West Midlands Safari Park

Coordinates: 52°22′32″N 2°17′18″W / 52.3754944°N 2.2882462°W / 52.3754944; -2.2882462
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West Midlands Safari Park
Giraffes at the park
52°22′32″N 2°17′18″W / 52.3754944°N 2.2882462°W / 52.3754944; -2.2882462
Date opened17 April 1973
LocationBewdley, Worcestershire, England
Land area200 acres (81 ha)[1]
No. of animals600[1]
No. of species165
Annual visitors750,000+
MembershipsBIAZA,[2] EAZA[3]
Major exhibitsAfrican Plains, Flooded Forest, Mark O'Shea's Reptile World, Sea Lion Theatre, Land of the Living Dinosaurs, and others
OwnerGroupe looping

West Midlands Safari Park is a safari park located in Bewdley in Worcestershire, England. It was opened under the name of West Midland Safari Park in Spring 1973.

The park holds over 165 species of exotic animals and features other attractions such as a small theme park. The park contains the largest groups of white lions, cheetahs, hippopotamuses and meerkats in the UK, as well as the largest lemur walk-through exhibit. It was also the first park in the UK to have the African big five game animals.[1]

The park is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). The Dhole and Cheetah enclosures in the drive-through safari are part of a larger heathland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which the park is restoring.[4][5]


The park was opened by founder Jimmy Chipperfield on 17 April 1973 and hosted a few former circus animals. The park also had a dolphin area where the sea lion theatre is today, but it was a travelling show and the dolphins were later returned to Margate. The 1970s also saw the park develop a "boat safari", although it was later removed. A narrow-gauge railway through parts of the park was constructed by Severn Lamb in 1979.[citation needed]

In 2004, the park featured its first new animal attraction in some time with the arrival of four African white lions in the Kingdom of the White Lions exhibit. The park was the first safari park in the UK to have all five African big game animals,[1] although its leopards have since been moved to Scotland and the last remaining Cape buffalo left in 2022. It was also the first park or zoo in Europe to successfully breed white lion cubs and has made efforts to conserve the species.

In 2006, the managing directors of West Midland Safari Park officially opened the Ongava Research Centre on the Ongava Game Reserve near the Etosha National Park, their "sister park" in Namibia. The centre focuses on researching lions and rhinoceroses and carrying capacity of the reserves, which hold many rare animals. The centre has three full-time researchers[6] who work closely with Save the Rhino and the University of Cape Town.

In June 2023 following public feedback, the drive through safari must be pre booked via an allocated time slot which is included in the admission when pre booked or can be booked at the main ticket office for free at the Lost City Plaza. You can only drive through the safari once per visit [7]

On 8 February 2024 the safari announced it would be adding the 's' to Midland and renaming West Midlands Safari Park.


African Plain[edit]

The African Plain is home to the southern white rhino, common eland, ellipsen waterbuck, African forest buffalo, red lechwe, Burchell's zebra, Grevy's zebra, giraffe and Ankole cattle.

The Grasslands[edit]

The Grasslands section is home to Persian fallow deer and Barbary sheep.

This year,[which?] they also added the Blesbok to the park as well.

Wild Woods[edit]

Wild Woods is home to a group of dholes.

Wild Asia and Realm of the Indian Rhino[edit]

Wild Asia is home to banteng, blackbuck, Formosan sika deer, Philippine spotted deer and barasingha. The Realm of the Indian rhino is home to four Indian rhinoceroses.

On 8 September 2020, an Indian rhinoceros calf was born, a first for the park.[8]

White Tiger Ridge[edit]

White Tiger Ridge was removed during a change in road layout in 2019. All tigers are now located in the Tiger Reserve located in the Eurasian Reserve.

Cheetah Plains[edit]

Cheetah Plains is the UK's largest drive-by Cheetah reserve.

African Wild Dog Reserve[edit]

The African Wild Dog Reserve is home to a group of African wild dogs.

Realm of the Lions[edit]

Realm of the Lions is a fully landscaped reserve and off-road track featuring a pride of African lions.

Kingdom of the White Lions[edit]

Kingdom of the White Lions is home to a pride of rare white lions.

Two African elephants at the park

Eurasian Reserve and Tiger Reserve[edit]

Eurasian Reserve is home to Javan banteng, nilgai and Père David's deer. The Tiger Reserve is home to Bengal tigers and endangered Sumatran tigers.

Elephant Valley[edit]

Elephant Valley is home to the safari's African elephants.

In 2021, the construction of a new elephant reserve was completed.[9] Currently the park holds one elephant: That being Five, as Sutton had moved to a different park.

The Borderlands[edit]

Formerly the elephants' enclosure, Borderlands is home to a herd of Bactrian camels.


West Midland Safari Park is known for its efforts in conservation. The park contains many animals that are on the IUCN's Endangered or Critically Endangered list.

