This Christmas, rather than spending all of our budget on toys that my girls simply don’t need, we decided that we’d spend a bit extra on doing something extra special. So I decided to scour the internet for special Christmas events that we could attend and enjoy. One event that really stuck out was the Santa Safari at West Midlands Safari Park, which promised lots of festive treats including a visit to the big man himself. So we booked up for 4th December and prepared to set our festivities off with something magical. We kept the trip a surprise for the girls until the day itself, to add that extra christmas sparkle.
So on the morning, we got up and sorted nice and early and set off. WMSP is just 40 minutes from where we live, so a nice easy journey. We were pleased that the sun was shining, although it was freezing cold and frosty. The scene was like a Christmas card driving through the Shropshire countryside, which helped to build the festive anticipation. We arrived just as the gates were opening and went straight though without queuing. We parked right at the front with no problems and made our way into the park itself, deciding to leave the Wildlife Safari until the end. We were pleased to find that there weren’t many people around at this time of the morning, and as we had a bit of time until our Santa slot, we decided to explore the Land of The Living Dinosaurs. Well, having not been to WMSP for about 18 years I didn’t really know much about it, and didn’t realise how much it had expanded since my last visit. The Dinosaurs were fabulous and my girls were so in awe of these life sized animatronic beasts, complete with sound effects, smoking volcanoes and bubbling swamps, it took their minds off the still freezing temperature for a good while.
Next, we headed off to enjoy the park and its festive set up, complete with snow. It really did feel extremely Christmassy and really got us in the mood to visit Santa.
Finally, it was time to see Santa, so we made our way to the grotto. I was very impressed again that we didn’t have to queue for more than 5 minutes, and were entertained by a friendly elf for the short time that we were queuing. Soon enough an elf came out and lead us onto the magical sleigh ride that would take us to the North Pole to see Santa. This was a trick of the mind with moving walls and scenery, but was quite effective and my two young girls enjoyed it.
Once we arrived in the North Pole, we stepped off into a magical, festive wonderland of sparkling lights and ‘snow’. The children were encouraged to push buttons on the interactive displays as we made our way through the North Pole to Santa’s Grotto.
A short while later, and another minute or two queuing and again being entertained by a friendly elf, we were summoned! The elf that took us through to the Grotto, told Banana that she had to knock on the Grotto door, and we heard a voice telling us to “come in” from inside. And there he was, in a wonderful, traditional looking set up with real fire and a snowy window. Santa was very good, he remembered the girls’ names, helpfully explained to Banana that the Hatchimal workshop was currently out of order (phew!) and we didn’t feel at all rushed. He told the girls that they could go though to his gift shop and pick their own gifts, which the girls loved! and we had a family photo, all included in the price.
Terrible quality, because its a photo of the print, but you get the idea.
After visiting Santa, we decided that it was time for a quick lunch break, and then we were free to wander around the remaining attractions.
I didn’t manage to get pictures because my phone had ran out of charge by now, (testament to just how much there was to do!) but Banana really enjoyed the Sea Lion show, with Bauble the Sea Lion. And we also had drinks and mince pies as part of the admission price.
The last thing to do, was the wildlife safari, which again, I didn’t get any pictures of, but it really is fantastic, with Lions, tigers, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, zebra, camels, cheetahs and buffalo, amongst others. The only negative thing about the whole day was how smelly the wild dog enclosure was, in fact I left with a headache from holding my breath for so long, it really was vile!
Overall, however, we really did have the best of days and I would highly recommend it to anyone with young children. Well worth the cost in my opinion and memories we’ll hold dear for a long time!
You can see the rest of our Christmas bucket list HERE