South Lakes Safari Zoo (formerly South Lakes Wild Animal Park) is a 51-acre zoo that was established in 1994 by David Gill.
Located in Cumbria with close proximity to the Lake District, it lies entirely within the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness on the outskirts of Dalton.
In the past South Lakes Zoo has been in the news an awful lot, with concerns over the animal’s welfare, the death of a keeper and escaping animals. In March 2017 Barrow Council refused to grant a licence renewal for the zoo and it looked likely to be closed permanently.
Since then South Lakes Safari Zoo has been taken over by a new management team and with significant improvements being made a licence was granted in May 2017.
With all the bad press I have been consistently put off visiting the zoo, but now that it is under new management I felt that it was time to give this place a try.
I have to say that I was very impressed, the first thing I looked out for was the animals and their welfare and thankfully there wasn’t any sign of neglect and all the animals we saw looked healthy.
We started our tour around the park and the first animals we saw were the Rhino’s and Giraffes
After the Giraffes we entered into a large enclosure where the animals were free to roam and where we could hand feed the Kangaroo and Emu’s with the food we purchased on entering the zoo.
From here we entered another large enclosure where we came, up close and personal to Lemur’s and Tamarin’s, that again, were roaming freely.
We stopped off for a bite to eat at the Maki restaurant. The food was quite nice and very well priced with children eating free with every full paying adult.
The Zoo has two very large Aviaries, the first where we saw a large variety of parrots and other small brightly coloured birds, and a second containing the larger species of birds such as Vultures and Condors.
One of the most amusing attractions at the zoo, is the collection of Howler Monkeys, with their playful antics and rather large howl they did provide my children with quite a few belly laughs.
The Lion enclosure is super, with its large glass windows it’s not difficult to spot one of these magnificent creatures.
Whilst at the park we also managed to see Flamingos, Arctic Wolfs, a Jaguar, Spider Monkeys, a Sumatran Tiger and many more species of animal.
After our first walk around the zoo we took the children to the brand new play park which is extremely good and kept my children entertained for quite some time.
There was also the opportunity at the zoo to learn more about our favourite animals, with regular talks going on throughout the zoo. There was also further opportunities to feed other animals (at extra cost), such as giraffes and lemurs.
The daily timetable for feeding and talk times is quite impressive.
- 11.00am – Giraffe Talk & Feeding
- 11.00am – Vulture Talk
- 11.30am – Andean Bear Talk
- 11.45am – Amazing Macaw Encounter
- 12:00pm – Meet the Meerkat’s.
- 12:00pm – Andean Bear Talk
- 1:00pm – Lemur Talk & Feeding.
- 1.00pm – Giraffe Talk & Feeding
- 1.30pm – Maned Wolves.
- 2.00pm – Primate Talk & Feeding
- 2:30pm – Tiger Feeding
- 3.00pm – Lemur Talk & Feeding
- 3:00pm – Giraffes Talk & Feeding
- 3:30pm – Penguin Talk & Feeding
- 3.45pm – Big Cat Feeding
I would recommend this attraction, it is super value for money, entrance is priced at only £5 for adults (free outside of school holidays) and children go free, there is also a large car park which is also free. We spent over 5 hours at the zoo and we could easily have stayed even longer as there was plenty for all to do. You can see the new management team are clearly trying to put things right and are doing their best and even in such a short time have turned the park right around. We certainly wish all the animals and staff lots of love and luck for the future and we are looking forward to visiting again.