about and reviewing some of the places I go with Rufus. Yesterday was mine and Oscar’s third wedding anniversary, so we decided to spend the day at one of our favourite places! We used to go to Wingham Wildlife Park regularly, but when we moved a bit further away, we got out of the habit of going, but living at the Hive means we’re back to being close by. As it had been a while, there were loads of new animals we hadn’t seen before!
We arrived at about 11am, and although the park was busy, the layout means you don’t all have to start by wandering in the same direction. We headed over to the wolves and flamingos, our usual way through the park. Part of what I enjoy about Wingham Wildlife Park is how interactive the experience is. The walk through flamingo enclosure is one of those – you get some beautiful views of the fabulous birds, and it’s great for younger kids to be able to get up close with these family favourites.
Obviously, being only 4 months old, I don’t expect Rufus to be that interested in the contents of the park, but he surprised me! One of the best bits about the day was taking Rufus into the Tropical House. He was fascinated by the colours of the butterflies, the songs of the birds and the sound of the rushing water in the carp pools. It was like a big sensory experience for him, with lots of sights, sounds and smells. He watched so many animals, and you could see him taking it all in as he watched them.
The good thing about Wingham Wildlife Park is there are loads of space for older kids to burn off their energy too – with an outdoor play area and soft play, including a ‘construction’ area, where you can play with giant lego bricks, a three storey soft play area, full of slides and a giant lion! Plus, there is a toddler area for under 3s too. So even if the weather isn’t great, or your kids have loads of energy to burn off, there will be something there for you! For the dino obsessed out there, there’s also a dinosaur zone, full of jurassic photo ops!
And then there’s all the animals. Wingham isn’t full of your gentle giants, so if you’re looking for an African Safari, you’re best going to one of the other places on offer. Instead, you’ll see a weird and wonderful array of creatures, from Nando the Tapir, to Mika the Moonbear! What I like about Wingham is you can tell that the animals are happy. I remember going to see the tigers when they were cubs, and now they’re absolutely magnificent, and the lions are quiet and peaceful circus rescues, who are living out the rest of their lives safe from the horrors of their past.
Obviously, it would be a wonderful world if all animals were safe and there was no need for captivity, but I really admire the conservation work of zoos and wildlife parks around this area. They’re also fantastic places for kids to learn – and as they’re the ones who need to reverse the environmental damage (or at least reduce the impact already done), I think places like this are incredible for education. Wingham does talks around the clock and has an education centre where you can learn more about the creatures you see.
If you’re in the area, and haven’t been, I really recommend Wingham Wildlife Park. It’s a lovely little community and feels more personal than some of the bigger zoos. The keepers have wonderful relationships with their animals and are committed to education and conservation. Plus, it’s a great spot for an ice cream – I had a massive Solleys Chocolate Chip and Salted Caramel one yesterday and it was a solid 11/10.
During the Summer, Wingham Wildlife Park is open from 10am-6pm, operating slightly shorter hours during the winter, closing at 4pm. You can purchase tickets online at a slightly cheaper rate, or on the door. We just bought our season tickets, which means we will be able to go round the park for a year without paying again! As Ru is so young, he goes free too, so it is a useful tool to have in your arsenal, even when the weather is pants!
As you can see, R absolutely loved it! And so did we!