Wildlife paradise

Last month, GTO’s Business Development Manager, Sarah Jeffery was invited to enjoy a weekend of animal attractions, thanks to Steve Sampson, owner of Paradise Wildlife Park.

Sarah feeds the lemu rs at Paradise Wildlife Park.

Sarah feeds the lemu rs at Paradise Wildlife Park.

She stayed at the stunning Theobalds Park De Vere Hotel, a Georgian mansion house with 141 rooms, set in 55 acres of parkland grounds in Hertfordshire and just 10 miles from London. Sarah met keeper Arran, who gave her a history of the park and a VIP tour – a wonderful way for groups to explore the site. After lunch at Safari Sam’s Diner, which offers a variety of fast food options, Sarah discovered that work is currently underway to create a brand new ticketing office, which will allow visitors quicker entry into the park and shorter queues. Steve’s father Peter was an accomplished speedway rider in the 1960s and rode for teams such as Rayleigh; as a result, the park is also home to a Speedway Museum! The next day saw Sarah travel to Steve’s other major attraction, the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent, to meet Head Keeper Brian Badger, who explained all about the Wildlife Heritage Foundation; a UK based charity that works hard to ensure that the big cat species of the world are protected from extinction. The park is located in a beautiful part of Kent countryside and has 36 big cats on site, ranging from endangered Amur leopards to delightful fishing cats and Puna the female Sumatran tiger. A group tour is definitely worthwhile.