The minute I saw the meerkat feeding experience advertised I knew I had to take my dad. When he first retired he would watch quite a bit of TV during the day and it was around the time the Compare The Market advert started. I remember returning home to find my dad had mastered the squeaking noise and was really proud of himself for it.
We entered Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne with excitement and were greeted warmly at the Discovery Centre with tea, biscuits and tote bags. We were then greeted by our feeding host Emily who walked us down to the meerkats in their enclosure. As there were multiple enclosures for the meerkats we had the experience by ourselves which was brilliant, I assumed we would be in a larger group.
As we entered the meerkats scurried around our feet excited to get into the bowls of food Emily was carrying. We were told that meerkats have a matriarchal structure to their groups (good girls!) and the matriarch in this one was called Daisy. An upstart called Isobel was clearly keen to take the crown as she immediately jumped into my bowl, stuck her face into the food and ate the whole lot. She then moved on to dad's.
It was such a fun experience and such a great day all in all but here are my top things:
1. Accidental cuddles
We weren't really supposed to touch the meerkats other than to feed them from the bowl but they clearly wanted little cuddles and strokes because they kept tucking themselves into our arms and stroking their backs on our hands.
2. Sentry duty
Watching the meerkats respond to an aeroplane as they would to a big bird in the wild was fascinating. We loved the way the rest of the troupe completely ignored her as she called out to them, perhaps she's got a reputation as the meerkat who cried wolf?
3. Meerkat selfies
Because I was a little bit shaky I put my camera on the side to try and get some video of the meerkats scampering around. To my surprise this tiny meerkat put its head onto my camera lens and plonked itself down to rest, rendering my camera useless for the rest of the experience.
The ensuing meerkat selfies and 20 minute video of her neck and stomach left me in stitches. Such great personalities.
4. World of Dinosaurs!!!
Dad and I were really excited when we saw that there was a dinosaur area to the wildlife park. It was great. Filled with dino animatronics and a train that ran the perimeter we really felt like we were in Jurassic Park.
It was great seeing all the kids running up and knowing all the dinosaur names. It would seem that dinosaurs are exciting to every generation.
5. The look on my dad's face
So much joy i wanted to bottle it.
6. My new spirit animal
I found a turquoise sequin dinosaur in the gift shop!
We absolutely LOVED Paradise. Get your tickets here.