Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
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|Longleat Safari Park|
Longleat Safari Lions, with a warning sign
|Area||9,000 acres (36.42 km2)|
|Visitors||904,714 (in 2018)|
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire, England, was opened in 1966 as the first drive-through safari park outside Africa. The park is situated in the grounds of Longleat House, an English stately home which is open to the public and is the home of the 7th Marquess of Bath. Longleat Safari Park and the concept of safari parks were the brainchild of Jimmy Chipperfield (1912–1990), former co-director of Chipperfield's Circus.
Today, Longleat is home to over 500 animals, and the estate occupies 9,000 acres (36.42 km2) of Wiltshire countryside.
- 1 The Safari Park's reserves
- 2 Attractions
- 2.1 Longleat house and grounds
- 2.2 Longleat railway
- 2.3 Animal areas
- 2.4 Other attractions
- 3 In the media
- 4 References
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
The Safari Park's reserves
- Tapir Terrain: Just before the African Village are the Brazilian tapirs. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Sheep Paddock: This paddock is now home to Cameroon sheep. It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Tortoise Paddock: It is home to African spurred tortoises and guineafowl, It is possible to get out of the car and view this section on foot.
- Lemur Walk-through: the spacious Lemur Walk-through enclosure is home to 2 species of lemurs including Ring-tailed lemurs and Brown lemurs and features extensive rope swings and wooden walkways which provide the lemurs with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary agility and climbing skills and they share with the Somali sheep and African pygmy goats .
- European Elk: A drive-past enclosure while going through the East-African reserve containing 2 female European Elk.
- African Village (60 acres or 24 hectares): Rothschild giraffes, Grant's zebras, ostriches and Black wildebeest.
- Bongo Pass and new area: the new area is home to common eland and eastern bongo.
- Flamingo Valley: Chilean flamingos, sacred ibises, White-faced whistling ducks, spoonbills and Wood ducks.
- Vulture Venue: five pairs of African White Backed vultures and one pair of grey crowned cranes.
- Monkey Jungle: Rhesus monkeys and blackbucks. When it opened in 1969, it was home to over 200 Baboons. They were replaced by the Rhesus monkeys in 1977.
- Anne's Haven: specially built for Anne the Asian elephant, accompanied by three Nubian goats. Anne suffered mistreatment before her arrival at Longleat and receives special care for her physical and psychological needs. The new elephant house has deep sand floors, heating, feeding areas and outdoor space with a large grassy paddock, rocks, log piles, a giant browse frame, sandpit, plunge pool and scratching post. As well as her own team of keepers dedicated to her wellbeing, Anne has the freedom of her own paddock. The new house has facilities and space for additional elephants and Longleat would consider accommodating other elephants that need a home.
- Big Game Park: scimitar-horned oryx, Ankole cattle, Bactrian camels and roan antelope.
- Deer Park: red deer and Père David's deer.
- Rhino Paddock: it is home to 4 southern white rhinos
- Pelican Pond: pink-backed pelicans
- Tiger Territory: 4 Amur tigers
- Lion Country: two prides of African lions.
- Cheetah Kingdom: five cheetahs.
- Hyena Hideout: Bachelor group containing four male Spotted hyena
- Wolf Wood: As of March 2019 Wolf Wood is home to a pack of European wolves. The two remaining Canadian timber wolves have now moved to an off show 'retirement home'.
Longleat house and grounds
Opened to the public in 1949, the ancestral home of the Marquess of Bath remains a popular attraction with visitors. Visitors can join one of the many regular house tours or simply walk about at their leisure. They may also explore the gardens surrounding the house and visit a number of cafés within the grounds. A separate ticket is sold for visitors who only wish to visit the house and gardens.
