Port Lympne Wild Animal Park is somewhere I go back to again and again, especially when I have my favourite little dudes with me. There are so many animals to see, and the park itself boasts some stunning views across the Kent marshlands. I will never pass up a chance to go there, even though I know the place like the back of my hand.
With my half term holiday pretty much booked up, I had one free day left, then I saw that my best friend Hannah was looking for someone to accompany her and her boys to Port Lympne. Of course, I jumped at the offer, and the next day we set off, driving through the beautiful countryside to get to the popular animal park.
The park is set in 600 acres of countryside and boasts a collection of wild animals from across the globe. You can come up close to majestic lions and tigers, watch playful monkeys swinging around their enclosures, and view creepy crawlies through the safety of thick glass windows, as well as many other animals.
Every time I visit Port Lympne, I see something new. Some of the animals are elusive, or hard to spot inside their enclosures, which are laid out in a way that mimics the animals’ natural habitats. Try as I might, there are many animals I still haven’t managed to get a clear shot of, but I can promise you, you will see so many amazing creatures as you walk around the park.
A part of me feels sad when I see animals behind fences, but The Aspinal Foundation who run the park have the best intentions for the animals they look after. They endeavour to breed and re-introduce as many animals into the wild as they can in an attempt to help fight against the extinction of so many species. Over the last 30 years, the foundation has been successful at fulfilling their aims – many baby animals have been born, both at Port Lympne and at their other park, Howletts. On this visit, I got to see a recently born giraffe!
To see the giraffes, you can hop into a safari truck from Base Camp. You will be driven right into where the giraffes, as well as many other African and Asian animals are roaming freely. On my previous visit, a giraffe came so close the our truck we could have stroked it – but you’re not allowed to do that! The safari doesn’t cost you any more once you’ve paid your admission fee, and you have the option to get on or off at a couple of locations around the park.
As long as your little ones don’t mind a bit of walking, Port Lympne is ideal for kids. As well as getting to see so many animals, they also have a few chances to play. The park has three play areas in different locations with a variety of obstacles to let out their energy on. Pushchairs are also provided by the park for those who choose to get off with their kids while on safari, or for when they get tired legs from walking around.
One other huge hit with the kids is the relatively new Dinosaur Forest which boasts a large collection of dinosaur models – all life size! Every time we take Daniel to Port Lympne, the first thing he wants to do is go and find them, and he loves to pose next to them for a photograph. Sometimes, members of staff have been around, giving talks about the dinosaurs. Facts are also displayed on signs next to each model. It’s pretty amazing to see just how ginormous these creatures were!
Alongside so many other attractions, the park also has several types of accommodation. Whatever your preferred style of accommodation, there is something for you at Port Lympne – you can stay in a boutique hotel, a cute cottage, or go glamping in several locations, either in a luxury tent, or inside one of the Pinewood pods (I’d really like to stay in one of these). I have never stayed over at the park, but I can imagine it would be an incredible experience. Waking up with an array of wild animals on your doorstep… I couldn’t think of anything better!
If you ever find yourself in Kent, it really would be worth your while to head along to Port Lympne. There is so much to see and do there, for adults and children alike. With an entrance fee of £25 per adult, and £21 per child aged 3-15 (under 3’s go free), you might feel this is a little pricey, but trust me, the experiences are well worth it, and just think, you will be doing your bit to help a charity which does so much for the conservation of wildlife, both here and all over the world.