A few weeks ago, myself and George along with my mother-in-law, Sandra, and sister-in-law, Bethan, took a day trip to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol. I absolutely LOVE visiting zoos and seeing animals, so this was right up my street - particularly as this zoo actively promotes animal conservation and safety.
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm provides a home for numerous farm and exotic animals including tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, wallabies, llamas, camels, white rhinos and monkeys. A perfect day out whatever the weather, the zoo has 12 (yes, 12!) indoor play areas, a maze and a performance area suitable for seating 500 people. There's also the option to purchase food to hand-feed some of the animals around the park. And if you fancy being a keeper for a day, you can pay a bit more to get up and personal with some of the zoo animals. Ideal for any animal lover!
The trip wasn't only exciting for me and George. Bethan has a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. She requires daily care, which my lovely mother-in-law does. She absolutely adores animals (and George!), so she was rather looking forward for this day out.
When we arrived, we were able to park in one of the disabled access spots, which is nice and close to the entrance. I have to say, people don't seem to know what queues are, as we had numerous people cut in front of us when waiting to pay for tickets. Guess it's the same in many places. Yes, I know, I should have said something, but I'm not one for confrontation and avoid it if I can. I'm sure it's not always like this though.
Once we had paid our entrance fee, which was £20 per adult - George was free as he's under one - we sat on a picnic bench to have some lunch. We arrived around 12.30pm, so it was perfect timing. The weather was lovely and warm, which helped as there was a café to eat inside at, but not so sure you could eat your own lunch in there!
When our bellies were nice and full, we began to walk around the park. The amount and variety of animals was unbelievable. I was really impressed with the zoo and what it had to offer. Whilst not particularly large compared to Edinburgh Zoo as an example, it was a nice size for what we wanted. I think my favourite was the elephants (which were quite far away from view, but still lovely to see) and giraffes. Some of them were outside, whilst some of them were in their barn, which you could go into. You walk up a ramp, which makes you head level with the giraffes. They're adorable!
We came to the lion enclosure, which part of was closed. The male was led on top of a wooden structure, clearly getting some zzzz's. We could see the female across the other side of the enclosure (which was blocked off from getting too near to), and we were grossed out at first thinking she had a rabbit or some kind of lunch in her mouth. It wasn't until another zoo visitor mentioned she had recently had cubs, and that's why her part of the enclosure was blocked off, that we realised it was actually a baby cub in her mouth. It was tiny!
I tried to get a photo of the tiger, as it was crazy how close up you could get to him (or her!). There was a glass screen between you and the tiger, where he would come to from his outside enclosure. I did nearly poop my pants when he came right up, as I didn't realise that's how close he could get. Unfortunately he didn't stick around long enough for me to take a photo.
Next, we took a ride on a tractor. I can't remember how much extra it cost. I want to say £2, but don't quote me. It was George's first time on a tractor and he absolutely loved it - the wind in his hair and bobbing up and down. The tractor ride takes you past the elephants and through some fields before coming to one of the most fantastic views. You can see across the Bristol Channel and over to Wales.
I think George's favourite however, was seeing the owl. He has a strange obsession with owls at the moment. I'm not entirely sure whether it's a love or hate relationship, but nonetheless, he still loves to look at them. Whenever the Trip Advisor advert with the owl come on TV, he stops what he's doing and just stares at the TV until it's finished. It's quite amusing!
This owl (I can't remember the breed) was huuuuuuge and would fly from one side of it's enclosure to the other, which George was fascinated with. Now and again it would do a noise which worried him a little I think.
Sandra brought a owl soft toy from the gift shop for George, which he adores. He makes the cutest noises at it. I'd like to know where this obsession has come from though....
The park was a wonderful experience and we will definitely be visiting again soon. No matter your age or children's age, it really is a place anyone can go to and enjoy. If you've maybe got a family member or friend that's not so good on their feet or in a wheel chair, the park is a good size and there's shortcuts should you not want to visit certain areas.
It's worth the price we paid, which to some may be a little steep. When compared to Bristol Zoo, which is probably it's rival in the area, I'd be sure to recommend this one.
Have you visited Noah's Ark Zoo Farm? Let me know your thoughts...
This blog is in no way promoted by Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. It is purely my thoughts and was my choice to visit.