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12/06/2015

Monkeying Around | West Midlands Safari Park VIP Experience


I love day trips, can't get enough of them.  As much as I love lazing around watching Netflix in my pyjamas (hello, Orange is the New Black is released today!) I love taking some time out with loved ones and making memories.  I think that's why I love vlogging and blogging so much too, it's a way to capture and document the moments you want to remember.
Someone who loves to go out as much as me is my brother Ben, we saw a VIP experience opportunity at West Midlands Safari Park that involved being a zookeeper for the day and excitedly got in touch with the team on site.  We agreed a date, picked our animals and waited patiently for our weekend outing!
We arrived on site around 8:30AM on a Saturday (that required a lot of coffee) and met with our ranger, Kath, whereupon we hopped in the park jeep and headed out to African Village to start our day.  The lemurs had woken up and required some food before they kept out to lemur woods, so our first job was to take their celery and meat sticks into their cages to give them a nutritional breakfast!


After letting 'the boys out' as Ben put it, we headed out to the goats to fill up their hay bales and play a marvellous game of spot the poop.  I kid you not.  We had to go into the goat's hut and try to find the big clumps of poo, clear them out then put down fresh bedding.  They smelled absolutely vile... but Ben seemed to enjoy it!




After stopping by the Meerkats bedrooms to play another thrilling game of spot the poop, we stocked up on eggs and threw them over the fence to give them their breakfast.  Did you know Meerkats love eggs with shells on?  Ben found this absolutely hilarious and was in hysterics when the ranger told him to lob them further over the fence... I think this was perhaps his favourite part of the day, and those adorable things just doted on his every move.



Next up, more poop.  The lemurs were out for the day and it was time to muck them out, so we got to it!  Whilst they don't smell as bed as the goats, they certainly were messy pups!  At this point, we were starting to get a little tired and had totally underestimated just how much hard work it was to do all these jobs so we left the ranger to finish off preparing the lemur's lunch and headed out for some breakfast of our own in the park.  We spent half an hour eating bacon sandwiches and watching the hippos, which in itself was just lovely.



Refreshed and ready to roll, we headed back to meet with the lemur keeper and Kath so we could head out to the woods for treat time.  The moment those critters heard the treat tin pop they were everywhere! Ben was quite wise and decided to stand back a little with only a few treats, so he attracted the calmer lemurs but I just got bombarded with them - they were lovely and didn't scratch or anything, they were just overwhelmingly all over the joint!  I ended up collapsing into fits of laughter with Ben.  At one point the lemurs got a bit bored of the food and spotted the camera, one chap even managed to take a selfie (which still makes me laugh now).





Duties over, we headed to the Explorer's restaurant for well deserved lasagne and salad with Kath.  We were grateful for the seat and momentary calm after the lemur attack, and the food tasted divine.  Kath then presented us with some goody bags, which included wrist bands for the fair and safari, and advised the best time to go on safari was 4pm to get the best views (top tip!) before bidding us farewell.
Ben and I then enjoyed the rest of the day in the park, hitting the gift shop and chilling in the safari area whilst listening to JLS.  A zebra even tried to get into my car... but that's another story for another post!


So what do you get for your dollar here?  Essentially your ticket gets you entry into the park (with a return ticket for another trip), around 6 hours of zoo keeping with your chosen animals, lunch with your park ranger, a wristband for the rides and a goody bag full of very exciting things at the end.  Also, your ranger takes all your photos throughout the day and pops it on a handy CD for you to take home.
So, as much as it may seem pricey you do actually get a lot for your money.  I worked out that I was around £30 better off for doing the experience and getting the all inclusive ticket than if I had paid for everything individually.  It may be worth mentioning also that often at attractions we get a carer rate for Ben, so that he essentially pays one full fare for himself and his 'carer' goes free.  So if you're in a similar boat and the person you have in mind requires some extra assistance (and has a disability/additional need) then you won't have to cash out for it.
We absolutely loved the day, it was a long and tiring one but full of lots of wonderful memories from the experience.  The team on site are so knowledgable and cater to everyone's needs, they shaped our experience to suit us and were constantly cheery throughout.  I have to say, it's tough work being a zookeeper though and I won't be switching careers any time soon!

If you want to check out the experiences at West Midland Safari Park then click here to go to the site, it's worth the money - trust me.




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