In May 2014, the park's Elephant Valley became home to the first male African elephant successfully born as the result of artificial insemination in the UK.[10]

Amusement-park rides[edit]

Opened Name Manufacturer Description
1985 Congo Carousel Robert Tidman Classic gallopers ride, operated previously at Happy Hour Amusement Park, Colwyn Bay
1986 Jungle Swings A classic chair-o-plane ride
1986 Jungle Cat Dodgems I.E. Park Cat-themed dodgems
2006 Venom Tower Drop Fabbri A 105ft drop tower ride similar to Detonator at Thorpe Park, but half of the train is taken off the ride.
1996 Zambezi Water Splash Reverchon Industries A standard two-drop log flume
2002 Black Fly Fabbri A frisbee ride similar to Sky-Force at Flambards Theme Park
1992 Dr. Umboto's Catacombs Supercar A ghost train ride
2004 Jumbo Parade Fabbri An elephant-themed jets ride cheaper version of Dumbo At Disneyland
1983 Pirate Ship HUSS Park Attractions A classic pirate ship ride similar to The Bounty At Drayton Manor and The Blade At Alton Towers
1995 Hurtling Hippos Bakker Denies A polyp ride, formerly named Tarantula, Spider and Cape Octopus; operated previously at Codona's Amusement Park
1992 Rhinocoaster Vekoma A junior rollercoaster formerly named Rollerskater
1988 African Big Apple Pinfari An MB28 junior rollercoaster
1998 Monkey Mayhem Reverchon Industries A spinning wild mouse roller coaster, formerly named Walls Twister Coaster
1999/2000 Slippery Snake Slide Chris Randall A snake-themed tube slide
2014 Kong Zamperla A gorilla-themed Mega Disk'O
2023 Dino Dashers

Former rides[edit]

Name Opened Closed Manufacturer Description
Cobra 1985 1991 Vekoma A standard Vekoma boomerang replaced with the Rhinocoaster
Safari Express 1979 2014 Severn Lamb A 2mm narrow gauge train that took passengers from the amusement park to the car park. Closed in 2014 to make way for the dinosaur exhibit.
Shark Island 2009 2022 Shenyang Chuangqi A.E. An interactive water roundabout
Wild River Rafting 2006 2023 Fabbri Group a river rapids ride

Land of the Living Dinosaurs[edit]

This is the UK's largest animatronic dinosaur attraction, opened in 2015.

Ice Age[edit]

This is the UK's largest animatronic creator attraction to feature ice-age animals. It opened in 2018.

Discovery Trail[edit]

Discovery Trail consists of mostly indoor exhibits and includes animal encounters. Visitors can come near small exotic creatures while under the observation of staff members. Encounter animals include ferrets, lesser hedgehog tenrecs and long-tailed chinchillas.

Penguin Cove[edit]

Penguin Cove is home to Humboldt penguins. Their enclosure includes a pool with a semi-submerged beach, sculptures, penguin house and public viewing areas.

Lorikeet Landing[edit]

This new heated indoor exhibit is home to a flock of Rainbow lorikeets. A specially designed walkthrough enclosure includes eco-heating to maintain a temperature of 18°C.

Creepy Crawlies[edit]

Creepy Crawlies is the park's insect house and contains a small range of animals such as tarantulas, Goliath birdeater spiders, leafcutter ants, locusts, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and scorpions.

Reptile World[edit]

The park's reptile house was formerly named after the famous herpetologist Mark O'Shea, who occasionally performed during the reptile-encounter events. Reptiles in this exhibit include the alligator snapping turtle, American alligator, amethystine python, beaded lizard, black rat snake, Borneo short-tailed python, Cuban crocodile, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Egyptian cobra, frill-necked lizard, green anaconda, green and black poison dart frog, green tree python, Jamaican boa, king cobra, malagasy giant hognose snake, Nile crocodile, red-eyed crocodile skink, red-eyed treefrog, red-tailed green ratsnake, reticulated python, Saharan horned viper and western diamondback rattlesnake.

Sea Lion Theatre[edit]

The Sea Lion Theatre is a 525-seat venue that allows visitors to see the parks’ Californian sea lions performing tricks in a 25-minute show.


SeaQuarium is the park's aquarium, containing a wide variety of exotic fish. This is also the park's chain attraction. Some of the animals include Asian arowana, Bermuda blue angelfish, chocolate chip star, clownfish, common carp, emperor angelfish, gold-spotted spinefoot, honeycomb moray, long-spine porcupinefish, orangespine, unicornfish, orbicular batfish, pangas catfish, queen coris , red-bellied pacu, red-bellied piranha, Red Sea sailfin tang, redtail catfish, redtoothed triggerfish, reef stonefish, Siberian sturgeon, small-spotted catshark, snowflake moray, spotted sailfin suckermouth catfish, spotted unicornfish, tambaqui, Vlamingii tang, white-spotted puffer and zebra moray.

Twilight Cave[edit]

The Twilight Cave is a walkthrough exhibit containing free-flying Rodrigues fruit bats and Seba's leaf-nosed bats. Nocturnal exhibits within this area are home to night monkeys.

African Villages[edit]

Goat Walk[edit]

The African Village is an interactive walkthrough area allowing visitors to see African village wildlife and a replica African village home. The Goat Walk contains a walkthrough area containing Cameroon sheep, pygmy goats and Somali sheep.

Meet the Meerkats[edit]

This exhibit is home to a large mob of meerkats.

Walking with Lemurs[edit]

This is the largest walkthrough lemur wood in the UK, with three lemur species: ring-tailed, white-fronted brown and red-bellied.

Hippo Lakes[edit]

A large number of lakes may be found in the amusement area. One of these has become home to the largest pod of hippos in the UK.


Further up the bank from the Goat Walk there is a group of ostriches. Addax were formerly held here.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "West Midland Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Diamond Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  2. ^ "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". biaza.org.uk. BIAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  3. ^ "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Safari Drive-Through". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Conservation". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Ongava Research Centre (ORC) & Namibian Wildlife Conservation Trust (NWCT)". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Important Information".
  8. ^ Abgarian, Almara (14 September 2020). "British safari park welcomes its first Indian rhino in 47 years". Metro. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  9. ^ "New luxury elephant habitat ready for West Midland Safari Park grand reopening". Kidderminster Shuttle. 6 April 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  10. ^ "New Baby Elephant Named!" (Press release). Bewdley, Worcestershire: West Midland Safari Park. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  11. ^ "African Village".

External links[edit]