We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Howletts several times now with family and by ourselves including an overnight stay at Port Lympne. We were recently contacted to see if we fancied another day out to see their new attraction; Animals Of The Ice Age.
We picked a day with beautiful weather luckily. The journey was relatively smooth sailing, the girls had a film on in the back and I half snoozed after a disturbed night. The girls were thrilled to be greeted by a woolly mammoth, life sized may I add, in the car park. A great start to our Ice Age adventures.
After collecting our map and taking a toilet break, we decided to walk round to see the Rhinos and Elephants first. Howletts Wild Animal Park is committed to the conservation, breeding and reintroduction of rare and endangered animals. It is not a zoo and seeing all of the animals there is a special treat.
The park goes round in a bit of a circle or loop which is a great way to make sure you’ve seen everything. We went anticlockwise for our day out. As always it was harder to see any of the endangered big cats, as like domestic cats they love to sleep. We headed straight into the Lemur enclosure.
The girls absolutely love getting up close with animals of all shapes and sizes. We got a lovely surprise on our way out of the Lemurs. We saw one of the tigers padding about. It looked quite old and we felt a little sad that its legs were clearly causing it some discomfort but it was amazing to see a tiger so close.
There’s lots to learn at Howletts, they have special talks throughout the day and little activities going on too. The girls enjoyed standing next to the elephant sizing chart, laughing at how small Mummy is and that Daddy was nearly the size of an elephant too.
Before we knew it, we had reached the point we were most excited about – Animals Of The Ice Age. It is situated in the woodland walk area of Howletts. Previously this was an area that had a lot of walking between the primate enclosures and the girls used to loose interest quite quickly. A little tour guide had been arranged for us so that we could hear and learn about the ice age animals.
The first ice age animal to greet us was this terrifying half land, half water beast. All of the models are life sized based on either fossils (the earlier ice age animals) or actual remains (the later ones). Obviously colours may vary and some may have even had feathers.
Each ice age animal had it’s own information board including easy ways to pronounce their names, a bit of info about the animal and how heavy they were in relation to modern day items such as cars. All of animals could be seen from the paths even with the stunning bushes that were growing this summer. This meant that everybody could see the models.
We learned so much from our tour guide. She was enthusiastic and friendly. The girls asked many questions and she even made relations to the popular film, Ice Age, to help the girls understand a bit better. What I came to learn about the ice age was that the animals were huge, sort of giant sized versions that we have now. Humans paid a great contribution to the extinction of a lot of ice age animals, some of those animals were absolutely terrifying. I’m going to stop talking and just showcase some of my photos for a bit so keep scrolling down:
We really enjoyed our walk through the Ice Age period. Seeing all of the amazing models, it was just so fascinating and we were really lucky to have a tour guide explain more things to us than we could have ever got from the information boards. It was about 1pm by this point so we had some hungry girls to feed. Thankfully just out of the woodland walk is the Pavilion Restaurant.
The restaurant has lots of different food options. A great selection of children’s food too. Hubby and I both had hot food, along with two of the girls, P2 decided to have a lunch bag. All was well priced for a tourist attraction and we left the restaurant feeling full and ready to carry on with our day. The restaurant is roughly the half way point and right by the children’s play area, so you can guess what we did next…
Now the girls are able to play by themselves, I do feel quite bored just sitting and watching them at times. Does anyone else feel like that? I need to learn to embrace those moments that I can just sit and watch them from afar. We then headed off to see the rest of Howletts Park. We had been told of a new baby gorilla to keep our eyes peeled for so that was definitely next on our list.
I actually love where the Gorilla enclosures are. They are sort of set past a beautiful garden of flowers, herbs and I believe home grown crops too. It is all entirely disabled or pushchair friendly which is always great especially as we chose to take our double pushchair. We saw the adorable baby gorilla. It’s so interesting to watch them play, almost like watching ourselves. Animals are truly incredible.
We took a slow walk back to the car, seeing lots of different primates and animals on our way. We love Howletts as a day out and having the new Ice Age walk through is a great addition. If your child loves dinosaurs then I’d highly recommend a trip to the sister park, Port Lympne as they have a dinosaur walk through which we loved last year. Both parks are a great day out for all ages with plenty to do and see. We were really lucky with the weather too. Scroll down for my video of our day out and please don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.