Saturday, 21 May 2011

Wondrous Woburn

Wondrous Woburn

We spent a wonderful day today at Woburn Safari Park.  We bought our tickets online before leaving home, saving £1 per person; every little counts.  We arrived at 10:15 in time to drive straight into the road safari.  Perfect.  The whole day was perfect; definitely a must visit venue.  Here's why:

I had no expectations really, apart from constantly reminding myself not to compare everything to the Masai Mara in Kenya.  So I was genuinely surprised that one of the first phrases out of my mouth was "wow, it could be Africa."

We journeyed through the savannah, getting within metres of Ostriches, Ankoli cattle, Zebras, Giraffes and Kudu.
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I have never seen Rachel silenced in wonder before.

From there we went through the security gates of the carnivore enclosure.  As we raised our windows so we raised our adrenalin levels.  

The first area was the wolves, pacing and watching yet looking like they'd fetch a stick if you threw one.  Round a turn and there was a big cat; graceful and relaxed, a tiger at rest.  What a beautiful sight, the only big cat I've never seen in the wild and one I am now determined to encounter.

We drove on past signs warning of black bears, both Mike and I prepared Rachel that we'd most likely not see them because they are expert hiders; but we were wrong.  Two bears, up the hill from the road, and then one of them starts walking towards us.  A black bear, right there, rubbing past the drivers side of the car; I could have reached out and touched it (if I fancied loosing a hand).

I felt the amazement I felt on my first african safari, to see huge splendid animals so close is a magnificent experience.  I doubt Rachel will ever forget it either, especially now she has her own bear.
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How could anything top that?
A pride of 14 lions had a good go.  Scattered around their area they were sleeping in small groups; the male with the largest of them. They are splendid animals, like bigger domestic cats in so many respects and mannerisms.  
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Rachel was amazed.  Her phrase of the day "it's like I'm in Deadly 60."

The final enclosed area is the African Jungle, otherwise known to us as the Monkey Enclosure.  We had joked on the way about whether we could afford to risk our car to the monkeys and decided it's be worth it; and so it was.  Within minutes we had a monkey on our roof.  

We could see it blink, and it's fur twitch and we were amazed by it's hands.  Sadly we didn't manage to get a photo I did film this though whilst we were still calming down.

But the second time we were better prepared.

From the road safari we drove to the foot safari area, parked and found lunch at the main safari restaurant.  We were pleasantly surprised to find reasonably priced jacket potatoes and enjoyed eating outside with the peacocks and ducks.

It was then off to the small animal enclosures.  The wallabies were adorable.  

The Rheas wary.  The squirrel monkeys another highlight.  Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And just look at this:

The penguins were, as always, a marvel in the water.  

The lemurs a marvel on a rope.  The goats amazingly patient with a swarm of kids, and I don't mean their own.

At that point we allowed Rachel to take us to all the non-animal attractions; and were pleasantly surprised not to be charged extra for any of them.

Her and Mike raced down the Bob Cat Run at least five times with Rachel always winning in style:

We all went on a swan pedal boats despite my better judgement, I don't much like boats.  
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And we enjoyed a train trip round the park.  
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We got back just in time to catch the Macaw show, not to be missed!

We looked at our watches, 4:30, time to get back to the car and do another circuit of the road safari.  It was completely different, the animal behaviour altered after a warm day, fascinating to see.  

This time the highlight was definitely the monkey enclosure.   Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

We had a gorgeous little monkey hitch a ride on our wing mirror  

We had a truly fabulous day and seriously considered taking out the annual pass but decided it's a little too far away to get to four times a year, it was mightily tempting though. Thanks Woburn Safari Park, you rock!

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