One Of Britain's Prettiest Wildlife Parks Is A Family-Friendly Gem Tucked Away In A Forest

Britain is known for a lot of things. Whether you're looking for history, culture, or natural beauty, it's always ready to deliver. Along with being the perfect destination for travelers to kick-off their European adventure, England also offers a dynamic blend of tradition and modernity that makes for a pretty spectacular trip — especially if you're hitting up the country's biggest cities.

However, away from the hustle and bustle you're bound to encounter when visiting places like London, Manchester, and Birmingham, there's actually a lot more to England that's often left untravelerblogd. Think sprawling national parks, quaint countryside villages, and the occasional underrated coastal retreat.

Hidden away in the New Forest District, and just 13 miles from the city of Southampton, the New Forest Wildlife Park is buzzing with activity and fun for all ages. From catching a glimpse of bison to otters, wolves to owls, and deer to badgers, the park is a premier destination for wildlife lovers who want to get up close and personal with their favorite animals. Plus, it's just a great day out to help break up your city-fueled routine.

What to do at New Forest Wildlife Park

Operating since 1997, the park originally opened as a butterfly farm and later developed into what it is today. Beyond being a wildlife park with a strong focus on conservation efforts, New Forest Wildlife Park also has plenty for visitors to see and do during their visit. For starters, the park is currently home to more than 200 animals, covering 31 species, that range from mammals to birds and amphibians. In line with this, and as part of its educational mission, the park's keepers host daily talks and feeding sessions for guests who want a more personalized approach to their experience. Other highlights include seasonal events, educational talks, and hands-on activities — all of which are available for both adults and kids alike.

Speaking of children, families will also be glad to know that their little ones can make the most of their day at one (or both) of the park's adventure playgrounds: Go Wild and Mini Go Wild. Equipped with sand pits for digging, ropes for climbing, and equipment for active play, it's a great add-on to an already-memorable day.

Other info for your visit

Along with their animal enclosures and playgrounds, New Forest Wildlife Park also offers guests a range of experiences and opportunities that cater to animal enthusiasts of all ages. From hosting birthday parties for children — starting at $25 per child — to their "Keeper Experiences" that allow guests five and up to play the part of park keeper for a few hours, these unique interactions give participants a behind-the-scenes look at animal care and preservation efforts. 

On top of this, the park's "Adopt an Animal" program let's you participate directly in the care-taking of the critter of your choice. Valid for one year, the package includes an "adoption" certificate, a display with your name on it inside the park, a fact sheet about the species you've adopted, car stickers, and more. From wolves to lynx, hedgehogs, otters, and deer, you'll play a vital role in the park's conservation and educational efforts by choosing to sponsor one of the animals there.

Lastly, with an on-site restaurant and gift shop to help you wrap up the experience nicely — and get yourself a cuddly souvenir — there's really no better way to spend a day surrounded by nature and wildlife. The real question is: Which stuffed animal will you choose to take home with you?