Until recently I’d never even heard of Wild Place Project in Bristol, Just off J17 of the M5, it’s only a quick hop over the Severn Bridge for us and since discovering it at the end of the summer holidays we’ve become Annual Pass holders and been back twice. Easy to get to, free parking and plenty of picnic spaces and places for the kids to literally run wild – an open meadow, woodland to explore and barefoot trails – it ticks all the boxes for kids with some energy to blow off (and let’s be fair that’s all kids isn’t it?). That’s on top of the fact that the place is also an actual zoo. With plenty of opportunity to get up close to the Giraffe, Okapi and meerkats to name but a few the kids were kept entertained for the entire day.
A highlight for us all was the walk-through lemur enclosure, the kids loved getting so close to these cute little creatures, whilst at the same time being covertly educated by my determined reading of all the signs we passed. Pretty early on in the day Mini-me caught on to the colour coded symbols showing the level of endangerment of each species so we got a running commentary all around the place as to whether the animals were ‘safe’ ‘endangered’ or even ‘extinct in the wild’!
At various ponts throughout the day there were talks at the various animal enclosures, the staff were enthusiatic, knowledgable and more than happy to answer the kids questions. We also caught the mini beast talk where the kids got to hold such delights as the Madegascar Hissing Cockroach – I selflessly turned down the chance to hold this delightful creature in order to give the kids longer holding it…. Monkey Boy was absolutely made up when the beastly thing lived up to it’s name and emitted a lovely hiss for him as he cooed over it!
Dotted around the place there are old 4 x 4 vehicles for the kids to play in, they were kept entertained for ages by these, driving themselves ‘to the jungle’ or ‘through Thailand’ the only limit was their imagination and every child crammed into that jeep seemed to be having a wail of a time on that epic adventure. After a while most of the parents gave up trying to drag their offspring away to see the animals and just enjoyed 5 minutes watching the Gelada, without having to explain to their little ones just exactly what that monkey was doing to his friend!!
The Wild Place Project also has an indoor playbarn, which kept both Monkey Boy (9) and Mini-me (5) entertained for long enough for Mum and Dad to enjoy a hot coffee from the cafe in relative peace. Other attractions include a giant swing, leap of faith and climbing wall (additional fees apply for these – although annual pass holders do get a small discount)
Monkey Boy (9) says ‘The Wild Place project is a very good place to educate your children, it shows you animals that are endangered that they’ve breeded back to life’ (I think he has visions of some Jurassic Park style lab full of mad scientists growing endangered birds from ancient DNA….)
Mini-me (5) says ‘I think it was good because we got to see lots of animals, even woolves, and the woolves were my favourite because I’ve never seen them before. I liked the meerkats, and I also liked the animal that had the head of a horse and a zebra’s butt*! I think the lemurs were good because there were different types of them, and they can leap so far. (*Okapi!!)
Mum says ‘Fantastic value for money, 3 trips and I’ll have made my money back on our annual pass. Can easily spend a full day here – take a picnic and enjoy it in the meadow! Am currently working on the hubby to let us spend a night at Camp Baboon – watch this space…’