Great Days Out in the Midlands: West Midlands Safari Park
West Midlands Safari Park
Spur of the Moment
From the thrills and spills of roller coasters at Alton Towers to thrills and spills of a different kind, namely living ones, and trust me these are more than enough to match any high speed roller coaster. West Midlands Safari Park is nestled in the lovely rolling countryside that borders the West Midlands and Worcestershire, roughly five miles west of Kidderminster. My last trip there was just over a year ago, so my memories of that wonderful place are still relatively fresh.
The trip wasn’t really planned, more of a case of sitting at home on a Sunday morning, and thinking ‘what to do for the rest of the day?’ All of a sudden, the gears in my head churned into life and spewed out an idea. Within minutes, I was on Google Maps formulating a route to the Safari Park. The auto generated route instructed me to travel into the centre of Birmingham, get onto the Hagley Road and sit on it until I reach Kidderminster. But, if there’s one thing that I’m confident of, and that’s my ability to plan a route, and so on this occasion I disagreed with Google, in spite of the fact that it was the most direct and logical choice. I knew that a venture into Birmingham City Centre would spell instant gridlock and potential frustration and anger. So I planned a route that would skirt both Birmingham and Kidderminster, and bring me safely to the park.
Location of West Midlands Safari Park
The route worked perfectly, and I arrived at the park after a pleasant drive through some of the most beautiful villages in the whole county. Turning into the long driveway, you’re greeted by an archway with the name of the place inscribed in brash, bold letters with a particularly menacing looking Rhino’s head next to it. As I drove through, I couldn’t resist saying ‘What have they got in there, King Kong?’ similar to what Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park. The admission fee is pretty reasonable compared to Alton Towers, a measly £13 or $20, plus they give you a ticket that guarantees a free return trip, provided you fill out the details on the back. You can buy food for the animals, but that does cost a little bit extra.
For anyone, who has ever been on a safari, or to a safari park you’ll already know that the majority of your time will be spent driving very slowly and often waiting for others to finish photographing the animal, before you can proceed any further. But these are minor complaints, when you bear in mind the sort of creatures that grab everybody’s attention. Virtually every creature was a highlight for me, and to describe them all would eat too much space, so I shall instead concentrate on those encounters that moved or disturbed me in some way.
A Few Images From My Trip
White Lions and Tigers
The first was catching sight of the wolves; it seemed so strange to be looking at creatures that were technically the same species as my dog, but the thrill of seeing them wasn't lessened by it, in fact it was heightened by another thought that crossed my mind, ‘This is what my dog should look like.’ I took several moments to observe their behaviour and mentally ticked off all those that were recognisble, from scratching their ears, to rolling around on their back. Just as I drove off, I noticed one of them proceed to bite at the fifth digit on its paw, in the same way that my own dog does, I couldn’t help but chuckle.
A safari park wouldn’t be complete without lions, and West Midlands doesn’t disappoint in that department. In fact, it has two separate prides, the first one I saw were the familiar tawny brown lions that I’d seen multiple times on the TV. The others however, were extraordinary through the fact that they were all white. Before the trip, I’d never seen a real lion of any kind, now I’d seen white lions, as well as the conventional ones, fantastic. Understandably the lions weren’t particularly active, most were asleep; I couldn’t help but think how boring life must be for them in this park. The same thought crossed my mind, when I encountered the tigers, a Bengal tiger and a White tiger (in separate enclosures of course). I remember, while viewing the Bengal, who lay fast asleep on top of a raised platform, an excited arm suddenly shot out of the car in front, pointing at the slumbering big cat, next came a head of an Indian boy, only to be hurriedly dragged back in by his mother. For a moment, I imagined myself as that Indian boy’s parents, and that I had grown up back in the homeland and seen tigers in the wild, up close.
All of nature’s greatest characters were there, African elephants, hippos, rhinos (White and Indian rhino), African hunting dog, Amur leopard, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, ostrich, various kinds of deer, camel and other ungulates, including a couple of zebra and the tallest animal on the planet, the giraffe. But there was one encounter that I shall never forget, it was an encounter that both moved and disturbed me at the same. After the delight of viewing the lions, I experienced another first by laying eyes on the cheetah. Unlike their social relatives, the six or so cheetahs were kept in a relatively small cage, and inevitably one of them began to pace up and down, helplessly seeking a way out. I caught a look on his face, and thought that I detected sadness. It disturbed me to think of the fastest thing on four legs had been reduced to existing in a cage about a quarter of the size of a football field.
All in all, the actual safari takes more than an hour to complete. After which you have the option to park up and explore the rest of the complex, which is more or less a theme park but geared more towards children, or you can simply wave goodbye and drive out. I only had to take one look at the car park to make my decision; I followed the exit signs and journeyed on home.
A Useful Link
- West Midland Safari Park - Voted best attraction in the Midlands by children and parents for days ou
Voted best attraction in the Midlands by children and parents for days out. Drive through safari, thrill rides, theme park, walk through lemurs, meerkats and world famous White Lions.
West Midlands Safari Park is a fun day out that will gives you experiences and memories that will rival anything that Alton Towers can offer. The sheer thrill of seeing such charismatic creatures helps to make up for the frustration of queuing and willing others to stop taking photos and move on. It’s relatively cheap, and if the kids haven’t been entertained enough by the animals, then the theme park will certainly remedy that problem. There are though, a couple of important things to remember, whenever you pass through an enclosure containing carnivores, keep all of your windows shut. You just never know! Also, do not feed the camels, they may look friendly and inviting, but they do bite, so don’t risk it. Also if you want the free return trip, make sure you fill out the back of the ticket and hand it to the cashier on your next visit.
More to follow...