Sarah Jeffery of the Discover Animals team was recently invited to attend a special VIP Experience Tour with her family at West Midland Safari & Leisure Park in Bewdley, Worcestershire. The park’s VIP Tours are a unique treat for animal lovers that want to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Accompanied by Dave Higgin, ex-keeper and their personal safari guide for the day, the first stop of the morning was at the White Rhino House where they met ‘Cutie’, the newest addition to the white rhino family. Next it was on to the giraffe house, where they were exceptionally lucky to be allowed to hand feed leaves and bananas to the magnificent Faida, before heading into the Asian rhino house to stroke and feed Seto and Sunanda. They were especially amazed to watch Seto enjoying a dip in the pool and learnt that in the wild they would naturally spend the middle of the day wallowing in lakes, rivers, ponds, and puddles to cool down. It was then time to hop in the special VIP Tour vehicle to head into the reserves for a special tour of the park before it opened to visitors. Here they watched the lions being released into their outside enclosure, running past the vehicle in a group as they searched for their breakfast; an incredible experience.
After a busy morning, the group stopped to recharge their batteries with hot chocolate and delicious homemade cake at the Explorer’s Family Restaurant, before heading to meet the sea lions, where Sarah and her daughter Caitlin fed fish to Jack during his training session. Next was a guided tour behind the scenes and around the exhibits at Mark O’Shea’s Reptile World, where Pete and Caitlin bravely held a boa constrictor and Sarah kept a safe distance!
Sarah especially enjoyed their visit to Lemur Wood where they fed lunch to the cheeky lemurs that thoroughly enjoyed using the group as climbing frames! Afterwards, they went to see the Humboldt penguins in Penguin Cove and the bats and owl-monkey in the Twilight Cave before heading back to the Explorer’s Family Restaurant to catch up with Guest Relations Officer Sue Day for lunch.
Dave was a fantastic guide and offered lots of fascinating facts and an insight into everyday life for the keepers and animals. The rest of the day was free to explore the rest of the park and drive-through again or try out the rides in the theme park. Sarah, Pete and Caitlin especially enjoyed exploring the Land of the Living Dinosaurs, the largest collection of animatronic dinosaurs in the country, which transports visitors back in time to tell the story of the dinosaurs, which unfolds over millions of years.
There are a number of VIP experiences available. Find out more at http://www.wmsp.co.uk/vip-experiences