Noah's News Blog
A Royal visitor is heading our way
Next month we’ll be rolling out the red carpet in preparation for a very royal visit. HRH The Princess Royal will officially open our 20-acre ‘Elephant Eden’ habitat, which is the largest in northern Europe.
Dubbed a ‘five-star hotel for elephants’, Elephant Eden is home to our two African bull elephants, Janu and M’Changa. The complex has been applauded for its contribution to the ongoing welfare improvements within the industry and has been used as an example of best practice for other zoos around the world. Most recently, colleagues from a zoo in Japan have been using Elephant Eden as a model on which to base their own building plans.
One of the reasons Elephant Eden has been deemed such a success is that it gives our elephants access to a large, enriched environment. Janu and M’Changa are free to roam in a natural way, promoting mental and physical activity and development. Automated feeders and deep sand yards help encourage natural feeding behaviour and good foot health, respectively.
As well as the space, Elephant Eden also boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as a swimming pool, hot and cold showers, a central heating system, and automatic doors. Everything you would expect from a luxury hotel, don’t you think? Needless to say, we are extremely proud of Elephant Eden and think it befits the royal opening.
We have many amazing animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, but alongside our two beautiful African lions called Masai and Arusha, the elephants are our most naturally regal animals. Having a royal guest to celebrate these glorious, gigantic animals seems particularly fitting.
Speaking about next month’s visit, the owner of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Anthony Bush comments: “We’re delighted to prepare for our first Royal visit at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, it is a real honour for our team.”
“We’re very proud of Elephant Eden and the high standards it has set for elephant welfare and we are looking forward to showing it to HRH The Princess Royal.”
As well as taking a tour of the elephant barn and facilities, Her Royal Highness will also meet staff and visitors and the brand new children’s Elephant Play Zone will also be open for use for children.
The Elephant Play Zone is the latest of our many play areas dotted around the zoo. The younger members of your party will love these play areas. The indoor play barns are all fully heated and offer soft play, slides, mazes, trampolines and more, while the outdoor adventure playgrounds offer a great selection of pools, zip lines, climbing wall and a climbable Noah’s Ark (of course!). Meanwhile, the centre-piece of the new Elephant Play Zone is an impressive 4-metre high model elephant that features a built-in slide.
As well as HRH The Princess Royal’s officiation, the grand opening of Elephant Eden will also be officially dedicated by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, a senior and well respected figure within the Church of England.
HRH The Princess Royal will be visiting Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm on 17 December, and her visit will ensure that Janu and M’Changa have a ‘Nelly’ Merry Christmas this year. We hope you do too.
Pumpkin paradise & winter wonders at Noah’s Ark
Well, it’s officially that time of year again – autumn is upon us and winter is drawing in, people are lighting their fires and the most organised among us are starting our Christmas shopping already. But there’s no need to bunker down quite yet – although the days are getting shorter now the clocks have gone back, and there is certainly a chill nipping in the air, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and about and enjoy the outdoors before that winter hibernation instinct kicks in.
And here at Noah’s Ark we’ve got plenty organised to lure you out of your cosy homes. If you’re a keen autumn fan and nothing thrills you more than carving a pumpkin, then why not come along to our Pumpkin Fun Day this Saturday?
We’ve a number of undercover animal enclosures to help get some feeling back into those fingers after walking around viewing our magnificent animals: watch our monkeys muck about with their very own pumpkins at the monkey house, or head to the elephant, giraffe and rhino houses – we find just being in their presence can transport us away to a more exotic world, far removed from a chilly October here in the UK!
We also have a number of heated indoor play areas for your own little critters to run around in, while you take the opportunity to stay cosy and warm, and maybe start thinking about Christmas.
Of course, some of us have already begun thinking about this most magical time of the year. Whether you count down the days Christmas months in advance, or have the tendency to be a bit of a Grinch, there’s no denying that Christmas is nearly upon us.
And with the advent of the holiday season comes the annual panic over what presents to get. It’s been predicted that Britons will be spending around £25 billion on Christmas gifts this year for friends, family and loved ones; but what to buy?
If the traditional pair of socks, some nice bubble bath or the latest autobiography doesn’t quite cut it, why not look to get a gift the whole family can enjoy again and again?
Membership to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is the gift that keeps on giving, and can be enjoyed throughout the winter period and beyond. Not only will you save money by becoming a member (you get the cost of a day visit back), but there are a range of other benefits – including free entry to Jungle Tots, ten discount vouchers for friends and family, shop coupons and discounts on Keeper Experiences and Animal Adoptions.
Noah’s Ark has even embraced that most Christmassy of winter traditions: the Nativity Play. Schools are able to hold their own nativities here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm – complete with real animals! – between the 1st and 18th December. Call us on 01275 852606 for more info.
Whether you’re feeling pumped up for pumpkins or counting down to Christmas, join all of us here at Noah’s Ark this season. We can’t wait to see you!
Farming milestone reached at Noah’s Ark!
You may think of our 100-acre zoo as home to some amazing big zoo animals, including elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos (and bears – coming soon!) – and you’d be right! But did you know there’s a reason why the word ‘farm’ is in our name? Yes, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was once a humble private farm – a farm the owners bought 20 years ago this month.
18th October 1995 marked the day Anthony and Christina Bush, now owners of the zoo, sold their 310 head of dairy cows and farm machinery and bought the land to begin building an animal park and tourist attraction!
Anthony and Christina operated a dairy farm at the moated 17thcentury farmhouse for 35 years, but in 1995 they bought the farm from the landlord, Lord Wraxall of Tyntesfield. But how did they raise the funds?
Well, farming is a technical enterprise. The 310-strong pedigree herd of Friesian ‘Moatwell’ dairy cows – half of which were young cows – were genetically in the top 5% in the country. The herd was also sold when the UK milk quotas were at a very high value.
Spanning two weekends, Anthony and Christina also hosted first a dairy herd, then machinery sale at Moat House Farm. The latter involved selling off tractors, feeders, dung spreaders and so on in a live auction.
With the herd gone, the modern dairy buildings were ready for another use. So, in 1997, they rebuilt the old buildings and prepared to open Noah’s Ark – a themed animal park to provide adventure and education.
Between the years of 1995 and 1998, they began developing basic visitor facilities, simple play barns and stalls to showcase petting-farm animals, as well as providing visitors with information about the importance of farming for the UK food chain.
The trial period began in 1998 and its first full season opened the following year. Initially, the Farm Centre was home to mainly farmyard animals, guinea pigs, rabbits and goats – as well as a select number of exotics, such as rheas, wallabies and llamas – all of which we still have here today.
Back then, we very much promoted hands-on activities for children, and this is an element of Noah’s Ark that we have maintained throughout the years because of its timeless popularity.
It wasn’t until the early ‘noughties’ that our indoor and outdoor play zones were constructed, the world’s longest hedge maze was planted, and the huge 500-seater ‘Ark Arena’ was built. And ten years ago, in 2005, the first of the big zoo animals arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm: two South African white rhinos.
It’s amazing to think how far our modest farm has come along over the decades. Today, we are one of the most popular attractions in the south west, welcoming 200,000 visitors each year and providing each and every one with a fun-filled animal experience. Come and pay us a visit and see for yourself!