To celebrate Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens’ milestone 50-year anniversary in 2020, SoGlos has rounded up 50 of our absolute favourite things to do at the family attraction on the Gloucestershire border.
Boasting one of the UK’s largest zoological collections, with over 260 different species and 1,500 animals, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens has been a family favourite for generations. Whether you want to see the park’s iconic creatures – including rhinos, lions and giraffes – or make some rare and unusual new friends, there’s always something to discover.
With its own train, adventure playground, museum, restaurant, beautiful gardens and acres of parkland to explore, there’s plenty to do at Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens – even after you’ve seen all the animals.
You’ve got to take a trip on this tiny train! One of Cotswold Wildlife Park’s most unique attractions, the narrow-gauge railway can be ridden from April to October.
There’s plenty of pretty places to take a picnic in the Cotswolds – but where else can you tuck into a sandwich while watching a white rhino graze?
Cotswold Wildlife Park’s lofty walkway lets visitors lock eyes with a majestic giraffe (or two).
There’s no better way for kids to burn off some energy than to dash around Cotswold Wildlife Park’s adventure playground – now including a treehouse ‘skymaze’ and a ‘mini-manor’ for the smallest visitors.
Critters don’t come cuter than this! These delightful pygmy goats – and many of their furry friends – can be found frolicking in Cotswold Wildlife Park’s Children’s Farmyard.
Wander over to the Walled Garden at 11am or 3pm daily to see the penguins feast.
If you’ve ever wanted to get even closer to Cotswold Wildlife Park’s exotic animals – from giant tortoises to lively lemurs – book a special Animal Encounter or Keeper for a Day experience.
Support Cotswold Wildlife Park’s creatures with an Animal Adoption. There’s a wide range of animals you can sponsor – from Asiatic lions to tapirs and Columbus monkeys.
Take the wildest walkies ever! Dogs can enjoy a fun-filled day out at Cotswold Wildlife Park too, as long as they’re kept on a lead. Pooches are not allowed in certain areas, but you can get a fab snap of Fido beside the rhino enclosure.
With reasonably priced on-the-gate admission and discounted e-tickets available, Cotswold Wildlife Park is one of the country’s more affordably-priced wildlife attractions.
What big teeth you have! Cotswold Wildlife Park lets visitors get a close look (at a safe distance) at some of the deadliest predators around – including this awe-inspiring Asiatic lion.
Lemurs are some of the most inquisitive creatures that visitors will see at the Park – and they’re celebrated every year with a special Lemur Week.
Psst – you can take a sneak peek at animals going about their day with the park’s live feed cameras. Take a look at cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk and you can see penguins and meerkats at play from the comfort of your own home.
The clouded leopard’s gorgeous dappled coat doesn’t just look pretty – it allows this sneaky cat to blend into the trees, making it the perfect stealth predator. Locate one if you can!
Over nine species of frogs live at Cotswold Wildlife Park – including this Vietnamese mossy frog, another master of disguise.
These mega tortoises grow to a great size and age. Hailing from the volcanic Galápagos Islands, they’re a must-visit animal for any Park trip (and their slow speed makes them perfect for a quick Insta pic).
Step into a nocturnal habitat and encounter Cotswold Wildlife Park’s dazzling Egyptian and Seba fruit bats. You can even feed them by booking an Animal Encounter.
With their funny flexible noses and thick skin, Brazilian tapirs are one of the most memorable animals you’ll meet at Cotswold Wildlife Park. The adorable spotty coats of the infants make them some of the cutest critters you’ll ever see.
Blink and you’ll miss them! Meerkats are incredibly agile, but when they stand on lookout besides their burrows visitors can take a nice long look at these miniature marvels.
These vibrant birds are pretty in pink and, just like flamingos, they get their special colouration from the crustaceans they eat. That magnificent beak allows them to poke about in the mud for their next meal.
Did you know that sloths are actually rather good swimmers? Or that they’re related to anteaters? Or that they only poo once a week? Take a trip to the park to get the low-down on sloths.
Once used as the Park logo, red pandas are the cuddliest-looking animals around – but they’re more closely related to raccoons than pandas.
If you’re looking for lively, talkative, entertaining animals, otters are for you – they’re active, intelligent, social creatures that use their paws to play with all manner of food.
It’s not all about the animals! Explore Cotswold Wildlife Park’s stunning seasonal gardens, full of tulips, snowdrops and daffodils – and enjoy a stroll around a wild range of cactuses and other outdoor plants.
