Finding the best wildlife park is a tall order, but it's one that we empathise with completely - you want to take your family to the best place possible!
To make sure that you've got a handle on what's available in the world of wildlife parks throughout the UK, we've drawn up a list of our top ten wildlife parks, including fan favourite Woburn safari park!
Take a look through our article, and make your decision based on that - we're sure you won't be disappointed!
What makes a great Wildlife park?
There are quite a few things that might make a wildlife park one of the best in the world, let alone one of the best in the country, but some of the most important are: diversity of animals, safety, and guaranteed fun.
The diversity of animals that's up for grabs in a wildlife or a park is often held back a little thanks to the fact that certain animals simply cannot live alongside one another: gazelles and lions in the same enclosure likely wouldn't be a pretty sight.
Within those limitations, though, there are plenty of things that you can still do to create a wonderful wildlife park!
The first of them is the range of animals available - seeing a wide range of animals will be much more enjoyable and stimulating for every single member of your party.
The safety point is something a little obvious, but if the animals roam around in their natural habitat, you want to make sure you're not in any danger!
From getting charged by a southern white rhino to being robbed by squirrel monkeys, consider how safe each park is. A good rule of thumb is this: if you can stay in your car for the entire time, then you're likely exceptionally safe.
There are some foot safari options out there, and they can certainly be safe too! Consider what precautions the individual parks have up and running before you consider a trip there - keeping everyone safe on a day out is always important!
Finally, we want to mention guaranteed fun - this is certainly an important element of a safari park!
Of course, you might not always be guaranteed to see amazing animals during your trip to the park, so are there other things at the park you could do?
For instance, does the park you're considering have a few more conventional attractions that you could visit? A great choice could be some small enclosures in which you're sure to see some great animals.
What animals would you like to see in the ideal wildlife park?
There are plenty of animals that might make your visit to a safari park top-notch, and we're going to talk about a couple here.
Savannah - lions and giraffes
Savannah animals love the sun and the heat! This means that they might spend their time inside a little more during the winter. To make sure that you've got a better chance of seeing lions and giraffes, make sure to go during the height of the summer!
Jungle - monkeys and snakes
These animals can be a little better accustomed to the weather of the UK, since there are a number of European species that live in relatively similar climates to the UK.
Therefore, you can go and see monkeys in the UK for most of the year! Woburn safari park is known for having exceptional tigers, so they're certainly worth a look for jungle creatures!
Ocean - sea lions and sharks
Water-based animals are a little easier to see in the UK, since there are a few different marinas and sea life centres that you can track down. These can be great options to spot small animals, like small sharks and sea lions.
Do make sure to avoid sea life parks that deal with larger animals, such as whales. Seeing large animals like that out of their natural habitat can be very cruel, so is best avoided.
How many wildlife parks are there in England?
In total, throughout the UK, there are forty-eight zoos and six safari parks. This is quite a surprising number when you consider how small the UK really is!
The truth of the matter, though, is that quite a few of those zoos are quite small.
What is the biggest safari park in UK?
It's a little tricky to pin a specific number to the size of safari parks throughout the UK, since their nature means that they can quite often be buying or selling small pieces of land to better house their animals.
With that said, though, Longleat safari park clocks in at 900 acres, meaning that it's very likely to be the biggest safari park in the UK.
What is the number 1 safari park in the UK?
This is all down to whatever you personally prefer in a safari park, but the general consensus is that Longleat safari park is the best of the bunch in the UK.
It's the largest park in the UK, as well as the oldest - the safari park opened in 1966, and was the first one that opened outside of Africa.
What is the most visited wildlife attraction in the UK?
While it's not a safari park, Chester zoo is actually the most visited wildlife attraction throughout the whole of the UK! In 2021, the zoo hosted 1.6 million visitors, which is an exceptionally large amount.
The zoo can be this well-visited because it's ideally situated in the UK for people from across the nation to visit, as well as being well-equipped with a range of great animals and other attractions.
Longleat Safari Park
Longleat safari park is the oldest safari park in the UK, opening in 1966, it was the first safari park outside of Africa!
The park offers both a drive-through and a walking safari, which offer some wonderful animals! The walking safari boasts koalas and crocodiles, making for an exciting trip, to be sure.
Port Lympne Wild Animal Park
Port Lympne is a wonderful park that serves to do a range of great things for the animals that live within it.
As well as being something of a theme park where you can go and interact with endangered animals, they do a lot of work to preserve and help animals, sending them to their native habitat wherever possible to ensure that the wild numbers are as good as they possibly can be.
Woburn Safari Park
Woburn safari park is a wonderful park offering a safari drive experience complete with African lions and amur tigers!
It's hard to oversell the quality of the safari drive at Woburn safari park - it's broken down into sections with different animals in each.
From exotic animals like rhinos to fierce tigers, there's a range of great creatures within reach at Woburn safari park.
Knowsley safari park is a great spot in the northwest of England - it offers both walking and driving safaris, seeing animals in their natural habitats.
Something that we're really impressed by is the app - narrated by Knowsley safari park's experts, it allows you to step a little closer to the animals with your mind. At Knowsley safari park, you can really feel like you're in the enclosures!
Wild Place Project, Bristol
The wild place project was the sister site to Bristol zoo, but is soon to be the whole, consolidated zoo all in one spot. There are a range of animals there, with the most impressive perhaps being the giraffes, whose faces are at your height thanks to a specialised viewing platform.
Knepp Wildland Safari
This huge park has a relatively small amount of its land dedicated to a drive-through safari, or any visitor-oriented thing. Instead, the park is focussed on rewilding a number of different animals, keeping them safe in their own space, while also getting them used to being independent. This could be a great trip for a little one that loves animals, as they'll get to see some great work being done to support the animals!
West Midlands Safari
Boasting a suite of family rides, west midlands safari park is a wild adventure that's sure to be remembered! There is a range of different creatures and things to do here, from a safari drive-through to up-close and personal VIP experiences. Of the parks we've written about here, it's the only one we've seen offering a day's experience as a keeper to some sea lions!
Howletts Wildlife Park, Littlebourne, Kent
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the main selling point of this theme park - it has the largest herd of elephants in the UK! There are over 390 animals in the park, making it a great spot.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Offering a great drive-through safari, the park contains some truly beautiful animals and architecture, as you can likely tell from the photo above! While they don't have a southern white rhino, they do have a beautiful herd of rhinos that, personally, we could watch all day!
Blair Drummond safari park
Blair Drummond safari park is quite exceptional, cramming a wide range of different animals into a fairly small park. While there aren't any brown bears, there are llamas, birds of prey, and more monkeys than you could shake a stick at! Not to mention, of course, the gift shop.
There is also a self-guided jungle cruise available, with pedal boats available for hire, allowing people to take a look at some beautiful creatures from an entirely new perspective.