We have visited the New Forest Wildlife two or three times so far, last time it was a few weeks ago, in the summer of Covid-19. Some things changed, some aren’t. I have old and new photos, so I thought put a post together of why we like it there.
We do like the New Forest and this wildlife park is a real gem. It’s not only good fun but educational too: the children encounter threatened and endangered species and will become aware of issues surrounding environmental changes and pollution and the need for wildlife protection and conservation. And will learn not only about the animals but also about the surrounding area and vegetation.
Around the New Forest there’s plenty of things to do, definitely enough to spend a few days around there. We always enjoy the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu.
Getting to New Forest Wildlife Park
The park is situated off the A35 between Southampton and Lyndhurst. It’s not so far from South London, about an hour and a bit in the car. You will need car, it is really hard to get to the park by public transport, but not impossible, there’s a bus to Ashhurst and train to Totton, which is about an hour walk from the wildlife park. Finding a parking space is not a problem.
What’s in the New Forest Wildlife Park
The Wildlife park is a zoo type of park, with playgrounds, cafe/restaurant. Only that the animals have quite a nice size of territory to live on. You can find a bisons, red deers, wolves (our favourites, I tell you why in a bit), wallabies, owlery, tropical butterfly house (currently closed due to Covid-19 measurements), otters, wild boars and even cute little harvest mice.
In most enclosures the animals are free to roam around – we always find it funny how the wolves are the laziest in the park, usually lying around yawning.
There are regular keeper talks and feeding sessions throughout the day, we always manage to see some.
The playgrounds are excellent: there are three of them: two adventure playgrounds and one for the littlest visitors – plenty of playground time! Our two loves them equally (they still only 4 and 6). The adventure playground has a zip wire, log jumble, ‘birds’ nests’ climbing ropes, swings and spider nets. The small playground has toddler climbing frames and sandpit with buckets, spades and little diggers.
Conservation and rehabilitation projects
We love visiting places like this wildlife park, because they are not just a “zoo”. The New Forest Wildlife Park has a few ongoing conservation and rehabilitation projects, like helping to breed the giant otter, that is on the IUCN endangered species Red List and so conserve them for the future. Or the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned native species – otters, owls, and deer Scottish wildcat captive breeding programme. They also work closely with the RSPCA, vets, the police and other organisations to help rescue injured and abandoned wild animals and bring them back to good health.
Food and tickets
There’s a restaurant with sandwiches and basic cooked food like baked potatoes (but this was reduced during our last visit to cold food only for Covid – 19 measurements. They still served coffee in reusable cups which was great!) and a little shack with ice cream and drinks at the adventure playground.
Tickets are bookable online or at the park. Prices are (there’s different discounts available): adult £12.50, children (3-16 years) £9.50 and family (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children) £38