Drusillas Park: learning can be fun
The lovely people at Drusillas Park invited us to the park for the day, with the family for a fun day out. The last time we took our eldest daughter there, she was just shy of two years old. So I was like a kid at Christmas, excited to see how both kids would enjoy the experience.
Like many of our countrymen, we are an animal-loving family. Not enough to have a mini-zoo of our own, one cat is enough. One of our favourite activities is sitting on the steps to our back garden and watching the birds fly from tree to tree, going about their business. I watch the little ones, watching the animals, soaking up their reactions. It’s a simple joy. Imagine that multiplied several times over at a day trip to the zoo.
Drusillas Park is only 12 miles from Brighton, so convenient to travel by car with two small kids. I would advise getting there early to get a decent parking spot, especially at peak times. Although it was the summer holidays, the park is so well-organised, you don’t get the feeling it’s rammed, although it was sufficiently busy. The ‘zoo route’ walkthrough systems means you get to browse the enclosures and exhibits in a very British manner, almost ‘queue’ like. This must be the best system for the animals too, a steady flow of visitors rather than hoards of people elbowing their way for a look.
Apart from the amazing variety of species kept at the park, the best thing about Drusillas is the interactive experience. Each area has challenges, such as the Zoolympics, mini-physical challenges such as ‘can you drag as much as a horse?’ or ‘how loud can you shout’ in a telephone box measuring your decibel output. Kids can also document their discoveries with a book and stamp stations at various points around the park. The whole objective being to engage your little ones to find out more about the animals physical features, habitats and abilities.
We also loved the open exhibit areas especially Lemurland, where you share the same space as the creatures. For me, this was an opportunity to teach our 4 year old about respecting the animals and how to behave around them. It hit home a little more when there’s not a cage or an inch of glass between you and them!
To complete the family day out, once you’ve taken in the zoo tour, you can enjoy your lunch in the picnic area or in one of their eateries on site. There’s also a soft play area for the kids to let off some steam, perfect after information overload learning about animals. In fact, despite our 4 year old watching more types of monkeys than I’ve ever seen in one place in a lifetime, she could not stop talking about ‘the green slide’. Better not tell the monkeys that.
Overheard in Drusillas. I couldn’t help earwigging what others were talking about!
Mum to kids. ‘They must get fed up of people looking at them all the time’ (Err, you’re in a zoo? That’s what you do?)
Mum to son: ‘Is that a boa constrictor?’ Son scoffs: ‘No Mummy, it’s just a snake’
Mum at the beaver enclosure: ‘OMG why is it such a small beaver looking thing’ (er..a big beaver looking thing?)
Mum to a keeper: ‘Is that cheese you’re giving them to eat?’ Keeper: ‘Yes, Tuesday is cheeseday’
To get an audio-visual flavour of our visit, watch our video blog.