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20.10.11

Days Out in Suffolk: Africa Alive

One of our favourite places to go for a day out is Africa Alive. I used to go there when I was a child and have a lot of happy memories there. One being a particular bird called Joey. He used to fly up to the cage and like to have his tummy tickled. No matter where you went around the cage he would fly and find you and push his tummy close to the bars for maximum tickleage [not a word but sounds good]. We used to try and outrun him and trick him but we never could. He was a small exotic bird.
I also remember going the day after I cut my head open. I had a 2 inch cut on the top of my head after bashing it on the corner of a chest of drawers and was taken to hospital where they glued it back. I remember having to keep my hood up the whole time I was there.
There used to be a big tree which had a circular enclosure around it. This was my mums favourite as it housed the monkeys. She would watch for ages as they would swing from branch to branch, occasionally fall off but do it in such a way that they meant to.

Since then it has changed quite a lot. There are brand new enclosures and it features a fantastic enclosure called The Plains of Africa. At the top of the Plains there is the Rhino house, Zebra house, Ostrich house and Antelope house. At the bottom is the Giraffe house. If the weather is nice the animals are let out to roam together and graze on the huge amount of grass available.

I remember going there with my husband, when he was just my boyfriend, and seeing the Rhino house for the first time. Immediately we fell in love with these huge mammals and in particular with one who was named Harry, as my husband had his cat called Harry.
Whenever we went back we would head straight here. And these days its exactly the same, except Charles is the one who runs straight for the Rhino house as they are his favourite animals.

The Lion enclosure is huge and has always been one of my favourite in the park. Simply because I love seeing the Lions with so much space. There is nothing worse than going to a zoo and seeing animals caged up in tiny enclosures. There is now a viewing balcony which gives visitors the chance to see Lions from above. A clear barrier seperates you from the drop into the enclosure. I sometimes feel quite shakey and scared when up here, especially when Charles goes running towards the barrier although, obviously, he is completely safe.

There are vaious feed talks throughout the day and information of these talks [time and location] is given with a leaflet as you enter the park.

The park is set within 100 acres so it takes a good 2/3 hours to walk around and appreciate all of the animals.

You can walk to the top end of the park to Pets Corner. Here you'll find goats, rabbits, bats, mice, birds and snakes.
This is also right next to the Chimpanzee enclosure. Sadly, one of the chimps died this year leaving one chimp on her own. We have found her to be friendly and she certainly seems to take a shine to Charles whenever we go.

At this end of the park you can board the Safari Roadtrain and enjoy a trip around the whole park. The driver adds commentary as you travel around so you can learn more about the animals you are visiting.

There is also a Lemur Encounter which is a walk through enclosure. This isn't always open but when it is its great to walk through and be really close to these beautiful and cheeky animals. We've always found they are quite "posey" when you get your camera out.
This enclosure also homes some sheep which Charles is always fascinated by because of their white bodies and black heads.

There are information sheets, boards and interactive buttons near each enclosure. These are full of interesting facts and the interactive buttons are Charles' favourite source of information.

Also with some of the enclosures you can find a stamp. These stamps are to be printed in the allocated space in a booklet given as you enter the park. Collect all stamps and then take the book to the shop and recieve a reward of a medal. Children love these medals.
Charles, however, loves the stamps and ends up with prints all over his hands and arms. If it keeps him quiet and happy.........

Also to keep little ones happy there is a big outside play area involving slides, swings and climbing equipment. There is an inside soft play centre too which looks fab but we are yet to explore.

So, for a fab day out I urge you to visit.
I have a season ticket so we now tend to go for as little as an hour or all day.