Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside has been entertaining and educating children since it opened in 1971
What is it?
Knowsley Safari Park has the longest animal safari drive in the country. Visitors drive five miles through animal enclosures which house over 750 animals.
There’s also a walk-around zoo, animal shows and talks, a bird of prey centre and a small fairground.
Where is it?
It is in Knowsley, just off the M62 motorway on the outskirts of Liverpool in Merseyside.
What did we think?
We thought there was a great mix of activities here and different elements to enjoy, making a busy day out for children and families. We stayed five hours and could easily have filled the whole day.
*The safari drive – we saw camels, lions, deers, baboons and more in the various zones and the animals have more space to roam than traditional zoo enclosures. When we went it was raining, so we perhaps saw fewer animals than usual and no monkeys jumped on our car – to my disappointment and my husband’s relief! There are two lanes so you can overtake or pause to look as you please.
*Timetabled animal talks during weekends and school holidays with the giraffes, meerkats, bushdogs, tigers and wolves. Check the timetable at the start of the day so you don’t miss any you want to see (they don’t give you a timetable with your ticket and map at the entrance).
*Timed flying displays at the bird of prey centre and fabulous sea lion shows in a large arena.
*The Amur Tiger Trail – a spacious new area with great tiger viewing opportunities.
*Our children loved the training camp section, where you could pit yourself against the jumping and running abilities of a tiger.
*The wolf patrol – a nice little walk next to the lake, with information on how to track wolves.
Our top tips
Safari top tips
*You will obviously need your own vehicle for the safari drive unless you book a place on the baboon bus. This is a 16 or 33-seat minibus which you catch at the information centre at weekends or in the school holidays. This is great for anyone who doesn’t want to drive or arrives by public transport plus those who don’t want to risk their car being damaged.
*You can’t get out of the car during the safari drive-through, so make sure nobody needs the toilet or feels sick! There are toilets you can park at before or after you come out. There are two lanes going round so you can exit more quickly if you do need to leave and you can return as often as you like within your visit.
*If it’s raining, you will obviously stay dry on the drive-through however visibility won’t be as good for little ones in the back as you can’t clear the windows. Plus, some of the animals may be sheltering.
*The right-hand/driver’s side of our car seemed to have the best viewing on our trip, to our daughter’s disappointment on the left.
*The safari park takes no responsibility for damage caused by animals – if you don’t want to risk it, use the car-friendly route which avoids the baboons or book the baboon bus.
*Soft top cars/vehicles are not allowed through the lion or baboon areas.
*Don’t feed the animals! Staff are all around the route and are very vigilant about this.
*There is a number you can call if you break down – or you can just blow your horn.
*You can drive around as many times as you like.
Tips for the rest of the park
*Prams and buggies are not allowed in some areas including the bird of prey centre, the bat cave and the sea lion auditorium.
*Fair rides cost extra – you need to buy a £10 wristband or individual tickets for £2 each, from a kiosk. Rides are aimed at younger children and there are some height restrictions. Adults are allowed to ride for free with smaller children on most rides.
*There is a little train which costs an extra £2 per person. It doesn’t take you any where, it finishes where it starts.
*There are baby changing facilities and staff can warm bottles or baby food for families in the cafe.
*Don’t be put off by the long queue to see the sea lion show – there is loads of room to sit inside.
Knowsley Safari Park information
Food: Picnics are welcome and there are lots of tables and benches dotted around. At the park is a restaurant, an outdoor grill over the summer, an ice cream parlour and a coffee house which serves cakes.
Opening hours: 10am to 5pm. Last entry to safari drive at 4pm.
Cost (on the gate – 10 per cent off online) adults £17.50, children three and over (and 60+): £13.50, children under three: free. Family of two adults and two children: £59, family of two adults and three children: £72.50. Membership deals are available.
Best for: Ages three to eight.
Time needed: Four to six hours
Access and restrictions: The walk around area is on one level with ramped kerb-access.
There are adult changing rooms with hoist facilities.
All viewing areas are accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs, except the giraffe platform.
There is a separate carriage for wheelchair users on the train. The Baboon Bus can be converted for one wheelchair, if given 48 hours’ notice.
Address: For sat navs, use postcode L344AN.
Have you been? Let us know what you liked best. If you are planning to visit, feel free to ask us any questions below.