Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Paradise Wildlife Park - Snoozzze at the Zoo Review

Paradise Wildlife Park

Paradise Wildlife Park is a zoo set in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside.  It is home to over 400 animals living in enclosures within the landscaped grounds.  Glass windows, viewing platforms and high walkways offer guests brilliant views of the animals, who are all very happy, healthy and well cared for.

We were invited along to enjoy a VIP experience at Paradise Wildlife Park, staying in one of their amazing onsite apartments for a Snoozzze at the Zoo! 

It was a three hour drive to PWP from our home in Shropshire.  We arrived at the Discovery Centre where we were given some much appreciated hot chocolates and biscuits and were briefed about our stay.  We were given our VIP wristbands and shown to our apartment, which was absolutely brilliant.  The Zebra Apartment was spacious, bright and airy and spotlessly clean.  The apartment is decorated using zebra print accessories including rugs, cushions, bed covers, headboards, canvas artwork and an armchair. The apartment sleeps up to 8 people.

There are two bedrooms, one twin and a double with very comfy beds, fluffy pillows, thick duvets and crisp white bed linen.  Both have a dressing table and a wall mounted TV.  A hairdryer is included in the double room.  The bathroom is huge with a large walk-in shower and plenty of fluffy, white towels.  Complimentary toiletries are included.  A kitchenette area includes a microwave, a fridge and coffee making facilities.  There is also a good supply of crockery and cutlery in the cupboards.  A utility cupboard includes an iron and ironing board and extra bed linen if you need to make up the sofa beds in the lounge area.  There is a big TV on the wall in the lounge which has lots of Freeview channels, there is also a DVD player and a selection of family films to watch.  The design and the specification of the apartment is impressive and we were all incredibly impressed.

Paradise Wildlife Park


The VIP wristbands granted us unlimited access to the zoo during opening hours plus gave us some extra perks such as a free train ride, free food pot and a round of mini golf.  Unfortunately, the St.Jude hurricane had uprooted some trees the night before we arrived, one of which had damaged the golf course so this was out of bounds.  A team was hard at work fixing the damage.  They were also working hard to keep the pathways clear of fallen leaves.  The post-storm weather for the days we were there was glorious, autumnal and crisp with clear blue skies.  We were very lucky.

There are a lot of play areas for the kids.  Slides, swings, playhouses, ride on toys, giant building bricks and a sandpit allow little ones to let off steam.  Regular keeper talks and shows on the central stage keep everyone entertained.  Halloween activities are taking place this half term and Freddy enjoyed watching four dancers lip synch and dance to some spooky songs while dressed in Halloween costumes!  There was a magician who made balloon models on afterwards.  A soft play area gives children an all weather play area to enjoy, while parents keep an eye on them.  PWP is also home to the National Speedway Museum.

 Freddy really loved the play equipment and his favourite was an old 60's Dennis Fire Engine that had been converted into a wonderful play thing. Freddy pretended he was a fireman, driving the engine and rushing to put out fires.  He also loved the old Gypsy Caravan which was over 100 years old and had been adapted with a slide coming out the back. Both demonstarte an inventive use of old vehicles giving them a new lease of life.

The Woodland Train is a little ride that goes on tracks through the woods where you can see model dinosaurs.  All the children onboard were very excited by it and some even screamed as we went past the T-Rex!  It costs £1 to ride the train, but it is free to VIPs.

Paradise Wildlife Park

But the star attraction of Paradise Wildlife Park is the animals!  From farmyard friends to the big cat collection to the penguin colony, all the animals were active and happy, keeping the guests entertained with their antics.  A Rainforest enclosure, Bat House and a Reptile Temple made interesting exhibits for smaller animals.  The zoo is home is the UK's biggest snake, a green anaconda called Optimus Prime.  He was huge! We loved the zebras who were gorgeous, and the rare White Lion family was a joy to behold.  Ares the Jaguar was a real hit as he stared at us through the mesh cage.  He was a powerful and beautiful creature.  We also saw wolves, lemurs, gibbons, meerkats, reindeer, camels, wallabies, tapir and some gorgeous red pandas among others.  I was surprised at how close up many of the animals were, and we all enjoyed being able to get a good view of them in their enclosures.  They are definitely the most human-friendly zoo animals I have encountered.

