This week we visited Manor Wildlife Park which is affectionately known as Anna’s Welsh Zoo. From the outset I’m going to say that we love this place. I love this place. Once you’ve been to one zoo you’ve seen them all, in the sense that animals are in cages, you walk about between each animal and enjoy but the format is the same. Not so at Anna’s Welsh Zoo, the enclosures and “walk throughs” are far more open. The pace is slow here in that there’s plenty to see but there’s no rush to see everything as the place is big so even on a busy day you’re not squashed amongst crowds or fighting to get a glimpse of the animals. You get a real sense of space here and you can leisurely stroll and even stop and sit in any one of the most gorgeous of seating areas to take it all in and witness some majestic creatures in a relaxed environment plus the grounds are truly beautiful.
We must have been here ten times or more since it opened but this was Tiggy’s first time here, unless you count our visit last Easter whilst I was pregnant with her. Tiggy already like me seems to have a taste for adventure in that she seems to enjoy exploring, travels well and takes it all in her stride. Our visit here saw a few “Tiggy firsts”. Tiggy experienced sand for the very first time. Yes she has visited beaches but always sat either in her pram or on a picnic blanket. This trip saw her sit right in the sand. Admittedly it was to take a picture of her next to a giant tortoise but she was so fascinated with the sand I don’t think she even noticed the giant tortoise. Sorry tortoise.
Click on this link to watch a short clip of Tiggy in the sand
Another Tiggy first and a first for us here at the zoo was the new indoor hay play area. Tiggy’s brothers absolutely loved running and jumping about in here and Tiggy seemed to enjoy too but it was all I could do to stop her from eating the hay! I even caught a sweet moment on camera with Tiggy and her brother Wills.
There were lots of new additions to the venue beside the hay area including a tiger that we couldn’t spot as early days for her here and still a little shy or so we learned from the informative keeper who gave a talk all about the Sumatran tiger. There’s now a “Digiwall” and some futuristic “Geopods” which presently house an indoor picnic area and a bouncy castle but we could see from the signs that a rather impressive looking indoor play area is to make an appearance shortly.
We coincided our walkthroughs with their feeding and or talk times so we were able to learn and enjoy as we went. I noticed Tiggy’s eldest brother Fin in particular on this visit was very keen to listen and learn, an educational adventure for him. You can even feed the wallabies yourself by purchasing specialist food for them on your way in. Tiggy’s brother Reuben especially enjoys feeding them.
Springtime has to be my favourite time to visit as clearly that’s when the little animals are born and on this visit we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a baby wallaby or two and at the hatchery we saw some little chicks who had not long hatched, they were even dancing about following Tiggy’s hand against the glass, very sweet!
As I’ve mentioned, there are plenty of animals to see and meet on your way around including camels, not something you expect to see on a walk through the countryside! But my favourite part about this place is the sense of freedom and fun and one of our “things to do” is to bring a picnic and enjoy the vast open space at the front of the manor house.
I can’t emphasise how much we enjoy coming here and the boys each at some point throughout our visit said thank you for such a great day. As we left they sat for one last photograph and there were smiles all round. If you find yourself in Wales a visit here is a must, it’s “zoonique!”
I’m a little “snap happy” (My camera tells me I took 485 photos on this visit) so here’s some of the best of the best: