West Midlands Safari Park is a great place to take the family, and somewhere we can recommend visiting, but there are a few things you need to know to get the most from your visit…
The West Midlands Safari Park, or WMSP as it is often shortened to, is a great place to take the family. BUT, as with all family attractions of this size, it can be an expensive day out. Go at the wrong time and unprepared and you may well come away feeling it’s not money well spent.
We’ve just got back from another visit in April 2014 and noticed that the prices had raised considerably, so it’s even more important to get the most out of your visit.
Top Tips for WMSP
Read this guide for tips on:
- When to go & 2 visits for the price of one
- The best time to do the Safari – avoid queuing for over 2 1/2 hours
- Getting up close and feeding the animals
- Rides and hidden extras
Watch our little video that shows you some of the animals as well as some of the rides you can find at West Midlands Safari Park.
When to visit the West Midlands Safari Park
The WMSP has been running a ‘free return visit’ for several years – and we hope they continue to do this.
We, therefore, recommend that you visit the safari park in the first half of the year so that you can make the most of this return visit. If you think of the entrance price covering two visits, you certainly get more for your money.
The busiest times to visit
Bank Holidays and breaks like Easter will see the park very busy. To be honest, I would avoid visiting the West Midlands Safari park on those days.
School Holidays will often be a bit busier, but if you stay away from the Bank Holidays, there’s no real need to avoid in the school holidays.
The best weather to visit
Everyone likes days out when the weather is warm and sunny. Unfortunately this could make WMSP too busy.
We’ve found that going on a day with a few showers forecast is best. You’ll be in the car for much of the visit anyway, and if you’re prepared for getting wet, you’ll also be ready for the water rides 😉
Best Ticket Prices for West Midlands Safari Park
Book Online and look out for offers
You can make a significant saving if you book online. Paying at the gate is more expensive.
Also look out for offers and discounts. We got onto their mailing list and just returned to WMSP with a 20% off park entrance and 50% off ride wristbands.
Your park entrance fee lets you drive around the Safari Park and view the animal shows and demonstrations.
You will need to pay for tickets for the rides or pay for wristbands.
Ride wristbands can get quite expensive for the family, but so are individual ride tickets. Plan if you are going to do the rides and budget the wristbands into the cost of the day out.
Your car and the free return visit
WMSP record the registration of your car and your free return visit will be associated with that car registration.
It is possible to return with a different vehicle, but I suspect it is a lot of hassle.
Your free return visit only covers the entrance to the safari park and not the ‘extras’. We sometimes only buy ride wristbands on one of the visits.
Getting the most from your free return visit
We often go to WMSP early in the season and then return for their open days in the Autumn school half term when they are running their Halloween open nights, where the rides stay open later.
Tips for driving around the Safari
Before you enter the safari
Visit at the wrong time, and you could spend over 2.5 hours queuing to get around and see all the animals. And there are no toilet stops when you enter the safari.
After you go through the payment booths, you can drive straight into the safari. We recommend that you don’t, and instead visit the loos beforehand.
Best time to drive around the Safari
Driving through the animal enclosure usually takes 1 hour 15 minutes if it’s not busy.
The safari can get very busy between 11:30 and 2:30 pm. Avoid the safari at those times. You may not come out for nearly 3 hours and will spend a lot of time staring at the car bumper in front.
From our experience, if you get there early, visit the safari first (after a toilet stop of course).
Once finished you then have plenty of time for a picnic and rides in the theme park, before going around the animals again before leaving.
Will my car be damaged by the animals?
Something that often goes through your mind when planning a visit to a safari park is “How much will the damage cost to my car?”.
Well, rest assured, they’re no monkey enclosures to drive through at the West Midlands Safari Park – and it’s the primates that often do the damage at safari parks.
Animals will do there on thing though, and so there’s no guarantee that one won’t do something. I did hear of a rhino once trying to get on the bonnet of a car, but they gave keepers on hand that have a watching eye to prevent incidents.
You do drive through a pride of lions, who are rather partial to spare wheels on the outside of 4x4s!
Unfortunately, too many drivers come with a ‘road driving’ mindset and appear to want to get around the safari park as quickly as possible, overtaking cars, and speeding through the gaps. That’s no the way to do it.
Drive slowly, and you won’t scare the animals. Some will even stick their head into your car if you have the window down.
Animals will also wander into the lanes and block the traffic, so queues can often build up. Be patient. A keeper will come and move the animals along as soon as they can.
You’ll also get into queues as people stop to look at the animals and take photos. Be patient. Don’t beep your horn wanting them to move on. Everyone is in the park to see the animals, so be patient, and you’ll get to see them too.
The safari has a one-way system, and you can drive on both lanes.
If you want to get out quickly, there are bypasses for some enclosures.
