We’re currently down in Kent to visit the boyfriend’s family, and after a quick look on Trip Advisor about how to fill a weekday when everyone else was at work (the joys of being a teacher!) we found that Howletts Wild Animal Park was only 10 minutes away, and at a very reasonable £16 each! It does have a sister park at Port Lympne further away and which seems to be a more safari type experience but we just stuck with the one zoo for now.
As you enter you immediately come towards the Asian Lions and several species of tigers which are oh so beautiful but very sleepy usually (only one was awake for this photo, and what a poser she is!). They do loads of conservation work and are hoping to breed from the Sumatran tigers which would be great. The staff give daily talks about the different animals throughout the day and the tiger talk was interesting and kept short so that the focus was on the animals and us asking questions.
We then strolled around to see the Elephant paddock where the herd were having a lovely time trying to reach through the fence to get at the trees and mown grass on the other side. These gentle giants are fascinating and I could watch them for ages as they just have so much personality, and the younger ones are full of energy and playfulness.
The paths then led us to the woodland walk which housed many different types of monkeys and small cats such as clouded leopards and palle cats. This really showed the success of their breeding and conservation programmes as there were several enclosures with the same species as there were just so many of them!
We also enjoyed the lemur walk through area as they really are not shy and come right up to you on the other side of the glass, but out in the open path section you often just see a face poking through the bushes rather than the whole lemur! A lot of places now seem to have lemur walks but I always enjoy the chance to get up close with these cheeky chaps- although its very hard to resist the temptation to reach out and stroke them as they are just so cuddly looking!
The boyfriend’s favourite part, and an animal I have never seen before was the Honey Badger. Tyson and Beebee are hilarious and very clever- you could see they were constantly assessing their pen for an escape route and running around a lot so it was very difficult to catch a picture of them. Its hard to imagine how aggressive and what a pain they are in the wild when they look so fun here.
We had a fantastic few hours out and would recommend this to all animal lovers of all ages. We can’t comment on the food as we took a packed lunch, but the ice cream did look very good!