Drusillas Zoo Park
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (February 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Location||near Alfriston, East Sussex|
|Land area||10 acres (4.0 ha)|
|No. of animals||1638|
|No. of species||196|
|Owner||Laurence and Christine Smith|
Drusillas Park is a small 10 acres (4.0 ha) zoo near to Alfriston, in East Sussex, UK. Its exhibits are targeted towards children between 2 and 10 years old. It is owned by Laurence and Christine Smith, who bought it from the previous proprietor in 1997. It attracts between 350,000 and 370,000 visitors per year  and is home to the first Hello Kitty themed attraction in Europe.
The zoo cares for both wild and domestic animals, including ring-tailed lemurs, meerkats, and penguins. There are many hands-on activities, an adventure play area separated for different age groups, an indoor soft play centre, and the Safari Express train ride that will run daily starting from Friday 31st March 2017. There are also cafes, shops, and a restaurant.
Animals and attractions
The zoo has gradually increased the number of animal exhibits, but still maintains a policy of only having smaller animals. The zoo keeps a range of primates including crested black macaques, brown capuchin monkeys, colobus monkeys, and lar gibbons. Other residents include servals, African crested porcupines, Rodrigues fruit bats, Asian short claw otters, llamas, Humboldt penguins, parrots, and flamingos. Other exhibits include Pet World, Lemurland, a small farmyard, and a walk-through lorikeet aviary where you can feed nectar to the birds.
The 'Zoolympics challenge' lets children compare their abilities (to drag, hang on, jump, shout, run, and hold their breath) against a variety of animals, and record them in a booklet given free at the entrance. Children can also get 'stamp books' to stamp using tick shaped stamps found around the enclosures.
The adventure play area has swings, slides, and climbing walls, and has been separated into Go Bananas! for children under six and Go Wild! for older children. The indoor soft play centre includes a cafe selling drinks and snacks. An interactive maze, Eden's Eye, lets children discover different worlds, as helped along by a series of clues and mythical creatures.
The zoo has recently added two Bactrian camels named Lofty and Roxy to their collection.
Thomas & Friends and Go Safari!
In early 2007, Drusillas Park became the first UK attraction to introduce a permanent Thomas & Friends train ride after securing a long-term deal with HIT Entertainment. (Most recently Mattel)
The passenger train ran to and from Tidmouth Hault (Soon to be Mungo's Central Station) for nearly 10 years from Thursday 5th April 2007 until Sunday 8th January 2017 when the contract to use the "Thomas & Friends Theme" for the Train ride expired. The Safari Express train which will replace Thomas at the Park and is expected to be on the tracks from the end of March with two further rides (The Flying Cheetahs and Hippopotobus) due to open in June. Combined these three new rides will be collectively known as Go Safari!
Drusillas Park is also home to the first permanent Hello Kitty attraction in Europe - Hello Kitty Secret Garden.
Hello Kitty Secret Garden includes three specially designed children's rides: a Hello Kitty car ride, a tea cup ride and a “reach for the sky” hopper ride. There's also a Hello Kitty House and Parlour - where face painting and other activities take place - as well as regular meet and greet opportunities with Hello Kitty herself during key holiday times.
Awards and accolades
Rated top attraction in Southern England in The Daily Telegraph's '20 Great Family Days Out' (May 2014)
Shortlisted as 'The Best Theme Park Half-term Holidays' by The Times (May 2014)
Proud winners of the 2014 Visitor Attraction of the Year at the Sussex Life Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards
2014 Sussex Business Matters Award Winners in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Drusillas won the Tourism South East Visitor Attraction of the Year Award 2010 -2011
Drusillas was rated the number two attraction in the UK by The Times in February 2010
Drusillas was recommended by The Guardian in their article 'Things to do with the Kids' in March 2010
Drusillas won the Sussex Business Awards 'Business of the Year' and 'Best Customer Service' in 2009 - 2010
Drusillas was voted 'Best Day Out in East Sussex' by Sovereign Radio and Arrow FM listeners in 2008
- Lewis, Keith (2013-10-25). "£1m invested by creators of the first Hello Kitty garden in Europe: Drusilla's zoo park attraction open in spring". Kent and Sussex courier (Tunbridge Wells edition). p. 40. ISSN 1746-9317.
- "Alfriston zoo expecting new arrivals". theargus.co.uk. The Argus. Retrieved 5 February 2011.