Penguins and ice creams at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Even when I suggest exciting outings to N, he often has a moan about going. There’s always a hook I need to share in order to change his mind. And it’s quite amazing how fast and extreme his mind can change when something exciting is on offer. With Cotswold Wildlife Park it was the draw of there being a train.


We’ve been to Cotswold Wildlife Park a few times, and it’s always been nice weather, but this time I wanted to make sure we saw all the large animals which we’d not walked up to before. We arrived just after opening time and weren’t parked too far away which was great. As soon as we arrived, we headed straight over to the big cats and giraffes.


They’re always really spectacular. The giraffes were putting on a posing performance for everyone. They’re so sweet and we spent some time watching them.  Everyone was excited about the lions because there were cubs wandering around. We only spotted a glimpse of them, before N was dragging me off to get to the train.

The train at Cotswold wildlife park is a reasonable size. There’s its own little station, and it costs 50p a person for over 3s. Walking over to it, we were able to get close to the zebras including a foal, and the rhinos.


The train itself takes you around a similar route, so if you don’t get time to walk to those enclosures to see the big animals, you can spot them from the train.


When we go to Cotswold Wildlife Park we rarely go a particular route. Mostly we just walk and see where we end up.   I did manage to drag him through the reptile house and past some of the monkeys. Although with N in charge, the playground area is always within striking distance.


The play areas are brilliant They’ve been expanded since the last time we were there. Lots of wooden climbing frames, fort-style, netting, obstacles, vertical drop slides and more. Previously, most had seemed too big for N, but now it’s more suitable for a wider age range of children. N was in his element – he loved it. It’s really noticeable in the last year how much more gung ho he is about climbing, hanging off things and trying out new physical things.


A quick play then we headed to the restaurant for lunch. We got there about 11.45, and there was already a large queue that took a while to move. The hot food queue was taking ages with the 2 people serving on go slow. I wanted a hot meal but N wanted sandwiches, so he grabbed a table while I queued. The good thing is that the food is good value there, and a choice of portion sizes for different age kids. We got in the queue at the right time because behind us the queue was then out of the door. It’s always a big queue, not helped by the weather looking a bit overcast.


After lunch it was time to go in to the walled gardens to check out the Madagascar walk way area and the penguins. The lemurs were all hiding and sleeping on top of the entry area.


The penguins were similarly not doing much compared with usual. It was because a keeper was in the pool hoovering the floor. N was highly amused by that, and his and other children’s questions about it was making the keeper chuckle too. It turns out that the penguins don’t like the hoover/hose, so wouldn’t go swimming until she was finished that job. We headed for an ice cream while we waited for the penguins to be happier and performing.


We love penuins. Well, who wouldn’t. Our last visit to the wildlife park was with my mum when she was ill just before she died. Before she went into the hospice she wanted to see the penguins because she’d had to cancel going on an amazing holiday to South American where she hoped to see penguins in the wild. Even though it was nearly 3 years ago, N could still remember the visit. Quite often when Grandma is mentioned, he looks all sad and tells me ‘I miss Grandma’. Heartmelt moment.

The penguins weren’t really up to much. A bit of waddling. A baby penguin decided to come and investigate N using the Go Pro and attempted to chew the hanging wrist-strap. Comedy moment for N, and near panic for me when I thought he might let go.


Another playground session before we left, before N fell asleep in the car on the way home. It was another lovely day out, and I’m sure we’ll be back soon.

Do you have any good wildlife parks near you? Do your children love animals?

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  1. Oh we Love, Love, Love Cotswold Wildlife Park, too! You always feel so close to the animals and you did well to get to see so many, although it’s a shame the Penguins weren’t performing, still that’s life!
    We always take a picnic to CWP and then enjoy ice creams or hot chocolates at the cafe, but it’s worth knowing that the food is reasonable – and it makes a change!

  2. What a fabulous day out. The train sounds like a great way of seeing most of the park. N looks like he was having a wonderful time in the playground. I can’t say I blame the penguins for not being impressed by the keeper hoovering their floor – keeping out of the way sounds like a good plan to me! How lovely that N still remembers the day out with your mum; it must mean a lot that he still has those memories of Grandma to hold on to. #countrykids

    1. It always amazes me how far back he can remember. I think back to my childhood and only remember back to age 5, with 1 memory at around age 3. But I’m not sure if it’s more I was told those things. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Louise

  3. N looks so grown up in the photos! Trains never ceased to make my son go out as well haha. And this is such a lovely place to have a train ride =) #countrykids

  4. What a beautiful wildlife park. I love giraffes and their posing is so funny. Glad N enjoyed himself. My 9yo is much the same whenever I suggest a day out but usually has a fab day out in the end.


  5. My children aren’t massive animal fans – I really struggle getting them to go to farms or to the zoo. This looks a lovely place though, and my boy is just the same and will do anything for a train ride! The playground looks brilliant, but I know I would never get them out of it if we went in! #CountryKids

  6. We haven’t been for years and sounds like a lot has changed since then. I haven’t eaten there so it is worth knowing that the food is reasonable too. I know it was a sad moment but must be so nice to hear him remembering your mom like that.

    1. Definitely the playground is much larger and improved. With the food I like how there’s a choice of hot food portion sizes for kids- so normal kids portion, and toddler sized.

      He does quite often mention Grandma and how he’s sad she’s not here anymore. I like that he shows some emotions over it – I think he’s turning out to be a really caring little boy.

  7. We loved our day out there too. Funnily, we had no queue in the cafe, I think everyone else in world had decided to bring picnics that day. Have to go back so we can see more of the lion cubs rather than just an ear. I think Whipsnade is still our favourite to be honest. Going back next month for our first autumn visit #CountryKids

  8. Cotswold wildlife Park looks a great place to enjoy for a day out. The giraffes always make me smile, somehow they are quite comical and expressive. Such a shame the penguins weren’t performing but I love the fond association with your Mum, what a lovely unprompted comment from N. Some great close up’s of the animals, you did well to spot so many.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    1. It is a lovely place. There’s a decent amount of animals to get round all of them, it’s well spread out so never feels too crowded (apart from around the restaurant area), and now the playground is brilliant too.
      Thanks for stopping by (and sharing) Fiona

  9. We love Cotswold Wildlife Park too.
    Haven’t been this summer as I broke my ankle and couldn’t drive, but this post reminded me of how we need to go back soon.

    1. Oh no, nightmare summer then. Hope the ankle’s better now. It’s a lovely place, and apart from issues if you take a picnic, it’s still good in the winter months. Thanks for stopping by Karen

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