Whilst many make the most of the last week of the summer holidays, staff at West Midland Safari Park are gearing up for the start of term, with some assistance from some teeny tiny helpers.
To show that going back to school doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, creative staff set up a minuscule classroom, perfect for some of the Park’s smaller residents to ‘go back to school’.
The first to explore what would be his first classroom experience was ‘Finn’, the Park’s internet superstar baby pancake tortoise. At only seven weeks old, Finn is only 4.5cm long and would be dwarfed by a life-sized pencil pot! Next in to the classroom was ‘Ange’, a lesser hedgehog tenrec and not a stranger to school experiences. Ange is a regular visitor to the Safari Academy and assists the Education team in teaching visiting schools about topics such as adaptations, habitats and conservation.
Head of Education, Caroline Richards said, “The Safari Park is a fantastic, fun place to visit for anyone trying to beat the back to school blues, with animals, rides and the new Boj Giggly Park children’s play area — there is something for all ages. “Unlike some children (and adults), everyone in the Education team is actually looking forward to the beginning of term and we are busy getting ready to welcome school and college groups to the new Safari Academy this autumn.
“Whether it is a fun hands-on animal encounter to help bond a new class (or become instant favourite teacher!), an introduction to a new theme or topic being taught, or a more in-depth workshop to support subjects such as Leisure and Tourism, there is something for all key stages and subjects. Visits to the Safari Park not only boost pupil confidence at a daunting time of the year, but are a great way to start a new term and boost outdoor learning opportunities.”
The new Safari Academy building opened in May 2017 and is a state-of-the-art education facility, featuring five classrooms and everything it needs to provide interactive education to school groups of all ages. Whilst the Education team are busy ensuring that there is plenty to see and do for the first groups of visiting schools, the rest of the Park’s staff are busy preparing for those trying to beat the ‘back to school blues’, with one last visit to the tourist attraction before the end of the summer holidays.
The Park is nearing the end of its Summer Nights event, where opening hours are extended from 9am until 9pm, daily until 3 September. The extended hours allow guests to see the Park in a completely different light, with last entry to the Safari at 7pm, late night rides in the Adventure Theme Park, a free craft club and a chance to try out the brand new Boj Giggly Park children’s play area.
Summer Nights is included in West Midland Safari Park’s standard admission charge of £23.00 for adults, £18.00 for children aged 3-15 and £21.00 for concessions. Under 3s are free. Admission includes a voucher for a return visit or safari gift. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.
The Safari Academy is located near West Midland Safari Park’s Hippo Lakes and there is a special discounted price for schools arriving by coach or mini-bus. Admission charge is £9.50 for pupils and £10.50 for adults, based on a minimum of 10 people arriving by coach or minibus. Free teacher places are available for all schools, with a higher ratio for SEND schools. Special prices are available to include the Theme Park rides. Group catering and retail options are also available.