Reviewed by Kirsty Moorhouse
I have been to Bridlington many times and did not know this place existed, so I was eager to take a trip to see what I had been missing. We didn’t struggle to find it as such but the signs were not the clearest and a bit on the small size. We had a chat to the owner Paul when we arrived as he was on reception and he informed us that although the park has been open for quite a while, he only took it over 4 weeks ago and that new signs were in production, along with new leaflets and other advertising material.
We were just in time to see the reptile handling. A bearded dragon and snakes were brought out for spectators to admire, and hold if they wished, whilst the keeper talked us through their natural habitat, diet and facts about each one. The keeper Michelle was well informed, friendly, and full of appreciation for the animals. It was a lovely informal chat as she answered questions happily and encouraged those a bit timid about touching these lovely creatures.
After the reptile talk we set off to view the park. Setting off through the mini woodland we saw aviaries with owls, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, wallabies and Alpacas, took a seat whilst the children played on the obstacle course and in the tiny wooden village, and then headed back for the next show and tell.
The next organised activity was the Birds of Prey flying display. Again the admiration for the animals shone through as we were treated to flybys (one so close I felt the wind in my ear), facts about the species and the birds themselves. Most of the birds have not been with the park for very long and the trust they had in the handlers shows how much work they must put in behind the scenes.
A lot of the animals appear to be rescues that have been given over to the parks care by previous owners. Two of these are a pair of racoons (who we saw been fed in the afternoon along with a talk) who an elderly lady had as pets. Some had injuries or incorrect diets which the park are treating and rectifying.
The highlight of the day was the Bird of Prey handling session. Two owls and a kestrel were on display and Paul and Michelle helped spectators to handle them and again we were given a wealth of information. They even had a small leather glove for my 3 year old to be able to hold a small owl!
The park is looking a bit tired and currently is in need of a pick me up. It is obvious the current owner is attending to this as some works had been done and more works were commencing the following day to improve enclosures and develop the area. Speaking to the keepers and owner it is clear that big things will soon be happening at the park, Lemurs are moving in soon and some Macaws have already been purchased to name a few.
I’m really looking forward to coming back and seeing the owners big plans put into action. It felt natural and informal, unlike some of the bigger parks we have visited. If the level of enthusiasm is still as high and the grounds continue to be improved, this out of the way wildlife park could become one of Bridlington’s biggest attractions.
For more information visit www.bridlingtonanimalpark.co.uk.
Bridlington Animal Park, Carnaby Covert La, Bridlington, YO15 3QF | 01262 673653