A re-sheduled visit to Cotswold Wildlife Park
At the start of the summer holidays Freyja and I made a list of activities that she wanted to do over the six weeks. They included swimming, library visits, trips to the park and to the cinema. In the first couple of weeks we had managed to get through most of our list already, but then I broke my leg. My family helped keep the girls entertained, but we didn’t manage a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park which Freyja had been really looking forward to. Now my leg is better and I am driving, I was determined to re-schedule our missed visit. On the first day of the holiday, the weather looked like it was going to be dry, so we set off for the Wildlife Park.
When we arrived, we decided to go straight to the walled garden. Within this part of the Wildlife Park are the otters. The four of them were very lively. They were running around in their enclosure, chasing each other and splashing around in the water. We stood watching them for quite some time. I’m not sure if it was the otters that entertained me most or watching the girls react to them. Emily’s giggles and shrieks of joy were just beautiful.
The main attraction in the walled garden are the penguins. Having seen Humboldt Penguins on Boulders Beach in South Africa, they have become a bit of a favourite of mine. They are such gorgeous birds. Again we spent quite some time admiring them. They look so clumsy as they waddle around on the land, but once they are in the water, they are so fast and graceful – almost like a different animal completely.
We spent quite some time at the penguins, as we do every visit, and I thought it would be nice to get a “penguin selfie”. However, despite it being early on in the day, Emily was already refusing to play ball and determined to ruin was could have been a perfectly lovely selfie.
The walled garden is also home to one of Freyja’s favourite animals – meerkats.
Back in August, the Asiatic Lions had cubs. Emily was very excited about seeing them. I didn’t want to get her hopes up as on our previous trips, the lions are usually asleep and partly obscured from view. It seemed like this would be the case today, as we caught sight of the lioness asleep. However, a bit further round in their enclosure was the male (asleep, obviously) with a couple of the cubs alert and eyeing-up the visitors.
The Wildlife Park is such a beautiful place. I love walking through the grounds and being able to see animals such as the rhinos against the backdrop of the house and gardens. It’s a very unique place.
Emily insisted that the rhinos with their creased skins looked like they were wearing pyjamas.
Inside the restaurant you can see the rock hyrax. I was hoping this may have been the mystery animal that Freyja had come back from a school trip talking about. I have a degree in Zoology, but struggled to figure out what animal was “like an elephant, but small and a bit like a hedgehog but not spikey”. The rock hyrax is closely related to the elephant – not that you would know that by looking at it. However, it is still not the mystery animal that I am yet to identify. Still, the rock hyrax provided the girls with plenty of entertainment as they watched the younger ones run around, chasing each other.
I was quite keen to go into the Madagascar exhibit as I love seeing the lemurs. However, as much as the girls love animals, they are very nervous of them when there are no bars or glass separating them. I persuaded them to give the walk-through lemur exhibit a go, but ended up having to carry both of the girls when we went in as one of the ring-tailed lemurs whizzed passed them. However, the girls were far more bothered about the lemurs than they were of them. Whilst they were fussing around about the lemurs potentially “getting them”, the most attention they were actually receiving was from one of the other types of lemurs who seemed pretty annoyed that they were disturbing its sleep. Eventually, the girls gained enough courage to walk through the exhibit themselves, watching (cautiously) the lemurs and talking to one of the zookeepers about them.
Freyja also gained a bit more courage on the play area, climbing higher on one of the climbing frames than I have ever seen her do so.
This new found courage manifested in other ways too. The girls don’t like the peacocks wandering around the park. I can’t really blame them, they are big birds and I wouldn’t want that beak too close to be either. They normally run off if one of the peacocks even look at them, however, they decided to get them a taste of their own medicine. The peacock quickly turned and fled as both the girls ran towards it. Peacock 0 : Girls 1