Peak Wildlife Park – up close animal encounters with penguins, lemurs and wallabies

Peak Wildlife Park has been on my bucket list for a while – when you’ve got a penguin colony practically on your doorstep, it would be rude not to visit.

The 75-acre zoo is situated on the edge of the Peak District, near to Leek and Ashbourne.

It offers an up close and personal experience with exotic animals where they can come right up to you to say hello!

Tickets cost £12.95 for adults, and £10.95 for children. Seeing as our visit was shortly after the Covid-19 lockdown, we booked online, alongside a dedicated time slot.

To ensure social distancing and the safety of guests, Peak Wildlife Park have implemented a one-way system, whereby you follow the blue footsteps half way around, and yellow the rest of the way – this is easily displayed on a mobile map so you always know where you are.

The one-way system meant it was very difficult to miss any of the enclosures, which include exotic and endangered species.

Before our trip, a friend described Peak Wildlife Park as ‘a zoo in someone’s backyard – the animals are so loved.’

This was something really important to me, and the conservation work that Peak Wildlife Park was an important part of me wanting to support them.

The wildlife park doesn’t feel like a zoo – there are no cages, but large, beautifully put together enclosures and walkthroughs.

The three main walk throughs are the wallabies – and legend has it there are still some of these incredible animals in the wild in Staffordshire. Though, they’ve not been spotted on the Roaches in a number of years.

Then there’s the cheeky lemurs, of which there are three species – but my favourite is the ring-tailed. I met a handsome lemur called Alan, and gave him my best impression of Madagascar’s King Julien. 

My favourite part of the visit was to see the humboldt penguins, where you can sit and have your picnic beside the enclosure.

These waddly little fellas are my favourite animal, and to see them so close up was just beautiful. Is it not just the best when they do their little bum wiggles!

I’d really like to try their ‘Look a Penguin in the Eye’ experience, costing £75, where you can spend more time learning about the penguins and feeding them!

We also met the meerkats, who were sleeping when we first arrived, but digging tunnels and far more alert on our second passing. I promise I didn’t sing Hakuna Matata.

The Vietnamese Sika Deer and maneless zebra were gorgeous to see, and the alpacas were adorable. Whilst in most of the walkthroughs the animals were a bit shy, the Cameroon sheep were up for a fuss and let me stroke them. 

We spotted a red squirrel in an avery-style enclosure, and a leaflet we picked up said a squirrel walkthrough is coming soon, which will be very exciting!

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