West Midland Safari Park
|Date opened||17 April 1973|
|Location||Bewdley, Worcestershire, England|
|Land area||200 acres (81 ha)|
|No. of animals||600|
|No. of species||165|
|Major exhibits||African Plains, Flooded Forest, Mark O'Shea's Reptile World, Sea Lion Theatre, Land of the Living Dinosaurs, and others|
The park holds over 165 species of exotic animals, among other attractions such as a small theme park. The park contains the largest groups of white lions, cheetahs, hippopotami, 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.
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.
The park was opened by founder and Jimmy Chipperfield on 17 April 1973 and at the time hosted a few ex-circus animals (it had animals like rhinoceroses, elephants, ostriches, zebras, giraffes, camels, wildebeest, baboons, lions, tigers, bears & wolves, according to a video from the 1970s, date unknown). Early on, the park had a dolphin area where the sea lion theatre is today, but this was a travelling show and the dolphins were later returned to Margate. The 1970s also saw the park develop a "Boat Safari" in keeping with the fashions of the time, although this was later removed, and a narrow gauge railway through parts of the park was constructed by Severn Lamb in 1979.
The park saw its first new animal exhibit for some time with the arrival of four African white lions in "Kingdom of the White Lions" in 2004. The park was the first safari park in the UK to have all five African big game animals, although its leopards have since been moved to Scotland, leaving it with only four of the five. It was also the first park/zoo in Europe to successfully breed white lion cubs and has done a great deal towards conserving 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 who work closely with Save the Rhino and the University of Cape Town.
Wild Asia and Realm of the Indian Rhino
On the 8th of September 2020, an Indian Rhino calf was born to mother Seto, and father Rap, a first for the park.
White Tiger Ridge
White Tiger Ridge was removed during the change in road layout in 2019. All tigers are now located in The Tiger Reserve located in the Eurasian Reserve.
Cheetah Plains is the UK's largest drive-by Cheetah reserve.
African Wild Dog Reserve
This is home to the African wild dogs.
Realm of the Lions
This fully landscaped reserve and an off-road track opened as part of the exhibit is home to a pride of African lions.
Kingdom of the White Lions
Kingdom of the White Lion is home to a pride of rare White lions.
Eurasian Reserve and Tiger Reserve
Elephant Valley is home to the safari's African elephants. In May 2014, the park's Elephant Valley became home to the first male African elephant successfully born through AI in the UK; he is called Sutton.
In 2021, construction of a new elephant reserve was completed. Currently the park holds two Elephants, Sutton and his mother Five.
Formerly the Elephant's enclosure, Borderlands is home to a herd of Bactrian Camels
Amusement park rides
|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"||Fabbri||A 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|
|2006||"Wild River Rafting"||Fabbri||A small river rapids ride|
|1992||"Rhinocoaster"||Vekoma||A junior rollercoaster, formerly named "Rollerskater". The park traded in their Vekoma Boomerang for the "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"|
|2009||"Shark Island"||Shenyang Chuangqi A.E.||An interactive water roundabout|
|'99/'00||"Slippery Snake Slide"||Chris Randall||A snake-themed tube slide|
|2014||"Kong"||Zamperla||A Gorilla-themed Mega Disk'O|
|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|
Land of the Living Dinosaurs
This is the UK's largest animatronic dinosaur attraction, opened 2015
This is the UK's largest animatronic creator attraction to feature Ice Age animals, opened 2018
Discovery Trail consists of mostly indoor exhibits, and includes animal encounters throughout the day where staff allow visitors to get close to animals found in the Discovery Trail.
Animal encounters that take place in the Discovery Trail let visitors get up close and personal with small exotic creatures, under the observation of staff. Animals that take part in these encounters include ferrets, Lesser Hedgehog tenrecs, and Long-tailed Chinchillas.
Penguin Cove is home to Humboldt penguins. Their enclosure includes a pool with semi-submerged beach, sculptures, penguin house and public viewing areas.
This new heated indoor exhibit is home to the flock of Rainbow lorikeets. The specially designed walk-through enclosure includes state-of-the-art eco-heating to help these Australasian parrots feel at home at a balmy 18*C. Lorikeet Landing provides the chance to walk amongst one of the largest flocks in the UK.
Creepy Crawlies is the park's insect house, and contains a small range of creepy crawlies including tarantulas, Goliath birdeater spider, leafcutter ants, locusts, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and scorpions.
The park's reptile house was formerly named after the famous herpetologist Mark O'Shea. He would make appearances at the park, occasionally performing in the reptile encounters that took place outside the building, where guests can learn more about some of the park's reptiles. Reptiles in this exhibit include 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
The Sea Lion Theatre is a 525-seat venue that allows visitors to have the chance 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 here 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.
The African Village is an interactive walk-through area, allowing visitors to see African village wildlife and a replica African Village Home. The Goat Walk contains a walk-through area containing Cameroon sheep, pygmy goats and Somali sheep.
Meet the Meerkats
This exhibit is home to a large mob of Meerkats.
Walking With Lemurs
In the amusement area are a large number of lakes. One of these has become home to the largest pod of hippos in the UK.
- "West Midland Safari Park". britishzoos.co.uk. Diamond Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "BIAZA Zoos and Aquariums". biaza.org.uk. BIAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- "EAZA Member Zoos & Aquariums". eaza.net. EAZA. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- "Safari Drive-Through". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Conservation". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Ongava Research Centre (ORC) & Namibian Wildlife Conservation Trust (NWCT)". wmsp.co.uk. West Midland Safari Park. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- "Storm Ciara: Wild dogs kill animals after escaping enclosure". BBC News. 14 February 2020.
- Abgarian, Almara (14 September 2020). "British safari park welcomes its first Indian rhino in 47 years". Metro. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
- "Safari park names baby elephant after Stephen Sutton". BBC News. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
- "New luxury elephant habitat ready for West Midland Safari Park grand reopening". Kidderminster Shuttle. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
- "New Baby Elephant Named!" (Press release). Bewdley, Worcestershire: West Midland Safari Park. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "African Village".