I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much as I did last weekend when we drove through the Safari at West Midlands Safari Park (WMSP).
It was absolutely amazing to come face to face with such a wide range of animals including white rhinos, spotted deer, Asian water buffalos, giraffes, lions and tigers.
But we couldn’t stop laughing when a rather large camel began rubbing itself against the car, making it rock from side to side, despite six people being inside. Wing mirror 0, camel 1!
I have to say we felt safe at all times though, and there was several Safari rangers vans along the four-mile route.
The kids loved seeing all the animals through the comfort of our own car and got really excited when they came up to our car to say hello.
My five-year-old son had never experienced anything like it before and practiced taking close-up pictures of them on his iPad because at the zoo you can never get so close.
You can’t get out of your car once on Safari, but you can actually feed them – not the carnivores, but we saw saw a giraffe eating from the palm of someone’s hand.
Until we arrived I didn’t realise there was so much else to do there, as well as the drive-through Safari – it’s definitely a full day out.
There’s a massive Safari village which is transformed into a winter wonderland at Christmastime. It was so magical walking in whilst festive music played and snow fell which we could walk though and play in.
All the trees were covered in snow and there’s a huge Christmas tree in the centre, as well as lots of lovely decorations.
Santa’s grotto is impressive too. You need to take a sleigh ride to get there but that’s not as good than it sounds! In fact it’s a bit naff, but the younger kids will like it.
There’s plenty of animated displays inside to keep the kids amused as you queue and afterwards they get to choose their own toy from Santa’s workshop.
Santa was great with the kids and spent a lot of time talking to them, there was no rush despite the queues. Included in the ticket price was a photograph for each child.
Also included in the Santa Safari price which runs from the end of November each year until Christmas Eve is a mince pie and drink for adults and a cookie and a drink for the kids.
Outside there’s also a penguin cove, a sea lion theatre and an indoor heated lorikeet landing where you can walk amongst one of the largest flocks in the UK.
You can also see crocodiles and turtles in the reptile house, and in the African Village theres lemurs and meerkats. There’s also the land of the living dinosaurs – the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaur attraction.
The theme park isn’t open in Winter, but opens from February 4 until November. There’s 28 rides and attractions to choose from including everything from the pirate ship to roller coasters. I’d love a day out here in summer.
TIP: If you buy your tickets online you can choose between return tickets or a safari gift.
There’s plenty of places to eat too, or picnic benches if you choose to take your own.
It’s too far for us to travel to from where we live in a day, so we made a mini-break out of it and also visited Cadbury World whilst in the area.
We stayed at the Premier Inn in Stourbridge which I can highly recommend for a good nights sleep! It’s a brand new hotel so everything is fresh, new and clean. We had a large ground-floor family room which looked out over a grassed area. You can’t beat a new hotel. It’s also got a Brewer’s Fayre attached which was perfect for tea with the kids whilst the parents relaxed with a bottle (or two) of wine knowing we only had to walk back to our room.
Bedrooms are eqquiped with an impressive 40″ flat screen TV, freshly-updated bathroom with large shower head, and brand new, slumber-inducing, king-size Hypnos bed.
We included breakfast in our booking which was served buffet style so you could have as much as you liked. Couldn’t have asked for anything more when away with kids and you just need somewhere comofrtable and relaxed to stay. Parking is free and there’s also free wifi.
Need to know…
LOCATION: WMSP: Spring Grove, Bewdley DY12 1LF
PRICES: Santa Safari: £21 for adults and £17 for kids. £7..50 for under-threes. Includes Grotto entry.
CALL: 01299 402114
PRICES: From £31.50 per night