I thought I was pretty clued up on all the zoos and wildlife parks within a 200 mile radius of Northamptonshire so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Paradise Wildlife Park!
Situated in Hertfordshire, Paradise isn’t just your average zoo with beautiful animals such as white lions, red pandas and the most inquisitive, playful meerkats I’ve ever encountered, it is also home to a dinosaur park with over 30 animatronic dinosaurs (including a Indo-Rapter for fellow Jurassic World fans)! Plus multiple adventure playgrounds, soft play, miniature golf and a splash park. You can easily spend an entire day here and although it was a little further than we’d normally travel for a day out, it was absolutely worth it.
World of Dinosaurs
The dinosaurs were what really sold it to us and they did not disappoint! We had planned on walking round the Jurassic Park style area but as soon as Lily saw a T-Rex train there was no other option. Not included in the ticket price, the train was a little expensive at £2 per person especially as it was quite a short ride. I think £1 per person or children free would be more reasonable but it was a brilliant way of seeing the dinosaurs and there is something bizarrely fun about a land train! If you’ve got a younger child who may be a bit wary of the animatronic dinosaurs (which is totally understandable because they’re surprisingly huge!) then it’s a far better way of experiencing that section. I do wish we had walked round too though as there are little extras on the path like selfie spots, a jeep to climb in and huge dinosaur teeth fenceThere’s also a really fun archeology sand pit in the entrance to the dinosaur part where you can discover a T-Rex skeleton and dust the bones. Our dinosaur-loving Lil was in her element!
We had a quick walk round the farmyard area but decided not to feed them as going to the farm is one of our regular days out at home. Lily (and I) were far more excited to meet some animals we don’t see very often like the camels (to which Lily sang a beautiful rendition of ‘Alice the camel’ complete with hunching over to make humps!), zebras, the big cats and the penguins. There was one group of animals that totally stole our hearts though and that was the meerkats! They’re such endearing little characters and these were some of the loveliest we’ve met. Lily had so much fun interacting with them and watching them come over to investigate her besotted little face up against the glass. She soon worked out if she walked along the glass from side to side they followed her which made her day! My favourite though was the little fella in the slideshow above, sunning himself under the lamps!
The treetop walk through the big cat section was fantastic. On the ground level we were only a few feet from a tiger as it walked past the fence and further up we had beautiful views of the snow leopards and white lions, both of which we’d not seen before. We even saw the white lions being fed which as a vegetarian made me feel a bit queasy but fascinating nonetheless!
Food, Playgrounds and Park Info
The way the park is laid out is brilliant, it’s all quite open so you can see what’s next and find your way around easily. There is a road running separating two sides, one of which mostly houses the animals and the other side is where the adventure playgrounds and dinosaurs can be found. The play areas are dotted about the park along with picnic areas and food outlets so there are plenty of places to stop for a rest or a snack while you plan where to head next. We went during March so very much out of season which meant a lot of the food outlets were closed but we were never far away from finding what we needed. We ate at the Safari Diner which serves kids meals and sandwich boxes, burgers, jacket potatoes, sandwiches and salads. I had a veggie burger which I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from because I just never do at zoo cafes but it was really tasty!
You might have noticed some construction work in the background of some of the images. This is the new Lion Pride Lands that is being built for the beautiful white lions, due to open later this year. It will be an interactive and conservation-focused habitat which will bring people closer to the lions than ever before so keep an eye out for that!
Tickets are £21 for an adult and £18.50 for a child over two (with discounts in you buy in advance online) which is reasonably priced considering how much there is to do there. Annual passes are £85 per adult and £70 per child which I would absolutely buy if we lived closer. If you’re thinking of visiting, make sure you have cash if you want to do the extra bits like the train, the water shooters, diggers and mini golf. And if the weather is good on the day you visit don’t forget to pack swimming cossies and towels for the splash park!
We will definitely back when the weather warms up!
*Our tickets to Paradise Wildlife Park were gifted but I was not paid to write this review and all words and opinions are my own.