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West Midland Safari Park is pleased to announce that its popular Christmas event starts tomorrow and this year there is an exciting new feature – Safari Skating.
From 24 November and running daily until Christmas Eve, guests will have the chance to see Santa in his magical grotto during the day, or on selected dates, visit Santa during the evening.
Alongside seeing the big man himself, the Park is inviting guests to try out their skating skills on its brand-new Glice® rink, which is open until 7 January 2024.
This eco-friendly ice rink alternative is suitable for all the family and doesn’t require any water or energy, meaning it’s more sustainable (and not a soggy bottom in sight!).
Ahead of opening, who better to test the new feature than Santa, who grabbed his Head Elf (and a stability aid), then was seen zooming around the rink and enjoying the frequent ‘snow’ flurries.
Head of Marketing, Rochelle Zare, said, “Christmas is one of the best times of the year to visit West Midland Safari Park, and this year is no exception. After the tremendous amount of work that’s been put into this year’s event, the team here cannot wait to see the faces of families entering the Park, seeing the beautiful winter wonderland we’ve created, and experiencing our magical grotto and new Glice® rink.”
Guests looking for some extra festive fun, can choose to purchase a skating only ticket or add Safari Skating on to their Santa Safari or winter visit to the Park.
There will also be the opportunity to purchase some winter gifts or some festive food and drinks, at the new outlets next to the rink.
For the Christmas season, the Park has been magically transformed into a winter wonderland, with over 300 Christmas trees, new illuminated characters, lights, baubles, photo points and even thick layers of ‘snow’.
Guests to the grotto will be greeted by Santa’s team of friendly elves who will magically transport families to the North Pole on Santa’s newly refurbished sleigh featuring a talking owl and enchanting northern lights.
Disembarking the sleigh, they will follow a path through a magical winter wonderland, busy elf workshop and reindeer stables, finally reaching the grotto to pay a visit to the big man himself.
Children will receive a memento of their day by having a picture taken of themselves with Santa which they can then take home, alongside being able to choose their very own present from the elves’ workshop.
Also included in the package is a visit to Mrs Claus’ Kitchen, where children can enjoy a drink and cookie, whilst adults are treated to a hot drink and festive treat.
There will be a chance for children to write their letters to Santa and post them in his friendly talking postbox, with a chance of winning a family annual pass.
Additionally, guests visiting this winter can add on a virtual reality sleigh ride – a magical 4D adventure to the North Pole, helping Santa to test out his sleigh before his big journey on Christmas Eve.
Something spooky is in the air at West Midland Safari Park, as the animal keepers have been treating the Park’s newest cubs and pups to their own pumpkins.
For Sumatran tiger cub, Lestari, red panda cub, Lushan and meerkat pup, Lily, this is the first time they have experienced pumpkins and there were mixed reactions to the large, seasonal fruits!
Lushan and Lestari seemed to be very wary to start with, approaching the pumpkins with extreme caution and then retreating hastily, leaving their mothers to enjoy them instead.
Lily the meerkat pup however, had her paws straight on the prize, led by the rest of the mob, who were very excited to see this novel form of enrichment and frantically started to scratch and nibble at the tasty, orange flesh.
Katie McDonald, Research and Conservation Officer, explained, “We use enrichment to allow our animals to exhibit natural behaviours. This might be to give the animals different foraging opportunities, or sometimes it exercises muscles they might not always use. It may also increase exploration of the environment by using interesting scent trails.
“Novel objects such as pumpkins allow our animals to investigate something that looks, smells and feels different. Some species, like our meerkats can use their cognitive skills to find food inside them, whilst other animals such as our tigers, like to stalk and capture them! Enrichment is very important for our young, developing animals. They need varied environments to develop their movement and thinking skills, just like human babies, so it was great to see how each one reacted.”
For the red pandas, keepers hollowed out their pumpkin and filled it with bamboo, which was enjoyed by Lushan’s mum, Mei Lin, whereas the meerkats’ was filled with wriggly meal worms.
As the Park is currently themed with hundreds of pumpkins for their Spooky Spectacular Halloween event, any surplus are donated to the animals, so the tiger keepers also offered Lestari a complete, uncarved pumpkin.
Presented in this way was an instant hit and the four-month-old cub ‘stalked’ the pumpkin before pouncing on it and attacking it with her tiny claws, teeth and feet!
She was also seen fiercely protecting her precious plaything from her mum, Dourga, who was warned off with a few playful pats to the face.
Guests to the Park may spot pumpkins in some of the other animal habitats, on the safari and in the pedestrianised areas, some of which make up spooky photo points for guests to snap a picture.
