As more and more places start to reopen during this lockdown period the question of, “but what are they like?” is cropping up again and again. I think a lot of people want to go out, but are nervous of the unknown.
With being at home so long and not really going anywhere it’s understandable that a lot of us are apprehensive over what places are going to be like.
As soon as I read that safari parks and zoos were reopening, I booked tickets instantly. Our local animal adventures are Knowsley Safari Park and Chester Zoo. While our trip to the zoo might still be a couple of weeks away, we went on our Safari day out in the 1st week they reopened.
Planning Your Day
Before you go you must book online, there are no tickets available on the gates. This works really well because it limits the amount of people heading in to the park.
At the moment because not everything is open, Knowsley Safari Park are offering a discount on ticket prices. I think this is excellent. The ticketing is per person and not per car. However, if you’re an NHS badge holder you can get in for free.
Once you’ve got your booking reference number then you are good to go. I would recommend checking the time slots that are still available for your desired dates. The earlier you can go in the day the better.
We arrived at 11am and stayed till closing at 6pm. Seeing as it was the only day out we had had in 3 months, we were certainly going to make the most of it.
What Is Open
You’ll be pleased to know that all parts of the car safari are fully open. Including those cheeky baboons that are very happy to torment car loads of people again.
The foot safari is where the main changes have taken place. It is excellently planned out and is now working on a one way system around it. You can see the Tigers, Giraffes, Meerkats, Sea Lions and Birds of Prey by foot.
The indoor sea lion shows are currently not taking place, neither are the outdoor birds of prey displays. The intentions of this are very good, as they are to stop large groups congregating together. Sadly, the walk around the wolf enclosure is also closed. If you’re lucky enough you might catch a glimpse of them through the spy holes, however the wolves like to hide from me, all the time.
Once you have loved strolling round the park, you can treat yourself with a souvenir. The shop is open, and is well handled by staff with a one in, one out policy, and hand sanitiser on the doors.
Lunch and Loos
We had taken lunch and snacks with us, as we were unsure on what would be open on the site. We were happy to see though that one of the cafe’s is open so we could grab a coffee. With the weather being perfect we were even happier to be able to buy an ice cream. For hot food lovers, Knowsley’s BBQ spot is also open, serving great food outside.
Parents, and in fact, us adults in general, will be pleased to hear the public toilets are open. The toilet system is so well handled by the safari park. Each block are monitored by staff, and they are one in, one out policy like the shop, with only a few people allowed inside at one time. Everyone must hand sanitise before entering, and each toilet is cleaned after each use. Brilliant work from the Safari Park staff.
It has been a number of years since my last visit to the Safari Park. It’s right on our doorstep and I always feel like when that is the case, you never take advantage.
Each time we visit we enjoy it so much that we always question why we don’t visit more often.
Like I said earlier, our time slot was booked for 11am. After a quick toilet trip, and coffee purchase, we hopped in the car and set off on safari. If you have never been before, then don’t worry, the way around the park is all sign-posted, on proper road surface and there are rangers all about.
My favourite parts of the safari are the Rhinos, Baboons & the Lions. Heading through the Baboon enclosure is certainly a “do so at your own risk”, however it is extremely fun. Don’t think that your car will get off scot-free in there. You might only have an upright windscreen wiper when you drive out, or like us you could lose your screen-wash jets & get a crooked wing-mirror. But it’s all fixable fun.
There is a car friendly route where you can still see the mischievous baboons from a car-safe distance.
The lion enclosure is certainly worth the wait. This is the reason we stayed until 6pm.
The last admission in to the driving safari is currently 4pm. We headed back in just before 4pm, and headed steadily straight for the lion enclosure. We were so glad we sat around in here for about half an hour, with only 3 other cars, because the lions finally got up and stretched their legs. They’re such amazing animals and you get such a thrill when they walk straight past the car.
The foot safari was a new experience for me, I told you it had been quite a few years since we had been. As much as I missed watching the the Sea Lion show, seeing the enclosure for the Tigers, Giraffes & Meerkats was just as good.
The meerkat’s are such adorable and cheeky little things. I absolutely love them and could watch them for ages.
But, it’s the Tigers I love the most. These are just the most beautiful animals. Their enclosure on the foot safari is split in to 2 parts, and there are currently 2 Amur tigers at home in there. We had the most amazing experience with them, partly due to staying so late in the day. They were walking up and down right in front of us, and at one point just stopped and were looking directly at us. Ste thought it was because I had bright orange pants on.
Get Booking Your Adventure
After being at home for almost 3 months, spending 7 hours at the safari park went by in a flash. We blinked and the day had gone. If you can book an early time slot then you can make the most of your day. Once you’re inside the park you can head round the driving safari and foot safari as many times as you want.
By pre-booking online, Knowsley can control the amount of people they will have on site, so not to overcrowd. This worked perfectly because I didn’t think the park was busy at all, and a really nice amount of people around. In fact, I would love it if each visit was only that full in future. But I know that isn’t possible. The better the world gets, the busier we actually want these types of places to be, to build back up again.
The staff were absolutely amazing, and kept everyone upbeat, even when queuing. The whole park was really well handled in these Covid-19 times. With hand sanitiser everywhere, one way systems in place, crowd control, and great social distancing markings, I couldn’t recommend it more as a day out.
I’d love to know if you have booked to go any time soon, or have been thinking of booking. Have you visited the safari park before? Do let me know, and let me know especially if you’re thinking of booking after reading.
Stay safe and well, guys.
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