So today being a slightly grey and overcast day, with the weather forecast not looking great, we thought having a day out to the New Forest Wildlife Park near Southampton would be a great idea. And I wanted to share my personal review of our day out.
You can absolutely go here when it’s raining as there is a section undercover and also the trees and woodland pretty much cover you the majority of the way around.
If you are looking for ideas for somewhere to go with the kids and family in Hampshire then, in my opinion, The New Forest Wildlife Park is a great idea. Situated on the outskirts of the New Forest, the Wildlife Park caters to all personality’s, whether you are outdoorsy or love animals.
We have been several times over the years and visited again with our son today, so I thought I would write about our day out at the New Forest Wildlife Park and share it with you all.
The New Forest Wildlife Park is at:
Longdown, Nr Ashurst
We actually used to live local to the Wildlife Park, in the nearby town of Totton where we lived for over 6 years. Being an animal lover myself we would visit here yearly on my birthday, especially so I could see the wolves which are my absolute favourite animal!
What animals are at The New Forest Wildlife Park?
So there is a decent amount to do here to keep you and your little ones busy. If you love otters then you will love going here. I love how cute they are and our son thought they were talking to him when they were squeaking.
But there are also wolves (my fave), deer, buffalo, owls, polecats, and hogs. We had a lot of fun trying to spot the animals and made a game out of “who could find it first”.
If you are lucky you will also see the fox, it’s been hit-and-miss with us each time we have gone as sometimes the fox is asleep and hiding.
But that’s the risk of going anywhere with animals, depending on the time of year and what mood they are in can depend on what you see. The majority of times we have gone we have seen most of the animals, and you can easily walk around 2-3 times if needed.
This time we were less fortunate but the second time around everyone had come out to play! We did miss the Lynx but I think he was probably hiding in the warmth.
So the wildlife park isn’t massive, but that’s great if you want somewhere to go for the afternoon. They recommend you can spend about 3 hours getting around, which back in the day we could easily do, including having our own picnic.
But I think if you are going with kids then you can spend so much longer.
As we first arrived and paid for our tickets there is a park for younger kids which has a sandpit with diggers! Plenty of buckets and spades, and other park and climbing equipment. The little one had already clocked the park so there was no avoiding it, and we then had to coax him out to walk around to look at the animals.
There are loads of picnic benches around so we had our little picnic on one of these. There is a Morrisons 5 minutes down the road in Totton so we grabbed our picnic stuff there on the way.
After we were halfway around there is no missing the second larger park. Aimed at older children our younger son still had to go and play.
I honestly feel like we go to these places just to play in the parks! I’m sure you can all agree with me or understand.
After then completing the loop around the wildlife park there is a lovely gift shop. Little man tried to get me to buy him a toy, but many distraction techniques later we were back outside. He also remembers last time with his nanny and grandad we had bought ice cream from the shop, so we quickly moved on.
We didn’t use the cafe this time but have used it in the past when we went with the mother in law and had a hot chocolate. I did then let him have a go on the pirate ships which could not be missed. I had a £1 coin left in the bottom of my handbag so he was lucky and he got a few minutes to drive the boat in circles. He was happy though.
We have taken our son once before when he was younger and in the pram, so pushchair access is no bother. Ours was an offroader but large and we had no issues getting around. It’s all pretty flat with the odd small hill, but not bumpy at all.
The toilets do have baby-changing facilities so that’s always handy and good to know. And after going in the sandpit for the second time the loos are close by for when he had to wash his hands again.
I personally think the ticket prices are very fair. There are not masses to do but we have paid to go to smaller farms with a lot less. From being brought up near the new forest, I love the forest vibe and location and there is enough to enjoy your day without being disappointed.
The great thing is that you don’t have to pre-book and can buy your tickets at the entrance. So if the weather turns or you feel unwell, you are not committed to going on a certain date.
At the time of writing this, we only had to pay £14.75 per adult and £11.25 for our son as he is 3 and a half. So I think this was very fair.
You can find updated pricing and info on the New Forest Wildlife Park website.
So as we popped here I thought it was a good idea to write my personal experience/ review on The New Forest Wildlife Park. But I’ll leave it up to you if you want to give it a try.
I may love it as we have visited here a lot in the past, and you do get your favorite places. Our son is very much an on-the-go, never stops, outdoors boy, and he loved the freedom and running around.
We may have done a speed run glance at the animals and spent most of the time in the park, but hey that’s boys for you and he really enjoyed himself, as much as we did.