A zoo or wildlife park never fails to entertain, even with my tween who moans about going to lots of places. We have some of our favourite animals to see, and Africa Alive Zoological Reserve looked like it would have plenty of our favourites to visit.
Our visit was fairly fleeting because we’d spent longer than planned at Pleasurewood Hills. But we were still able to see all the animals we wanted to, although N didn’t want to hang around and wait for any of the talks. You can find where and when different talks are happening during your visit. We just missed one which had happened but a little girl was still asking questions of the keeper
Africa Alive zoo is just outside Lowestoft, so good for a day out, or you could even doing one of their sunset visits. There are reduced tickets later in the day when most people have started to head off.
What I really liked is how walkable it is. It’s pretty flat, and unlike larger places like Whipsnade, it’s compact so good to get round everywhere you want. I would have liked a paper map – you can take a photo of the map near the entrance, or download the map on your phone. But switching between camera and having to zoom in and out of a tiny phone screen map isn’t the best when your phone battery isn’t going to last all day.
We did tend to therefore just amble in different directions, so I’m not sure how much we did miss. A few more ‘you are here’ maps and signs around the park would have been good.
As well as the wildlife, there’s also a few extra activities – N was more interested in the sand diggers than the Red River Hogs, reminiscing back to his younger years when he would head straight for those in any parck.
The mini golf looked popular. We decided to stay on the move as it was hot, and the golf was very open to the sun. There is an additional cost to play.
Animal wise, we headed for the larger classic safari animals first. The lions were enjoying the hot weather, sleeping on their platform with the lioness sleeping the other side of the glass.
The rhinos were wandering in and out of the sun into their home, the zebras were just next door to them.
We spent a bit of time watching the giraffes although they did keep their distance.
Quite a few of the animals were hiding out – we didn’t spot the cheetahs, and the drill monkey just sat with its back towards us. Obviously wasn’t keen on being on view!
We were a bit unsure whether we could go into the lemur enclosure like most places. Usually you’d see the lemurs with lots of people in there but this was empty. So we didn’t go in assuming it was only for keeper experiences. It meant it was quite hard to see them sunbathing, although we got to watch some of the ring tailed lemurs playing inside. But looking at the website after, it does say you can go in. That was a shame as we’d have been able to see them without lots of crowds.
At various pens around the zoo there are information boards and interactive displays. N found these interesting to read – he was keen on finding out about the wild dogs, although they weren’t on show. We found about about the dangers from poaching and demand for these animals around the world with information on what you could do to help.
We were pleased to spot the meerkats, some of our favourites. They were next to the fox mongooses which I don’t think we’d ever seen or heard of before.
The birds aren’t usually things we’d spend time watching, but the love birds were chattering and tweeting away.
One of my other favourites are flamingoes. There’s a bird walk around area so if they’re not in the water, you can see them quite close. Although they were all obviously staying cool on the afternoon we were there. There was a bit of a disagreement between a couple of them, but all was fine in the end.
We didn’t do the discovery centre as it was just too hot. In there they have the reptiles, so head there if they’re your thing.
If you want to pet animals, there’s a petting farm area which looked popular. As well as seeing the animals, there’s the mini golf, plus an indoor soft play area for younger children.
We’d already had lunch so didn’t need the cafe, but we decided against getting an ice cream from one of the kiosks, although we were a bit hot. The queue was a little long and we just wanted to head back to the car for some air con! We’re not great once we’ve been in the heat a long time.
Africa Alive zoo isn’t massive, but would be good for families smaller children as it’s not too large to get round the whole place in the day. It’s also not far to walk from the car park.
Where are your favourite zoos or wildlife parks?
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