It’s no wonder these animals have earned their stripes as Cotswold Wildlife Park’s logo animal – these majestic Chapman’s zebras share their living space with the rhinos, and remain some of the Park’s most iconic creatures.
Make sure to take a few snaps of the park’s crocodilian collection. Morelet’s crocodiles have mouths packed with 66-68 teeth and even ‘bark’ to communicate – with Cotswold Wildlife Park allowing visitors a safe space to study these ancient wonders.
This furry beastie might remind you of a guinea pig – they’re actually related – but the capybara has the distinction of being the world’s largest rodent. They’re so big that they’re sometimes hunted for meat in their native Venezuela.
Standing up to a whopping 2.5 metres tall, Ostriches are not only the biggest birds around, they also lay the largest eggs you’ve ever seen. Though flightless, they can run up to 45mph and deliver deadly kicks.
These miraculous rodents are just some of the rare and unusual animals you can find at the Park. Spending their lives in underground burrows, they can live for up to 30 years – because they don’t age like other animals, and don’t get cancer.
Macaws Pete and Dudley caused a bit of a stir at the Cotswold Wildlife Park when this ‘male’ pair unexpectedly produced an egg. The brilliant feathers of these king-sized parrots can brighten up the greyest day.
And if Macaws aren’t quite bright enough for you? Then these rainbow-coloured lorikeets are sure to take your breath away. Found in Australia and Indonesia, they have specialized tongues for drinking down delicious nectar.
Take a break at the Oak Tree Restaurant, found at the rear of the manor house, where you can treat the family to fresh food. Adults can even partake in an alcoholic beverage as it’s fully licensed.
Little ones can pick up one of CotsWild Explorer Trails, available from the gift shop – each pack comes complete with lanyards, activity card and pencil.
Take a lofty look at some of the natural world’s best hunters! Walk above a pack of Canadian timber wolves on one of the Cotswold Wildlife Park’s special walkways to get a glimpse at how these beautiful predators behave in the wild.
These guys really prick the interest. Crested porcupines are so spiny that they can turn away even the deadliest predators; any lion or hyena that gets too close will end up with noseful of spikes.
Here’s another farmyard friend. Donkeys might not be the most exotic creatures you’ll meet at the park, but they’re as cute.
Say hello to the scavengers! Rüppell’s griffon vultures can fly for up to 6-7 hours as they scan the ground for the carcasses they love to eat. Once they’ve found their next meal, they’ll eat and eat until they’re fit to burst.
Every day is a fashion parade for the stunning Chilean flamingo – and it’s all thanks to their diet. Without eating their favourite crustaceans, their pink feathers would turn pale and eventually go white.
Cotswold Wildlife Park is full of characters, and Dobby the binturong has bags of personality. Also known as the ‘bear-cat’, binturongs can grow up to five feet in length and have a scent gland that produces a smell similar to buttered popcorn.
There’s no mistaking the magnificently furry Pallas’s cat for an ordinary moggy. Dwelling largely in the caves of central Asia, it is often hunted for its beautiful coat.
You’ll soon be ‘toucan’ a picture of this delightfully-coloured bird. The serrated beak of this South American dandy is perfect for gripping and tearing the fruit it loves to eat.
Another brilliant bird for your Insta grid! Get the perfect pic of the gorgeous tail feathers of a peacock at Cotswold Wildlife Park.
You’ve got to meet these three dwarf mongoose triplets, who can be found near the Little Africa enclosure. These tiny carnivores live in groups of up to thirty individuals in the grasslands of Africa, and are happy to eat insects, berries and lizards.
The green tree python is so vivid that it will take your breath away.
There’s more than just one kind of rhino at the park; this dino-lookalike is known as the rhinoceros iguana, on account of its horny snout.
There’s more scaly friends to be found in the Reptile House, including green anacondas, radiated tortoises, and the rather odd-looking panther chameleon.
We haven’t even mentioned the Invertebrate House yet. Full of classic creepy-crawlies like tarantulas and locusts, Cotswold Wildlife Park’s insect habitat is sure to fascinate all ages.
Find out more even more facts about your favourite animals – and see a few skeletons – in the park’s very own museum.
For 50 years Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens has entertained generations of visitors. We are sure the next 50 will be just as full of fun and discovery for thousands and thousands of families to come.
For more information about this hot list’s sponsor, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gar4dens, visit cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk
Tuesday 17 March 2020
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