Normally when you visit a zoo, the animals are less than social, spending their time hiding in their habitats, or just sleeping. You want to tap on the glass and see them do something. Anything. However, I have just spent the most amazing day at Longleat Safari Park. Just outside of Warminster, it is more than perfect for a satisfying, yet slightly different, trip to the zoo. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy it. I’d go on my own when I’m seventy just to see those tapirs.
I can’t tell you everything we did step by step, but let me tell you my favourite bits. Near the top of my list is feeding the Lorakeets. They’re screeching at you before you’ve even got the little cup of nectar in your hand. Then it turns into that scene from Beauty and the Beast where he’s feeding the birds and they all sit on him. There was one on my shoulder, one on my hand, one on my head. Had to do the poop check when we’d finished.
Then there was a part of the safari I wasn’t prepared for. Imagine…driving down the lane, coming to an aviary and seeing a flock of pink flamingoes splashing in the lake. You squint into the crowd, then realise you’ve interrupted a rather private moment between male and female. It’s hard to stop watching once you’ve seen it. Awkward! Get a bush, jeez!
Talking of the safari, it is, by far, the best part. Oh, the sea lions are cute, and the hippo, that you’re told is ‘that grey lump through that gap in the tree’, is…there. (Disappointed Mr Hippo. Very disappointed.) But the safari beats them with the I’m-better-than-you stick. Apart from seeing some humping flamingos, we got to see a pissed off rhino get chased with a tractor. What made it even greater was that the tractor looked exactly like the ones in Disney’s Cars.
We also got the pleasure of going through the monkey section. Now, I’ve heard the stories about people’s windscreen wipers being stolen, and I was a bit dubious about entering, especially as my car is fairly new. But if you go to Longleat and skip the monkeys, you’re dead inside. And those monkeys did not disappoint. They didn’t climb on my car, as I kept moving, but did venture onto the car in front, who had made the mistake of stopping to ‘take a pretty picture’. One little sod climbed above the back brake light and proceeded to take a huge dump on top of their car, and they had no idea! We did the polite thing, and drove past cackling and pointing.
What I shall never EVER forget, though, is feeding the deer. Happily giving them handfuls of food, their heads coming right in the car window, and hearing a high pitched voice come from my 6ft boyfriend, screaming, “Holly! Holly! Quick, drive! It’s eating my top!”