When we got there we were offered a lot of choices of payment. The basic cost was £5 per adult and free for children, which is incredibly reasonable for a zoo! I then opted to pay for three bags of animal feed at £2 a bag and one wristband for £10. The wristband was for my son who is animal mad and it enabled him to feed some of the animals such as lemurs, penguins and giraffes. I declined the 50p map.
The first place we headed to was the train station. The second the kids saw the train, they wanted to go on it so I paid the driver £1 per person. The train is only small and you straddle the seat. It surprised me as it set off backwards rather than forwards. The journey was short and sweet! We travelled backwards round the station in a loop and then down the hill a little way before changing direction and driving back the way we came.
After our train ride we headed off to find some animals. First on the list were the lemurs as my son had his heart set on feeding them. At the lemur house we waited in the viewing area while a zoo keeper told us a little bit about the lemurs. Whilst she was talking, some of the lemurs were walking around outside and one even climbed onto my head before sitting on the fence right by us.
When it was time for feeding, everyone with a wrist band was allowed one by one into the feeding area. My son fortunately went first as there was quite a lot of children with wristbands. He was given two pieces of fruit to hand to the lemurs and then ushered out the door.
We went for a walk and bumped into some emu’s! We offered them some food but I don’t think they were too hungry so we posed for pictures with them instead and left them to it.
We walked up to the aviary, fed some pretty ducks and said hello to the parrots.
Next we said hello to the giraffes on the way to find the wild cats. The jaguars were very lively and as they were inside while food was placed in their enclosure, we got to look at them really close.
We saw mountain wolves, tigers, monkeys, flamingos and snow leopards and then wandered up to another enclosure to see the kangaroos and wallabies. We were allowed in this enclosure and gave the rest of our animal food to the kangaroos, geese, emus and ducks that we saw.
Unfortunately due to the time we were there we didn’t get to walk through the vulture cage but we did see from the outside.
It was a very rainy day when we visited but that didn’t stop us seeing a lot of animals and having a lot of fun. We did opt out of the large outdoor play area though and instead bought some very reasonably priced souvenirs from the large gift shop on the way out. The shop had something for every budget, the most expensive souvenir I saw was over £3000 but we bought three small animals for £3!
The zoo also has a restaurant, snack bar and various ice cream stands available.
Taking a child with an ASD to South Lakes Safari Zoo?
Although children are free, if your child loves animals and is likely not to understand why other children get to feed them then it is worth upgrading to the £10 wristband.
If you do get the wristband be aware that feeding times become busier than other times. If you don’t get the wristband, it is possible to avoid feeding times.
The zoo was not busy at all when we visited, however it was October and raining!
When walking through animal enclosures there is a need to stay on pathways and also to not touch the animals as they can bite.
The train has no seat belts and you must remain in your seat and not mess around at all times. It is however a very short and manageable ride.
If you buy bags of feed be aware that you can only feed certain animals which are mostly birds.
There are toilets and refreshments around the zoo.
You need to walk through the gift shop to exit the zoo and breakages must be paid for.
South Lakes Safari Zoo is situated in Lindal-in-Furness in the Lake District, UK. The zoo offers ample free parking and is wheelchair accessible.