Established in 1965 and expanded in 1976, this 15 in (381 mm) gauge ridable miniature railway is among the busiest in the country. It has a length of one and a quarter miles (2 km) through scenic woodland and along the edge of Half Mile Lake. The line has taken several different courses across the years, but the route along the lake has remained consistent. After opening the railway was originally run by outside company Minirail on a ten-year contract, which was not renewed due to disagreements between the two companies. Following this, Longleat took over running the railway in 1976. Many engines have run on the railway over the years, both steam and diesel; as of 2018 the railway owns three diesel locomotives. The railway also has 15 carriages, all built at Longleat between 1976 and 2013 and wearing mock British Railways crimson and cream livery, along with several permanent way wagons. Between 2011 and 2017 the railway was known as the Jungle Express, with the station and carriages given additional theming.
|Number||Name||Wheel arrangement||Builders||Year built||Livery||Notes|
|5||Ceawlin||0-8-2 DH||Severn Lamb||1975||GWR Green||
|7||Flynn||0-6-0 DM||Alan Keef||2007||Crimson||
|8||John Thynn||Bo-Bo||Alan Keef||2018||Crimson||
|Number||Name||Wheel arrangement||Builders||Year built||Livery||Notes|
|3||Dougal||0-6-2 T||Severn Lamb||1970||Crimson||
|4||Lenka||4+4wDH||Longleat Railway||1984||BR Crimson & Cream||
|6||John Hayton||0-6-2 T||Exmoor Steam Railway||2004||Crimson||
As well as the Safari Park, the estate has a number of areas for smaller animal enclosures. Beginning with Pets Corner in the 1970s and the butterfly house in the 1980s, the number of animal exhibits expanded greatly during the 2010s.
Originally known as Pets Corner, the revamped Jungle Kingdom opened in 2011. The centrepiece of this area is a large walk-through meerkat enclosure, the first of its kind in the UK. Two crested porcupines share part of this enclosure with the meerkats, which have free rein of the area. Across from this is an enclosure containing two Oriental small-clawed otters and two binturong. In the centre of Jungle Kingdom is a small enclosure for coati, which access their shelters via an overhead walkway. At the far end of the area is another shared enclosure containing Red-legged seriema, giant anteaters and Patagonian mara, and an enclosure containing aardvarks.
Opened in 2012,the centrepiece of this attraction is a large themed ruin with long rope walkways running across the paths, which allows visitors to safely interact with a variety of marmosets and tamarins. These include:
- common marmoset
- pygmy marmoset
- black-headed marmoset
- cotton-top tamarin
- Geoffroy's tamarin
- emperor tamarin
- red-handed tamarin
Elsewhere in this area is an enclosure containing a family of red pandas. The breeding pair, named Ajendra and Rufina, have given birth to three cubs since 2015. The area also contains a walk-through aviary of rainbow lorikeet where visitors can purchase pots of nectar to feed the birds.
Giant Otters and Crocodiles
Branching off from Monkey Temple, this attraction opened in 2019. Previously the enclosure was home to a colony of captive-bred Humboldt penguins which were first displayed in 2013, however following several outbreaks of avian malaria in September 2016  and December 2018  that resulted in the deaths of most of the colony, the decision was made to permanently close the attraction and relocate the surviving penguins. The enclosure currently houses Giant Otters and Cuban Crocodiles.
Containing many animals previously kept in Pets' Corner, this area opened in 2009 and contains many exotic and familiar mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. There are small areas for striped skunk, North American porcupine, ferret, guinea pigs, cockatoos, Hermann's tortoises, pancake tortoise, spur-thighed tortoise, Nile monitor, iguanas, armadillos, zebra mice, rock hyraxes, and a fennec fox. An undercover area houses a regular Parrot show, where keepers demonstrate the intelligence of the resident macaws. Next door is a walk-through butterfly house, home to a large variety of the species, which replaced an older butterfly house built in the 1980s. Inside the main building is the Animal Handling Hall, where visitors can get a chance to hold a variety of creatures such as a Chilean rose tarantula or a corn snake, or even get up close to a selection of reptiles.
The Jungle Cruise (known as the Safari Boat until 2011) is a short trip around Half Mile Lake. The journey takes visitors past the Island, which was a former home to the elderly male western lowland gorilla Nico, the oldest gorilla in Europe, until his death aged 56 on 7 January 2018 and is now home to Black-and-white colobus monkeys. At the far end of the lake is the shallow Pelican Cove containing Eastern white pelicans and Gorilla Colony, an enclosure for five male western lowland gorillas. The lake is also home to two Common hippopotamus and a group of Californian sea lions and visitors may purchase food for the latter, which are commonly seen following the boats. In the queue line while waiting for the boats there is a enclosure which is home to 2 male Red pandas.
