We had a really good afternoon at ARK with extended family today - teenagers, younger children, parents, grandparents. It was interesting to see and read about such a wide variety of animals and to know that they are well cared-for after past mistreatment or illegal keeping in the pet trade. The Reptile Encounter was a particular highlight for many in our group and the relaxed atmosphere during that, which encouraged all the children there to speak out and join in, was lovely.
In general it was a very busy day for the staff but they remained calm, friendly and relaxed and nothing was too much trouble. Particular mention should go to the café staff who really were rushed off their feet. I’ve been to a lot of these sort of places over the last 15 years of parenthood and it’s not always the case that you find polite, professional, cheerful staff especially at busy holiday times. In addition the food is a cut above most similar venues - there’s a good range of hot and cold meals, all freshly prepared on the premises (we were able to get sandwiches made without butter, for instance) and the food is of a high standard and good value. Vegetable chilli comes highly recommended, as do the homemade cakes.
One additional point I’d like to make is that the photo left by the previous reviewer (5th April) is entirely unrepresentative of this place. It is the view from inside the Activity Barn which is set slightly away from the indoor enclosures. The outdoor animals are nearby but not visible from this angle. It’s a mean picture to post to try and paint an inaccurate idea of the park.
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