What can I say other than we had a fabulous day.
The sun was out, we arrived at 10.30am and left at 4.30pm and didn't get to see it all. It's truly a full day out with so much on offer that guarantees a fun day for the whole family. Some of the features of Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park are:
- A "pet farm": Take that in the widest possible sense because I don't know many people who have llamas or wallabies for pets. There's a wide area with farm animals and some exotic animals where you can walk about and have fun feeding. Cubling loves feeding animals. She strode from one to the next, with a clear mission to make sure every animal would get a bit of food, telling each one of them "all done" and "bye bye" when she was finished. This was usually followed by an all body questioning of "Tiger, where?"
- An area with exotic animals to look at: On the way to the pet farm, we were already able to admire penguins, meercats, otters and other animals in beautifully arranged habitats. Above all, the enclosures included a glass element of toddler height so that for once, the trip was easy on my back and no lifting was required. And Cubling loved being able to look as long or as short as she liked, taking control of her own experience
- A sea lion show: well, we saw the sea lions but gave the show a miss this time
- Exotic animals: giraffe's, zebras, elephants and rhinos are only a walk away and come really rather close to check out those humans. Cubling, in spite of calling for giraffes and elephants, ended up adoring the rhino (whom she consistently called hippo. I don't blame her, it's probably to do with my own confusion of the two words in English, the German terms being much less confusing - and she does get it right in German).
- A proper safari drive: This is where you drive through an open area with mostly African animals. You can get close to lions, antelopes (interestingly kept in separate enclosures), tigers, camels and much more. The best thing is that you can go through as often as you like.
- Boat trips: you can either get on a pedalo or on a boat trip to monkey island, where three chimpanzee try to hit the humans with stones. Helpfully the boat passengers are protected by mesh. This was Cubling's first boat trip and she nearly jumped into it.
- A walk onto lemur land: This is where you can get really close to lemurs. Or rather, where you spend lots of time spotting lemurs on the trees, only to find about 6 of them staring your right into your face, right in front of you. Spooky.
- Adventure Play Grounds: Lots of climbing on three different big features, aimed at different ages, and surrounded by a massive sand pit, swings and other swing park favourites. A lovely break/addition to all that animal spotting.
- Fair ground rides: These cost extra and we didn't use them, but they looked lovely and definitely attracted Cubling's attention: "Funnies!"
- Picnic and barbequeing areas: If you're more organised than us, you can bring your own food and have a proper picnic/BBQ out. If you're not:
- Restaurants and snack bars will help you out though some of the snack bars offer potentially the worst of Scottish food there is. Luckily we had brought lunch for Cubling so that we only had to feed us with rubbish. Later we discovered restaurants with a much better fare.
- Shops: Lots of toys and memorabilia for your little ones or the little one in you. They even sold disposable cameras, whoehey!
- Mascots walking about: Bearman and Linenman as Cubling called them from afar, when getting close to under 10 meters to them, she didn't call them anything, just started to cry in horror at those people in bear/lion costumes.
When we paid the entry, we initially thought that it was a bit pricey. However, I never thought we'd have a full day out and such fun. Cubling ran and ran and ran from one attraction to the next. She didn't whinge once (apart from when we said bye bye tiger) which is probably a first, a in a full day without whinging. The Park is set up in such a way that it's absolutely safe for toddlers and they can just run about the way they like. One day without having to shout "careful!", "hold my hand!", "stop!" etc every couple of minutes. On top of that, all attractions are designed with little ones in mind. It makes such a difference when that happens.
One last tip - if you're a bit stingy and don't want to pay for the guidebook, think again. It really helps, at least for your first visit, to have an overview of what's on offer. You'll probably find everything without the book, but you may miss some walking routes or just spend more time wondering how this all works, rather than just enjoying it.