Cotswold Wildlife Park is one of the places I know N loves, and that he’ll ask to go to. It’s also got a place in my heart because when my mum was really ill, and just before she went to the hospice, we took her there to see the penguins for one last time.
Over half term, N asked to visit there rather than travelling further afield. We were later getting there than I’d hoped, but the car park was only slowly filling up. One of the great things, is that there’s so much green and open space, you never feel like it’s really busy (until you see the playground or queue for the train). This time N was happy just wandering and was more open to looking at everything than he can.
We always head across the grass to the large animals first. The rhinos were sleeping except for the baby which was feeding from its sleeping mum. So sweet. Not a sight you often see.
The camel outside didn’t look too impressed with being outside, but the lions were on fine form, sitting out in the sun on their platform. Surveying all the visitors watching them. Mum, dad and presumably 2 of their young were relaxing there with another female sitting alert elsewhere in the enclosure. It’s nice to get some good photos rather than having to peer and hope they pose the right direction for you.
As the giraffes were inside (with 1 hiding) we didn’t stay long, instead heading back for a walk to see the flamingos and wolves. N took over my camera at that stage, but I didn’t have my zoom lens so he was struggling a bit with getting any decent shots. That doesn’t bother him – he’ll happily snap away anyway.
We were lucky to see 2 wolves out sleeping. One right up close to us under the walkway. Usually they’re just prowling, but the sun did seem to have brought out quite a few more of the animals than there might have been in February.
We spent a bit of time in the bird hide too, getting some shots of the flamingos a bit closer up. Plus you get to walk past some of the more unusual animals, including some tiny wallabies which are cute to watch.
There’s a children’s petting farm at Cotswold Wildlife Park – we’ve never been in there before but had a quick wander. There’s the usual small animals indoors, like rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs and miniature ponies, then outside pigs and more. I was more interested in the peacock perched in the sun, but he wasn’t bothered about putting on a tail feather display for anyone.
It was nearly lunch by this stage, so a quick toilet stop, a traverse of the playground and we decided to get a bit of an early lunch. The queue for hot food was already 10 minutes long at 11.30, and by the time we’d sat down, it was out of the door. If you’re after sandwiches you can jump the queue, but hot food does take a long time. Because it’s pretty good food, a lot of people tend to go for hot food. Others have picnics.
The playground was then calling N. He loves the wooden play area, and this time did the drop slide without any attention. Just went up there, then came down before I even noticed where he was. A few times over the netting and he was ready for an ice cream before going into the walled garden.
Sitting by the owls to eat our ice creams, I then had some time before N finished so I spent some time taking photos of the beautiful flower beds. I wasn’t the only one either!
In the walled garden are more of the smaller animals and birds. We always spend ages watching the penguins and meerkats.
This time in the lemur walk through, the lemurs were actually out rather than all just hiding in one corner together. It meant there was room for everyone to watch them at different points.
N was ready for home by then. I’d rescued my camera off him, and we headed home via a few building shots in Burford.
Things we like about Cotswold Wildlife Park
- It’s familiar, but never seems stale
- We can get quite close to the animals
- It feels spacious and therefore not too crowded.
- Hot meals for children – they can have most adults meals in smaller sizes.
Have you ever been? What’s your favourite wildlife park or zoo?
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