Woburn Safari Park was first established in 1970, as a joint venture between the Duke of Bedford and Jimmy Chipperfield. It was originally known as Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom. In 1993, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bedford Estates and was relaunched as Woburn Safari Park, with an initial boost of £3m investment in the Park’s infrastructure and attractions.
Today, continuing investment has made Woburn Safari Park one of the leading family fun days out in the UK.
The Safari Reserves
The first part of the Park is the drive through Safari Reserves. In the first African section, visitors can see White Rhino, Eland (the largest of the Antelope family), Chapmans Zebra, Hippo and Ankole or Watuzzi Cattle, Lechwe and Sitatunga antelope.
Once through the giant electric gates, visitors are in the Lion Park section. First of all, visitors will tour the Tiger Section. Woburn has four Tigers – a Bengal Tiger, who is usually to be seen in the enclosed area to the left after entry through electric gates, and three Siberian Tigers. Woburn will be joining the European breeding programme for these endangered cats. Then into the section with Canadian Timber Wolves. The pack of Wolves are generally very active. After the Wolves, visitors drive into the 38 acre Lion Park, where a pride of 9 Lions live.
After exiting the electric gates once more, visitors will see the three young Asian Elephants, brought to the Park in 1997 from India. Raja, Damini and Chandrika can also be seen daily at the Elephant Encounter demonstration. It is hoped that Raja will play an important role in the European breeding programme for this endangered species.
Rothschild Giraffe and Gemsbok can be seen on the way to the 17 acre Jungle. In the Jungle, visitors can see North American Black Bear, the striking black and white Colobus Monkey and Grass Monkeys, Patas Monkeys and Barbary Apes.
On the way to the entrance to the Wild World Leisure Area, visitors can see Scimitar Horned Oryx and Grevys Zebra. They will have the opportunity to see these animals at closer quarters from the railway train.
One of the most popular attractions is the giant indoor Adventure playground The Adventure Ark, with its drop slide, astra slide, ball pools and soft play equipment. For the adventurous, the outdoor Tree Top Action Trail provides the thrill of an army assault course. Younger children are not forgotten, with the bouncy Tiny Tots Safari Trail and the outdoor playground Badger Valley.
Visitors can take the Swan pedaloes for a spin on Swan Lake, at the centre of the Leisure Area, overlooked by the Safari Lodge.
The train runs at regular times daily from Bison Halt, near the Animal Encounters area to Elephant Junction near the Elephant Encounter Arena. On the way, it passes through the paddock with Damara Zebra, Addax Antelope and Ostrich and close to the Bongo Antelope.
Animal and Bird Demonstrations
Visitors are given a timetable on arrival for a series of demonstrations and talks.
Birds of Prey
Birds and Animals in Action
Elephants at Work
Squirrel Monkey Feeding and Keeper Talk
Penguin Feeding and Keeper Talk
In the Animal Encounters area, visitors will often meet staff with one of their furry or not so furry friends such as Donna the Donkey or Monty the Python. There’s a chance to meet the Miniature Ponies and Donkeys in the contact area. Here, you can also see Black and White Ruffed Lemurs, Humboldt Penguins in their pool with underwater viewing, Llamas, free ranging Marmosets, Wallabies, Reptiles and Lynx.
In this award winning attraction, unique to Woburn in the UK, visitors walk amongst mischievous Squirrel Monkeys in their woodland enclosure. The Monkeys will often jump down onto the visitors for closer inspection.
The Bobcat Run
Fun for all the family – and not as cold as the Alps! Sliding down the 70m artificial slope on your toboggan is exciting for anyone aged 4 years old to grandad.
Visitors take a woodland walk amongst friendly Parma & Bennett’s Wallabies.
A walk-through aviary where visitors have the opportunity to purchase a cup of nectar to feed to the birds. The colourful Rainbow Lorikeets, native to Australia, will fly down and perch on the visitor’s hand to drink from the cup.
A new outdoor pool with underwater viewing. Two pups were born at this breeding facility during the Summer.
Safari Restaurant & Safari Lodge
The Safari Restaurant was extended in 1999 to a 200 seat restaurant and the kitchens refurbished and upgraded. It is the first restaurant at a UK Leisure Attraction to be awarded Les Routiers accreditation. Adjacent to it is the Safari Lodge function suite, available for parties, weddings, conferences, product launches and corporate days.
These include Adopt an Animal, the Safari Club Annual Pass. Also increasingly popular - a behind the scenes tour with a Ranger, shadow a Keeper for a Day and the Elephant Experience. This needs to be booked in advance.