Paradise Wildlife Park

We enjoyed our evening in the apartment.  Once the zoo is closed, apartment guests have access to a back gate so they can go offsite to visit a restaurant for their evening meal.  The key fob activates the electric fence on your return.  We got ourselves a bit lost, but thankfully we had the phone number of a member of staff who is on call to guest who guided us home and then checked up on us later to see if we were OK.  Great service indeed!

The apartment was surprisingly quiet and peaceful overnight, but the gibbons sounded dawn chorus providing a wonderfully exotic alarm call in the morning!  Perfect.

Apartment guests are treated to an exclusive VIP breakfast at the Tiger Treetops restaurant in the morning.  Walking through the zoo before its official opening time afforded us an incredible view of the big cats who were as interested in us as we were in them. The restaurant is up a walkway overlooking the Amur Tiger enclosure where three gorgeous tigers live including Rocky the big male tiger. We were shown to a beautifully laid table and enjoyed a continental buffet breakfast while the tigers wandered around just a few feet from where we were sat.  It was quite an experience!  The waitress was attentive and friendly.

As we finished eating, the big cat keeper popped in and told us about the animals.  His passion, enthusiasm and knowledge was incredible.  He loved the animals he cared for and it came across loud and clear.  Another member of the team then took us on a guided tour of some of the areas of the zoo, and again his passion for his job came through.  We learned lots of interesting facts about the zoo, the animals, conservation and breeding programmes.  It is clear how much the employees of the zoo love what they do and the staff are all friendly, open and happy to chat to guests about the animals.

Paradise Wildlife Park

A part of this tour included a hands on animal encounter.  My girls absolutely loved this part of the day as they got to handle a Royal Python, Bearded Dragon and Gecko.  Freddy wasn't prepared to hold anything but was very interested albeit wary!  I fell in love with a Gecko.  It was so soft, almost velvety and sat happily in my hand while I admired his beautiful markings.  We also got to see some animal artifacts including a huge elephant tusk that had been confiscated by customs officers.  It was educational and an amazing opportunity that we all felt so lucky to have.  Unfortunately the unusual Tenrec was too grumpy to handle, but we got to look at this unusual creature in his house.  He looked like a cross between a mole and a hedgehog, but is actually related to an elephant!  A very strange little fella indeed.

  The zoo staff couldn't have been more friendly or helpful.  The facilities are good and there is a range of restaurants and kiosks for food.  There are vegetarian options available, so we had veggie burgers with chips and side salad  for our lunch which were pretty good and priced at £6.95.  Kids' lunch boxes are also available and Freddy enjoyed his cheese sandwich, drink, chocolate biscuits, apple and crisps which cost £4.95. There is ample seating throughout the park, and areas where you can enjoy picnics if you bring your own food to eat.

 Having the apartment on site is a real bonus when you have kids with you as you can access it throughout the day if you need a rest, a toilet stop or want to pick up or drop off something.  The Snoozzze at the Zoo VIP package is an excellent way to celebrate a special occasion in a never-to-be-forgotten, once-in-a-lifetime way. 

Paradise Wildlife Park


The VIP Snoozzze at the Zoo package staying in the Zebra Apartment costs from £599.
  • A fantastic and rare opportunity to stay over night at the animal park and experience the atmosphere and sounds of the wild as the sun goes down.
  • Enjoy a sumptuous continental style breakfast whilst taking in the breathtaking images of the tigers from Tiger Treetops restaurant. It's almost as if they are dining with you! (served between 8:30-9:30am).
  • Plus 2 whole days for you to enjoy and experience everything that Paradise Wildlife Park has to offer including the animal park, attractions & shows from 9.30am until closing time.
  • Plus animal feed bags to hand feed some of our animals with their favourite treats.
  • Plus a round of Safari Golf on the superb 18 hole course.
  • Plus a ride on the Woodland Railway.
  • Plus a fantastic opportunity to get hands on with some of "cute and cuddly" animal friends while an experienced and knowledgable animal team member gives you a guided tour of the animal park. Purely for apartment guests only! (9:30am - 10:30am)
  • Plus VIP wrist bands for both days of your stay.
  • Information pack which includes a local map highlighting locations of some of our favourite local restaurants, cinema, shopping centers etc.

Find out more about Paradise Wildlife Park and the Snoozzze at the Zoo packages on the website.  Plus discover details of PWP's extensive range of Animal Encounters, Experience Days, Zookeeper Experiences and Tours.

We were invited to enjoy the Snoozzze at the Zoo experience for the purpose of this review but no additional costs were met nor payment received.


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