Noah's News Blog
A Week of Grand Openings!
As you know Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is constantly buzzing with activity, but this week has been especially eventful. We have been thrilled to welcome both Liam Fox MP and Lady Gass (Lord Lieutenant of Somerset) to open various new features of our zoo. These official openings mark the start of new beginnings and are evidence of our continuous efforts to improve and develop our surroundings, making a day trip to Noah’s Ark Zoo farm even more enjoyable for visitors.
Last Saturday, Liam Fox MP paid us a visit and officially opened our new biomass heating system, switching it on to heat the play barns. Biomass heating systems use forest, agricultural, urban and industrial residues and waste to produce heat and electricity. This has far less of an impact on the environment than fossil fuels, and means we are staying true to our green roots. The new system uses an environmentally-friendly Lindner & Sommereaur L250 biomass boiler (with a 195kW output of heat) from a company called Rainbow Heat and Power.
Mr Fox also officially opened our recently refurbished play areas in our Ark iVentures play barn. Ark iVentures is the largest of our play barns, complete with ball pits, drop slide, aerial walkways, trampolines and mini tractors. Smaller children absolutely love driving around on the tractor track.
Fun-time doesn’t end there though; we have a huge range of indoor and outdoor adventures to be had – whatever the weather. Our heated indoor barns are ideal for drizzly or cold days, but we also have plenty of outdoor space to enjoy – including outdoor trampolines, Wallaby Hill (with zip lines, a climbing wall, rope bridges, swings and a Noah’s Ark!), and splash pool (don’t forget your wellies!).
In terms of new animal features, there’s been plenty going on this week, too. Lady Gass visited on Monday to open our new Macaw House and Aviary. Here, we have a variety of bright and beautiful parrots that have been recently given to us by Birdline UK to provide them with a better quality of life. As well as parrots, we have a wide variety of birds throughout the zoo; from peacocks and pheasants to emus and ostriches. We also have a walk-through aviary where you can feed the chickens, ducks, geese and more.
Although we have many big zoo animals, including elephants, tigers and lions, we also have a beautiful selection of farmyard animals – from horses and donkeys to pigs and lambs. We are also very fond of our goats, and this week we were delighted that Lady Gass could also open our new Goat Shed and Yard and meet some of our adorable new baby goat kids.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, why not head to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and meet our baby goats for yourself? As well as this, you’ll get up-close with some of our other amazing animals, and now that our biomass heating system is here you can enjoy our toasty play barn areas too!
Elephant Eden – 1 Year On
It has been an absolutely incredible 12 months for us here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, and we are so thrilled to be able to celebrate the one year anniversary of launching our Elephant Eden enclosure for Buta, Janu, M’Changa – our herd of African elephants.
The time has flown by, but it was only last year when we opened the doors to Elephant Eden – a 20 acre site for our elephants to play and frolic in – and when we first opened our hearts to Buta, our 30 year-old female African elephant. She joined us at the same time the Eden opened (February 2014) and became the first elephant to join the Noah’s Ark family, followed by Janu and M’Changa – making for a very busy 2014!
The Elephant Eden enclosure has been designed by ourselves to be pure paradise for our elephants – it is rich with vegetation and has a diverse range of features, including a swimming pool for the elephants to have a splash around in, hot and cold showers for when they want to freshen up, six deep sand yards (in case they want to build a castle!) as well as central heating. All these features mean Buta, Janu, M’Changa live a pretty luxurious lifestyle – we’re actually a bit jealous!
There are, of course, also numerous state-of-the-art safety features in place, meaning our visitors and keepers can observe the herd and interact with them without worry. The features in place include computer controlled winches for feeding times, 14 automatic doors and 16 manual ones, and six 16-tonne breaking-strain electrified cables installed all around the enclosure.
With such an impressive enclosure and features in place, we are actually in talks with various Zoos from across the UK and Europe about acquiring more elephants to make our Eden their new home – we would love to expand the herd. After having grown so much in the last 12 months, we are keen to focus on creating a sustainable herd that represents one you might find in the wild as much as possible.
In fact, what some people fail to realise is that there is a lot of complicated social and behavioural patterns in African elephant herds. There has been a lot scrutiny about keeping elephants in captivity, as historically some elephants have had shorter lifespans in zoos than those in the wild. As mentioned on our website, however, the Elephant Eden has been specifically designed to provide not only a decent living environment, but a thriving social life for the animals, too. We’ve even had our facilities described as a “five-star destination for elephants” by leading elephant expert Alan Roocroft. We hope new facilities like ours will mean elephants can live happily for much longer.
We’re also very keen on keeping up with conservation practices and hope our Elephant Eden facility will help with elephant conservation in the long term.
It was actually precisely a year ago on Friday 20th Feb that our female Buta arrived and the Elephant Presentation at 1:30pm on this day will include a little mention of the anniversary and a full update on the elephants themselves. Why not pop over for a visit, spend some time with the herd and see Elephant Eden for yourself? You can even try your hand at being an elephant keeper for the day and see how these animals live on a day-to-day basis.
Half Term at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
Yes, it feels like we’ve only recently put the Christmas decorations back in the loft, but now it’s fast approaching that time of year again: February half term. Here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, we are very excited about the imminent break, with lots of events and daily offers to look forward to. Adults and children alike are in for a truly memorable day out, with plenty to keep all the family occupied. Here’s a brief rundown of just some of the reasons why you should pay us a visit this half term:
While there’s certainly no need to stick to a rigid schedule when wandering around our zoo, it’s always good to know that there is plenty going on throughout the day. Tractor rides are available for your little ones all day long, and there are lots of feeding opportunities in both the morning and afternoon. At 11.30am, head to the Meerkat House to feed our adorable meerkats, and stick around ‘til 4.00pm to watch our Big Cats being fed at the Big Cat Sanctuary. There are also displays, talks and presentations on offer from our knowledgeable staff; they will be able to tell you a thing or two about reptiles, giraffes (link to Giraffes), elephants (link to Elephants) and more. Click here to see the full timetable of daily events.
This year, the official “day of love” falls over Half Term; yes, Valentine’s Day (February 14th) is just a few days away. Why not plan a uniquely romantic date at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm for your significant other half? Our “Woo at the Zoo” exclusive offer is available to download online. Adult couples will receive 2-4-1 entry, which means one adult will receive completely free admission with one full-paying adult. We’ll also be giving our loved-up animal couples special Valentine treats on Saturday. As well as this, you could be in with a chance of winning the ultimate Valentine gift: a joint Zoo Keeper Experience! Kids will also be able to get hands-on and make a special Valentine’s craft.
Our admission prices are great value for money for a family day out, as you get to see and do so much in one day. You can purchase your tickets prior to arrival online, or at the Ticket Office when you get here. For a family of two adults and two children, admission is £45; a single adult ticket is £15 and a child is £10. For a full breakdown of prices, see our website.
We are open every day except Sundays, from 10.30am until 5pm. What’s more, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is an all-weather venue, with both heated indoor and outdoor attractions and play areas. Who knows, now February Half Term is here, could spring well and truly be on the horizon?