West Midlands Safari Park (Bewdley) review

Embark on a Safari Adventure at West Midlands Safari Park

West Midlands Safari Park, nestled in the heart of the British countryside, is not just a destination; it’s an immersive journey into the wonders of the wild. As you approach the park, anticipation builds for the four-mile self-drive safari, a thrilling odyssey through African and Asian landscapes that promises encounters with some of the world’s most captivating and critically endangered animals.

Two bulls are fighting in a field.

The four-mile self-drive safari is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and critically endangered animals. Split into African and Asian areas, almost all the animals are free-roaming and can literally walk straight past your car. For safety reasons at times you will have to close your windows. Don’t forget to buy your boxes of animal food at the gates for close up animal feeding encounters. 

The last three times we have visited have all varied with changes to the miles of drive-through safari routes occurring as the animals relocate and the lodges have been constructed. It does take about two hours to get around – even on a quiet day in the winter you want to stop to take pictures and enjoy the views. On busy days traffic can get backed up so it’s advisable to use the two lane system and pull over to one side if you wish to pause and allow traffic to pass. 

A group of deer laying in a grassy field.

My advice here is to use the toilets before you embark on the safari. If you do not fancy driving around in your own vehicle then you can book and pay £7.50 for a minibus-guided safari tour bus. We really enjoyed this experience as our knowledgeable tour guide was fantastic with all the different animals. Even on our second time around on the same day we had an amazing experience. 

African and Asian Wonders

Your adventure begins in the African Plains, where the rolling landscapes house an array of captivating creatures. In the African Plains, you will experience some of Africa’s largest animals; from gentle giraffe to huge-horned Ankole cattle and curious Congo buffalo, to mesmerising zebra. There is also the chance to glimpse the new babies. From the gentle giraffes gracefully navigating the savannah to the majestic Ankole cattle with their impressive horns, every moment is a glimpse into the beauty of the animal kingdom. The curious Congo buffalo and mesmerizing zebras add to the enchantment, creating a scene straight from the heart of Africa.

A group of giraffes standing in tall grass.

As you traverse into Wild Asia and Asian Lowlands, the landscape transforms, offering face-to-face encounters with endangered deer, agile antelope. The stoic Bactrian camels have been relocated to the former elephant valley (I’m advised it’s because no other animals get along with them). Keep an eye out for the elusive Philippine spotted deer, a rare gem among the park’s inhabitants. The Indian rhinos, with their imposing presence, and the gentle banteng complete this immersive exploration into the diverse habitats of Asia.

Three lions laying on the grass in a zoo enclosure.

The Carnivores section is home to some of the world’s greatest hunters. Marvel at the magnificent tigers and rare painted dogs. Watch the beautiful dhole playing in Wild Woods and go off-road to get closer to the king of beasts in Realm of the Lions. The African lion enclosure has an off road path which sometimes gets you a really up close view as they lounge in patches of sunlight.

A lion laying on its back in a grassy area.

In Elephant Valley, you will find our African elephants. Female, Five, came from an elephant orphanage in Kruger National Park and is famous for birthing the Park’s first baby elephant, Sutton, who has recently moved to another zoo. One of the latest additions to the park is her new friend Coco. Their paddock is temporarily separated so that they become acquainted but the plan is for this land in front of the elephant lodges to be joined up eventually so they can become firm friends.

Two foxes resting under a tree.

African Walking Trail

New for 2022 was the African Walking Trail, offering guests to see some of the safari animal on foot for the first time in the Park’s history. This pedestrianised trail offers views of the giraffes, rhinos and elephants, as well as antelope, zebras and buffalo. From here you can also get a close up glimpse of the luxurious lodges. There are two different directions to take, it’s not a round route so you do have to retrace your steps and it does include a hill climb. The view at the top is worth it even on a grey day. 

Discovery Trail

The walk-through Discovery Trail is a fantastic all-weather attraction, hosting several animal exhibits, a variety of encounters, talks and shows and a virtual reality river ride.

Observe the Humboldt penguins in Penguin Cove, as they ‘fly’ effortlessly through the water, or see how many bats and douroucouli (night monkeys) you can spot in the Twilight Cave. Face your phobias in Creepy Crawlies or find the colourful fish in the Aquarium. We usually visit this area of the first as it’s quieter first thing as most people head to the drive through. A new time slot booking system is hoping to change this to make it smoother to get around. Also check out the feeding and animal talks as well as the sea lion theatre times to plan out your day.

At Red Panda Retreat, you will be able to spot Mei Lin and Sanka, as they explore their habitat or have a snooze. Reptile World is home to some of the largest and most deadly reptiles on the planet. See the giant green anacondas, shy pancake tortoises and brightly coloured dart frogs.

