Sunday, 13 July 2014

Culture: Longleat Part I (collaboration with BeckyBoops)

Last weekend, my bff Becky, her boyfriend Andy, Maxx and I went to Longleat. I've been before, but the other 3 hadn't, so I was super excited to take them - Longleat is a massive stately home, but it also has many other fun things, including a safari.
Our all-inclusive tickets were £26.77, saving us 15% as we booked two days in advance online. It was worth every penny.

Adventure Park (written by BeckyBoops)
Aside from the main draw of Longleat Safari, there is an Adventure Park located just behind Longleat House. The park is the main hub of the attraction, with food vendors, a maze, and several animal attractions. There were attractions for the old and the young alike, and some specifically for the young - which we avoided. Like the plague. Though we did have to drag the boys away from it... We collectively decided to spend a bit of time in the adventure park before heading onto greener pastures. After consulting the site map we had a plan of action, and set off into the Jungle Kingdom.

We headed inside, and instantly noticed Meerkats running around - they were very cute and were nipping around peoples feet who were on the path inside the enclosure. The otters were adorable, I'm pretty sure Pip almost cried. We moved around the area, and there were loads of creatures to ooh and ahhh over.

Some of the more unusual animals were extraordinarily cute - in particular the Binturong (third pic along in the strip below) when they were snuggled up having a snooze!

After drinking our fill of the cuteness, we headed through to the Monkey Temple. Unfortunately, there were not many monkeys around that we could see! We passed through into the bird area-desperately trying to avoid being pooped on-and emerged into the area which houses rabbits, guinea pigs, and other smaller animals. The rabbits were gorgeous, but shy - so we weren't able to get a decent pic of those guys unfortunately. 

We eventually found ourselves inside a room which houses a creature that many people have a big fear of. The dreaded tarantula. She was out and people were able to hold her - under the supervision of the keeper. In this area there was also lizards, tortoise and the inside part of the guinea pigs enclosure - there were loads of those little things! 

P.S. Pip is terrified of spiders. She faced her fear and held the tarantula! A big thank you to the keeper for being so calm and understanding.

After the Tarantulas, we headed into the butterfly enclosure. They were beautiful! Loads of different kinds, including one absolutely HUGE one. 

After extracting ourselves from the warm butterfly room, we rushed over to the penguins and sting rays. The penguins were playful and seemed happy to wander around people's feet who were on the path through the enclosure. The sting rays also seemed to relish the attention of the crowd, and proved it by sticking to the surface and popping their noses out of the water!

After we had our fill with these guys, we headed back to the car to embark on the big game safari!
Pip:  I was rather enamored with the otters. One was squeaking at us - it was like he was saying: “Pip, snuggle me”. I definitely did cry a little bit after holding the tarantula. I have never been so scared in my life, but it was a strangely rewarding experience. She was very soft! And yes, the keeper was absolutely great - he knew how to handle the situation by offering to put her half on his hand, half on mine, then put one leg on my hand, then another, then her body, so it wasn't such a shock. And he didn't make me feel silly for being so petrified.

The Beginning (written by Pip)
The entrance to the safari has a car park, so you can get out and admire the giraffes and zebras close-up. At the moment, there are a couple of young giraffes, who were giddy and liked to suddenly burst into trot – probably one of the cutest sights in the world. There was one particularly lazy zebra, whose friend was trying to rouse him from his nap, and just as we were starting to worry the resting zebra lifting his head for about two seconds!

Once we were back in the car, we had a peaceful drive past an Oryx and three rhinoceroses. One rhino was so close, we could hear him nibbling away at the grass! However, that was where our uneventful safari ended…

BeckyIt was amazing to see all of these animals up close - especially the rhino! I could have reached out and touched it if I had wanted to...I also loved seeing the awkward gait of the young giraffes trotting, very adorable!

Feeding the Deer (written by BeckyBoops)
There were loads of deer around, and as we drove up we could see them gathered around the cars ahead of us. At this point we noticed a hut from which you can buy deer food to feed to them - naturally we HAD to do this and bought 2 cups of deer nuts. 

We. Were. Mobbed.

The deer completely surrounded the car, and were so impatient to see if we had food that they would stick their heads in and snuffle about for it - it was all we could do to keep up with the greedy mouths inside the car! It was fun, slobbery, and messy! I think Pip will be finding the deer nuts in her car for the rest of the year now...
"License and registration please ma'am."
Pip:  I would like to say I've cleaned up the car since then... But I haven't. I loved this part of the safari - those deer were not shy! There were heads reaching into the back, heads snuffling me and Becky, and more and more just kept appearing! I could have happily stayed there all day.

Part II coming tomorrow...

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