What we thought of the Paradise Wildlife Park
During February half-term we were invited to review Paradise Wildlife Park, a family-run animal park in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. It's quite unique, with a compact zoo, a huge play park for kids and a dinosaur park, with animatronic dinosaurs. Our daughter had been to Paradise Wildlife Park with her school a year before and was very excited to return - she had had an amazing time there.
And amazing time we had again. We came after midday as I thought having a half a day would be more than enough, but there were so many things to do and see, we could have been there the entire day.
What attractions does Paradise Wildlife Park have?
In the rather compact zoo, there were plenty of animals to see and we spent several hours there. In many cases you could get quite up close and personal with them, such as in the Australian enclosure where wallabies roamed free. There were many family favourite animals, such as meerkats, otters, penguins and of course the big cats - lions, tigers and snow leopards. The white tiger, who unfortunately was out on a holiday when we visited, is one of the stars of the zoo and well worth a visit to see it.
There was a huge outdoors play park for the kids to run around in and blow steam out. There were lots of structures to climb in, such as a pirate ship, fire engine and a tree house and slides. There was everything you would have in a big park - just on a grander and more outrageous scale. My daughter was ecstatic. In case of bad weather there is also an indoors soft play area, although we didn't have a chance to try this out.
In addition there were also the animatronic dinosaur park, a crazy golf area, and a small train, none of which we had time to experience. I've heard good things about the dinosaurs though, apparently kids really love seeing them!
What is Paradise Wildlife Park like for families?
Accessibility at Paradise Wildlife Park was superb. We had a pram with us, but we were able to go and view all the attractions, including the tree top views of the big cats. At the play park there were specially adapted play equipment for children with mobility issues, so you could go on with your wheelchair. I thought it was fantastic that all kids are included in the fun, and families with babies will find it easy to move around the area too.
There were a few eateries around the Park, and lots of snack booths. If you bring a picnic, there were lots of picnic tables dotted all across the Park, which was fantastic. Plenty of places to eat in, whether you bring your food in or not. We ate our picnic lunch underneath a tree, checking out the Red Panda climbing in it - such a fun experience. There are some small indoor picnic areas too, and the Speedway Museum if you need to eat indoors.
I think the Paradise Wildlife Park was fantastic for families - there were lots of and a good variety of animals to see, animatronic dinosaurs to see as well, a huge play park which is great for kids, indoor play area for bad weather, a train, and so on. Bathrooms are clean and roomy, and easily located. It felt like everything to do with kids had been thought through.
What was out favourite animal experience?
We loved seeing the animals - our favourite experiences were with the big cats. We got to see the lions feeding, which was quite a sight. The snow leopard was very adorable, and the tree top views of the big cats were great.
There were great viewing points for many animals, including the meerkats, where kids could crawl into this structure inside their pen and see them quite close up. Otters were absolutely adorable too, and we spent a long time watching their antics, digging and playing. We spent a good deal of time seeing the monkeys in their houses and also a wide variety of bugs and other creepy crawlies. We didn't feed any of the animals around the park, but you can buy a bag of animal food for £1 - I think farm animals could be fed at least.
How did we find Paradise Wildlife Park overall?
Overall we thought the Paradise Wildlife Park was great. So much to do and see, I was a bit annoyed we had reserved just half a day for visiting. We could easily have spent the entire day there and not get bored for one moment! One thing to pay attention to - the dinosaur park and the train close a bit early, so don't be like us and miss out because you leave them to the end of the day!
Overall I thought it was a fantastic place for families with kids in different age ranges. There were plenty of things for the younger kids to do and a fantastic play structures for them to run around in, and older kids would likely really enjoy the talks and feeds and dinosaurs. All the facilities for families were there, including good bathrooms and picnic areas, and animals were well cared for. Some enclosures looked a bit small (like the penguins) but there are works undergoing to improve the animal facilities.
We had a great time and would love to go back - this time we would pack a lunch, go straight in the morning and plan to spend the whole day exploring all the areas!
(I did note that they do Mother's Day deals, where mums go free on Mother's Day so am keeping that in mind for future years...)
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