We last visited Cotswold Wildlife Park last year. We go every year around May bank holiday, little did we know, just how much would change 12 months on. However, now that the lockdown restrictions have begun to be lifted, we decided to take our first post-lockdown trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park. Interested in reading what’s changed? Read on!
There’s no denying it, there’s been a few changes.
You need to pre-book tickets.
I did mention in my previous review, you have always had the option to order your tickets online, and they would be valid for a month. What’s changed is that, for now, you’re only able to book the day before the day that you wish to go. This took us a few attempts as if you book in the afternoon, you are often too late and the allocated tickets for the day are snapped up. I ended up having to order just after midnight the day before, to grab them!
Entry is fairly straight forward, and there are very little queues in regards to cars. When parking, there are still workers conducting you to your space, however, cars are now being positioned further apart than normal.
They’ve installed plenty of reminders about social distancing.
While the car park was distanced, it still looked rather full, which is lovely considering the immense stress that places like this have been under since the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close. While the car parks looked healthy and full, the grounds themselves didn’t resemble that, and there was plenty of room to social distance, and let the invisible reins on the children slack that little bit more. It is clear to see the lengths that CWP’s staff have been through to make it safe for all. Amongst signs around the park, there are numerous sanitizing stations as well. I loved the fact that when we arrived at the lions’ enclosure, it said on the social distancing sign, stay 2 metres or a lion away! Shaniah loved this bit and she was blown away by the size of a lion!
The animal missed us just as much as we missed them.
Previously, when walking around the park, the animal’s couldn’t care less whether we were there or not. Half the time, they never even noticed us! This time, however, some of the animals were coming up to us, much to Shaniah’s amusement. She loved getting close to the camels, and even a lizard came to the glass! It’s so lovely to see them even closer than usual.
Some things are not back yet.
While the park is not fully back, the cafe is not open for business yet. There are numerous kiosks scattered around the park offering hot drinks and snacks. I can highly recommend the cappuccino, and Shaniah and Ryan cannot fault the brownies. You are also able to bring your food, should you wish to. There are loads of picnic-perfect areas around the park which all boast beautiful backdrops.
There are numerous port-a-loos scattered around the park, meaning you don’t need to queue for the toilets as you used to at peak times.
While the park jumped through hoops to make the park safe, many people seemingly forgot about social distancing once an animal came to the glass. There were also people not wearing masks when advised. I also found the gift shop to be quite busy despite a one in one out approach.
Despite the flaws of visitors, the park itself is faultless. It’s still a perfect affordable day out. I love how you don’t have to exit through the shop unlike many places we’ve been, meaning that if you don’t want to take your child to the shop, you can skip the tantrums!
We are already planning our next trip here.