Giraffes, Monkeys & Lions - A Day At Longleat
On 22 May, five Year 10 pupils, along with Mr Clark, Mr Cairns-Allen and myself set off early for Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. Arriving at 10:15, we waited in the queue to be allowed into the first area where we were hoping to take part in the giraffe feeding experience, walk through the lemur enclosure and see the zebra.
Feeding a giraffe was an experience not many people had had, and certainly not one they would necessarily have again. The others watched while thee pupils took their branches of leaves out onto the feeding platform. The very large, eager giraffe quickly stripped the branches of leaves and tried very hard to each the branches too, whilst we were desperate to keep hold of them. Being this close to wild animals is something I have not done before and would love to do again.
Despite it being a very hot day, the air conditioning kept us cool whilst we drove around the park, first into the monkey enclosure, where the monkeys - including some very tiny babies - were happy to jump around the cars, hitching lifts to other parts of their enclosure. Thankfully, much to the relief of Mr Clark and myself, both cars survived with no damage, something the pupils were quite disappointed about.
Many of the big cats were sunbathing. The tigers were far away in the distance, but the pride of lions was quite close to the road, and although they looked very cuddly, I’m glad I didn't have to get too close to them to take some pictures. The cheetah cubs were out in force, parading around their enclosure, showing off their beautiful coats and their sharp teeth.
Our final experience of the day was a paddle boat ride down Half Mile Lake. The hippos looked just like rocks, barely visible in the cooler shallows. However, the sea lions were making themselves heard while waiting for their fish. Several pupils took to throwing small fish into the waiting mouths of some rather large and noisy sea lions.
An enjoyable day was had by all and the ride home was very quiet as all the pupils enjoyed a nap after their day in the sun.