8 October 2013
We have visited West Midlands Safari Park twice this year. The first was during the summer bank holiday which was predictably very busy, but a good day out. When you visit the Safari Park you get a return ticket to visit on another occasion during that year. We used our return ticket during the Spooky Spectacular Halloween themed days during October. This review is about the second visit during the Spooky Spectacular.
We visited on the first weekend of the Spooky Spectacular which turned out to be perfect weather. As it was still a way off Halloween it was not busy, so we had the best of everything: good weather, a quiet park, open late and the Halloween themed aspects.
We started the visit by driving around the drive through safari. This included a variety of animals from the friendly goats to the White Tigers and Lions. The enclosures are well designed, spacious with a variety of different landscapes and features for the animals and good looking backdrops and scenery. Most of the reserves were not too busy with just a short queue through some of the gates except for one particular section with goats in. The problem there was that cars were stopping to feed the animals near to the entrance to that particular field and as a result there was a big queue of traffic unable to move. The animals were then obstructing other cars that were not feeding the animals. I'm not sure what the solution to this could be - as human behaviour seams to dictate that people want to feed the animals when they see them and that the animals have determined the best place to get that food is by the entrance. This didn't cause too much inconvenience on this particular visit, but has in the past and if they can find a better solution will hopefully improve the drive through for all.
We then ate lunch in the restaurant before heading for the amusement area. There is a good selection of rides in the amusement area including lots of rides for children and a couple of roller coasters for older children and adults. You can pay for rides either by purchasing tokens for the individual rides or by purchasing a wristband for unlimited rides. During our previous visit we had concentrated more on the animals so only bought a few individual tokens, but this time we had decided to spend more time on the rides so bought wristbands. It's good to have that choice particularly as the main reason for visiting the safari park is to visit the animals rather than go on rides.
The wristbands were ideal for our visit as there were very few queues so we got to go on lots of rides.
Much of the entertainment had been given a Halloween theme including the staff who were all dressed in costumes. The Sea Lion show had been given a Halloween makeover featuring Zombies. I thought the Sea Lion show was reasonable, but would have preferred the traditional more educational show. My kids did like the show. As my daughter so eloquently put it "that's because you're old - us kids loved it" - which I guess puts me in my place.
Whilst we didn't stay until really late as we had children that needed sleep before school we did wait until it started to drop dark to be able to see the Halloween decorations lit up. These were particularly good with pumpkin heads on lots of traditional and modern characters.
The safari park is a great place to visit and is always popular during the summer. The free return ticket worked well for returning during the Halloween season adding a new dimension to the usual visit to the Safari Park.