We were kindly invited to spend the day at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire earlier this month. As well as plenty of animals to see, there is also a World of Dinosaurs attraction, a paddling pool, five adventure playgrounds to explore and lots more! It really is a full family day out with lots of activities to keep you busy. The park is family run, is well kept and has a lovely feel to it, it was perfect for our girls aged 6,4 and 2.
We visited on a lovely sunny Sunday in July, the girls were so excited when we arrived and couldn't wait to explore. We arrived shortly after opening around 10am to allow plenty of time to see everything without having to rush. We made our way to see the animals first of which there are over 400 species including big cats such as lions, tigers and snow leopards to camels, zebra and alpaca.
There is also a reptile house and a tropical rainforest enclosure with an array of amazing creatures to see. The enclosures are have been thoughtfully created to give the animals privacy but with viewing areas for visitors to catch a glimpse of them and they seemed quite interested in us too!
The lion and tiger enclosures have tree top platforms around them which allow you to look down from above as well as large viewing windows at the perfect height for children; we were lucky that they were out sunbathing for us!
We particularly loved the penguins, otters and meerkats as they are just so interesting to watch and so full of character. There are talks from the keepers at various enclosures throughout the day which include feeding times. We timed our visit to the penguins perfectly for the morning talk and learnt all about the penguins and watched them jump into the pool for their fish!
The girls were also fascinated by the giant anaconda snake in Amazon and Beyond and could not believe how big it was! It was great to be able to teach them about the animals and for a fun family day out to be educational.
The park supports a number of conservation projects and has it's own registered charity - the 'Zoological Society of Hertfordshire' which I think is great as teaching the girls about the world we live in and understanding the part they can play in how to care for it is really important to us.
After visiting the animals we made our way over to one of the play areas for the girls to let of some steam and enjoy our picnic lunch. There are lots of picnic tables around the park for this purpose and there are also several places to buy lunch or snacks at a reasonable cost. The girls loved the play areas, particularly the giant vehicles including a steam train and fire engine and the pirate ship in Pirate Cove.
We were really excited to visit the new World of Dinosaurs attraction which opened earlier this year in March and is one of the UK's biggest dinosaur attractions. Walking through the giant gates is like walking into Jurassic park, helped by the fact that the theme tune plays intermittently!
There are dinosaur eggs which you can climb into for a photo just inside the entrance and a cafe and dedicated dino gift shop.
We sat and had a coffee while we watched the girls played palaeontologists in the discovery area uncovering dinosaur bones in sand with paintbrushes and spades. They loved it so much in there that it took an ice cream to entice them out!
The World of Dinosaurs is set in shady woodland with 30 animatronic dinosaurs to discover as you walk the route. The life size dinosaurs are quite impressive and the fact they move and roar really brings them to life for little imaginations.
There is a great photo spot in a safari jeep in front of the most famous dinosaur of them all - the T-Rex! The girls aren't particularly dinosaur mad but they really enjoyed it and asked lots of questions about them. We thought it was really well done and if you have dinosaur fans in your household they will love it I'm sure.
There is a little train ride in this part of the park called the 'Rex Express' which takes you past some of the dinosaurs which the girls were desperate to go on. It is £2 per person for over 2's and whilst it only lasts a few minutes was worth it for the joy it gave the children.
Our final stop of the day was to the 'Paradise Lagoon' which is a little paddling pool area perfect for cooling off on a long day. I had packed the girls swimsuits and bought towels with us so they could go in it and they had loads of fun splashing about and going down the little slide in it into the water. It was very busy but that was to be expected on a hot weekend day and it was worth it to cool the girls down before our car journey home. For cooler days when you perhaps need to warm up or escape the rain there is an indoor soft play area too.
On our way back to the car we happened to walk past the Safari Stage where Moana was singing and doing a meet and greet which finished the day off perfectly, the girls couldn't believe it! I thought it was really lovely that there was so much additional entertainment offered throughout the park in the way of various shows throughout the day. All the timings for the shows are on the website and on your park map which you get on arrival.
With so much to do I'd say its definitely worth planning your day roughly before you visit and familiarising yourself with all the things on offer so you can make the most of your time there. The park is open every day except Christmas day so is a great year round attraction.
Finally, I don't think I have been to an attraction recently that doesn't insist that you exit via a gift shop, Paradise Wildlife Park has a really lovely gift shop next to the exit which you can choose to go in if you wish which was really refreshing. The girls had some pocket money to spend so we did pop in and they each chose a little memento of our day. We had a really lovely family day out at the park and the girls are already asking when we can go back and visit again.
* We were kindly given tickets to the park in exchange for an honest review.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.*