During Spooky Spectacular (running until 5 November), guests can take part in a trail to win a tasty treat, enter a competition to win a Rhino Lodge stay, meet Patch the pumpkin-headed scarecrow, or take part in a brand-new ‘silly science show’ with new mascot, Mitzy Monster (from 28 October).
Lestari, Lushan and Lily can be seen in the walk-through areas of the Park and along with Spooky Spectacular activities, are included in the admission charge.
You’ll receive an exclusive tour behind the scenes of our state-of-the-art African Lion House while meeting and feeding our incredible pride of lions!
Speak to our Experiences Team regarding what dates and times are available.
Phone 01299 406461 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
£175.00 per person (aged 6+ years. Children aged 6-15 years must be accompanied by a full paying adult).
Please note that timings are subject to change. Timings may be earlier during the school holidays.
9.30am – Arrive at WMSP and pull over on the left-hand side of the main drive. Please remain in your vehicle and your Safari Guide will greet you. They will escort you to the main car park and then embark on our special Safari vehicle.
Arrive at our African Lion House. Your VIP guide will give you a tour behind the scenes. You will see the lions in their outdoor compound and have an opportunity to feed them. Afterwards, some of the other pride members will be released into the reserves.
10.30am – Time for a refreshment in Dino Diner.
11.00am – You are now free to spend the rest of the day at your leisure in the Safari Drive-through, Discovery Trail, and African Village.
Don’t forget to call in at Reception to pick up your memory stick and Free Return Ticket.
Take the main Hagley Road to the Quinton Expressway A456 through Hagley and Blakedown following Safari Park signs through Kidderminster to Bewdley.
Take the A449 to Kidderminster. Take the A456 to Bewdley. From the North: Take the M6 South, leave on exit 8 and join the M5. Take the M5 to exit 3 and follow the A456 through Kidderminster to Bewdley.
Take the M5 North, leave on exit 6 and follow the A449 to Kidderminster. Take the A456 to Bewdley
Work has started at West Midland Safari Park for their second phase of luxury accommodation, including overnight stays with giraffes and white rhinos.
Following planning being granted last week, the Park can now go ahead with building eight two-storey lodges, integrated into the white rhino and giraffe habitats, giving guests a truly unforgettable and immersive experience.
The white rhino lodges will sleep four people and will be the only experience of its kind in the UK. The ground floor will provide an open-plan living space with a balcony offering ground-level views of the rhinos. Two bedrooms and a bathroom will be located on the first floor, along with a balcony providing panoramic views of the rhinos and Safari.
In the giraffe lodges, guests will be able to come eye-to-eye with the Park’s charismatic tower of eight giraffes from the balcony on the first floor, which is where the living room, kitchenette and dining room are situated. A bathroom and two bedrooms will be downstairs, providing accommodation for four people.
The introduction of the new lodges also enables the Park to update and improve the habitats of the animals, giving them 24-hour access to both their indoor and outdoor environments.
Managing Director, Chris Kelly said, “We’re thrilled that planning has been granted for the next stage of our development. This will see new habitats, housing and facilities being built for our giraffes and white rhinos, enabling our brilliant team of wildlife keepers to continue the high standard of care they provide for our animals.
“Alongside the new animal facilities, we will be installing eight new lodges, four of which will offer spectacular views of the white rhinos, with the other half bringing you face-to-face with our beautiful giraffes, from the second-storey balconies.
“We’re hoping that we have the same guest reaction for the new lodges as we had for our elephant and cheetah lodges and our Red Panda Cottages, which has been outstanding. We look forward to releasing more information on booking and an opening date, later in the year.”
White rhino and Rothschild’s giraffe are classified as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), with both species facing threats in the wild such as poaching and habitat loss.
The Park’s white rhino and Rothschild’s giraffe are both part of an EEP (European Endangered Species Programme), a breeding programme, supporting the conservation of their wild counterparts by creating a reserve population. The new facilities will enable the Park to continue their important work with the EEP.
As well as the new accommodation and habitats for the animals, the Park will also be installing pathways so that day guests can go to see the giraffes and African elephants on foot – a first for the Park in its 44-year history. These will be accessible from the Park’s current walk-through areas.
The new lodges will be integrated into the four-mile Safari and will sit alongside the elephant and cheetah lodges which opened earlier this year and quickly sold out. More recently, the Park opened two Red Panda Cottages, which still have some dates available for 2022.
Safari Lodges short breaks include breakfast and dinner, spectacular views of the animals, admission to the Park for two days and Theme Park wristbands, during the summer season.
Bookings for the new lodges will hopefully be available at the end of the year, but guests can book the Red Panda Cottages and find further information on the Safari Lodges website: www.safari-lodges.co.uk.
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