This indoor attraction is home to a colony of male Egyptian fruit bats. It is housed in a stable block which contains several other attractions, and was once the site of a Doctor Who exhibition which ran from 1974 to 2003. It is also home to Cave Fish, Kinkajou and many more.
Opened in Spring 2019, the exhibit features five koalas, a Southern hairy-nosed wombat as well as a group of Potoroos . Longleat is now the European hub for the newly-created International Koala Centre of Excellence (IKCE) and is the only place in Europe where Southern Koalas can be seen.
Longleat Hedge Maze - This attraction was opened in 1975. It is one of several mazes within Longleat, and with over 16,000 yew trees making it up it is among the largest of its kind in the UK.
Adventure Castle - A large adventure playground that opened in 1989. It is themed around a medieval castle, with slides, roundabouts, swings, rope climbs, an aerial walkway, a water-based "splash pad" and an indoor soft play area. In 2013 a section of it was fenced off to contain a new Deadly 60 themed interactive maze attraction, Deadly Challenge, which closed in 2016.
King Arthur's Mirror Maze - Built into the same stable block as the Bat Cave, this indoor maze challenges visitors to find King Arthur's crown and the sword Excalibur, while navigating a confusing hall of mirrors.
Family Bygones - A collection of vintage items owned by the Thynn family throughout the years, including a selection of wild game.
Rockin' Rhino - Opened in 2014, this motion ride travels through various amusing tableaus of animals, narrated by Rocky the Rhino and Leroy the Lion as they race each other to the finish.
Little Explorers Garden - Opened in 2016, this colourful outdoor playground is designed for the park's younger visitors. Replaced the Postman Pat Village.
In the media
- The Lions of Longleat - A 1967 BBC One documentary about the newly opened safari park with commentary by Lord Bath and Jimmy Chipperfield.
- Lion Country - 55-part documentary series broadcast on BBC One in 1998.
- Vets in Practice - The park featured heavily in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary series Vets in Practice.
- On Safari - On Safari is a children's TV show broadcast in 2000 by the ITV children's strand CITV and re-broadcast in 2009 by STV.
- Animal Park - Longleat was the subject of the BBC's long running documentary series, hosted by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle. A new series was filmed in 2016 with a follow up in 2017.
- Roar - Roar is another BBC series about the animals and keepers at wild animal parks.
- All Change at Longleat - A three-part documentary filmed in 2014 and broadcast on BBC One in September 2015. Following Lord Bath handing control of the business to his son, Ceawlin, and his wife Lady Emma, the series also covers the various goings-on across the park and the preparation of the park's first Festival of Light.
- "ALVA - Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
- Mary Chipperfield (1972). Lions on the Lawn. HarperCollins Publishers Limited. ISBN 978-0-00-613025-3.
- The lions and loins of Longleat The Sunday Times Retrieved 18 February 2011
- Vines, Gail (2 December 1982). "Safari Parks, after the Honeymoon". New Scientist. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Samson, Ian (15 May 2010). "Great dynasties of the world: The Chipperfields". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Longleat Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
- "Longleat Railway". longleat.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
- "Jungle Express (Longleat)". Miniature Railway World. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Profile: Longleat Railway Miniature Railway Magazine Retrieved 26 August 2016
- Monkey Temple Themed Structures, inc. Retrieved 17 February 2017
- Red Panda Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
- First as rare red panda cub born at Longleat Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
- Twin Births a Double Delight for Endangered Red Pandas Longleat Retrieved 17 February 2017
- Longleat Safari Park penguins die in malaria outbreak BBC News Retrieved 17 February 2017
- Longleat shuts penguin enclosure after new malaria deaths BBC News Retrieved 17 September 2019
- Longleat's new Animal Adventure opens Leisure Management Retrieved 17 February 2017
- Longleat Safari Park western lowland gorilla marks '50th birthdayBBC News Retrieved 17 February 2017
- "The Lions of Longleat - BBC One London - 12 November 1967". BBC Genome. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Lion Country - BBC One London - 16 February 1998". BBC Genome.
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