Today I want to share with you what my family (well mainly my bossy son) consider to be the best wild life parks in Scotland. A couple of these are pretty predictable I know, but I am sure that at least a couple of these you will never have heard of and will be a nice surprise. Scotland has a number of amazing wild life parks where you can not only see some of the animals that call Scotland their home, but also animals from all over the world. Visiting a wild life park is always a great day out with the family and it would make for a great activity to do during your wee Scottish break. Also check out other things to do in the UK.
RZSS Highland Wildlife Park (Kincraig)
The RZSS Highland Wildlife Park is a lovely wildlife park and just a real treasure. To start with this is the only wildlife park in the whole of Scotland that has polar bears and Japanese snow monkeys! I was able to convince my son that the Highlands were so cold that polar bears lived there and were known to attack people on skiing trips…… my wife did not find this funny. Anyway they have a whole host of animals from wild birds, monkeys, stags, bison’s and many other amazing creatures. As well as seeing the animals they also have a number of fun activities to do. There are feeding shows, entertainment shows, parks, places to eat and even some animals that you can hold and interact with….. in case you were wondering you cannot pet the polar bears. Well you could, but I do not think it would work out to well for you!
Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park (Kirkcudbright)
If you want to see some lovely animals in a more natural setting then you and the kids will love Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park . As well as offering the public the chance to see over 150 different animals from all corners of the globe they do a lot of good here as well as they take care of many endangered species. You get to walk around a very natural setting that is nearly 30 acres in size! The whole park has been crafted so that the animals feel in as natural a place as possible and it tends to make them much more playful so you get to see them running about more. They have all kinds of animals here from cute woodland critters to birds. If you want to see animals in a more natural setting then this is a great place to come. I will say that it does lack some of the pizzazz and excitement of say and Edinburgh Zoo or Blair Drummond, but if you are staying close to the park then it does make for a fun day out….. plus there is a ton of walking so the kids will be knackered in the evening and you might get them to bed early so you can have some piece……… and a few glasses of wine.
Blair Drummond Safari Park (Stirling)
Look I know I have talked about Blair Drummond Safari Park a couple of time before, but I cannot talk about the best wildlife parks in Scotland and not mention it. Honestly this is one of the best family days out that I have ever been on and we have been here more than a few times now. This is just an incredible place with animals like rhinos, lions, monkeys (who will throw poop at you so watch out!) and all other kinds of cool creatures. There is just so much to see and do here that you really do get a lot of entertainment for your money. Speaking of entertainment the sea lion show is a real highlight of a day out here, but make sure you get in line early as it is very popular. I stayed in the line while the kids played in the nearby adventure park. A trip to Blair Drummond Safari is sure to be a highlight of any family holiday in Scotland.
Edinburgh Zoo (Edinburgh……. Of course!)
Edinburgh Zoo is such a predictable choice, but this is regarded as one of the best places to see animals in the UK for a reason! Edinburgh Zoo is freaking huge so make sure that you guys have some comfy shoes on as there is a lot of walking here. The animals that they have in Edinburgh Zoo are just second to none with the pandas probably being the show stealers. But just recently (well recently in regards to me writing this) Edinburgh Zoo has added a new dinosaur exhibit! Now they have not cloned dinosaurs so you do not have to worry about running for your life like you are in Jurassic Park, but they do have all these cool, life sized models of various dinosaurs that you can check out. This is really cool and something I can tell you from personally experience that the kids just love! My kids would have spent the whole day at the Dinosaurs Return exhibit if we had let them that is how awesome it was.
Camperdown Wildlife Centre (Dundee)
This one here is a bit of an under rated gem if you ask me. Camperdown Wildlife Centre is set in the just lovely, Camperdown Park which in itself is a great day out with a nice park and plenty of areas for a picnic. But their wildlife centre which may not be the biggest makes for a great day out. They have all kinds of animals here from bears, wild cats and birds. What makes coming here ideal though is the way they take care of kids. They have a fun “zoo keeper for a day” activity where your child can have some fun and get to see what an actual zoo keeper does. Do not freak out they will not have your kid feeding bears or anything like that! They have arts and crafts, mask making, animal trails, story trails and a whole lot more. What it lacks in size, Camperdown Wildlife Centre makes up for it with its charm. My kids loved it here and once we were done they have just as good a time and the huge play park that is next to the wildlife centre.
Some Advice About Taking The Kids To A Wildlife Park
Ok so I have been to more than my fair share of wildlife parks and I want to share with you some advice on how to make your life a little bit easier so you do not make the mistakes I have made in the past! Here are a few ways to make your day out run nice and smoothly and also make your life a wee bit easier.
Bring A Backpack!
As a man in his 30’s ten years ago I never would have imagined I would be walking around with a Batman backpack, but the backpack is essential to any trip to a wildlife park! I am more prepared than the A-Team when we go on a family day out and you better believe that a place that has animals has all kinds of “opportunities” for your kids to get dirty, cut, grumpy and everything else in between. Load your backpack up with a change of clothes, snacks, baby wipes……. For the love of god do not forget baby wipes! And anything else that can help calm your kids down in-case of a meltdown!
It Can Be A Long Day
One of our trips to Blair Drummond lasted the better part of eight hours! That is a long day, especially for kids who have been running around like crazy. They will crash at some point and if they do not just fall asleep in the car, you bet they will have some kind of tiredness induced meltdown! If the kids are really tired, getting grumpy and want to leave…… then I would say leave! There is no point spoiling what has been a great day with half an hour of crying and complaining because they are tired at the end of it. Also a “if you are good we can go to the gift shop” on the way out never hurt anyone.
If You Have More Than One Kid Try To Make A Plan
Do some research before you go about what is on offer in the park and if certain things are only on at certain times. I have made the mistake of saying “hey let’s just go with the flow and do what we want” but this was on a trip when we had five kids with us, guess what happened? They all wanted to do different things at the same time! Which resulted in arguments, by planning ahead what you are going to do or at the least have an idea of what order you would like to see things, you can make for a more organised and less stressful day. It does not have to be planned with military precision, but just little things like “we will see the monkeys after lunch” and “in the afternoon we will go to the play park” lets the kids know that they will get to do all the cool stuff they want to do at some point so there is no need for them to worry about missing out.