When we drove away from Blair Drummond Safari Park Mr Toddler, who isn’t known to say much, uttered very clearly, ‘That was an adventure”. A profound statement. And he’s right. The last time I was at Blair Drummond I was about ten, and I hoped it would live up to my rose-tinted memories. It did.
Starting with the ‘drive through safari’ the highlight is definitely the lions with their cubs, which are as cute as they sound. Drivers enter through double gates to access the lion enclosure so there is a clear sense of anticipation before you meet the king of beasts. From there you drive into the gated monkey enclosure, with warning signs that the monkeys may well jump on your car. Visitors get very close to these lively animals – though we didn’t see one jumping on a vehicle or yanking off windscreen wipers which was hugely disappointing.
Having left the gated lion/monkey danger zone we parked up and took our buggy everywhere. Where Blair Drummond excels is that it’s split into areas and each one is an experience/mini adventure in its own right. Sailing to chimp island is a fantastic example – take to the water and float past the chilling chimps (which are ‘apes, not monkeys’ we were told over the tannoy as Mr Toddler continued to shout ‘Monkeys’ loudly regardless of what anyone told him).
We went high in the sky to the viewing platform to see the giraffes at their own height. The elephant, tigers, rhinoceros and its baby were other headline beasts that kids and adults are equally mesmerised by.
Mr Toddler was delighted to meet Peso (the penguins), Mr Husband’s highlight was the birds of prey and I liked walking through the forest to find the lemurs and finding the most spaced out meerkat enjoying the unusually hot autumn sun. These are just our highlights, there were many more animals to see – sea lions, zebras, deer, bison, antelope, llamas, alpacas, giant tortoises, wallabies and a farmyard area with the more familiar hens, rabbits and goats etc. Bearing in mind that we were having such a chilled day we didn’t go to any of the feeding times, keeper talks or demonstrations there’s clearly so much more to do and information to gain if visitors timed their walks to coincide with scheduled events.
Lastly Blair Drummond needs to be recognised for how exceptionally child friendly a destination it is. With the animals on show people will come, they will visit regardless, the venue doesn’t have to make the exceptional effort that it does, but this attraction has thought of almost everything. On the big scale the play areas are epic, even I enjoyed the slides, there are pedaloes on a boating lake and there’s a sand pit with hidden tokens which represent a prize. But it’s the small things that count – when I took Mr Toddler to the toilet there were little inner toilet seats for small people and little steps to help them reach the sinks to wash their wee hands. This is the very first attraction I’ve visited that catered for him in this way and it made my life just a little bit easier – he is clearly a valued customer, not just a kid.
Another key point is that Blair Drummond was mobbed when we visited, but it didn’t feel busy. There is ample parking, the restaurant and its young staff power out hearty food at a rate of knots, there are lots of toilets – this venue can accommodate a lot of people without taking away from your individual experience as it’s a slick operation. As we sat in the sun outdoors eating lunch with lots of other families I realised how lucky we were.
There were tears that day as the kids didn’t want to leave the lions, the play park etc. but as we drove away, and after Mr Toddler muttered his memorable ‘That was an Adventure’, he and his brother promptly fell asleep. An exhausting adventure no doubt.
When visiting Blair Drummong Tots2Travel stayed in a log cabin in the forest at Strathyre with Forest Holidays. To find out more visit here.
For ticket information click here – the park. If you like what you read then don’t miss a post, enter your email address in the ‘Follow’ box then click ‘Follow’ or join the conversation on Facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram. For any queries or opportunities please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All photos copyright of Tots2Travel. Tots2Travel received complimentary tickets to Blair Drummond Safari Park – our toddlers let out a roar in thanks.