Lemurs and babies being fed at the Wild Place Project, Bristol
Family days out, UK

Wild Place Project review – a Bristol zoo with a mission

What toddler doesn’t enjoy a trip to the zoo? If you are on holiday in Somerset you may have heard of Bristol Zoo. But have you heard of The Wild Place Project. It’s a zoological park with a difference and a mission. Here’s what you can find there.

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About the Wild Place Project

The Wild Place Project is on a mission to protect endangered habitats.  It was set up by the Bristol Zoological Society, which also runs Bristol Zoo just down the road.

While you’ll see some of the same wildlife at the Wild Place Project as you can at the Zoo, you’ll also find a lot more animal encounters as the project take a hands-on approach to promoting its conservation message.

Our visit

Tin Box Tot in Jeep at Wild Place Project, Bristol

The Wild Place Project feels more like a cross between a safari park and a farm than a zoo. Compared to other animal parks we’ve visited it’s rough around the edges but that’s deliberate.

Footpaths and woodland walks have been kept as natural as possible in keeping with the different habitats that have been recreated.

There’s a focus on animal encounters and education with a daily schedule of opportunities to meet the park’s residents so you can find out about their lives in the wild. It’s all part of the park’s roots in conservation and raising awareness of the human impact on important habitats.

One of the highlights of our visit was meeting the lemurs.

Lemurs and babies being fed at the Wild Place Project, Bristol

They live in the Madagascar area of the park where you can find out how deforestation is affecting wildlife and ecosystems in South America.

The lemurs are in a walk-though enclosure. If you time your visit right you can see them being feed. Dozens of the inquisitive creatures seem to come from nowhere to chow down on fruit and vegetables.

We were lucky enough to see a pair of newborn lemurs with their mum – Dizzy. She gave birth to her babies the night before so we were among the first people to meet them.

You can just about see them clinging to their mum’s belly in my picture (above).

Tin Box Tot in one of the play areas at the Wild Place Project, Bristol

Play grounds at the Wild Place Project

As well as meeting a variety of animals, there are lots of places for kids to play dotted around the park. This was perfect for Tin Box Tot to let off some steam and keep her interested in-between the enclosures as there was quite a lot of walking to do.

She was also having one of ‘those days’ when parks were a lot more interesting than exotic animals.

Play area and climbing rig at Wild Place Project Bristol

We made a loop of the park, visiting the wolves, returning to the lemurs and seeing the cheetahs and zebra.

Tin Box Tot looking at a cheetah at the Wild Place Project, Bristol

Before we got back in the car Tin Box Tot wanted several goes on the slides in the covered play area. As it was midweek and the end of the day we had it all to ourselves which she loved as she could take as long as she wanted clambering around the play equipment.

Places to eat

The park has a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating serving sandwiches, kids lunch boxes and light meals.

Toilets and baby changing

There’s one set of toilets with baby changing area in the undercover play zone close to the park entrance.

Make sure you stop here before you wander around the rest of the park as it’s a bit of a trek back if you get caught short.

Handy tips for families

  • You can’t take pushchairs into the lemur enclosure as they like to jump on them. Bring a baby carrier for any little ones not able to walk around themselves
  • If you’re visiting on a wet day bring waterproofs and wellies in case you get caught outside in the rain
  • Sturdy shoes are recommended for all visitors as the paths can be uneven
  • Bring a picnic – there’s indoor and outdoor picnic areas around the park. Just don’t take any food into the lemur enclosure – it upsets their tummies.

Need to know

  • Directions: it’s really easy to find the Wild Place Project as its just off Junction 17 of the M5.
  • Admission prices: adults £8, children aged two to 14 £6.50, under twos go free. If you book online you can save 10%.
  • Opening times: 10am until 5pm daily.

More things to do in and around Somerset

If you are on holiday in Somerset here are some more post that may help you plan where to stay and your days out:

Disclosure: we were guests at the Wild Place Project as part of a blogger event. All views are my own.

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A family day out at Wild Place Project, Bristol