Knowsley Safari Park

We asked Son where he would like to go for a day out (on the odd occasion we let him choose!). Knowsley Safari Park was his immediate response.  Not an obvious choice – he is more the machinery/techno/gadget kind of kid, animals have never featured much on his hot list.  We went with it though, something different is always good.

We had last been to Knowsley about 8 years ago when Son was a toddler.  No big memories from that time, so it seemed opportune to check it out again.

Ticket prices were expensive to say the least – £40 for the three of us, not a bargain by any means.

Originally the Earl of Derby started a private menagerie of exotic animals here in the 19th century.  The safari park as we know it opened in 1971 and was the first of its type in a big city. Nowadays half a million people visit the Earl’s former estate to see a collection of around 500 animals.  It is quite a strange feeling to be just a few miles from the centre of Liverpool but have lions, rhinos and zebras roaming (relatively) freely.

We started with the Safari Drive – 5 miles of parkland where you drive around and watch the animals go about their business.  Of course there are separate enclosures to stop massacre on a huge scale – that would be a family day out with a difference.  We saw lots of deer, sleepy lions, one solitary tiger, buffalo, rhinos and a herd of wildebeest.  They have bongo and a pack of weird looking African wild dogs.

06.22.01 - Knowsley Safari Park

06.22.02 - Safari park

06.22.05 - Lions napping

06.22.11 - Camel crossing

06.22.12 - Baby rhinos

Having survived the lion enclosure, we reached the park’s infamous baboons – guaranteed to clamber over your car and wreak havoc.  You can choose a “car friendly” route, but we decided to spice things up and live on the edge. We warily drove into the enclosure and instantly heard a loud clump from the back, announcing the arrival of a huge baboon and his mates on the back of the car.  Son loved that.  They scampered over the roof, slid down the front, peered in at us for a minute then parked on the bonnet for a free ride.  They proceeded to pull and pick off anything they could find on the car.   Tensions mounted inside, husband got a bit hot under the collar, but we were helpless.

06.22.08 - Baboon area

06.22.09 - Baboon area

We left minus the jets for our windscreen wipers.  Not great, but watching the same baboons later rip off a license plate, maybe we got off lightly.

A more sedate walk around the other enclosures followed.  We got up close and personal with a giraffe (my what a long tongue they have) and had a great view of the elephants from an elevated wooden platform.

06.22.16 - Knowsley

06.22.18 - Knowsley

A quick visit to the (rather scruffy) bat forest and bug house were next.  We bypassed the incredibly tacky and outdated amusement ride area and enjoyed a sealion show.

06.22.13 - Knowsley safari park

06.22.19 - Knowsley

06.22.26 - Bug house

06.22.25 - Sealion show

Before leaving, we had one last Safari Drive – this time the lions were up and ready for action.  They were active and alert, prowling next to the cars.  Son was definitely not comfortable with this (nor was I – we are such a brave family), so we moved along.

06.22.27 - Safari drive

06.22.28 - Safari drive

06.22.29 - Safari drive

We enjoyed our afternoon at Knowsley, especially the Safari Drive.  However, entrance is very over priced and the remainder of the park really needs a complete overhaul and a lot of investment.  I don’t think we’ll be back.

5 thoughts on “Knowsley Safari Park

  1. For a real wild life experience put The Kruger National Park, South Africa on your bucket list. I see the point of safari parks like this – but it is not a patch on the real thing.

  2. Ha ha, Oh my gosh, I always wanted to come here but was always too afraid to because of the monkeys. I never knew there was a safe drive through option! Too funny 😛 The sea lion looks gorgeous!

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