The British Faery: Longleat Adventures

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Longleat Adventures

I have been in Longleat Forest this last week, enjoying both the Forest, and the Safari Park next door.
I don't seem to have too many photos from the Forest, but lots from the Safari Park, so I hope they'll suffice.

We had a lodge right at the back of the park, with a river running down one side, which meant we were surrounded with woodland visits from many birds, (Blackbirds, Great Tits) Squirrels, Ducks, and a few deer! 

Little Bear makes new friends

We were very lucky with the weather, it only rained on Thursday and Friday, and even then the rain on Thursday was just drizzle, and on Friday we were making our way home.
I spent allot of the week going back and forth on the Land Train, that I think actually took longer than it would to walk...

It was mainly taking me back and forth between our Lodge, and the Sub-tropical Swimming Paradise. The phrase swimming pool is completely lacking in description, half of it is inside a giant greenhouse, with rainforest plants, rocks, waterfalls. It's crammed with slides, for both children and adults, a mini area for really little ones, with a sandpit island, and a jacuzzi. Then, you can swim to the outdoor part, where there is a massive white water rapids that loop all the way back indoors, and an outdoor hot-tub too.

  I went and swam at night, and did the rapids in darkness! It was so much fun, I felt like a little kid all over again.
I spent a large majority of my time at Ortega's though, a Spanish Tapas Bar. I have never, ever had such good food. Not only was the menu excellent, the food was cooked to an incredible standard. I even treated myself to Calamari (Twice) though I am paying for it now. I dined on mussles, prawns, Garbanzo, the afore mentioned Calamari, and washed it all down with Margaritas and Mojihito. Grown up fun =)

 We spent two days at Longleat Safari, where we were also absurdly lucky, not only with the weather, but we went though at feeding time, so we got to see all the animals really up close, prowling about and interacting with one another.
Before we drove through the Safari, we walked through the Lemurs and Wallabees.

The first we saw were the monkeys, they were exquisitely beautiful, and of course, naughty =)

Then we saw the TIGERS! =D They are my most favourite. As a child I was completely infatuated, and had a Tiger mural in my room (Thanks Mother) and had the incredible treat of getting to go off road at a different Safari Park to see them up close as a birthday gift. (Thanks again, Mother) It was a long time ago, and I don't remember it all as much as I'd like, my main memories are of my Mother completely freaking out in the seat next to me, holding onto my jacket in case I suddenly got sucked out the window and eaten. So, it was nice to re-freshen my memories of seeing Tigers up close, and reminding myself that they are the most breathtaking creatures on earth. 

After the Tigers, we got to see the Lions, Cheetah's, and Wolves, which Little Bear told us afterwards were his favourite. (They Howl at the Moon....!)

Ellie The Elephant was sleeping, so we didnt get to see her which was a shame, as I wanted Little-Bear to see how BIG they are!

After the Safari Drive, we walked about the park and went to go see the bird show. It was the most incredible thing I have EVER seen. I thought it would be a kind of Falconry thing, and for the first few minutes it was. He did a few tricks with a Falcon, (Not sure what type) as it flew in twists and turns and swoops that made you dizzy to watch!
Next he did a 'Scavenge Hunt' Unfortunately, I can't remember if it was still the Falcon or not...! At the end, the bird flies to his arm, and the Trainer casually says to the bird' Go on, Go home'. To which the bird takes off round the corner back to his aviary!
He brought out two teeny burrowing owls called Linford and Christy, who wouldn't do as they were told and were absolutely hilarious!
Then the brought out Vultures.
Two keepers stood at the back of the seating podium, and two stood at the front. To begin with, there was only one Vulture, it swooped close over our heads, catching food and was very impressive. Then they brought out another, and another, and another..... then they called out Yellow Tailed Kites, and Falcons.
We had countless GIANT birds soaring and swooping so close over our heads most people were under there seats. The photos just don't really show you how close, and how fast these birds were. Or for that fact, how many. Little Bear was absolutely squealing with delight, while I tried to take as many pics from my place under the chair.
The birds were incredibly smart and responded to the smallest command, and clearly had great trust and affection for their trainers. After a while the Vultures went back in and the Yellow Tailed Kites took to the air above us and performed tricks such as backflips and spirals. They flew miles of in the distance, and the Trainer told us that they are given free range over the entire park and woodland, and yet they always come back 'home' to the trainers. They were awe-inspring to watch, and I will definatley be going back. Here are a few pics, I hope they give some feel of the magic!

 As we were leaving, a Jackdaw was hopping around, reminding us that Corvids are cool too. Yes indeed.


The following day, we visited the 'Animal Adventure' where you got to see all the animals you could get up close with.
The Butterflies, of which there were not many! (But I have a post coming soon from Blenheim Butterfly house...)

More fascinating however, were the Ants. I didn't notice them at first, and then wondered how I could of missed them! Hundreds of ants scurrying to and fro with leaves. The Leaves are used to grow Fungus, the only thing the Ants will eat. The Ant Queen will grow to the size of a small MOUSE... She can live for fifteen years, and when she dies, so does the whole colony. Before she dies, she hatches 'Princess Ants' who have wings that enable them to fly and set up new colonies of their own.

Next was the Parakeets!
They were incredibly naughty and little show offs!

And Here are the last few animals we saw.....

Beautiful Bats! SO wanted to take one home....

Creepy Cave fish. Happy to leave him there....



Hungry Seals

Gentle Tarantula <3 br="">

It was an amazing week, and I look forward to going back, there are a couple of things I wanted to do, and didn't get chance too (There are only so many things you can fit in 4 days). Such as the Falconry and Giant Zip Wires.

To see the Full set of photos, Click HERE and to see the full set of just the Birds of prey, click HERE

Should be doing a blog soon about Little Bears Mad Hatter's Birthday Party, and The Butterfly house.

~The British Faery

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