Warning: this is a picture (and penguin) heavy post!
During our mini-break in the Cotswolds we paid a visit to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens. It was a ten minute journey from our hotel to the park and the route was very well signposted, which Hubs appreciated as we’d forgotten the SatNav and the navigation app on his phone was useless.
The weather was gloriously hot and sunny so I was expecting the park to be busy but it was pretty quiet, which I suppose is the advantage of visiting during term time and on a weekday. We were able to get very close to all of the animal exhibits.
Bubs was very taken with the penguins and they seemed quite taken with her too. It was nearing their feeding time so they all hopped up onto the edge of the pool and waddled over to the feeding station. Hubs started humming the theme tune from Great Escape and it did seem as though they were trying to make a bid for freedom. “Follow me boys, we’ll snake our way to the border!”
After visiting the meerkats (with one too many “Simples!” from Hubs) and prairie dogs we went to see the otters. One otter in particular was a bit of a showoff and it decided to climb a tree. A nearby park keeper commented that he’d never seen them do that before.
Next we visited the walk through aviary. This hefty fella on the right of the picture was sitting, fast asleep, on a bridge. It’s a Tawny Frogmouth and it was about two feet away from me! After the aviary we wandered through the rest of the bird exhibits. It took us quite a while as Bubs is a bit of a bird fanatic.
After the birds we saw the wolverines (sadly no Hugh Jackman in sight) which were in a shaded enclosure and it was a welcome break from the relentless heat.
It was nearing lunchtime by this point so we decided to head off in the direction of the restaurant and then realised that it was quite a walk from where we were. Thankfully we’d brought Bubs’ buggy with us so once she was safely strapped in (and plied with a snack to stave off the inevitable whining) we set off in search of food.
On the way we passed the large animal enclosures and I came face to face with a rhino for the first time. I know it’s hard to believe an almost fourty year old hadn’t seen a rhino before but we weren’t big on visiting zoos when I was a kid. We also saw giraffes, zebras, monkeys, visited the petting zoo and finally the wallabies before arriving at the main house.
The restaurant was bright and airy and had plenty of seating available as most visitors had opted to eat outside on the terrace or were picnicking on the lawns. There was a limited choice of hot food but they had a good selection of sandwiches and snacks.
After lunch we went back to see the penguins again and to visit the Madagascar enclosure. We weren’t allowed to take the buggy in so I waited outside while Hubs took Bubs to see the lemurs. By this point Bubs was getting really tired so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel.
Ok so let’s get down to the nitty gritty; was it worth the ticket price? Well I would have to say a resounding yes. We spent three hours there and still hadn’t seen everything there was to see.
All of the enclosures looked very clean and well taken care of as were the park facilities. The price of the food in the restaurant was pretty reasonable but again their selection was limited. When we go again (soon I hope!) we’ll bring a picnic along.
My only gripe was with the baby change facilities in the restaurant. The lock on the door was broken and there was only a hard marble countertop to lie Bubs on, which she hated and screamed blue bloody murder the whole time! Also when I was washing my hands I realised that the drainpipe wasn’t actually connected to the sink so boiling hot water splashed all over the floor and our feet.
If you’re looking for a great day out for all the family I would highly recommend a visit. We had a great time and will definitely be going back again.
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