Advantages Lots to see and do; a beautiful setting; Animals looked after well
Disadvantages Mainly bird species, limited other animals
|Is it worth visiting?|
Seaview Wildlife Encounter, formerly known as Flamingo Park, has been helping to preserve wildlife for over 34 years. The park has a diverse range of different animals and birds, some of which can be fed and stroked by visitors. The park is set in beautiful surroundings.***** Facts and Figures *****
^^ Location ^^The park is situated on the north east side of the Isle of Wight, between the places of Ryde and Seaview. It is reached along the B3330.
^^ 2007 Opening Times ^^The park is open from 1st April until 30th September 10.00 a.m til 5.00 p.m (last admission at 4.00 p.m.)
^^ 2007 Prices ^^Adults - £7.25
Seaview Wildlife Encounter
Isle of Wight
(01983) 612261 (24 hr information line)
The park is set within lovely grounds.When you enter the park, you are at the top of a gently sloping hill, looking down onto the grounds. There is a gravel path that leads down to the bottom of the park, which takes you directly down to a large lake. The path turns and follows the edge of the lake and it then leads back up the hill on the other side of the park.
There is a pretty waterfall that runs down a tall brick wall at the top of the hill, just a short walk from the entrance. The water from this waterfall cascades and meanders all the way down the first slope, on both sides of the pathway, along rocks, stones, miniature waterfalls and under bridges. This water flows all the way down to the lake, which has some enormous and rather spectacular fountains.There are lots of views of the sea that can be seen from various parts of the park and a small harbour is close by, which can also be seen.
The park has lots of greenery, grass areas and ponds. Although some of the animals are kept within cages in the park, these are disguised quite well within the surroundings and features.The layout and features of the park are pretty and carefully designed to make a pleasant walk. It is quite hard to describe what the park actually looks like, but all I can say is that my mother in law, husband and myself were all very impressed and we all agreed that the appearance of the park was very appealing.
***** Wildlife *****As the name of the park, Seaview Wildlife Encounter suggests, there were lots of animals and birds to discover within the park.
^^ Waterfowl ^^The first slope that followed the waterfall was dominated by a vast range of ducks, geese and swans. This part of the park was described as being 'Tame and Exotic Waterfowl'.
To be honest, I was amazed at just how many different breeds of waterfowl there were. There were information boards describing the name and key characteristics of the different birds and it was lovely to see the animals wandering freely around the park. The ducks in particular, were having great fun paddling in the flowing water and there were lots of grassy areas for the birds to nest and walk on. We could see some of the ducks and geese flying and circling overhead, which was equally nice to see.The park sells bird food and you are able to feed the waterfowl. We did not do this, so I'm not sure how much the food cost. Other people around were feeding the birds and they were incredibly tame, with some taking the food directly from people's hands.
There were lots of waterfowl paddling in the lake at the bottom of the slope, which gave us a good opportunity to observe the different colours and shapes of the many breeds.Some of the more exotic and rare breeds of waterfowl were housed within cages along the slope which led back up towards the upper end of the park. Although these animals did not have the freedom experienced by the other birds, the cages were spacious and well kept with grass areas, trees, bushes and mini ponds.
^^ Owls ^^There was a small walk through area with cages containing different breeds of owl, an area described as 'Owl Country'. As with the caged waterfowl, the owls were in spacious and clean cages.
^^ Pets Corner ^^This was a small covered area which had pens containing rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and goats. As with all pets corners, there was nothing out of the ordinary or special within this area, but is always a nice touch for younger members of the family. There was a nice covered area at the end with wooden benches, which we chose as the place to eat our picnic and give Ellie her bottle.
^^ Wallabies ^^This was one of my favourite parts of the park. This was, basically, a separate walk through area (Wallaby Walkabout), self contained within a fenced area and gates. Within the grassed area were lots of wallabies, brown and white, young and old. What was special, however, was the fact that the wallabies were freely roaming and they actually came up to you and let you stroke them!! This was a first for us all and it was a lovely experience for Ellie, at just 4 months old, to stroke a wallaby., especailly the young white wallaby, that was extremely tame and friendly.
^^ Meerkats ^^I have been fascinated by meerkats ever since the first time that I saw them at a zoo. They are such fun creatures to watch and I like the way they are as inquisitive about humans as we are about them.