A young boy feeding birds at a zoo.

In Lorikeet Landing, you can get up close to the amazing flock of rainbow lorikeets in their specially designed, heated enclosure. For a small charge, you can purchase a pot of nectar and marvel at these beautiful birds up close, as they perch and eat from your hand. This is usually a highlight of the day and you’re guaranteed to have a memorable moment with these cheeky birds.

In addition to all the exhibits, there are daily feeds, talks and encounters, including the fantastic Sea Lion Show, where the fabulous California sea lions show off their amazing behaviours, both in and out of the water. There is also the chance to meet one of the Park’s small, friendly animals, or learn more about life in cold blood at the reptile talks.

Penguins in a zoo surrounded by rocks and water.

Land of the Living Dinosaurs

Step back in time as you come face to face with some of the largest, most unusual and fearsome animals to ever roam the planet. Land of the Living Dinosaurs features over 40 life-size, animatronic dinosaurs, making it the largest animatronic dinosaur exhibit in the UK. Life-like grunts, squawks and mighty roars emit from the prehistoric beasts and along with themed planting, geyser and swamps, the immersive experience makes you feel as if the story of the dinosaurs is unfolding in front of you.

See friendly stegosaurus, ginormous Argentinosaurus and the terrifying T-rex as you journey through the four different time periods, starting with the Permian and ending with the Cretaceous. There is even a chance to dig for fossils in the Dino Dig. We love this area – it’s at the top of our list for dinosaur days out.  

A child is standing next to a blue dinosaur in a zoo.

Ice Age

Continue the prehistoric adventure and journey into the UK’s largest Ice Age exhibit. Ice Age is an immersive, multi-sensory experience, allowing guests to step back in time and walk amongst the magnificent creatures that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The project features an enormous volcano and huge atmospheric ice cave, both of which can be walked through by explorers.

The captivating exhibit begins at the start of the Cenozoic Era, nearly 65 million years ago and features over 20 life-sized species of mammals, the majority of which are animatronic. These moving, breathing and roaring creatures include a giant ground sloth, menacing hell pig and a herd of ginormous mammoth.

African Village

The African Village, located just past the Adventure Theme Park, is themed like a traditional East African village. It houses the lemurs and meerkats, plus a walk-through area where you can feed the friendly sheep and goats.

On the way to the Village, make sure you look out for our pod of wallowing hippos. WMSP has the largest pod in the UK and there is a chance to feed them and learn all about their different personalities at the daily Hippo Encounters.

Meerkat Mayhem is home to three mobs of inquisitive, cheeky meerkats. Be immersed in the middle of a true meerkat manor as you watch them socialise, play and forage. You can even feed them in daily talks.

Walk with lemurs in Lemur Woods – the largest walk-through lemur wood in the UK. Two species of lemurs jump, swing and play around you, as you stroll through the woodland. Keep an eye out for the playful ring-tailed lemurs and fluffy, red-bellied lemurs. There are also daily lemur talks, where you can find out more about these amazing primates. They sometimes come up really close, jumping across paths right in front of you which is a delight for younger children.

A little girl is looking at a ring tailed lemur.

Tiger Tropics

In September 2022, Tiger Tropics opened, allowing guests to see the Park’s amazing Sumatran tigers on foot, for the first time, in their brand-new habitat. Our favourite ‘spot’ this winter season has been the new baby sumatran tiger cub Lestari. Mom Dourga can be heard roaring from their new enclosure which is accessible to view on foot near the TIger Lodges. There is a bench and a viewing window so it’s worth pausing here and waiting patiently whilst you take a little rest to see if you can catch a glimpse. It’s an area just between the hippos and the play park. 

Adventure Theme Park

If a whole host of animal attractions wasn’t enough, the safari park also has a theme park to make your day even more exciting. The Adventure Theme Park is open daily from during the summer season and has a variety of rides, suitable for all of the family.

From traditional rides showcasing ‘all the fun of the fair’, to water rides and rollercoasters, there is something for everyone. Test your skills on the dodgems, plummet 30m towards the earth on Venom Tower Drop, or soar above the ground on Kong. Some of the rides are definitely not for the faint-hearted!

As well as the rides, the Adventure Theme Park hosts various games stands, and an arcade full of your favourite amusement machines. Ride wristbands are available to purchase as well as tickets/tokens. There are height restrictions but there is a really clear display of these right by the ticket office so that you can work out the best value for your party based on the rides they can go on. 

Boj’s Giggly Park Play Area

A child is sliding down a slide in a playground.

