Being locked up indoors with very little to do for months on end was soul destroying. So when the news broke that Knowsley Safari Park was reopening, with covid safety measures in place, I was absolutely buzzing. We quickly booked tickets for my 30th birthday celebration. But what did this ‘covid safe’ safari park experience actually look like?
What is Knowsley Safari Park?
It’s a very popular animal attraction in Merseyside, England. The difference with this zoo is that you can take a 1 hour drive to see animals resting, playing and grazing on the land. It’s over 550 acres and is home to over 700 animals including the likes of monkeys, rhinos, wolves, deer and lions. The trail is 5 miles long – it’s actually the longest drive through Safari Park in the UK!
There is also a foot safari with more animals including tigers, giraffes, meerkats, owls and sea lions. As well as an amusement park, restaurant, boat lake and woodlands park. It’s got everything for a fantastic family day out!
Open every day, 10am – 7pm. Last Safari Drive entry is 5pm.
How to get there?
Knowsley is just off the M57, less than 30 minutes from Liverpool and 45 minutes from Manchester. Address: Prescot, L34 4AN
You can also make the 30 minute walk from Prescot Town Centre or take a short bus ride from Prescot Bus Station.
The Baboon Bus is running on weekends at limited capacity due to covid. So if you don’t have a car you can jump on it for £6.50 each to experience the Safari drive.
Where to buy tickets?
A major difference to the new rules is that you HAVE to pre-book online. No rocking up at the gates expecting entry. It’s important they manage capacity to keep covid safe.
Go to Knowsley Safari Park website and choose a day and time to visit. You can stay all day and take multiple trips around the drive through if you want.
Price: £18 adults, £14 child, Under 3s free.
Our day trip to Knowsley Safari Park
We had our Safari Park tickets, car filled with petrol and instax camera all fired up – it was time to get our David Attenborough on.
On arrival we drove up to one of the ticket booths and showed our e-ticket. Behind a screen, the lady kindly told us about the park and handed over the trail maps.
We made a pit stop at the car park nearest the trail entrance for a toilet break. They had small queues, toilet attendants and hand sanitiser stations. All very controlled and safe.
From here I stuck on ‘The Lion Sleeps tonight’ for laughs as we started the animal trail. Going no faster than 15mph and with our doors securely locked we joined the slow trail of cars. At points, this came to a complete stand still as everyone was keen to see a certain animal.
The rhinos were stomping around, the lions having a cat nap in the blazing sun and the camels munching on the green grass. The deer were prancing through the field, the yak scratching its horns and the monkeys getting up to no good.
Those pesky monkeys
And talking of those monkeys, on any visit to Knowsley Safari Park you have to go inside the enclosure. It’s risky business as they’re known to steal car parts. I last visited a decade ago and they stole my windscreen wiper spray caps. My dad is sure they’re building something for their escape.
This time they leaped all over our car, sat, chilled, played and fought. And gifted us a smelly present – a big poo on the roof. They’re so curious and utterly hilarious. Don’t miss out on the inside experience! No soft tops allowed though. They do try to break in.
Next we ate a cheap and cheerful meal in the Oasis Restaurant. They made sure there were tables and then checked our temperatures. We gave our track and trace details before being seated. All tables were distanced apart with large transparent screens separating them. One of our party went up to order and the food was quickly brought to our table.
You’ll find the toilets outside, which you queue to enter. You have to hand sanitise and wait until the attendant lets you inside. They cleaned the toilet after every use and only a few cubicles were available. This felt super hygienic and to be honest, I wish this was always the case.
We nipped to the ice cream booth after lunch for mint choc cones before taking the foot safari.
Knowsley Safari Park on foot
The foot safari felt the busiest part of the park. Not everyone was social distancing, which was infuriating. But as it was reduced capacity it never felt too dangerous. Some chose to wear masks outdoors, however this isn’t necessary at the park – only inside the gift shop.
I loved seeing the Giraffes, they’re such beautiful creatures. The viewing platform and giraffe house is closed due to social distancing measures. We also had fun at the tiger games area – for kids but totally adults too right! We caught a quick glimpse of the tiger before it merged into the trees again.
The sea lions were barking away and showing off in the pool and we even caught a bird talk! Again, all seats were distanced with alternate rows closed. This was a real surprise treat as I love wildlife shows. The owl was the cutest and vultures not so evil after all.
We ended with a slow stroll through the woodlands, relishing in the shade before calling it a day. The boating lake was also open but we were too tired to consider having a go!
COVID Safety rules
Hopefully you’re getting more familiar with hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing as we live in this pandemic. So to keep everyone safe, Knowsley Safari Park need you to follow these important rules:
- Pre-book tickets as there is a limit to the number of visitors allowed.
- Wash your hands, use hand sanitisers and catch coughs in your elbow.
- Follow the one way route on the foot trail and keep 2m distance.
- Wear a mask in the gift shop.
- Have patience and keep distance at rides. They are at reduced capacity and need cleaning between each go.
- Use the queuing system for toilet facilities and hand sanitiser stations.
- Have a temperature check and leave contact details at the restaurant and Coffee House.
- STAY HOME if you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
Our day at Knowsley Safari Park was a roaring success. The weather was glorious, the animals were curious and our safety was never compromised.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve been.