I always feel I have to start posts like this with a disclaimer...no, this is not sponsored and I didn't get in for free!
After all the rain, we were fed up the other weekend and decided we couldn't put summer on hold anymore and we'd go out for the day with the children. Mr M suggested Cotswold Wildlife Park as somewhere they might like and it was a good call! I first came to the park as a child on a school trip but my memory of it is very vague, and then Mr M and I visited on our own when we were in the throws of new love about 10 years ago whilst on a camping trip to Cirencester. In that time I feel the park has made some big improvements and I'd thoroughly recommend it as somewhere to take the children.
The Cotswold Wildlife Park is just outside the extremely picturesque village of Burford. I love Burford, we visit perhaps once a year to take a meander up it's very large hill and normally combine it with a visit to the superb garden centre. It's quite reasonably priced at £13 per adult, £9 per child - under 3's are free although I did notice the lack of a family day ticket which is something you normally get offered at places like this. We paid our £44 and off we went!
The children were very excited as we hadn't told them where we going and they thought we were going shopping. My poor children, how much shopping do I subject them to?! They couldn't wait to run from one animal enclosure to the next and had great fun reading (or attempting to read) about the animals. They had they're favourites - the clear winners of the day were the meerkats, penguins and the bats but there was so much more to see including rhinos, lions (which were quite noisy), wolves, giraffes, zebras, farm animals, varieties of monkeys as well as reptiles and insects and a big walkthrough "Madagascar experience" with lemurs on the loose. One of the lemurs had twins!
Because it was a spontaneous visit, I hadn't packed the usual picnic which meant we had to buy food and drink. This was always going to be expensive but what I hadn't considered was just how long the queue was going to be! It was out the door and then some but I'm pleased to say it moved quite quickly. There was a good choice of food - a big selection of sandwiches, children's boxes, chips, jacket potatoes and a variety of other hot dinners as well as a selection of homemade-style cakes. It did tot up quite a bit but the food quality was better than I've had at similar places.
We stayed for about 5 hours and everyone had a whale of a time. There's a small children's playground and also a narrow-gauge railway which takes you on a little round-trip, you have to pay separately for this though and it was a £1 each. My son is a train-lover so we went on it and he loved it.
We managed to avoid any rain, even though dark skies seemed to be following us, managed to bypass the gift shop (result!) and headed home, all tired and worn-out from a fun day out!