Boj’s Giggly Park opened in 2017 and is an immersive, multi-sensory and themed children’s play area, located next to the Park’s African Village. Here, children will be able to find CBeebies and S4C favourite ‘Boj’ and his friends whilst they explore and play in the five interactive zones, designed specifically for younger visitors.

The £850,000 project features different zones with characters from the show, such as Mia, Mr Cloppity and Denzil and has different activities and objects to explore, such as musical play, an adventure playground and Boj’s Burrow. 

This area is often a surprise to many who do not venture right to the back of the park but it really is a lovely quiet space to explore with the whole family. There are toilets and refreshments available here too. 

Safari Academy

A group of deer standing in the grass near a house.

Opened in 2017, the Safari Academy is an outstanding, sustainably built facility, designed specifically for visiting schools. The modern, state-of-the-art building features five classrooms to provide interactive education for groups of all ages, from pre-schools and nurseries to university groups and adult learners.

Groups can take part in a variety of activities to enhance in-school learning, including curriculum-linked guided tours, hands-on Discovery Sessions and workshops. The Academy is also home to accredited Animal Care courses and Teacher Open Days. Information on the Safari Academy can be found on the website: www.safariacademy.co.uk

Safari Venues

Not only does West Midland Safari Park provide an excellent day out, they also play host to a variety of events throughout the year. Whatever the event, they have the setting. With three fabulous venues to choose from, you can be sure that we will make your event entertaining and memorable.

Spring Grove House is an elegant Georgian manor house with stunning interiors, perfect for weddings and grand occasions. The African-inspired Treetops Pavilion has vast proportions and an amazing capacity to hold excellent corporate entertainment — brilliant for product launches and large parties. If you are looking for something a bit more intimate, Cellarz is a luxurious wine and cocktail bar, set in the vaulted brick cellars of Spring Grove House.

From weddings to corporate fun days, business meetings to product launches, WMSP can cater for intimate dinners or larger events for up to 1,000 guests. There is even an option to hire exclusive use of the whole Park. For further information, visit www.safarivenues.co.uk.

Safari Lodges

New for 2021 were eight exclusive, luxury lodges and two premium cottages, designed to give guests an up-close and immersive overnight wildlife experience, like no other. The lodges are integrated into the newly updated safari, with spectacular views overlooking the African elephant or cheetah habitats. The two cottages are nestled into the walk-through Discovery Trail and have been expertly refurbished with Nepalese design influences.

In April 2022, giraffe and rhino lodges were added, giving breath-taking views of the white rhinos and allowing you to come eye-to-eye with giraffes. Then in September, four Tiger Lodges opened, allowing you to sleep a whisker away from critically endangered Sumatran tigers.

Bookings are currently open for new Lodges, due to open in 2024.

Safari Lodges short breaks include breakfast and dinner, spectacular views of the animals, admission to the Park during the day and Theme Park wristbands, during the summer season. They do seem expensive to me but for a luxurious treat it promises to be an unrivalled experience. 

General Prices and Information

Summer Season Opening Times:
Open daily until November from 10:00am.
Note: For events such as Summer Safari, Spooky Spectacular, Santa Safari and Bank Holidays, opening hours may be extended.

Admission Prices 2024 (when booking online in advance):
Adult Admission (16-64yrs) and child admission  – From £29.00
Under 3s – Free
Concessions – From £19.00

Theme Park Prices 2024* (only when booking online in advance):
Adult and child wristband – £12.00
Concessions – £10.00
Little Penguin wristband (0.8m-1m) – £7.00

*opens 10th Feb 2024 

Online Savings
Purchase tickets online and save money for selected dates. We have group discounts, accept Tesco vouchers and work with the Blue Light Card and Defence Discount Service. Annual Passes and VIP experiences are also available. See the website for full details. Paid-for general admission also includes a Free Return Code which is valid for 6 months from the date of your visit, when booking in advance online.

Terms & Conditions:
Concession admission applies to Senior Citizens. Essential companions will be admitted free of charge when accompanying a guest with disabilities, who has applied and be approved by our partner Nimbus Disabilities. All applications must be made online, at least 7 days prior to visit.
Full Ts and Cs here: www.wmsp.co.uk/terms-conditions/
Park Calendar: www.wmsp.co.uk/calendar/

*T+Cs apply

Arlo had an absolutely wonderful day and it felt, dare I say it “normal?” I have to praise the staff, who were all really friendly and acknowledged Arlo as he greeted everyone he encountered. He fell asleep in the car on the way home and just like that our first day out of lockdown was over. I’ll be renewing my annual pass so that we can visit regularly.

Last Updated on 4 months by Lavania Oluban

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