Remember, animals will do their own thing, and when you visit, there’s no guarantee that they’ll want to do anything.
Take Snacks, Drinks, and Hand Sanitiser (and potty!)
As you may be in the car for some time, take some snacks. But since there are opportunities to feed the animals, take some hand wipes and anti-bacterial hand gel, and use it before anyone its anything if they have been touching the animals.
If you have someone that is potty training, you may need that to hand with you in the car as you can’t stop to get it out of the boot.
The animals are what you go to the safari park for, so what are they like at the West Midlands Safari Park?
Well, when you enter and exit the Safari, you go through the African plains which has the most roaming animals, though is often divided in two.
The first part will contain some White Rhinos that roam by your car (if you are lucky). In some areas such as this, you can open your windows and even feed some animals (more on that in a bit).
In other areas, you’ll need to have doors and windows shut (I can activate the child lock on the doors from the driver’s seat, which is great when going through some areas).
I have seen some online reviews where people complain that they have to close their windows. Well, you do drive through some dangerous animals. Would you really want to see a lion grab your kid out of the car window for quick snack!?!
At all times you have to stay in your car – even in areas that have “safer” animals. So, get anything out of the boot that you need before you enter the safari.
Some animals are too dangerous to let them wander around the cars and are double enclosed. These include the impressive collection of tigers.
Tigers are one of the most powerful predators to humans on the planet. Again, I can’t understand why some online reviewers complain that these are kept safely away from your family. You usually still get close enough for some really good views.
They have a large pride of African lions (as well as some extremely rare White Lions, which are double enclosed for their protection). The pride of African lions often cross in front of your car, and it’s quite an experience to have lions roaming around you.
However, all big cats like to spend much of their day lying around sleeping. If you visit after they have been feed or it’s a warm day, don’t be disappointed if the lions are just lying around. Animals do what they do. It’s no one’s fault.
We just found that the West Midlands Safari Park has just opened an off-road track around the lion enclosure, so if you have a vehicle that’s happy at going off-road, this could create more of a real safari experience, especially as it goes near some spots where the lions like to hang out.
You get to see giraffes when your return to the African plains before leaving the safari, and these always are good (especially some of the comical faces they pull!)
Feeding the Animals
In some areas, it is safe to feed the animals. These areas a sign-posted as you drive around. (And obviously, you can’t feed the lions!).
You will need to buy the animal feed at the park’s entrance booth.
Yes, this is another extra cost, but it’s important that the animals are fed the correct food. Do not feed them the leftovers to your picnic, which can make the animals very ill and could even be fatal.
Feeding the animals is great fun. You put some food in your hand, holding your hand flat, and they’ll come up and eat it.
They’ll even put their head into your car. This isn’t to be encouraged of course, but animals do their own thing.
Animals outside of the Safari
At the West Midlands Safari Park, there’s a large area that contains other animals as well as rides and cafes.
Some of the things you can see as you enter this area are bats, penguins, a sea lion show, snakes and reptiles (including crocodiles).
You then walk into the area with the rides, but if you walk past the rides, you can see hippos, an African village with a Lemur walk, and a goat walk (and you can feed these goats).
The lemur walk can be excellent. We were lucky enough to see some baby lemurs that had been born just a few days before. However, it can be hit and miss. Sometimes we’ve visited, and the lemurs get right up close. Other times they’ve huddled away, out of the wind. Don’t get disappointed, just remember that the animals do their own thing.
The Rides at the West Midlands Safari Park
The WMSP has a number of rides for children of all ages.
While the number of rides has grown over the years, the WMSP is primarily a safari park and has a smaller collection rides than some theme parks which also have a zoo.
If you visit when it’s not too busy you won’t have a long time queuing for rides.
For children under 1m high, there’s a separate section (beyond the main area for rides). Otherwise, rides are marked with the height requirements.
One of our particular favourites is the wild rapids ride – but bring some clothes you can get wet in.
There are rides to keep our teenager happy, as well as rides for our youngest.
Wristbands or Tickets
You can either buy tickets for the rides or buy a wristband for unlimited rides.
Wristbands are expensive, but a lot cheaper than getting tickets.
If you’re only going to let little children do a couple of rides, then a few tickets are the best choice. Otherwise factor in the cost of wristbands to your visit.
Amy’s Review of the West Midlands Safari Park
The West Midlands Safari Park is in Kidderminster and has a lovely big safari. One of my favorites animals is the elephants, but I do like the white lions too.
Sometimes it is hard to spot the wolves because they are always looking at the deers in the other enclosure.
Not only do they have a Safari they also have rides. There are rides for smaller children and rides for older children. My favorite ride is the pirate ship. By the rides is where you can walk with the lemurs. It is not easy to spot them.
Around the Safari park there are some shops and restaurants if you were staying there for a while.
Amy, aged 8
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