Thursday, 4 August 2011

Broken goats, a flock of ‘dirds’ and more morons than you can shake a stick at – welcome to Woburn Safari Park

The entrance to Woburn Safari Park appeared so promising – all big squirly iron gates, sweeping driveways and wooden-clad bins.

But unfortunately our little family, well Matt and I – Poppy’s happy in a bin box - found the whole experience sadly lacking.

Perhaps it was because we visited on one of the hottest weekends of the year when a Peppa Pig frenzy was in full swing, or perhaps it was because Woburn Safari Park was simply having an ‘off day’ and wanted to put its feet up and eat a Calippo along with the rest of us, I'm not sure.


The most disappointing aspect of our trip was finding out that, after they had frisked us for a whopping twenty 'London Pounds' each, that there really isn’t a lot of animal for your money.

We spotted one sulky lion in the lion enclosure, one sleepy bear in the bear enclosure, a rabbit in the giraffe enclosure and something blue and gelatinous floating in the penguin enclosure.

However, we continued to drive around the park, enthusiastically pointing out what animals we could see to our wide-eyed Poppy.

She would then shout back the word ‘dird!’ (toddler translator: bird) from the back seat whilst pointing at a scratty crow about four feet from the car.

The 'walky round bit'

After a full hour of 'dird' spotting we were pleased to reach 'the walky round bit' of Woburn Safari Park. By now our toddler’s need to touch something furry had reached fever pitch, so we quickly headed towards the goat and sheep area.

This took some time as, not only were there no signs (we refused to fork out an extra five London Pounds for a map), but we had to manoeuvre ourselves through a coach party of morons.

The thing about being a parent is that everyone hates you (apart from other parents) because you have a buggy and a wee thing that squeals random sayings like ‘smurf cheese’ at inappropriate moments. So you’re kind of on to a losing streak with crowds - they just want you dead.

Anyway, we managed to squish, squeeze and apologise our way down to the farm area where we were greeted by two frazzled goats who should have had ‘broken’ signs around their necks.

As the poor souls were already being petted aggressively by twenty sets of sweaty hot-dog fingers, we went in search of something else to bother.

'Pig Idol'

Ten minutes later we found ourselves watching 'George Pig' -the younger and less popular brother of cartoon deity ‘Peppa Pig’- trying to extricate his fat self from a port-a-loo.

Surrounded by impenetrable 'pig PR', we were then forced to wait thirty minutes (in a sun-trap) for Poppy to meet her Pig Idol.

Finally the rope went back and George went down on one knee to usher our pipsqueak forward. At which point Poppy let out a muffled whimper of panic and looked around for an escape route. Terrified she was going to bolt, we pushed her forward into George’s plump piggy arms.

From that moment Poppy was in pig heaven.

The crowd melted away, leaving her and George holding hands, nose-to-snout, while hearts and fireworks illuminated their pink Crayola sky.

After a few minutes, George, like Katie Price at a book signing, started to become visibly uncomfortable with the amount of time Poppy had pressed her face to his and we were forced to prize her from him.

Scooping up our infatuated infant we decided to head home.

And although our memories of Woburn Safari Park maybe blighted by ill-thought out signage and broken goats, every time we mention the name ‘George’, our little girl disappears back into that beautiful memory and pulls the same face as when she does her first morning wee, the one that says: ‘Mummy, I am warm.’

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