The area in the park, described as 'Meerkat Madness' (which I think is such a good name for them) had lots of tunnels for the meerkats to explore, sandy ares and fake rocks from which they could stand on their hind legs and keep watch!!^^ Flamingos ^^
There are three separate displays of flamingos in the park, the 'Lesser' flamingos, the 'Chilean' flamingos and the 'Caribbean' flamingos.As with the other animals within the park, the flamingos had plenty of space within their enclosure, they had grassed areas and a large pond. The flamingos were pretty to look at and brought a lovely splash of colour to the park.
^^ Pelicans ^^The pelican enclosure is called 'Pelican Bay', an area consisting of a large expanse of water, a stone area, a wooden bridge and a wooden hut providing shelter.
For some reason, we did not really spend much time at this enclosure. I'm not really sure why, but the pelicans did not really inspire us much. I wonder if everyone who visits the park feels the same way??^^ Parrots ^^
The parrots were caged in an area called the 'Flight Aviary'. This was one large cage, providing lots of space for the birds to fly in. As with the pelicans, we did not spend much time in this area of the park, mainly because this was our last cage to visit and we were running out of time.^^ Penguins ^^
The 'penguin pool' is right at the top of the park, close to the entrance / exit, on the opposite side to the waterfall.The penguins have a large enclosure which consists of a large, deep pool area and a land area with covered shelters.
We were surprised by just how many penguins there were, which are a breeding colony of 'Humboldt' penguins, a breed I had never heard of. We spent a long time watching the penguins, especially those that were swimming and diving playfully within the water. They were great fun to watch and each penguin seemed to have its own personality.***** Tropical House *****
The tropical house is a fairly new feature within the park. Work started on the tropical house in the late 1990's.The aim of the tropical house is to preserve bird and animal features. and also flora and fauna from islands around the world. It consists of water features, ponds, fountains, waterfalls, plants, trees, flowers, free flying birds, caged birds, caged insects and reptiles and fish.
The tropical house was also one of my favourite parts. The water features were spectacular and the fish, including Koi carp, were lovely to watch. As with the rest of the park, the tropical house had been carefully designed and it was a pleasant area to walk around or to sit down and relax.My only disappointment within this area was the limited number of free flying birds, but maybe more will be added within the future.
***** Activity Programme *****Although we did not catch any of these activities, the park has a daily programme of activities and talks.
Pelican Bay - 11.00 a.m. (feeding)Penguin Pool - 11.30 a.m. (feeding)
The Flight Aviary - 12.00 a.m. (feeding)Wallaby Walkabout - 2.15 p.m. (walk with the wallabies)
Meerkat madness - 2.30 p.m. (meet the meerkats)Pets Corner - 2.45 p.m. (meet the animals )
Penguin Pool - 3.30 p.m. (feeding)As we did not participate in any of these activities, I cannot comment on the quality of them. I do think, however, that there is a really good range and selection of activities and more than you would find at many other animal parks.
***** Other Facilities *****Other facilities in the park include a cafe (Tortoiseshell Bay cafe - what a lovely name!!), a gift shop, picnic areas (covered and uncovered), toilet facilities, including disabled and baby change, information display areas, discovery zone and incubation rooms.
We did not really explore these facilities too much, but the coffee and hot chocolate were good and the toilet facilities were clean.***** Overall Impressions *****
On my many trips to the Isle of Wight, I had not visited this attraction before. I was very impressed and would definitely visit again.The park has been carefully set out and the animals are looked after well and have spacious enclosures. The grounds are beautiful and very pleasant to explore.
This is easily a whole day attraction, which makes for good value for money, especially if you use a discount voucher like we did. We spent a good 3 - 4 hours at the park, without doing any of the programmed activities.Although the park is on a slope, the gravel pathway makes for easy accessibility. We found it easy to push a buggy along, so I should imagine that it would be ok to push a wheelchair as well.
There is ample car parking, which is close to the entrance.My only (small) criticism is that some of the displays are set out in a way that means you have to go along the same path twice in order to see everything. This is not a problem ordinarily, but may make life more tricky for anyone experiencing mobility difficulties.
I would definitely recommend a visit to 'Seaview Wildlife Encounter' during a visit to the Isle of Wight. It's a great family day out, but I guarantee that adults would enjoy the 'encounter' as well!!
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