Looking for ways to entertain the cubs this half term? Take a walk on the wild side through the new Amur Tiger Trail at Knowsley Safari Park.
My family and I decided to check it out over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The newly opened trail takes you on a journey on foot through the forest in search of the big cats. But this is no ordinary walk in the woods.
The Trail, which took three years to develop, allows visitors immerse themselves in the Russian themed habitat whilst getting to see and learn all about the Amur tiger – also known as the Siberian tiger.
As we set off on foot, my children, aged nine and seven, enjoyed crossing the Wobbly Bridge and reading the fun tiger facts as well as stopping for selfies with the tiger-themed artwork along the way.
We discovered that Amur tigers are an endangered species with numbers thought to be around 500 in the wild. Of the nine subspecies of tiger three are already extinct and the Amur tiger are the largest living species remaining.
Knowsley Safari Park is doing its bit to protect these magnificent creatures has created a natural landscape for the Amur tiger sisters, Sinda and Bira to explore and enjoy, with their very own Pounce Pit! It is also working on a breeding programme with plans to bring in a male tiger soon – hopefully soon we’ll be able to hear the patter of tiny paws!
Along the trail, there are observation areas where you can get up close (but not too close) to the tigers through big glass windows, including a tunnel which the kids (and flexible grown-ups!) can crawl through and watch them in action.
The trail has obviously been designed with fun and learning in mind. It is part of the Foot Safari, where you can view the gigantic giraffes, red river hogs, amusing meercats, bush dogs, tapir and much more.
After the Foot Safari, we jumped back in the car for the Safari Drive, which takes you on a trip around the world from the African Savannah to Southern Asia, where you get to view around 30 species – from fallow deer, Bactrian camels, Tibetan wild ass and Southern white rhinos to wildebeest, lions, buffalos, zebras and ostriches.
But one of the highlights of a trip to Knowsley SP is always the baboons! The kids screamed with laughter as the cheeky monkeys climbed over our car, giving us a lovely view of their angry red bottoms through the sun roof. Further guffaws came as one very large primate weed on our car bonnet – until he decided to dismantle our car and my other half frantically tried to shoo him away!
Well we can’t say we weren’t warned – but life’s too short to take the car-friendly route I say and who needs windscreen wipers anyway?!
Then we spent an hour on the funfair (I was nearly reunited with my picnic lunch on the pirate ship – not for the weak stomached!), before it was time for another of my favourite bits – the Sea Lion show!
I just love the rapport the trainer has with the adorable sea lions – Louis – a young pup who is eager to learning the tricks and Arthur – an old pro who is very cheeky and vocal – barking and flapping his flippers with great gusto.
During the show, the trainer received a message on her earpiece that a teenage girl was missing. She urged everyone to look for her. Throughout the show, the staff were radioing each other and the trainer advised that the park gates would be shut until the girl was found.
The Safari Park obviously take any missing child very seriously and sprang into action immediately. The girl was found and it reassured me that, if God forbid, any of my children went missing, as sometimes my son does have a habit of storming off in a strop at times, the staff would do all they could to find him.
We ended the day with a well-deserved cuppa in the café while the kids had a climb in the play area. We all had a fabulous time and it was a great day out.
We ran out of time to see and do everything – as we didn’t arrive until lunchtime – so there was a few things we missed like the Birds of Prey experience ,Wolf Country, Wild Trail and Bat Forest. You can also take a train-ride through the Equatorial Trail, as well as enjoying boat rides, animal talks, face painting and more – but we’ll save them for next time!
We’ll certainly be back but next time we’ll make sure we get there nice and early so we can fit it all in!
Find out more www.knowsleysafariexperience.co.uk